In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat gradually disappears until nothing is left but its smile. The AutoCAD packaging has done the same thing over the years until now nothing is left but the 0s and 1s. In Release 13, one box was not enough to keep all the materials, but Autodesk gradually slimmed it down until in recent years your slab of upgrade or Subscription cash gets you nothing but a DVD in a case (with or without a pack of cards). However, you can go cap in hand to Autodesk and ask for a real manual of your choice, which will be shipped to you free of charge.
A few days ago, Subscription customers in 37 countries were all automatically opted in to a download-only upgrade mechanism for all Autodesk software, not just AutoCAD. Here are Autodesk’s stated reasons:
- Convenience—It’s more convenient than installing software from a DVD or CD and is available 24 hours a day.
- Sustainability—Because there’s no printing, packaging, or shipping, it’s a more sustainable choice.
- Central control—Software Coordinators can provide users with electronic access to upgrades and manage software permissions centrally.
So this has nothing to do with increasing Autodesk’s profit margins, it is for your benefit and to help save the planet; that’s nice to know. However, depending on your circumstances and the available bandwidth at both your end and Autodesk’s, downloading a couple of GB or so for each product (double it if you need both 32 and 64 bit versions) may not be convenient. If you want to receive an actual disc containing the software, you will need to change a Subscription setting. You should have seen an email about this containing a convenient link to a page containing that setting.
If you haven’t taken care of this yet, I suggest you log on to the Subscription site, edit your Subscription Center Profile (click on My Profile in the top right) and change the Delivery Preference setting to Box. If there are multiple contact people on your Subscription contract, I suggest you ask your colleagues (particularly the person designated to be the Contract Manager) to do likewise. Having a box shipped to you does not prevent you from downloading the software. I suggest you do this sooner rather than later, because if you leave it until less than a week before the next release (historically mid-March), you’ll miss out.