NX On Mac

A reader of my post “NX 3D Graphics Performance” commented:

“You should try NX on your Mac and see what you get. I bet it will be better than your AutoCAD for the Mac test.”

That seemed like a good idea. So I asked Siemens PLM for a second license of NX for my MacBook. Now if any of you have tried getting demo licenses of software from Siemens PLM you already know what a pain that can turn out to me. You need to sign agreements and amendments and then post them across, wait for a counter sign and stuff like that. Siemens PLM goes strictly by the book and for good reason. And after that is all done you will be lucky if you can actually get their wretched Flexnet licensing system to work the first time. It took me four days of back and forth with Siemens GTAC support to get my NX license up and running on my Windows workstation.

Anyways, as I am waiting for all the paperwork to go through, Siemens PLM sent me an internal document which is more like an FAQ to help its  support personnel answer questions regarding NX on Mac. I found the contents of that document quite interesting. With their permission I am reproducing the document here.

Why did Siemens PLM Software decide to make NX available on Mac OS X?

We have had several requests for this from our customer base. We have made available to all customers the computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) functionality of NX, for the popular Apple Mac OS X operating system running on any current 64-bit Intel-based Mac computer. Also available immediately is support for Teamcenter through rich client capabilities embedded in NX and the thin client based on Apple’s Safari Internet browser.

Can you describe the target market for this product?

There is a lot of buzz in the marketplace about MCAD for Mac, and we believe this market is underserved. Given the popularity of the Mac platform in Mechanical Design, Industrial Design and Styling area, as well as education, we see opportunities in those areas. We also have existing customers using the Mac platform who have expressed an interest in adding additional NX licenses on Mac OS  X.

How does the performance of NX on Mac OS X compare to other environments like Windows, Unix and Linux?

Performance should be very similar to other hardware platforms, given comparable hardware specs. In fact, several EAP participants have commented on the fast performance of NX for Mac.

What do you mean by “native support”?

Native support for Mac OS X means that NX functionality has been fully ported to this platform and has been developed to run natively, i.e. without any emulation software.

What about the user interface? Is it the “native” Mac UI?

The user interface is the same NX user interface that all of our Linux-based clients are using. NX for Mac uses X11/Motif to support the UI. X11 is bundled with Mac OS X and OpenMotif is a free download from IST Limited. We will continue to evaluate the business case for adopting the Mac UI based on sales volume and success of the platform. We employed a similar strategy with our Windows version of NX. That is, we started with a Motif based UI and gradually moved to a Windows UI as the business case dictated.

You mentioned full support for CAD/CAM. What about CAE?

We believe that the full NX CAD/CAM support will appeal to the vast majority of the potential users of NX on Mac OS X.  However, we will continue to evaluate the business case for porting the CAE code based on user demand. A significant portion of our CAE support is based on third party products, most of which do not currently support Mac OS X.

What about Printing on MacOS?  Is the SDI software supported?

NX produces PDF output which is the native format for Mac OS X.

What are the Hardware and Operating System Requirements?

The release of NX on Mac OS X supports Apple Mac 64 bit Intel based systems. This includes the MacBook, iMac and Mac Pro systems. All available graphics subsystems are supported.

The version of Mac OS X required to run NX is 10.5.5 or later. Version 10.6, also known as Snow Leopard, is certified and supported.

Does NX on Mac OS X take advantage of dual processors or dual core systems?

NX7.5, which utilizes a newer version of our solid modeling kernel, called Parasolid, that supports multi-threading will take advantage of dual CPU systems or dual core processors. Due to threading performance limitations in Mac OS X, the threading is limited to two.

Is there support for 3D Input Devices?

Support for 3Dconnexion input devices is available for NX on MacOS X through the use of drivers and software available directly from 3Dconnexion. Please use this link to download the software and get installation information.  http://www.3dconnexion.com/labs/profile.php?id=29

If you have any other questions please leave a comment. I will try and get them answered for you.

  • Kevin Quigley

    Interesting comment on the threading limitations of MacOSX. I’m no developer but I have seen all 16 cores running flat out on a dual processor i7 Mac Pro with Modo and Keyshot……so what limitations?

  • yah, this BS from Siemens. NX does not support SMP cpu’s.
    The reason they came out with it is because Apple paid them too.
    Go ask how many customer they have running NX on mac.
    Less than a dozen in the entire U.S.

  • John

    Many years ago (about 20) Apple paid to have the company I worked (CAD VAR) for evaluate the “leading ” CAD applications available for Apple computers. We ended up pretty underwhelmed.

    It did get me to buy a discounted Mac SE as my first home PC. Other employees did also. Maybe that was their motivation all along.

  • Motif is NX’s UI toolkit? That thing looks so outdated (I’ve seen a few Linux NX screenshots on the net, and I believe Pro|E WF3 for Linux UI was Motif as well). I guess it’s because it was already used decades ago in Unigraphics? Seriously, it doesn’t look good compared to current cross-platform UI toolkits like Qt, wxWidgets or GTK+.Being a Solid Edge user on my day job, I’ve been curious about how NX fares on Linux. I wonder if I could get a demo, but I don’t have nowhere near your readership. 😛

  • Unixmuseum

    Well, here you have it…  No CAE, typical tunnel vision from ex-UG machinists: as long as CAM is there, the world is a happy place…   Running via X11 is an horror show that was OK in the mod-90s, not anymore…  

  • Alan B

    How do they monitor user demand?  This is a chicken and egg scenario.  People don’t migrate to a platform if there are no tools.  Tools don’t get developed because there are not enough users to justify it.

    The other poor aspect of NX is the documentation.  The help is difficult to search and use as a learning tool

  • Alan Boughey

    I have recently taken up the discussion of whether SIemens are serious about NX on the Mac platform. I had some feedback from John Baker suggesting if it really concerned me that I should raise some enhancement requests. I guess that this is to show that there is interest in the market.

    I have since raised a number of enhancement requests. I understand that to get any action people must attach to the requests so that the numbers are counted.

    For those that are interested you may want to follow the following:

    ER 2199881; Desc: ER – Spreadsheet Capability under OS X

    ER 2199880; Desc: Wants to Copy/Paste features on MAC O.S.

    I am still waiting for the following to be converted to enhancement requests:
    IR 2200064 – ER Request – NX Mac Os – Printing

    IR 2200063 – NX ER request – Mac Os – File management dialogs

    Strangely enough, when I requested a general enhancement to update the interface to a native GUI, Siemens’ reply was that this was more than one enhancement and required me to separate the requests.

    • Alan Boughey

      I guess by the absence of activity here that NX on the mac is really dead or users have given up hope. Interestingly enough I had a Siemens Representative contact me this week about NX CAE and he suggested to me that he has seen his colleagues in Singapore running NX CAE on macs in his office. I suggested that they have macs running windows. He was off to check, but don’t hold your breath. There haven’t been any interface improvements in the mac version since I first purchased it a few years ago