AutoCAD 2017 Service Pack 1 is out but you probably don’t want to install it

As reported by Jimmy Bergmark, AutoCAD 2017 SP1 will break add-ins that use Autodesk’s built-in autoloader mechanism. It looks like it’s a problem caused by third party applications, but it’s not. It’s entirely Autodesk’s fault. The only fix at this stage is to uninstall SP1.

It’s astonishing that Autodesk would release a service pack like this, introducing a nasty bug that will break customers’ existing functionality. This reminds me of the comedy of errors that was AutoCAD Release 13 with its multitude of updates, many of which introduced new bugs as well as fixing others. AutoCAD 2017c4a, anyone?

If you needed any more evidence that automated continuous updates from Autodesk are A Bad Idea, here it is. What a crock.

AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal”

The most frequently accessed posts on this blog are the AutoCAD 201x – Putting things back to “normal” series. They also attract a lot of comments:

Most Commented Posts

  1. AutoCAD 2013 – An Autodesk Help writer responds – 164 comments
  2. AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal” – 158 comments
  3. AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” – 135 comments
  4. AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal” – 121 comments
  5. AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal” – 106 comments

The last one of these I did was for AutoCAD 2012, so I guess it’s well beyond time to bring things up to date for all those people who don’t like things being brought up to date. If there is something in particular I haven’t included in this post that you think people will find useful, please add a comment below and I’ll see what I can do.

I’m not suggesting it’s a good idea to turn all of these things off, it’s just a resource for people who want to know how to turn some of them off. These items are in alphabetic order. If you can’t find what you’re after, try your browser’s find/search option to look for a word on this page rather than this site’s search option which will search the whole site. If you still can’t find it, please comment and let me know what I’ve missed.

  • Aerial View. If you’re a relatively recent user of AutoCAD, you may have never seen the Aerial View window, but you might still find it useful. The DSVIEWER command (which turns this window on) has been undefined. You can use REDEFINE DSVIEWER to turn it back on, or just enter .DSVIEWER (with a leading period). It may not work perfectly on all systems under all circumstances, but give it a try and see what you think.
  • Array Dialog Box. The associative array features added by AutoCAD 2012 did not come with an Array dialog box. After protests from the crowd, AutoCAD 2012 SP1 reintroduced the old dialog box. This has been retained ever since and is accessed using the command ARRAYCLASSIC. Why isn’t it called CLASSICARRAY? Because by the time Autodesk wanted to restore this feature, I had already published ClassicArray™ and owned the trademark. Did ARRAYCLASSIC make ClassicArray defunct? Not entirely. The old Autodesk dialog interface is much less capable than ClassicArray and only allows the creation of simple non-associative arrays. If you want a dialog box interface and the modern array features (including Path arrays), you will still need my ClassicArray (which has the fortunate side-effect of acting as a workaround for several of the Array command’s various bugs, limitations and design issues). If you just want to control whether ARRAY creates associative or non-associative arrays, use the ARRAYASSOCIATIVITY system variable (1 for associative, 0 for non-associative).
  • Autocomplete. You may well find the automated filling in of your typed commands useful, but I find it’s too slow and gets confused, resulting in the wrong command being used. If it’s getting in your way, turning it off is as simple as AUTOCOMPLETE OFF. There are a variety of settings you can selectively turn off individually if you prefer, see Command Line below.
  • Blips. The BLIPMODE command has been undefined, but you can use REDEFINE BLIPMODE to turn it back on, or just enter .BLIPMODE (with a leading period).
  • Button Backgrounds. If you have your own or third-party Ribbon, toolbar or menu items, you may notice that AutoCAD 2017 messed up their transparent backgrounds. Believe it or not, this was a deliberate act by Autodesk. I intend to write a more detailed post on this in future, but the short version is that the BMP background of 192,192,192 is no longer supported so you need to use another format (e.g. PNG files) if you want your buttons to support transparency.
  • Classic Commands. If you prefer not to leave the various new palettes on screen all the time, old versions of various commands are still available: ClassicGroup, ClassicLayer, ClassicXref and ClassicImage. (Autodesk deprecated these commands in 2011, which I think is a really bad idea, but at least they’re still there in 2017). There is also a system variable LAYERDLGMODE, which when set to 0 will make the Layer command work in the old (and faster) modal way. If you use this setting, you can still access the new modeless layer palette with the LayerPalette command. Going back further, there are command-line methods of using these commands: -Layer, -Plot, -Xref, XAttach, -Image and ImageAttach.
  • Color Scheme. Goth AutoCAD doesn’t appeal to you? If you don’t want to draw with a product that looks like a 10-year-old version of PaintShop Pro, you can lighten things up a bit using Options (right-click on the drawing area and pick Options… or just enter OP), then pick the Display tab, set Color Scheme to Light. See Graphic Background below for more options.
  • Coordinates. Bafflingly, Autodesk decided that most CAD users are uninterested in where things are placed in a drawing, so coordinate display is turned off by default. You’ll obviously need to turn them on to do any meaningful work (well, duh), so pick the 3-line Customization button at the lower right and turn on the Coordinates item at the top of that menu. Pick and choose among the various other options to get the buttons you want.
  • Command Line. There are many enhancements to the command line that theoretically make your keyboard-based interactions with AutoCAD more productive. I find that all of these features are great if I’m not in a hurry. If I just want to enter a short command and hit Enter, I find the command I get is wrong most of the time. To control which of these command line features you want on, use the INPUTSEARCHOPTIONS command.
  • Content Explorer. The Content Explorer was pretty horrible in many ways and Autodesk killed it. It’s gone and is unlikely to return, so you can stop looking for it. DesignCenter is still there and still does most of Content Explorer’s job, only better. Unfortunately, this means those people who did use Content Explorer’s unique functionality (e.g. searching for text among multiple drawings) are now out of luck until Autodesk does something about that.
  • Crosshairs. Want 100% crosshairs? Many people do. As before, use the Options command’s Display tab and look towards the bottom right, or set the CURSORSIZE system variable to 100.
  • Cursor Badges. About a dozen commands in AutoCAD now display a little glyph on the cursor to give you a visual clue about what you’re doing. If you find these pointless or annoying, turn them off by setting CURSORBADGE to 1. No, I have no idea why you use 1 to turn them off and 2 to turn them on, rather than 0 and 1 like pretty much everything else.
  • Customer Involvement Program. Those in the know always turn off whatever Autodesk phone-home activity they can find, not just because we’re a bunch of tin-hat-wearing paranoiacs, but because uses your resources and harms your performance. I’ve observed this happening, despite having been assured by Autodesk people that such a thing couldn’t possibly be occurring. The CUSTOMERINVOLVEMENTPROGRAM command has given access to one such setting for a few releases, but now there’s DESKTOPANALYTICS too. It’s not doing you any good, so kill it.
  • Dynamic Input. If Dynamic Input slows you down, you can turn it off with the status bar toggle or F12. If you like the general idea but don’t like some parts of it, there are lots of options available in the Dynamic Input tab of the DSettings command to enable you to control it to a fine degree. You can also get at this by right-clicking the Dynamic Input status bar button and picking Settings… As an example of the sort of thing you might do in there, the default of using relative coordinates is difficult for long-termers to get used to. To turn it off, pick the Settings… button in the Pointer Input panel, pick Absolute coordinates, then OK twice. There are a whole range of DYNxxx system variables for controlling this stuff.
  • File Tabs. Want vertical screen space more than you want to see what drawings you have open? Turn off File Tabs with the FILETABCLOSE command. You can still switch between drawings with Ctrl+Tab.
  • Graphic Background. After various experiments with black, white, black, cream, etc., for the last few releases Autodesk has stuck a nearly black background in model space only. Many of you will want a real black background to provide better contrast. To do this, invoke the Options command and pick the Display tab. Don’t be tempted to choose Color Scheme because that just changes the appearance of various user interface elements. Instead, pick the Colors… button. This will put you in the Drawing Window Colors dialog box. On the left, choose a context you want to change (e.g. 2D model space), choose the appropriate background element (e.g. Uniform background) and choose the particular shade that takes your fancy. There is a Restore Classic Colors button, but that only takes you back to AutoCAD 2008 with its black model and white paper space. If you want a black paper space background too, you’ll have to pick the Sheet / layout context and specify that individually. You may wish to put the Command line > Command line history background setting to white, too. When you’re done, pick Apply & Close, then OK.
  • Grid. If you use isometric snap and grid, you will be glad to find that AutoCAD 2017’s line-based isometric grid works properly, unlike some earlier releases. If you still prefer dots, right-click on the Grid status button and pick Grid Settings…, which will take you into the Drafting Settings dialog box, which you can also get at with the DSettings command, or DS for short. In the Snap and Grid tab, the grid is controlled by the options on the right. If you want your dots back, turn on the toggles in the Grid style section. This can also be done using the GRIDSTYLE system variable. This is now stored in the registry rather than on a drawing-by-drawing basis.
  • Hatch Dialog Box. If you want the Ribbon on but prefer the old Hatch dialog box, set HPDLGMODE to 1.
  • Hatch Double Click. If you’re not using the new Ribbon-based hatch editing feature, you will probably want to invoke the HatchEdit command when you double-click on a hatch object. Doing this involves braving the CUI interface, but I have gone into step-by-step detail of that process here. In short, you need to drag and drop the Hatch Edit command from the bottom left CUI panel onto the double-click action for Hatch in the top left panel, replacing the default action (Properties).
  • Help. If you want your Help to work with adequate speed and reliability, or to work at all in some proxy server environments, you will want to turn off AutoCAD’s online help. The installer for the AutoCAD 2017 English offline Help can be found here. For other languages, see here. However, downloading and installing it isn’t enough. Go into Options > System, then look in the bottom right pane to turn off the Use online help toggle. The Help structure remains destroyed and the interface is still a long way short of the excellent CHM-based Help we had prior to AutoCAD 2011, but at least it’s not as slow and externally dependant as the online Help system. Note that the search mechanism in the offline version is notably weaker than in the online version.
  • InfoCenter. This is the set of tools on the right top of the AutoCAD window. It takes up space, reduces AutoCAD reliability and performance and forces the use of Internet Explorer to support Autodesk LiveUpdate technology. You probably want it gone. Here’s how:
    (vl-registry-write
    (strcat "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\" (vlax-user-product-key) "\\InfoCenter")
    "InfoCenterOn" 0)

    Paste the above lines into AutoCAD’s command line area and hit Enter. Close and start AutoCAD and InfoCenter will be gone. If you ever want it back, use the above code with a 1 in place of the 0, then close and restart AutoCAD.
  • Layout Tabs. You don’t get to choose where the layout tabs go, but you can turn them on and off using the LAYOUTTAB system variable.
  • Navigation Bar. If you like the NavBar feature as much as I do, you’ll want to turn it off. You can close it easily using the little X in its top left corner. Alternatively, control it with the NAVBARDISPLAY system variable (0 for off, 1 for on) or click the [-] button in the top left corner of the drawing area and turn off the Navigation Bar toggle there.
  • Pull-down Menus. Enter MENUBAR 1 to turn pull-down menus on. To turn them off again, enter MENUBAR 0.
  • Ribbon. You can close the Ribbon with the RibbonClose command. If you ever want to turn it back on, enter Ribbon.
  • Screen menu. The SCREENMENU command has been undefined, but you can use REDEFINE SCREENMENU to turn it back on, or just enter .SCREENMENU (with a leading period). However, you can’t access the screen menu section in CUI any more, so if you want to maintain your screen menu you will need to do it in an ancient release or with a text editor operating on a .MNU file.
  • Security. There are various obstacles to productive use that can be placed in the way by the various security settings that have been progressively introduced since AutoCAD 2014. However, I’m not going to provide advice on removing those obstacles because of the risk such action can entail; I don’t want to be a party to making your system more vunerable. If you wish to look into this area, look up the SECURITYOPTIONS command and the SECURELOAD system variable. One security setting I’d suggest you definitely leave at the default value of 0 is LEGACYCODESEARCH, because that setting will protect you from the most common AutoCAD-specific malware without any practical downside. Feel free to look it up and take your own informed action, but you almost certainly don’t need to set this variable to 1.
  • Selecting Dashed Lines. AutoCAD now allows you to select objects with linetypes by picking the gaps. If you don’t want this, set LTGAPSELECTION to 0. Although 0 is supposed to be the default, I’ve seen AutoCAD working as if it were set to 1 even when it says it is 0. If so, set it to 1 and back to 0.
  • Selecting One Object at a Time. Does AutoCAD insist on only allowing you to select one object at a time? You probably have PICKADD set to 0. Set it back to the default of 2 or look for the Use Shift to add to selection toggle in the left pane of the Selection tab of OPTIONS. AutoCAD has been known to mangle this setting by itself. Yes, even when there is no possibility of a LISP routine messing with it.
  • Selection Cycling. Depending on your preference and/or system graphic performance, you may wish to turn off selection cycling (set SELECTIONCYCLING to 0), or at least the list that appears when selecting objects that lie on top of each other (set SELECTIONCYCLING to 1).
  • Selection Effect. If you want AutoCAD to show selected objects with old-style dashed lines rather than a glowing halo, set SELECTIONEFFECT to 0.
  • Selection Lasso. You can now select objects within irregular areas using the Lasso tool by clicking, holding and dragging. If this gets in your way, turn off the 4 bit of PICKAUTO (e.g. change PICKAUTO from 5 to 1). You may prefer to use the toggle for this in the left pane of the Selection tab of OPTIONS.
  • Selection Preview. This feature annoys some users, adding as it does an unfortunate degree of stickiness and working inaccurately when Snap is in use. This is controlled in the Selection tab of the Options command. Turn off the toggles in the Selection preview panel on the left (these control the SELECTIONPREVIEW system variable). If you dislike the coloured boxes you get while doing a Window or Crossing, pick the Visual Effect Settings… button and turn off the Indicate selection area toggle. This controls the SELECTIONAREA system variable.
  • Snap. By default, AutoCAD’s snap no longer works while there is no command active. Set SNAPGRIDLEGACY to 1 to turn this feature off.
  • Start Tab/New Tab/Welcome Screen. If you want AutoCAD to start in a blank drawing rather than using the Start Tab (New Tab or Welcome Screen in earlier releases), set the STARTUP system variable to 0. Note that if you turn off the Start Tab feature during installation or deployment creation, it’s not possible to later turn it back on using AutoCAD commands. If you’re unsure about whether or not you want to use the Start Tab, defer that decision until after installation.
  • Startup performance. You may have noticed that AutoCAD’s Ribbon switching performance is much faster than earlier releases. You may also have noticed that when you start AutoCAD, the cursor is sticky for a while after the Command prompt is available. These two items are not unrelated; AutoCAD is loading Ribbon components in the background. If you would prefer this not to happen, set the RIBBONBGLOAD system variable to 0.
  • Steering Wheel. Do you have a funny silver thing following your cursor around? Despise it? If it will stay still long enough you can hit the little X in the top right. Alternatively, use the NAVSWHEEL command to toggle it or click the [-] button in the top left corner of the drawing area and turn off the Steering Wheel toggle there.
  • Status Bar Text. You can’t have text-based status line toggles any more, so you can call off the search. Yes, I know. This is the poster child for Autodesk deliberately ignoring the clearly expressed wishes of its customers.
  • Toolbars. In AutoCAD 2009, you could turn individual toolbars on and off by accessing a menu obtained by right-clicking on the QAT. Autodesk somewhat vindictively removed that option in 2010, and it’s still gone in 2017, so I guess we can conclude that Autodesk really doesn’t want you using toolbars. A toolbar-toggling menu is still available if you right-click in an unused docked toolbar area, but if you have no toolbars visible there will be no such area available. What to do? Turn on one docked toolbar at the Command prompt, then you will be able to access the menu by right-clicking on the blank area to the right of it. The following command sequence will do it:
    _.-TOOLBAR ACAD.Standard _Top 0,0
    Paste this into AutoCAD’s command line area and the Standard toolbar will be turned on above your drawing area. This will leave a grey area to the right that you can right-click into. The other toolbars will be in sub-menus under that, with the main set of default ones in the AutoCAD section. Note that this will only work if you have the acad.cuix file loaded (or partially loaded). This is the case in vanilla AutoCAD and some verticals, but it may not be the case in other verticals.
  • Tooltips. Excessively intrusive and oversized tooltips were a “feature” of AutoCAD 2009’s revamped UI design, and we’ve been plagued with them ever since. I’m glad to see that many of them have had their verbosity somewhat curtailed (thanks to Dieter), but they still annoy the heck out of me, particularly by obscuring what I’m trying to see in dialog boxes. To kill them with fire, see Options > Display and start turning off toggles about half way down the left side.
  • Trace. The TRACE command has been undefined, but you can use REDEFINE TRACE to turn it back on, or just enter .TRACE (with a leading period).
  • UCS Icon. Don’t like the new simplified UCS icon? Sorry! While you can use the UCSIcon command’s Properties option to change the appearance of the icon in various ways, there’s nothing to restore the UCS Icon’s appearance from previous releases with its little arrows pointing the way.
  • ViewCube. I like the ViewCube concept, and I think it’s a great piece of interface design. But not everybody agrees. It has caused performance issues and it’s not very useful for 2D users. If you want it gone, that’s a surprisingly difficult thing to find out about. The simplest way to remove it is by clicking the [-] button in the top left corner of the drawing area and turning off the ViewCube toggle there. If you want more control, it’s handled using the Options command, in the 3D Modeling tab, in the bottom left corner. Turn off those toggles that don’t make sense for you. There is a related set of system variables called NAVVCUBExxx.
  • Workspace. The Workspace (gearwheel) control is now located near the bottom right corner. The item called AutoCAD Classic is long gone, unfortunately, so you’ll need to make your own classic workspace by manually setting up your interface the way you like it, then saving it as a Workspace using the Save Current As… option under the Workspace control. See the various items above for clues on how to do this. There’s a bug in the Workspace
  • Xref Fading. Don’t like your xrefs looking different? Use the Options command’s Display tab and look at the Xref display slider on the bottom right, or use the XDWGFADECTL system variable.
  • Zoom Animation. If you prefer your zooms to be instant rather than progressing from one view to another in an animated series of steps, you can turn off that feature using the VTOPTIONS command or the VTENABLE system variable.

If you have allowed AutoCAD to migrate your settings, some of the above will already be done for you, but by no means all of it. If past experience is anything to go by, the job done by Migration will be sub-optimal, but it received a major overhaul for 2017 so maybe it’s all good now. Call me paranoid/lazy/whatever, but I didn’t bother finding out. I’ve done without it for over a decade and will continue to do so; file under Problems left unfixed for so long that nobody cares when the fix finally comes.

Once you’re happy with your new environment, I suggest you save your workspace under a name of your choosing (Save Current As… under the Workspace gearwheel control), then export your profile in the Options command’s Profiles tab. Keep a safe copy of both your exported profile and your main CUIX file (acad.cuix by default), because that is where new workspaces are stored.

All of this advice is offered on an as-is, try-it-yourself-and see-what-happens basis. If in doubt, before you start messing make a safe profile, export it, then make an experimental profile and make it current. Back up any files you may have modified (e.g. acad.cuix).

I’ve probably missed a few things, so feel free to point them out or ask questions. I’ll edit this post to add relevant information.

Last chance to buy Autodesk software – should you take it?

If, like me, you’ve been receiving increasingly eager Autodesk emails urging you to action, you’ll already be aware that Autodesk will end the sale of its last remaining perpetual license software lines on 31 July 2016. The End Time has already arrived for AutoCAD, so the only way you can now buy any form of AutoCAD perpetual license is as part of a Suite, and you must also commit to a maintenance plan. Of course, any Suite is substantially more expensive than AutoCAD, both in terms of initial cost and ongoing maintenance fees. However, if you only buy software and aren’t interested in renting it, this is your last chance to do so. (Or is it? There’s always the possibility that Autodesk will abandon its all-rental strategy in order to stave off its losses, in which case all bets are off).

In sales, this is known as the impending event closing technique. You can see it in action at car yards around the world. The idea is to encourage you to buy something while you still have the opportunity to do so, preferably without thinking too hard about whether it’s a good idea. In this case, is it a good idea? Let’s examine the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Last chance to buy a perpetual license. Maybe.
  • Cheaper long-term than renting. Maybe.

Cons

  • Very expensive unless you are likely to make use of multiple large components of the Suite.
  • Mandatory commitment to a maintenance plan, at least initially.
  • Unknown price vector for that maintenance plan. However, it’s safe to assume it’s not going to get cheaper over time.
  • Immediate obsolescence of Suites has already been announced.
  • The long-term value of any Autodesk permanent license is a big unknown.

Only you can make the call about whether a last-minute Suite purchase makes sense for you or your business, and that call can only be an educated guess at best. Nobody has any idea how well Autodesk intends to look after perpetual-only Suite customers when it would clearly prefer them to be rental-only industry collection customers instead. Based on Autodesk’s recent history, I would expect strong pressure to be applied to all perpetual license owners to persuade you to switch to rental. The experience is unlikely to be pleasant, particularly if you just stumped up big to buy Suite software.

Are you planning to take this last chance to buy Autodesk software?

Polls and comments

As part of the site layout changes here, the polls were moved from the right sidebar to the left. The Polls Archive page remains unchanged. The new site layout is responsive, so if you’re using a narrow browser window (e.g. on a phone), the sidebars may be automatically suppressed. If so, you can still get at the current polls using this post.

Autodesk is ending the sale of perpetual licenses. This is:

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Are you now (in 2016) using a public Cloud-based application as your primary CAD software?

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How good is Autodesk's customer focus?

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What is your relationship to Autodesk?

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Feel free to use this post to comment on any aspect of these polls. From the main page (or search results) where the comments are not immediately visible, you can comment by clicking the number next to this speech bubble icon:

AutoCAD’s ARRAYCLASSIC command is my fault

Ever wondered why most keep-the-old-version commands in AutoCAD are called CLASSICxxx but the old version of the ARRAY command is called ARRAYCLASSIC? Why can’t Autodesk be consistent for once? Sorry, that’s actually my fault. Here’s a little history.

  • AutoCAD Version 1.4 (1983) introduced the ARRAY command with Rectangular and Circular options.
  • AutoCAD Version 2.5 (1986) added the Polar option and hid the Circular option (but it’s still there).
  • AutoCAD 2005 introduced a dialog box version of the ARRAY command. The command-line version remained available via the -ARRAY command (with a leading hyphen).
  • AutoCAD 2012 introduced many new array features, including associative, path and 3D arrays. However, the dialog box interface was removed and the old command-line interface was back. There were also a bunch of bugs and limitations with the new regime.
  • I created and published the shareware utility ClassicArray™ to restore a familiar dialog box interface to AutoCAD’s array features. Rather than simply reproducing the old interface, I enhanced it to provide support for the new array features. I was also able to provide a workaround for some of AutoCAD’s array bugs and limitations.
  • By producing and selling a product called ClassicArray I established that as my trademark.
  • In AutoCAD 2012 SP1, Autodesk added the old dialog box interface back to AutoCAD and has left it in ever since. The restored interface did not support any of the new features. Calling the new/old command CLASSICARRAY would have infringed my trademark and I made sure Autodesk was aware of that fact in advance. That’s why ARRAYCLASSIC is called what it is.

Anyway, my ClassicArray exists and I still think it’s usefully better than what Autodesk provides. It has been updated to 1.1.0 to install and work smoothly with all AutoCAD releases from 2012 to 2017. Existing license holders can upgrade for free without my involvement and reuse their registration code with the new version. If you’re interested, hop over to classicarray.com.

Microsoft demonstrates why automatic updates are a terrible idea. Listening, Autodesk?

I like Windows 10. After some investigation and with some trepidation, I have upgraded two Windows 7 computers and one Windows 8 (ugh) computer to Windows 10. In use, I’m generally very happy with it. It boots fast, works well and most of the more ridiculous aspects of the Windows 8 “let’s assume your computer is a phone” interface are gone. The fact that I can scroll windows using my mouse wheel without first clicking on those windows to obtain focus is a real productivity plus. I would be happy to recommend Windows 10 to all Windows 8 users and most Windows 7 users, dependant on individual needs. I would, but I’m not. Microsoft is entirely responsible for that reluctance; read on.

The one thing I really, really dislike about Windows is the way it pushes updates. With Windows 7 I was always selective about what updates I allowed through and when they were applied. Windows 10 doesn’t give you that choice. It downloads and applies its updates as it sees fit, regardless of the importance of those updates, my bandwidth and the level of inconvenience applying those updates might cause. Windows 10 Professional only allows you to defer updates until the next restart, and will nag you to restart until you give in.

This is bad enough, but the Home version just takes over your computer and updates and restarts whenever it feels like it. Yes, even if you are in the middle of doing something and have unsaved work, and the update process leaves your computer unusable for two hours. I wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to a very computer-smart member of my own family. Quite astonishing levels of malicious arrogance from the utter wankers at Microsoft.

I know there can be some very important reasons for keeping your OS up to date, particularly as far as urgent security patches are concerned. But really, given the choice between a tiny chance of some unknown malicious action by some unknown party (that hasn’t yet happened to any computer I’ve been running in over 30 years) and a 100% chance of known multiple malicious actions by Microsoft, which would you pick? Problem is, I made my choice on those three computers a few months ago and now I’m stuck with it.

Microsoft’s arrogance has triggered a minor in-house rebellion; two of my other former Windows computers are now happily running Linux. Five years ago, 100% of the computers in my household were running Windows. Now the figure is 43%, and I’m not even counting handheld devices (that would make it 20%). I haven’t bought a new version of Office in many years. Yes, I know, Microsoft isn’t exactly quaking in its boots, but it makes me feel better to raise the digit in this way.

Various other people are holding back on Windows 10 for this and other reasons, despite the insistent placement of update icons and nag notices. Some of those nag notices have made the news for all the wrong reasons. Last month, many people found themselves updated to Windows 10 without their explicit consent and against their will because Microsoft changed the status of the Windows 10 update for Windows 7/8 users and employed other sneaky tricks.

To Microsoft: that’s a really, really abhorrent low-life scumbag way to behave. These are our computers, not yours. We’re the customers (the ones providing the money) and you’re just vendors (the ones who want our money). Get back in your box and stop behaving like dickheads. Your assholery has been a significant factor in your decline. Give it up, it’s bad for you.

If you’re a Windows 7 or 8 user who wants to stay that way, please don’t disable updates altogether, because that could leave you vulnerable. Instead, I suggest you check out the free utility GWX Control Panel. If it’s too late and you’ve been updated, here’s what you can do. You have a limited amount of time to roll back.

Autodesk wants your software to be updated like this, continually and automatically. This is a bad idea for a whole range of reasons that go beyond why it’s a bad idea for Microsoft to do it. I hope to expand on those reasons later, but this post is long enough already. Trust me, it’s a terrible idea.

Although right now Autodesk is doing a heart-warmingly poor job of implementing this concept, eventually it might get the technical details right and be in a position to force it on you. Fight it tooth and nail. Make your voice heard wherever you can, online and in person. Uninstall, disable or block any software that attempts to do this. Look for any utilities, tips, etc. that stand between your software and automatic updates, and spread that news far and wide. This is an important battle for control over our own property, so please don’t give up.

Navel gazing note: this is the 500th post published on this blog.

AutoCAD 2017 Feature – Share Design View

An interesting new feature of AutoCAD 2017 is Share Design View, which is invoked using the leftmost button on the A360 Ribbon tab or the ONLINEDESIGNSHARE command. The idea behind this command is to create a web-published snapshot of your drawing that can be accessed by anyone with a browser (they’ll need a fairly recent one).

This command works as advertised and provides another option to allow limited access to your design information without providing access to your DWG files. It creates a web page containing a view of your drawing and lets you have the URL (link) so you can access it. You can then share this URL with anyone you want to share the design with. They just follow the URL and can view the design using the Autodesk A360 Viewer (no download required).

Heidi Hewett wrote a fuller description of how it works on the AutoCAD blog that would be pointless to reproduce here.

One caveat: although Autodesk describes the design’s location as secure and anonymous, it’s important to understand that it’s an open location. Anybody with that URL has access to that page. Although the URL is long, complex and probably unguessable, if you email somebody that URL and they start an email forward/reply chain that ends up with other people, all of those people can also access that page and you might never know about it. Also, the index that Autodesk must maintain for all of these pages would be a prime target for hackers looking to steal design content, at which point “secure and anonymous” will be meaningless.

So maybe don’t use this method to share your nuclear plant designs. Also, rescind any sensitive designs as soon as access is no longer needed, in order to limit the exposure time (see About Conferring with Clients and Colleagues Online). The URL stays active for 30 days unless you rescind it earlier.

Autodesk is to be commended for providing this feature and documenting it well and honestly. There is little evidence of the misleading hype about security that tainted Autodesk’s DWF marketing back in the day. Here’s a Cloud-based feature that adds value to AutoCAD with little or no downside. Just be aware of its semi-open nature and use it appropriately.

Note: this feature requires A360 to be selected during installation or deployment creation (which it is by default). If A360 is not installed, the Share Design View button will be greyed out. The command will still exist and will attempt to connect to A360 but will then fail with a Service Unavailable message.

Disaster in progress – Autodesk’s all-rental plans are failing

It has been observed elsewhere that Autodesk’s decision to stop selling software has had the expected results. (Expected by me and others, but apparently not by Autodesk). Rental? We’re not buying it. Literally.

What does this (and a bunch of other factors) mean for Autodesk’s profitability?

AutodeskProfit2017Q1

Numbers from Tenlinks (with FY corrected), data accumulated from Autodesk sources.

Autodesk lost $486m over the last 4 quarters, compared with a profit of $73m the 4 quarters before that and a profit of $202m the 4 quarters before that. Looks like a nose dive to me. But things are just wonderful, according to Carl Bass:

We had a strong first quarter, which builds on last quarter’s momentum and is a great start to the fiscal year. Our customers and partners continue to embrace Autodesk’s transition to a subscription-based business model and cloud-based software. We continue to diligently control our costs while investing in the transition. We’re striking a healthy balance in achieving both short-term and long-term goals.

Disclaimer: I’m not a business analyst and nobody should make financial decisions based on anything I have to say. But it seems to me that Carl’s whistling past the graveyard and disaster for Autodesk isn’t just looming, it’s well under way. I doubt the board is unaware of this, whatever spin they feel obliged to put on things. I wonder what action Autodesk will take? Here are my guesses in descending order of probability:

1. Keep steering the plane downwards and continue to pretend the flight plan is a good one. Carefully arrange golden parachutes for the pilots so they can jump out of the plane just before it hits the ground.

2. Go even harder at the customers, aggressively pressuring every customer into rental much earlier than originally planned. There are various methods that could be used to do this, which I may discuss later. The results are unlikely to be pretty, but the Autodesk board might think otherwise.

3. Slowly back off the rental thing piecemeal by experimentally reintroducing perpetual licenses for selected products (e.g. AutoCAD LT) to see what happens. Spin this to make it look like it’s not a change of direction by calling perpetual licenses something else, in the same way that the meaning of “subscription” has been transformed in Autodeskspeak. How about Infinite Subscription?

4. Abort! Abort! Do a total about-turn on the policy, admit it was all a terrible mistake and spin it as “We’ve listened to our customers”. No, I don’t think this is a likely outcome, despite it probably being the best thing for Autodesk’s future prospects.

Maybe you have some more creative suggestions?

Whatever happens, Autodesk has done massive damage to its biggest asset, customer loyalty. Many long-term Autodesk loyalist customers (including myself) are actively planning or executing an Autodesk exit strategy involving competing products. Others have already jumped ship. I spoke to an increasingly busy Bricsys person last week and he thinks Autodesk’s strategy is just wonderful (for him). Even in the best-case scenario, Autodesk’s self-inflicted damage will not be repairable in the short term. If Autodesk survives into the longer term, maybe it can find dumber customers and thrive, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Suites to be replaced by Autodesk industry collections

I just got this email. Maybe you did too:

Dear Christopher [sic],
 
I have some important information to share with you.
 
As we continue our transition to a fully subscription-based business, we remain committed to providing you greater value, more flexibility, and a simpler way to access the Autodesk software you need.
 
On August 1, 2016, we will introduce Autodesk industry collections and end the sale of Autodesk Design & Creation Suites.
 
Industry collections will provide you access to a wide selection of the essential Autodesk software for your profession. They will offer immediate access to new technology, cloud services, and several licensing options. In short, industry collections will give you the freedom to access the software products you want, when you want them. Learn more about the industry collections here.
 
To make way for industry collections, we will end the sale of new Design & Creation Suite subscriptions and perpetual licenses after July 31, 2016.
 
If you wish to purchase more Design & Creation Suites before August 1, 2016, we encourage you to subscribe now and rest assured that we will provide you with a simple way to switch to an industry collection in the future, if you so choose. If you prefer, you can purchase perpetual licenses of a Design & Creation Suite with a maintenance plan before August 1.
 
If you wish to continue receiving updates, support, and other benefits for your Design & Creation Suites, you can do so for as long as you continue your existing subscription or maintenance plan.
 
To learn more about Autodesk industry collections and options for switching your subscription (if you choose to do so) please read our Frequently Asked Questions. [I fixed the email’s URL which didn’t point to the FAQ].
 
I want to thank you for being an Autodesk customer, and I hope you share my excitement about these important enhancements to our offerings.
 
Yours sincerely,
Jeff Wright
Vice President, Customer Engagement
Autodesk, Inc.

No, I have no idea why I’m Christopher. No, I have no idea why Autodesk is so averse to using initial capitals for its product names. It’s confusing and silly.

As far as I can tell, industry collections are just renamed/combined Suites with a few things shuffled around a bit. If Autodesk were still in the business of selling software I might be interested in examining the pros and cons of moving to industry collections. Autodesk isn’t (or very soon won’t be), so I’m not interested. As it is, the annual cost is out of the question (unless I were actually going to use a decent number of the included products, which I wouldn’t). That’s to be expected, because the whole point of trying to push people onto desktop subscription (Autodeskspeak for rental) is to extract much larger amounts of cash over a given period of time.

Sorry Jeff, I don’t share your excitement. Thanks, but no thanks.

Autodesk desktop app. Worst. Name. Ever. Is the product better than the name?

Autodesk wants your software to be automatically updated so you’re always running the latest version. Let’s pretend for a moment that this is a good idea and have a look at how Autodesk now attempts to do this. For the previous couple of releases (2015/2016), this has been done using Autodesk Application Manager. For 2017, this has been replaced by Autodesk desktop app. Even if you haven’t installed any 2017 products, you may have already seen this kind of thing pop up. Repeatedly.

ApplicationManagerReplaced

Note how there’s no obvious “stop nagging me and leave me alone” option. Autodesk Application Manager’s settings page does include an Alerts tab which allows you to turn off all desktop alerts, but the above message indicates Application Manager has suffered an “end of life” experience so there’s not much point having it on your system.

Before I get onto the new product and how it works, I want to discuss its name. It’s woeful. I have never been less whelmed by any product name than Autodesk desktop app. It’s not even Autodesk Desktop App, it’s Autodesk desktop app (sans initial capitals). It’s dull, generic, uninspired,  and it means nothing. AutoCAD is an Autodesk desktop app. Inventor is an Autodesk desktop app. Graphic Impact used to be an Autodesk desktop app. This is the equivalent of Ford naming their next new car “Ford road vehicle”. It says to me, “We couldn’t come up with a name so we just gave up.”

Having got that off my chest, what about the product itself? What does it do? According to Autodesk, this:

Autodesk desktop app is a content delivery solution. The desktop component installs with Microsoft Windows®-based Autodesk 2017 products and suites. It replaces the previous in-product update components and the Autodesk Application Manager.
 
Autodesk desktop app keeps Autodesk Subscription customers informed of product updates, new releases, new features, and special subscriber-only learning and training materials, as they become available. Autodesk desktop app also delivers and applies critical security patches for all 2015 Autodesk products onwards.

Does it deliver? No. Not for me, anyway. In my secure proxy server environment, it fails to connect, despite Autodesk Application Manager working fine in the same environment. There is a long and unfortunate history of various aspects of Autodesk software switching between working and not working in a secure proxy environment, and this product just added to that history. Things that worked in one release stop working in a new release. Some of them might start magically working again in a later release. I can only assume it’s developers tinkering with stuff and not realising the consequences. Whatever the reason, it inconveniences customers, makes Autodesk look bad at the Internet (again), and throws a spanner in the works as far as Autodesk’s online-driven future plans are concerned.

Besides it having the dumbest name ever and (for some) not doing the one thing it’s designed to do, what else is wrong with it? Here’s a list for starters:

  1. After an AutoCAD install, unless you specifically choose not to install it, it will be installed and will automatically run, getting right in your face when you probably just want to draw things.
  2. It automatically sets itself up to run all the time, using your system resources. I intend to go into more detail about Autodesk web stuff abusing your resources in future.
  3. On systems where it doesn’t work, the user experience is, er, sub-optimal. I won’t bore you with the details, but you are sent on a wild goose chase.
  4. On systems where it works, it calls home and communicates with Autodesk in undocumented ways (“Collects usage data to support users better.”).
  5. On systems where it works, it may repeatedly tell you about updates you have already applied.
  6. On systems where it works, it may not keep you up to date in the advertised manner; some hotfixes are not supported.
  7. It has a Sign In button, which encourages you to get an Autodesk account if you don’t already have one. It should not be necessary to sign in to anything to keep your products up to date. If you’re managing a corporate environment, you might not want your users all signing up for individual accounts without your knowledge.
  8. The whole idea of giving Autodesk unfettered access to update your apps when it feels like it is pretty horrific. That would involve a naive level of trust in Autodesk that it has proven repeatedly it does not deserve. The very application that wants to auto-update so it can carry on doing auto-updating other things is itself a classic example of why you really don’t want to allow that sort of thing to happen.

Let’s say you don’t care about any of that and still desperately want this thing working. What to do? At the bottom of the About Autodesk desktop app knowledgebase article, there is a link: Autodesk desktop app is not able to connect to the Internet. When I clicked it, I got this:

ThisIsEmbarrassingWell….this really is embarrassing. To be fair, the link appears to be working now, so you probably won’t see the above. However, what you do see isn’t any better. The advice provided there is terrible. It’s asking for totally unreasonable holes to be punched through your firewall, allowing whitelist access to a myriad of marketing and other undesirable sites (e.g. Akamai, which has a history of sub-optimal online ethics). I don’t think so.

The best thing I can say about Autodesk desktop app is that you can choose to not install it with your 2017 product. That seems like an excellent idea to me, because this product is a crock. Uninstall it if it’s been installed. Uninstall Autodesk Application Manager if that’s installed, because it’s just going to stop working and nag you to death in the meantime. Then store away this little episode at the back of your mind for future reference, because I’m sure Autodesk hasn’t finished pushing us down this path yet. Push back. Hard.

Autodesk Answer Day – 18 May 2016

Autodesk is encouraging you to use the Autodesk Community (formerly know as forums, discussion groups, newsgroups, etc.) to get answers to your questions by setting up a special day where Autodesk people will attend and be responsive. I don’t know if this includes responding to people’s concerns over Autodesk ending the sale of perpetual licenses, but it’s worth a try anyway. The forum for discussing that particular issue is somewhat hidden. It doesn’t appear among the list of forums, so you would only know it existed if you happened to pick on the Installation and Licensing link and had a look at the header to see the Perpetual License Changes link. But now you know it’s there, you can go and ask your questions. Meaningful answers are not guaranteed.

Here is the announcement. When is this event, exactly?

Join us at our first “Big Bang” Answer Day online event on Wednesday, May 18th from 6:00am to 6:00pm Pacific Time.

Pacific Time is currently UTC (GMT) -7 hours, so for people outside North America, that means UTC 1 PM Wednesday 18 May to 1 AM Thursday 19 May. To calculate the times in your own location, I suggest using the very handy timeanddate.com site or thetimenow.com.

Shout out to Robert McNeel & Associates

Let’s start the rebirth of this blog on a positive note. I’d like to express my gratitude to Robert McNeel & Associates for what must surely be the most outstanding example of long-term customer service in the CAD industry.

These days, McNeel is best known for the 3D modelling software Rhino. I have heard good things about this product, but have never used it. However, I am a long-term user of another McNeel product, DOSLib. This is an extensive set of functions that adds greatly to the functionality of AutoLISP. It all works very well and has saved me many hours of work that I would have spent reproducing that functionality. Of course, many LISP programmers could write functions to calculate a cube root, or read a text file, or display a date in whatever format you like, or copy files, or generate a GUID, or toggle the Caps Lock status, or display an HTML file, or return a list of OLE objects in the drawing, or display a multi-select file dialog, or return a list of Windows printers, or a hundred other handy things. The point is, they don’t have to because all that has been done for them and handed over for nothing.

The documentation is straightforward and accurate, and is provided in the form of a good old-fashioned local CHM file. This Help system may be unfashionable, but it remains infinitely superior to the still-awful system that paying AutoCAD customers have had to put up with for the last few years.

For those investigating alternatives to AutoCAD for whatever reason, the availability of DOSLib for Bricscad may help make that particular alternative a more attractive proposition.

Despite McNeel and Autodesk breaking ties many years ago, McNeel’s Dale Fugier has continued to provide, maintain and improve DOSLib. What’s more, DOSLib has remained totally free of charge and ad-free throughout its history, which dates back to 1992! Sometimes, there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

So here’s a big raised glass to Dale and Robert McNeel. Thank you for the many years of outstanding customer service in exchange for nothing but good feelings. Long may you prosper!

Disclaimer: I have no pecuniary relationship with McNeel; no money has ever changed hands in either direction. This post is totally unsolicited; I hope it comes as a pleasant surprise to McNeel.

Don’t be a technology lemming

In response to Shaan’s variant on the old “if you question the value of any change you must be a Luddite” argument, I was going to write a lemming-based parody. I didn’t, mainly because I didn’t want to perpetuate the lemming mass-suicide misconception. Instead, I’ll answer the point more directly.

Autodesk will acheive better success in convincing customers about Cloud computing and other concepts by actively and interactively engaging with them. Addressing their specific and legitimate concerns has a chance of success if the concepts have merit. Insultingly likening customers to allegedly stupid animals isn’t going to convince anyone.

Besides, the point has little validity. Armadillos have 20 species, are currently dramatically increasing their territory in North America, and have been around rather longer than humans. Maybe we should wait until we’ve been around a few tens of millions of years longer before we get too cocky about how terrible those stupid armadillos are at surviving.

Edit: Shaan has responded to this post on his own blog, deleted my reply and closed comments. He seems rather upset about something.

Edit: …and has now restored my comment and opened comments again.

Let’s have your AutoCAD WS 1.6 reviews

Autodesk has just released the latest iteration of its free online CAD app, AutoCAD WS. It’s available directly via your browser or as iOS, Mac or Android apps. This is the closest Autodesk has yet come to showing us what real CAD in the Cloud can do. Autodesk has now had three years’ work behind it since buying the company responsible for this technology. I’d like you to put aside any Cloud concerns you may have and give it a fair go. Please try it out and report back what you find in a mini-review. How well does it work? The customer stories are all from organisations using it as a viewer or for simple markup edits. Is that all it can do, or does it come close to deserving to have CAD in its name?

What do I want you to try? It’s up to you, but I don’t want to waste too much of your time. Why not have a go at something that would only take you a couple of minutes in any AutoCAD release from the last quarter of a century?

For example, I’m sure everyone here could start a new drawing using a template containing your company’s layer standards, insert a title block and populate a couple of the attributes, then accurately draw and dimension a single 2D view of a rectangular plate containing a single round hole. Try to do the equivalent in AutoCAD WS. If you have difficulty with that, try uploading a simple drawing and perform a few simple edits instead. How did that go?

I’ll be interested to see what you came across at each stage of the process. Was the setup process straightforward? What was easy to do in the WS editor? What was difficult? What was impossible? What worked well? What didn’t? What happened quickly? What took a long time? What’s good about the interface? What’s not? Do the commands work as you would expect them to? Please try to describe your experiences as objectively as you can.

Note: I’ve asked a similar question before, but that was some time ago and things have moved on since then.

Carl Bass confirms Cloud-only future for Autodesk – or does he?

As reported by Joe Francica (via WorldCAD Access), Carl Bass has confirmed, in a somewhat ambiguous way, that his Cloud-only vision rules at Autodesk.

I do believe that everything is moving to the cloud.

But…

There are a lot of applications that will [still] be done on the desktop. Whether Autodesk does it or not, I can’t think of a single function that won’t necessarily be done in the cloud.

Still a bit confused? Me too. It’s not clear where this leaves his underlings who have been rushing to contradict Carl’s earlier statements by unambiguously reassuring customers that Autodesk would continue to provide desktop software. Will they now come out with “clarifying” statements that fall into line with whatever it is Carl’s saying here? I doubt it, that would be just too embarrassing. I suspect we’ll see things go very quiet on this subject for a while.

Now we know (or do we?) it’s full steam ahead with desktop dismantlement, what about all those Cloud concerns? Carl does the standard Cloud PR thing of “addressing” that question by restating some of the concerns, ignoring others, but not coming up with answers for any of them other than expressing a vague hope that some of them will go away:

Foremost in people’s mind is security, privacy, reliability, confidential information. Some of those concerns will fall by the wayside.

Asked to come up with a compelling reason for customers to embrace the Cloud, he didn’t:

In many cases, for anyone to move to any technology platform you have to do more than what people have today. So what’s the compelling event? I think what you will see in the cloud is that it will look like every other disruptive technology. Some people will downplay it. Some will poo poo it.

More of the same, then. It’s disruptive, but people with legitimate concerns about that disruption are just naysayers to ignore. With an attitude like that, the chances of Autodesk taking its dubious customer base with it into Cloudy Heaven are slim indeed.

Caveat: I do not have access to the entire interview, so the opinions expressed here are based only on what I do have. It’s quite possible that Carl had something useful to say that didn’t appear in the article.

MDT users and other Autodesk orphans, let’s have your good news stories!

I was going to ignore this subject, but I’ve changed my mind because it allows me to post something positive about Autodesk. After all, I do try to post positive things; it’s hardly my fault that Autodesk has a habit of making it difficult.

In upFront eZine #756, Autodesk’s Andrew Anagnost (or was it Clay Helm?) had the following to say, and must say I agree totally with the first sentence:

The best evidence is how we have behaved historically. When we included Mechanical Desktop with Inventor, the media complained that we were killing Mechanical Desktop; you were probably one of them. But we didn’t; we came out with six, seven more releases of it, completely free.

So, MDT users, you’re the poster child for how Autodesk looks after its customers. You’re also evidence for how wrong those nasty media naysayers can be. So here’s your opportunity to offer your gratitude to Autodesk for looking after you so well and giving you all that completely free software. Or perhaps you’re the user of another Autodesk product that fell out of fashion or was deemed a technological dead end (like desktop software, apparently). Let’s hear your good news stories about how well Autodesk treated you and your investment.

If you don’t want to add a comment, there’s a poll over on the right. I look forward to seeing the “Brilliantly” option show a near-100% rating!

Autodesk’s social media consultant spills the beans

Ever wondered why Autodesk is putting so much emphasis on social media these days? Why AutoCAD needs Facebook and Twitter commands? It’s because Autodesk pays social media consultants lots of money to tell them about the importance of social media, and how to be social and media-ish. In this video, one of those consultants explains the process:

Who is telling the truth in Autodesk’s Cloud PR trainwreck?

Does Autodesk intend to move all its applications exclusively to the Cloud? That is, online only and no longer available on the desktop? Autodesk people who say yes:

Carl Bass, CEO
Phil Bernstein, Vice President, Building Industry Strategy and Relations
Scott Sheppard, Autodesk Labs Software Development Manager (with private Cloud caveat)

Autodesk people who say no:

Kenneth Pimentel, Director, Visual Communications Solutions
Andrew Anagnost, Senior Vice President of Industry Strategy and Marketing
Clay Helm, Public Relations Manager for Manufacturing, Cross-Platform, Sustainability, and Consumers
Various other underlings who make reassuring but non-specific noises about expanded choice, or who admit to inconvenient impracticalities

There’s huge irony in the way Clay (or Andrew) attempts to paint the shafting of MDT customers as a we’ll-look-after-you example, but I think that’s a deliberate distraction tactic; other than this comment I’m going to ignore it. I’m ignoring, too, the spin about informal interviews, misinterpretation and the like. There’s a black-and-white contradiction here. Autodesk either intends to move all its applications online and away from the desktop, or it doesn’t.

Two men say they’re Jesus
One of ’em must be wrong
Dire Straits – Industrial Disease

So who do we believe? Last time I looked at an org chart, the CEO trumped the lot. The buck stops with Carl. So why is he letting his underlings go around undermining his Cloudy Vision? I see the following possibilities:

  1. Autodesk is going Cloud-only but it’s supposed to be a secret. Carl let it slip out and the underlings have been sent to try to cover the tracks by confusing and obfuscating.
  2. Autodesk is going Cloud-only, Carl had it right, but the underlings haven’t all been told yet and are incorrect in their “corrections”.
  3. Autodesk isn’t going Cloud only and Carl was just making stuff up on the fly. Why? To try to impress what he thought was a specific audience who wanted to hear that. It’s ironic that the nature of the Internet meant that the comments made its way to pretty much everyone, including the customers who ultimately pay his salary.

None of these options makes Autodesk look good. Is there an option 4? Feel free to speculate. Ultimately, the only chance of sorting this out is by Carl Bass himself coming out with a definitive and spin-free statement. Even then, will anyone believe him?

I have lost all trust I had in you
Opeth – To Rid The Disease

I can agree with one thing Clay (or Andrew) had to say; you will get the best idea of what’s to come by looking at Autodesk’s history. So if you’re concerned about Autodesk pushing you onto the Cloud against your will, don’t be. Instead, be afraid. Very afraid.