For The Record

A reader asked me if I have a vested interest in Autodesk. Thought I’d lay down some facts.

For the record, my company has partnerships with many software vendors. These include Autodesk as well as companies which are members of the Open Design Alliance. Apart from giving us free licenses of their software for development purposes only, these companies do not pay us anything in cash or kind (except maybe for a couple of mouse pads and coffee mugs). On the contrary, we have to pay some of them to stay in their partner programs.

The root cause of the Autodesk-ODA fiacso is that Autodesk has refused to open its DWG format. For the record, I am all for interoperability. I am all for open file formats. By open I don’t mean that the file format specification should be published. If it is published, nothing like it, as the specification will help if the company closes down or does not support the file format anymore. However, there should at least be a library capable of reading and writing the file format; and it should be licensed to anyone to wants it at a reasonable price (if not free). This, according to me, is the true essence of interoperability that the CAD industry needs so much. So far, only McNeel (and possibly Bentley) can claim that they are seriously interested in solving the interoperability problem. All the rest have skeletons in their cupboards. They hide behind organizations like the ODA or resort to selective licensing of their libraries, sometimes for valid reasons.

For the record, the views expressed on this blog and my views only and nobody else has editorial rights over them. These views are influenced by my reading and interpretation of events in the CAD software industry, while at the same time, applying a little bit of common sense. I believe that every argument has two sides. It’s the side that we don’t know which is often more interesting and difficult to reason.

For the record, I have been in the CAD software industry for only eight years. While many of you were being introduced to CAD, I was most probably being introduced to elementary geometry. I have a lot to learn and experience.

We do not learn much by talking to people who agree with us. We learn a lot from people who disagree with us. Your comments are always welcome.

  • Anonymous

    Deelip, I waited to see any others immediate replies before responding to ‘For the Record’.

    ‘While many of you were being introduced to CAD, I was most probably being introduced to elementary geometry. I have a lot to learn and experience.’

    Using your profile as a guide when I was introduced to CADD you may not have even been introduced to you Mum as yet. 🙂

    ‘We do not learn much by talking to people who agree with us. We learn a lot from people who disagree with us. Your comments are always welcome.’

    This is a very important observation and thank you for saying it. It is my single biggest criticism of CAD vendors in general. Whilst all CAD vendors claim to listen to their customers, few vendors accept real constructive criticism of their software, business practices and marketing short comings. I have always believed, and practiced, the habit of paying particular attention to those that criticize me and what I do.

    I have often said that any person developing products (of any type) will learn more and make better products if they pay attention to their most fervent critics. I liken it to the forging vs casting. Both make good products but ‘belting the hell’ out of a piece of steel makes a huge difference to the finish product.

    Keep having you views and keep saying them Deelip, and thanks for the forum and opportunity to to openly and professionally disagree, when appropriate.

  • Anonymous

    Deelip, I waited to see any others immediate replies before responding to ‘For the Record’.’While many of you were being introduced to CAD, I was most probably being introduced to elementary geometry. I have a lot to learn and experience.’Using your profile as a guide when I was introduced to CADD you may not have even been introduced to you Mum as yet. :-)’We do not learn much by talking to people who agree with us. We learn a lot from people who disagree with us. Your comments are always welcome.’This is a very important observation and thank you for saying it. It is my single biggest criticism of CAD vendors in general. Whilst all CAD vendors claim to listen to their customers, few vendors accept real constructive criticism of their software, business practices and marketing short comings. I have always believed, and practiced, the habit of paying particular attention to those that criticize me and what I do. I have often said that any person developing products (of any type) will learn more and make better products if they pay attention to their most fervent critics. I liken it to the forging vs casting. Both make good products but ‘belting the hell’ out of a piece of steel makes a huge difference to the finish product.Keep having you views and keep saying them Deelip, and thanks for the forum and opportunity to to openly and professionally disagree, when appropriate.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I understand that due to the sensitivity of the matters I write about on this blog, many readers (such as you) prefer to comment anonymously. I would love to talk to a dinosaur like you (at least in terms of CAD history). Please feel free to email me.

    I am having interesting (but private) email conversations with people regarding the Autodesk-ODA tangle. It would have been nice if these people aired their views in public (or at least let me to), but I guess they do not want to get into hot water with their lawyers.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I understand that due to the sensitivity of the matters I write about on this blog, many readers (such as you) prefer to comment anonymously. I would love to talk to a dinosaur like you (at least in terms of CAD history). Please feel free to email me.I am having interesting (but private) email conversations with people regarding the Autodesk-ODA tangle. It would have been nice if these people aired their views in public (or at least let me to), but I guess they do not want to get into hot water with their lawyers.

  • R.Paul Waddington

    Hi Deelip. I always make the comments I do publicly with my name attached (as I have in previous responses), arguing that if I am not prepared to put my name to a comment then I should not comment at all. This time I posted the comment forgetting to fill in my name and haven’t till now realized what I had done.
    Thanks and have a great weekend,
    regards, PaulW

  • R.Paul Waddington

    Hi Deelip. I always make the comments I do publicly with my name attached (as I have in previous responses), arguing that if I am not prepared to put my name to a comment then I should not comment at all. This time I posted the comment forgetting to fill in my name and haven’t till now realized what I had done.Thanks and have a great weekend,regards, PaulW

  • Anonymous

    “They hide behind organizations like the ODA or resort to selective licensing of their libraries, sometimes for valid reasons.”

    Interesting comment, given that Autodesk is notorious for its selective licensing practices.

  • Anonymous

    “They hide behind organizations like the ODA or resort to selective licensing of their libraries, sometimes for valid reasons.”Interesting comment, given that Autodesk is notorious for its selective licensing practices.