Getting Out Of AutoCAD’s Shadow

We recently received reports from users claiming that our IntelliCAD plug-ins were not loading in their versions of IntelliCAD. We had tested our plug-ins with a few IntelliCAD variants, not all of them. So this time around, I decided to get a hold of all existing versions and variants of IntelliCAD out there and test our plug-ins with them. This began the process of visiting the web sites of all the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC) members and downloading trial versions of their products.

While doing so I could not help but observe how almost all the ITC members were raving about how IntelliCAD “almost is” AutoCAD but is priced much leser. Some were talking more about AutoCAD than their own product. I was literally fed up of reading the word “alternative” over and over again. There were just a couple of members who seemed to get it right. They mentioned DWG compatibility as one of the many features and not the main reason to buy their software. I really liked the way they portrayed their software as a fully functional and extendible CAD system ready to do some serious work for the customer.

Let’s face it. Low cost CAD software does not get noticed anymore. Almost everyone is offering a low cost (or even free) version of their software. What gets noticed is how a CAD software can make a difference in an end user’s workflow. Most of the ITC members still seem to be stuck in the AutoCAD alternative rut.

I am eagerly waiting for “The New IntelliCAD” which is supposed to be released early 2008. I hope the “20 man years” invested in the “complete redesign” has not been wasted in merely aping the features of AutoCAD. In a press release on 27th February 2007, ITC President Arnold van der Weide said, “The mission of the ITC is to bring high-quality CAD technology to the industry.” By high-quality CAD technology I hope he means new technology and not what Autodesk has already come up with in the year before.

Autodesk itself is trying hard to add new features to AutoCAD every year. And all this while the ITC has been spending its resources in reinventing the AutoCAD wheel. If they had spent it on innovation, they probably would have something different, which may or may not have been better than AutoCAD.

It looks as if Autodesk is beating a dead horse and the ITC is beating the people who are beating a dead horse.

Autodesk has often used FUD (Fear Uncertainity Doubt) to discredit IntelliCAD, the ITC and the OpenDesign Alliance. And why wouldn’t they? How would you treat a person who keeps following you around and does everything you do? I guess, you would first try and shake him off. Then pretty soon you are going to start telling people that he is not mentally stable.

I believe that IntelliCAD has quite a few things going for itself. However, it badly needs to get out of AutoCAD’s shadow. If you continue to portray yourself as someone’s whore, nobody is going to treat you like a lady.

  • ralphg

    It’s my understanding that the purpose of IntelliCAD 7 is to get out from under the shadow of AutoCAD — although I am waiting to see how well the ITC pulls that off.

    As for the vendors of the many dialects of IntelliCAD repeating the “party line,” I think that’s because they are primarily programmers and not marketeers, and they haven’t updated their Web pages to reflect the new reality.

    OTOH, maybe they honestly think that the “nearly AutoCAD” tagline still works.

  • ralphg

    It’s my understanding that the purpose of IntelliCAD 7 is to get out from under the shadow of AutoCAD — although I am waiting to see how well the ITC pulls that off.As for the vendors of the many dialects of IntelliCAD repeating the “party line,” I think that’s because they are primarily programmers and not marketeers, and they haven’t updated their Web pages to reflect the new reality.OTOH, maybe they honestly think that the “nearly AutoCAD” tagline still works.

  • FOFOKEIRA

    Deelip Menezes?

    Será que és da minha familia?

    …Carneiro Menezes…?

  • FOFOKEIRA

    Deelip Menezes?Será que és da minha familia? …Carneiro Menezes…?

  • mick

    I’m not so sure they should get completely from under the shadow of AutoCAD, afterall, they do say the best place to open a fish & chip shop is next door to an existing one 😉

  • mick

    I’m not so sure they should get completely from under the shadow of AutoCAD, afterall, they do say the best place to open a fish & chip shop is next door to an existing one 😉

  • Damiano

    The 99% of the potential customers of IntelliCAD are currently AutoCAD users.
    They are splitted in two families:
    – Users of old AutoCAD versions
    – Users of piracy licenses
    They are open to change their software only if two conditions are guaranted:
    – The DWG compatibiliy
    – The same enviroment and approach.
    ITC members are forced to follow AutoCAD if they want to spread IntelliCAD.
    No matter if you like or dislike AutoCAD and Autodesk, their users represent the most wide customers source.
    ITC members are not hackers or prophets. They want do do business providing to their customers reliable, usable and standard software, for a low price.
    Some of them are providing extra features that can rise the value of the package but their mission is not change their mind.
    In business is the revenue not is the beatiful theory that works

  • Damiano

    The 99% of the potential customers of IntelliCAD are currently AutoCAD users.They are splitted in two families:- Users of old AutoCAD versions- Users of piracy licensesThey are open to change their software only if two conditions are guaranted: – The DWG compatibiliy- The same enviroment and approach.ITC members are forced to follow AutoCAD if they want to spread IntelliCAD.No matter if you like or dislike AutoCAD and Autodesk, their users represent the most wide customers source.ITC members are not hackers or prophets. They want do do business providing to their customers reliable, usable and standard software, for a low price.Some of them are providing extra features that can rise the value of the package but their mission is not change their mind.In business is the revenue not is the beatiful theory that works

  • caddit

    Agreed. The *vast* majority of our users basically want AutoCAD without paying their sick prices. A shadow can be good in the desert, and Australia is mostly desert 😉

  • caddit

    Agreed. The *vast* majority of our users basically want AutoCAD without paying their sick prices. A shadow can be good in the desert, and Australia is mostly desert 😉

  • PRSS

    Good that I saw this blog now – though it may be late.

    Is it really possible to get out of AutoCAD if you and your staff are used to it for the last 10 years and move on to a clone? In fact in 2005, I seriously considered moving out of it. I tried several alternatives. For one month 3 of my staff were doing drawings continually – on and off – with Intellicad based software – Cadian, Progecad and Bricscad – all were trial versions given by the respective companies. Cadian and Bricscad executives used to visit my office for follow up. I was also researching on these.

    To tell you the truth, we had a horrible experience. They were buggy, dead slow, and sometimes were ruining our already existing AutoCAD drawings and corrupting them. Cadian extended technical help by sending their technical staff – but they could do nothing to make things better.

    Two of my friends – one engineer and one architect who also volunteered in this research had similar experiences.

    Finally we told these people that we were not settling for these even if they gave it for free. We then bought additional licenses for AutoCAD.

    Even today in 2009, the speed of AutoCAD is really hard to beat by their clones. (I am talking only about 2D drawings).

    I would really like to know if there is a clone which is as fast as AutoCAD and also stable. I am saying clone because i cannot train each and every new staff of mine if the commands/menu/workflow is different from AutoCAD.

    With best regards
    PRSS

  • PRSS

    Good that I saw this blog now – though it may be late.Is it really possible to get out of AutoCAD if you and your staff are used to it for the last 10 years and move on to a clone? In fact in 2005, I seriously considered moving out of it. I tried several alternatives. For one month 3 of my staff were doing drawings continually – on and off – with Intellicad based software – Cadian, Progecad and Bricscad – all were trial versions given by the respective companies. Cadian and Bricscad executives used to visit my office for follow up. I was also researching on these.To tell you the truth, we had a horrible experience. They were buggy, dead slow, and sometimes were ruining our already existing AutoCAD drawings and corrupting them. Cadian extended technical help by sending their technical staff – but they could do nothing to make things better. Two of my friends – one engineer and one architect who also volunteered in this research had similar experiences.Finally we told these people that we were not settling for these even if they gave it for free. We then bought additional licenses for AutoCAD.Even today in 2009, the speed of AutoCAD is really hard to beat by their clones. (I am talking only about 2D drawings).I would really like to know if there is a clone which is as fast as AutoCAD and also stable. I am saying clone because i cannot train each and every new staff of mine if the commands/menu/workflow is different from AutoCAD.With best regardsPRSS

  • Deelip Menezes

    The IntelliCAD that you see today (with the exception of BricsCAD V9) all run the antiquated IntelliCAD 6.x code, which by the ITC’s own admission is buggy and unstable. The new IntelliCAD 7 is built on top of the ODA’s DWGdirect SDK and is expected to be far more superior and stable.

  • Deelip Menezes

    The IntelliCAD that you see today (with the exception of BricsCAD V9) all run the antiquated IntelliCAD 6.x code, which by the ITC’s own admission is buggy and unstable. The new IntelliCAD 7 is built on top of the ODA’s DWGdirect SDK and is expected to be far more superior and stable.