AutoCAD 2017 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2017 for Mac have been released. Here’s a video highlighting exciting and innovative new features such as drawing and layout tabs. Despite such stellar advances, it’s safe to say that AutoCAD for Mac remains half-baked, even after all these years. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
According to Autodesk, these are the features missing from AutoCAD 2017 for Mac:
LAYDEL, LAYMRG, LAYWALK and LAYVPI
New layer notification
Sheet Set Manager***
Feature finder for help
Model documentation tools
Dynamic block lookup parameter creation/editing
Table style editing
Multiline style creation
Simplified, powerful rendering
Material creation, editing, and mapping
Advanced rendering settings
A couple of years ago, I reported on the missing features in AutoCAD 2011 for Mac. While some generous souls were prepared to accept something half-baked as a first attempt, even that excuse doesn’t wash when it comes to a third iteration. So how well is Autodesk doing at filling those holes? Decide for yourself. Here’s an updated list of missing features in AutoCAD 2013 for Mac:
- Quick Properties Palette
- Layer State Manager
- New Layer Notification
- Various layer commands including LAYCUR, LAYDEL, LAYMRG, LAYWALK, and LAYVPI
- Autocomplete doesn’t work entirely properly, including offering commands that don’t exist
- Quick Select
- Tool Palettes
- Navigation Bar
- Sheet Set Manager (but there is Project Manager)
- Model Documentation Tools (but at least now there are object enablers)
- Geographic Location
- Table Style Editing
- Hatch Creation Preview
- Multiline Style Creation
- Digitizer Integration
- Change Space
- Express Tools
- Material Creation, Editing, and Mapping
I have closed the polls asking if you trusted various companies to do the right thing by their customers. Here is a summary of the results, showing the percentage of “Yes” votes for each company. The most trusted company is at the top, the least trusted is at the bottom.
Remember, this is not a scientific poll and as with all polls and surveys there will be some self-selection bias. Does anyone find anything about the above results surprising?
As I mentioned earlier, any company that wants to move its customers to the Cloud is going to need the trust of those customers. Three months ago, I started a poll to try to get some measure of how trustworthy you consider Autodesk to be, in terms of doing the right thing by its customers. The results of that poll look pretty awful for Autodesk. Right from the start, the distrusters have outnumbered the trusters by three to one, with the current results showing an overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) not trusting Autodesk.
Why? What has Autodesk done in the past, or is doing now, that leads people to this level of distrust? If you have voted in this poll, I’d like to know your reasons, so please add your comments whichever way you voted. If you think there’s an issue with the question wording and/or its simple …
I have closed the Which of these is most evil? poll, which had been running from 20 February 2009. It attracted 2,351 voters, each of whom could distribute up to three votes among thirteen (yes, that number was deliberate) candidates. Here are the ranked results:
Satan (36%, 846 Votes)
Microsoft (31%, 721 Votes)
Apple (26%, 614 Votes)
RIAA/IFPI/MPAA (26%, 601 Votes)
Miley Cyrus (23%, 546 Votes)
Autodesk (23%, 536 Votes)
Disney (16%, 382 Votes)
Google (10%, 230 Votes)
Dell (7%, 172 Votes)
The Pirate Bay (6%, 147 Votes)
Sony (6%, 140 Votes)
Steve Johnson (4%, 89 Votes)
Gaahl (3%, 82 Votes)
That top three is not going to shock anyone (except perhaps some fanbois), but are some surprises in the list. For example, more than a quarter of voters were aware enough of the evils of Big Content to be able to decipher the alphabet soup RIAA/IFPI/MPAA choice and select it. More than …
Using AutoCAD 2012 for Mac? Don’t use special characters such as # in your folder names, because AutoCAD will, under certain circumstances, delete whole folders worth of files when you open a drawing. See here and here for more detailed information.
As reported on Without a Net, there is a second update for AutoCAD 2011 for Mac. This will be welcome news to those of you who have discovered that AutoCAD crashes when using Copy/Paste after installing the 10.6.7 OS X update.
If you haven’t applied Update 1 yet, you will need to do that first. As always, read the readme before applying the update itself.
Congratulations to Ralph Grabowski, winner of my AutoCAD WS contest. His entry of Workspace was chosen by the greatest number of voters as the hidden meaning behind the WS in AutoCAD WS.
Ralph, your prize awaits! Just visit the App Store and you’ll soon be running a real live AutoCAD on your iPod Shuffle!
You may remember my pre-release speculation about what was likely to be missing from the Mac version of AutoCAD 2011. It turns out that my list was pretty accurate as far as it went, but very incomplete.
In a move that I can only applaud, Autodesk has now published its own list of missing Mac features. It includes this statement:
Although AutoCAD 2011 for Mac is based on AutoCAD 2011, it was written to be a native Mac application. As such, it is a new and separate product and not simply a port from the Windows version. In the first release of this new product, there are some features and functionality that exist in AutoCAD 2011 that are not yet available in AutoCAD 2011 for Mac, including (but not limited to):
This is followed by a list of over 80 holes in the product. Many of them are …
Get it here. Or don’t. Whatever.
Deelip has just published an extensive interview with several Autodesk people about AutoCAD for the Mac. Deelip had a good set of questions and I suggest you read the whole thing, but if it’s all too tl;dr for you, then here is the lazy reader’s version of what Autodesk had to say:
- The AutoCAD code was split up into 3 sections: the core CAD engine (platform-independent), the Windows-specific (MFC) parts and the Mac-specific (Cocoa) ones.
- AutoCAD for Mac is incomplete. Choosing which features to leave out was done with the aid of CIP (oh, dear) and Beta feedback. (Hang on a minute, I thought CIP said most people were using the Ribbon…)
- No comment on when or if AutoCAD for Mac functionality will catch up with its Windows counterpart.
- No comment on the stability or performance of the Mac version.
- Buying Visual Tau wasn’t a …
Autodesk’s linking app to allow iThings to connect to Project Butterfly is called AutoCAD WS. Never mind the “AutoCAD”, that’s just there to confuse matters. What does the “WS” stand for? William Shatner, perhaps?
There’s no official answer, but I thought it might be fun to run a contest for the most appropriate and/or amusing answer. I have some ideas of my own, but most of them are rude so I’ll keep them to myself.
Please just add a comment with your idea(s), up to 3 per person. When I have enough responses, I’ll run a poll. No prizes, this is just for fun.
In a post on WorldCAD Access, Jay Vleeschhouwer makes some reasonable observations. However, the timing of the 1990s Autodesk / Mac history looks all wrong to me. Jay quotes himself from a 2008 note:
…until about the mid-1990s Autodesk did have a reasonable presence on the Mac … commitment waned when Apple’s fortunes faded a dozen or so years ago
The last of the original Mac AutoCADs was Release 12, a 1992 product. Apple market share continued to increase after that; indeed, 1994 was a bumper year. However, Autodesk’s commitment had already vanished by then, and its 1994 product, Release 13, had no Mac version.
Apple’s fortunes did indeed fall away “a dozen or so years” before Jay’s note, largely as a result of the success of Windows 95. But this decline could not have been the cause of Autodesk’s lack of commitment to Apple; by that time the …
Good news! Autodesk has announced an app that will link iPads and iPhones to Project Butterfly. This provides viewing, markup and limited editing facilities.
Bad news! Autodesk has decide to call it AutoCAD WS, which is bordering on the fraudulent. It’s not AutoCAD, is nothing like it, and is unlikely to ever be anything like it. I can call my dog Prince, but that doesn’t make him royalty. Unfortunately, much of the mainstream media appears to be blissfully unaware of this. This is gaining Autodesk some short-term column inches, but at the longer-term expense of furthering the myth that “AutoCAD” is going to run on iPhone and iPads. People will start using Butterfly, think it’s AutoCAD, and then, if they need CAD for their Macs, wonder why they should spend thousands on something so basic and limited.
Good news! It will be available Real Soon Now, and you can sign up for it …
According to Autodesk, the forthcoming OS X version of AutoCAD has “many of the powerful AutoCAD features and functionality.” So what doesn’t it have? What are the holes? Autodesk hasn’t bothered to let me know a single thing about this software, so I guess I’ll just indulge in some irresponsible and uninformed speculation, based on what I can glean from marketing materials and various better-informed sources. I could have just asked, but who knows if I would have ever got any real answers? Besides, this way is more fun.
First, here’s a quick list of some things that don’t appear to be missing, but which might have been lost in translation:
- Command line (in fact, the Mac one appears to be better than the Windows one).
- 3D, including visual styles and rendering.
- Some kind of Quick View Layouts and/or Drawings feature.
- Dynamic Input.
- Selection highlighting.
- LISP (at least …
According to Macworld, Autodesk has now made its worst-kept secret, AutoCAD for Mac OS X, official. There are also goodies for those with cute little rectangles:
Autodesk also announced that the new Mac version of AutoCAD would be accompanied by the AutoCAD WS mobile application, a new app for iPad, iPhone, and the iPod touch…
AutoCAD for Mac and the AutoCAD WS mobile application will be available in North America and Europe sometime between August and October. Users can pre-order the app starting Wednesday, September 1.
Huh? August is pretty much over. September or October, then.
According to Shaan, Autodesk does not discuss its future plans. Or does it? In a comment, Ralph reckoned it does. Putting aside technology previews and various NDA-bound circumstances (e.g. Beta testing), can you think of cases where Autodesk has revealed what it intends to do in future? Here are a few off the top of my head:
- I’ve been to AU sessions dating back to 1995 that pretty much give away the contents of the next release of AutoCAD, using a vague cover-my-butt session title and a disclaimer at the start of the session. I understand that these days, attendees need to sign an NDA before entering such sessions.
- Last year in San Francisco, an international blogger audience was given all sorts of information about Autodesk’s future directions (preceded by a similar disclaimer), with no NDA and nothing off the record. I assume something similar happened at this …
Disclaimer: I have absolutely no access to inside information about this Beta. Even if I had, I would not reveal anything that I had learned as a result of such access. This post discusses only information that is already public knowledge.
The native Mac OS X AutoCAD port that Autodesk has been foreshadowing for some time is now in Beta, it seems. The Italian Mac community is getting particularly excited about the leak, but it’s also a popular subject of discussion on at least one English-speaking forum. The Autodesk codename is Sledgehammer, and it’s currently 64-bit only. If this is a subject that interests you, with a bit of sniffing around you can easily find screenshots, a video and you can apparently even download it via torrent if you’re feeling particularly brave/stupid.
If you’re interested in trying it out, it would be much better to apply …
Despite it being A Bad Idea, it look like Autodesk is going ahead with making some kind of OS X variant of AutoCAD, as has been hinted at for a while now. Owen Wengerd has pointed out a few dead giveaways in the AutoCAD API.
Another giveaway is the move to the browser-based Help system. OK, it may perform hopelessly and have terrible functionality, but hey, it’s platform-independent! If you still doubt my assertion that the development of AutoCAD for Mac would be a bad thing for AutoCAD, just go and search for a few things in the new AutoCAD 2011 Help system. Then go back to an earlier release (one that uses Windows-specific Help) for a comparison. Once you’ve seen how platform-independence has “improved” Help, just imagine that level of “improvement” applied to the rest of AutoCAD.
I often see calls for Autodesk to support AutoCAD on Linux. Just like AutoCAD for the Mac, while I can sympathise with the users of that OS, I think a native port of AutoCAD for Linux would be a bad idea. Again, I think it would be bad for everybody: Autodesk, AutoCAD for Windows users, and most of all, AutoCAD for Linux users.
Why? First of all, for most of the same reasons I gave for the Mac port. Autodesk hasn’t just failed in the past with AutoCAD for the Mac, it has failed with AutoCAD for Unix, too. I remember Autodesk being very enthusiastic about the Sparc port in particular (AIX, too). I know personally of customers who were caught up in that enthusiasm and invested heavily in a Unix environment, only to bitterly regret it a few years later when Autodesk abandoned them. Would this happen again? …