Owning software – what you think

In February 2009, I ran some polls here that are relevant to the discussion regarding the US court system’s most recent backflip in the Vernor v. Autodesk legal saga. Here is a reminder of the results.

Software ownership poll results

In April 2009, I ran another set of polls that are also relevant, as they provide an indication of your attitude to license agreements. Here are those results.

License agreement poll results

If you voted in these polls last year, have your opinions changed in the meantime?

Vernor v. Autodesk – right decision, wrong reason

As I have stated before, I believe Autodesk to be in the right (morally, not legally) in its battle to prevent Vernor’s resale of old, upgraded copies of Release 14. In the latest installment, Autodesk has won its appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. There will be be further legal moves yet, but Vernor’s chances of winning this case are now more slender. So the right side has won (at this stage). I should be happy, right?

Wrong. Although I think the latest court to look at this has picked the right side, it has … Full post

Right of reply

From time to time, I have been known to be critical of companies, products, policies, publications, and even people (although I do try to “play the ball, not the man”). If somebody objects to what I write here, what can they do about it? They have several possible options.

  • Post a comment in direct response to the allegedly objectionable post.
  • Contact me by email to point out any inaccuracies or any other perceived unfairness in my post. If I consider the objections valid, I will amend the post and/or apologise as appropriate. If I disagree, I will explain my position. Such correspondence … Full post
  • Executive summary of Deelip’s AutoCAD for Mac interview

    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) … Full post

    AutoCAD WS contest poll added

    Thanks to all entrants in the AutoCAD WS contest. I have now closed the entries and added a poll (see right). Although I did state that there would be no prize for this contest, I have some exciting news! I am happy to announce that thanks to an exclusive* arrangement with Autodesk, the winner of this contest will receive a free** copy of AutoCAD!*** I will keep the poll open until I feel like closing it or the entry I like best is winning, whichever is the most convenient.

    * Exclusive to people with Internet access.
    ** Excluding … Full post

    AutoCAD 2011 Update 1.1

    As I described earlier, Autodesk recalled AutoCAD 2011 Update 1 because it killed AutoCAD under certain circumstances (e.g. plotting with the layer palette open). Now there’s a fixed version available for AutoCAD and LT. There is no news yet about Updates for vertical AutoCAD variants.

    If you have installed Update 1 and the hotfix, you don’t need to do anything. If you have not installed Update 1, you should install Update 1.1. If you have installed Update 1 but not the hotfix, you can either install the hotfix or uninstall Update 1 and then install Update 1.1.

    Full post

    AutoCAD WS Contest

    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 … Full post

    Apple – Autodesk history revisited

    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, … Full post

    iPad, iPhone app – good and bad news

    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 … Full post

    AutoCAD for Mac – what’s missing?

    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 … Full post

    When is AutoCAD not AutoCAD?

    When is AutoCAD nor AutoCAD? When it’s AutoCAD WS. But it’s not quite that simple.

    I’ve been correcting people for months when they say things like “Project Butterfly is AutoCAD on the Cloud.” No, it’s not. It’s a DWG editor of sorts, but anybody who has used both will know that it’s not AutoCAD or anything like it. Although it’s useful for viewing and markup and is improving all the time, Project Butterfly is still very restricted and is likely to remain so for a long time. You wouldn’t want to spend a significant portion of your day drawing with it.

    Full post

    AutoCAD 2011 for Mac announced

    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…

    When?

    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.

    AutoCAD 2011 Update 1 recalled

    If you click on the link I posted about earlier, you will get this:

    On August 23, 2010, Autodesk released Update 1 for AutoCAD 2011. Unfortunately, Update 1 introduced an issue when conducting certain operations that may cause AutoCAD to shut down. This issue affects a small number of users.

    We have removed Update 1 and will reintroduce it in the near future when the issue has been resolved. For customers who have already installed Update 1, the hotfix that resolves this issue has been posted at the following location:

    AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT Layer Manager Hotfix

    Full post

    Why we keep upgrading

    In a comment in response to a Deelip post yesterday, Brad Holtz pointed to an article he wrote in 1999. It’s interesting to note that while much of the computing world today bears little resemblance to the scene at the end of the last century, this article remains almost completely accurate and relevant. Indeed, it’s so right that you might even be tempted to think, “Duh, isn’t that obvious?”

    One section that stood out to me had this to say:

    Many software systems never even get beyond the acceptable stage …. vendors of these systems are continually coming … Full post

    More Autodesk deception over LT productivity study

    Following on from the AutoCAD 2011 productivity study I critiqued earlier, there is now an LT version. Do the same credibility problems apply to this study too? Yes, and then some.

    In addition to the drawings and operations being deliberately hand-picked to demonstrate new features, no direct comparison is performed at all between the two releases on the same platforms. Every single quoted “productivity improvement” figure includes, free of charge, three years of hardware and operating system progress and a more upmarket graphics card.

    If you read business “news” sources that just reprint press releases, such as Full post

    Autodesk user community survey

    Autodesk is running a web survey to try to find out which user communities (including blogs) its customers find valuable. If you are interested in participating, the survey is here. If you want to specify any blogs, you will need to type or paste their names into various “other comments” boxes. As the number of blogs I read far exceeds a reasonable type-in requirement, I couldn’t accurately give an idea of my web habits. So I’m not sure how much can be accurately read into the results.

    (Source: CAD Panacea).

    I saw Shaan … Full post

    I got into a fight. Caught on video.

    Last weekend, I competed for the first time in a national-level fencing competition, the “Be Active” Western Australian International Fencing Tournament (AFF#3). Most people compete in one or two events within a competition, but I thought I would challenge myself and had a go at all six of the individual events available to me. I set myself what I thought were realistic goals for each event. Here is how I did at chasing those goals:

    Open Men’s Foil – goal: top 32 – result: 22nd – achieved.
    Open Men’s Epee – goal: top 32 – result: 42nd – failed.Full post

    Not answering the question

    Here in Australia, we’re in election mode, so I have even more reasons to avoid watching TV. On those occasions when I do watch it, I am often annoyed by what I see. This is not a novel observation, but one of the things that annoys me about many politicians is their habit of sidestepping questions when interviewed. It also annoys me when interviewers fail to follow up these non-answers and let them slide. Depending on the circumstances (e.g. limited timeframe, more important questions to ask, etc.), there may be valid reasons for journalists failing to chase after legitimate answers … Full post

    Studying Autodesk’s productivity study

    Heidi Hewett just reported the following on her blog, about a productivity study:

    According to a recent independent study, AutoCAD® 2011 can help you work up to 44% faster with the latest productivity enhancements.

    I have a couple of problems with that sentence. First, it’s not an independent study. It’s a study conducted by long-time respected CAD figure David Cohn, but it was specified and paid for by Autodesk:

    This productivity study was performed at the request of Autodesk Inc., which funded this work.

    That’s not exactly independent then, is it? Second, the study does not state … Full post