Spatial Panel Discussion

One of the sessions on the second day of the Spatial European Forum in Frankfurt, Germany, was a panel discussion where attendees got to ask some of Spatial’s top executives whatever was on their minds.

From left to right: John Alpine (VP R&D), Ray Bagely (Director Product Management), Keith Mountain (CEO) and Gregg Oetting (Director 3D Geometric Modeling)

Here are a couple of questions that I asked the panel and the replies that I received:

Deelip: Can you explain how you can offer authentic CATIA V5 libraries from Dassault Systemes but need to reverse engineer the file formats of SolidWorks? SolidWorks and Spatial are part of the same Dassault Systemes family. Isn’t it odd that you are reverse engineering file formats that belong to your sister company and that your parent is letting you do it?

Ray: Well, this is more of an accident of history. A long time ago we bought the SolidWorks reverse engineered libraries from GSSL along with other translation technologies. We just find it much easier to continue to develop and maintain our existing code as opposed to taking something from SolidWorks and making a component out of it.

Deelip: What’s your view on Tech Soft 3D becoming your competitor and cease reselling your components while you still continue to resell theirs?

Keith: We have a good partner in Tech Soft 3D. They are a great company and we have great respect for them. I guess they would say the same about us as well. Yes, we are continuing to sell their HOOPS technology. As you know, Tech Soft 3D now has a much closer relationship with Adobe and will develop and license the old TTF translation technology that Adobe acquired a while ago. Lets just say that our relationship with Tech Soft 3D is in a dynamic state. I believe most of the company is currently in South Africa for the World Cup. After they return we are going to sit with them and decide the future of our relationship.

One particular reader was wondering whether Spatial was paying me to write all this stuff. In his words, “I have never seen anyone write so much about so little in such a short time.” I found this funny because I have seen bloggers post articles apologizing for not posting articles. I guess this is the first time I have come across someone having a problem with a blogger posting too much.

Recently some law in the US forced bloggers to post disclosures stating the benefits that they received from companies that they wrote about. US laws don’t govern me since I live in India. But I thought that the law was a good thing since it gives readers a better picture about where the blogger is coming from. So I started posting disclosures as well, unless I had some non-disclosure agreement with the company that prevented me from doing so. I usually append my disclosure to the last post that I write about a particular event that I attend. So here goes:

Disclosure: Spatial provided airfare, hotel accommodation, meals and nothing else. They did not even pay the fee for a pee at one of the pay toilets that I blessed.

  • Greg Furst

    Deelip, Deelip, Deelip …. I expected you to be smarter than this. I was not complaining about the volume of your writings at all (although you could cut it down a lot without losing the essence of what you really want to convey; try it sometimes, you will be glad you did).

    I was griping more about the disconnect between the number of words you devoted to this subject and the relative importance/significance of that which you are writing about.

    Let me explain: what Dessault/Spatial have announced as seismic events and what you claimed as the second coming of Christ, atleast to the CAx world, is …., lets say, IT IS'NT. To quote a common colloquialism, “been there, done that”. Many software vendors have done something like this already, and with mixed results. This revelation is nothing more than warmed up soup sans croutons.

    It is not the life-changing, business-altering, revolutionary idea that your words so desperately seem to want to convey. You must have really wanted a paid visit Frankfurt to first, put up with this drivel from Dessault/Spatial masquerading ho-hum technology as mind-blowing advances, and second (some would say more pathetically) to write volumes about it.

    Sad, sad, sad.

  • Greg,

    So you seem to be suggesting that the number of words used to describe something determines how important that thing is. I will not even attempt to tell you how ridiculous that sounds. The number of words you use to describe something depends upon how much detail you want to describe it in. It has absolutely nothing to do with how important it is or not.

    For example, take an article of a newspaper and its headline. One is short and concise and the other is long and detailed. But both describe exact the same thing.

    I suggest that you decide what you want to get pissed about and stick to it.

  • cadguy

    I think Greg wants to say that this Spatial Cloud is not a big deal. Its not like they have put up a full fledged feature modeling application on the Cloud – one that can support 1000s of simultaneous users.

    The day this happens (1000s of simultaneous users) Deelip you can repost your article with simple name changes.

  • Greg Furst

    Cadguy, thank you for clearing that up for Deelip. Right on, brother.The point that Dessault Spatial has demonstrated nothing of any significance here that other vendors have done in some form or the other remains. Maybe they have developers and managers capable of true innovation in CAD, but sorry friend, this aint it.

    Deelip, one has to wonder if your lavish use of hyperbole and bombastic pronouncements about this incredibly pedestrian technology demonstration is not a result of your own, and might I add incorrect, understanding of the meager to no discernible significance it represents, for solving what ails the CAD world.

    I really wish someone really knowledgeable in the CAD world can show you the ropes. That you enjoy writing is clear. So is the fact that you are easily impressed by crap. Until such time, I am afraid you will continue to bloviate about amazing discoveries like 'the sun rises in the east and sets in the west'.

  • There is a reason why an experiment is called an experiment. There is also a reason to be optimistic when an experiment succeeds. Everything starts small. Dismissing a proof of concept just because it does not look and act like a production ready product does not make much sense, now does it?

    Greg seems to have more of a problem with my prose, editorial integrity and travelling habits than with Spatial's Cloud.

  • cadguy

    I'm only saying you need to recognize the worth of what you are writing about. You need to recognize that many of your readers work in the companies you blog about. Ultimately its your credibility at stake.

    This experiment is cool. But it will not cause folks at Siemens/PTC/Autodesk to have nightmares :-). Also if this stuff was really serious then DS would have kept it under wraps until a production ready version was ready.

  • I get your point.

    Regarding keeping under wraps, DS and SolidWorks had no problem showing SolidWorks on the Cloud in January. So there is really nothing much to hide. Every company operates differently. Companies like Autodesk like to show the stuff they are working on using their Labs feature. Others like PTC prefer to have a production ready system in place before they make a noise about it.

  • I re-read your comment and am not sure if I got you right the first time. Are you suggesting that I should tone down my praise of one CAD vendor because other CAD vendors read my blog? I don't work that way. I simply call things as I see them. I give the devil his due, whoever be the devil and whatever is the due that I think I need to give him.

  • cadguy

    Not turn down your praise but understand the worth of the technology before praising or dismissing it or endorsing it. Because many of your readers understand the technology.

    But its your blog and you are free to write what you want. Your readers will decide if its worth reading.

  • “understand the worth of the technology before praising or dismissing it or endorsing it”

    And just what makes you think that I don't understand the technology that I write about? I am in discussions with Spatial to take my data translation technology to the Cloud (I already use their 3D InterOp translators). I am conducting Cloud experiments of my own. I am also exploring the possibility of doing some joint development with Spatial using the Cloud infrastructure that they already have in place. That’s the part of my Frankfurt visit that matters to me the most. I didn’t go there to drink free beer and find matter for my blog as Greg seems to be suggesting.

    If I believe that the Cloud is the future of CAD, I am not going to sit tight and wait for it to happen, right? I am going to do something about it apart from simply writing about it on this blog. Just like how I did something after bitching about SolidWorks not being able to read and write CATIA files. I didn’t stop at bitching. I went ahead and licensed technology from Dassault Systemes and offered a solution to SolidWorks customers.

    Have you given thought to the possibility that maybe I am NOT the one who is not “understanding the worth if a technology before praising or dismissing it or endorsing it”?

    Nobody really know what the future will hold. Everyone has his own opinions. That’s why I encourage people to express views contrary to the ones that I express here on this blog. The point is to facilitate a discussion and learn from each other. Greg seems to more interested in launching personal attacks rather than discussing the issue. Simply calling the Cloud crap doesn’t make you a genius. If you think people have already tried this Cloud thing earlier and it failed, lets discuss what is or is not different this time and why it will or will not succeed. If making baseless allegations questioning the credibility of people is the only thing that you can then I suggest that you take your drivel elsewhere. It is not welcome here.