Interview with Arnold van der Weide – Part 4

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Deelip: I have been keeping track of the ODA and appreciate the way it has changed over the past few years. My question to you is, to the extent that you can disclose, what are the future plans for the ODA?

Arnold: That’s a good question. On the 3rd of May we have an annual board meeting and one of the things that I want to do in that board meeting, apart from normal business, is to sit down and discuss what we want to do next. Now that all the litigation is over we have a lot of money to spend on other things. It’s easy to simply add new developers. But then they need a project. One of the projects that was proposed by one of the members was to relook our rendering system. There are lot of performance issues that we need to solve there. Now rendering can come close to SaaS because you can split it up and get it done over the web. I have been interested in SaaS for a long time. So if the board wants that we can spend some money in that area. Members are coming up with ideas as well. Basically, its more like a time to take decisions. We need to sit down and decide what we want to do next.

One thing is for sure. The ODA will never make a product. There is some rumour that the ODA and the ITC will merge. That is the most stupid thing to do because then we are in effect competing with our own members. And I don’t want to do that. I am not interested in developing a CAD system. I am only interested in creating a platform for our members. And there is still a lot of work to do in that regard.

Deelip: Earlier you mentioned that you had 20 developers working on the platform. Someone reading that may compare that number with the number of developers working on the AutoCAD platform and draw conclusion that the ODA platform must be inferior. What do you say to that?

Arnold: Autodesk is developing a CAD system. We are not. In AutoCAD you need to add a user interface, write commands to manipulate data. We do not add that functionality. We leave that to the members.

Deelip: How would you compare the quality of the ODA’s technology now with the quality when you took over as President?

Arnold: The quality is much higher. It is bug free? Absolutely not. But the quality is and has been the focal point for us. The other thing is that members were now contributing code back to the ODA. Recently Bricsys announced that they were going to work more closely with the ODA development team and submit their bug fixes and performance improvements.

Deelip: Yes, that is a good thing. So are other members also willing to do the same?

Arnold: Oh yeah. I spoke to Graebert and they will be contributing as well. IMSI/Design also, but in a slightly different way. The thing is that we spent the last three years to get all these things in order and now we can sit down and ask ourselves what is lacking. And that is good relations between members. What do we want the ODA to be five years from now? I won’t be there. I am close to 65 and will have to retire.

I think that the desktop is so small as compared to the mobile devices and we are looking at a paradigm shift quite similar to like the one when Windows was released. There will be new applications and new technologies for those devices and I think the ODA is more capable of adapting to those than say some commercial companies listed on the stock market. Because they are governed by the pressures of their share holders.

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