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Design Software Giants Target the Unemployed

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the got-designs-on-you dept.

Software 204

avishere writes "People are losing their jobs, but for some execs the economic meltdown seems like the perfect time to get their software into the hands of those who can't afford their multi-thousand-dollar price tags. Software giants Autodesk and SolidWorks have each latched onto the worst-economic-disaster-since-the-Great-Depression meme and released free versions of their flagship computer-aided-design brands before their potential users are forced to sell their laptops on Craigslist. 'In these uncertain economic times,' Autodesk coos sympathetically, it will give away temporary licenses of AutoCAD and other software to those unemployed in the fields of architecture, engineering, and design. (They are also developing a Mac version, two decades after abandoning the platform.) SolidWorks was quick to respond with its subtly titled Engineering Stimulus Package. So if anyone out there has their weekdays free, jumpstart your hardware and design projects for cheap. Legally, too."

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204 comments

how about that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496625)

It's actually cost effective to freely distribute your software to people who want to learn it.

It's like someone figured out that someone will eventually pay for a license for software you are good at using.

Re:how about that (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 years ago | (#27496853)

Isn't that what Adobe does with Photoshop? I'm sure there is someone out there who has actually paid for it, but I've never met them... Oh come on! Just kidding.

Re:how about that (1)

digitalunity (19107) | about 5 years ago | (#27497221)

SolidWorks was already available for cheap since Dassault Systems released the student development kit. Sure, the licenses only last for for about 6 months, but they're also like $80. That's a far cry from the typical licensing fees.

Now if only there was a student version of CAMWorks...

Adobe (2, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 years ago | (#27497107)

Thats why Adobe is so popular. Piracy does build huge user bases and when the younger user base grows up they are already hooked on your brand and will buy a license eventually. Now I'm not saying that everyone will buy a license by quite a few will.

Re:Adobe (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | about 5 years ago | (#27497333)

You can even take that a step further and say that those users that pirated the software when younger will ask to legally use the software while at work. That's why Adobe's getting paid for my copy of Fireworks, which I prefer over Photoshop at my workplace.

Re:Adobe (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27497497)

Well... Those "pirates" (ARRR [tumblr.com]) chose to download and use specifically Adobe product for a reason. When everything is free, you take everything, and keep only what you like.

If only others would realize the marketing potential of file-sharing networks.

Re:Adobe (2, Interesting)

petermgreen (876956) | about 5 years ago | (#27497951)

Of course marketing through pirate software only helps if you can get the people to pay eventually.

Thats why theese companies tolerate piracy by individuals who aren't yet making any money out of them but form organisations like the BSA to scare companies out of running pirate software.

Re:how about that (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#27497223)

I still disagree with the time limits on the licenses. It's okay to watermark the creative output if someone hasn't purchased the product, but what in the hell is the point of stopping someone from using a "learning edition" product just because 90 days have passed?

Re:how about that (1)

sponga (739683) | about 5 years ago | (#27497987)

Yes, some of us younger Civil Engineers were looking forward to some of the new features making things much more seamless and the layout of the Ribbon bar makes things nice also while the vets will grunt at you and use the command line.

The 90 days kind of ruins it though; I mean some of my individual projects from survey, layout to estimate take far more than 90 days just to get the wet stamp of approval.

Working only for commission right now is tough in between permanent jobs; would be nice if they Autodesk gave me a longer liscense like a year as more of incentive to use their newer version.
They already sell the LT version which is cheaper and without the 3d basically; be nice if they lowered the price even more which is about $150-$200.

Re:how about that (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 5 years ago | (#27497273)

Autodesk have been thought to do this for years already on the warez scene.

Autodesk are thought to have released their own cracks for the dongle that they supply with the software. Unlike their main competitor with regard to architecture (ArchiCAD), AutoCAD was on warez sites within days of release, crack and all. ArchiCAD has always taken longer to get out there, more than likely because they won't crack their own dongles.

Re:how about that (5, Informative)

th1nk (575552) | about 5 years ago | (#27497429)

Autodesk have been thought to do this for years already on the warez scene.

Autodesk are thought to have released their own cracks...

I don't know the validity of your statement, but I do know that they are quick to send their lawyers out if they think you are profiting with a pirated copy of their software.

I set up a website about 7 years ago when I was working for myself as a mechanical design engineer. The website showed some examples of my work created in AutoCAD, among other software packages. A few months after it went live I received a very threatening certified letter from a group of lawyers representing AutoCAD saying that they had no record of my company purchasing a license for AutoCAD. At that time I did not own a legitimate copy of AutoCAD. I wrote a letter back stating that the examples were created using a legitimate copy, that I was not currently using AutoCAD and that I would remove any references to it on my website if they wished. They then said that was cool and never pursued it again.

Re:how about that (1)

spazdor (902907) | about 5 years ago | (#27497979)

I don't know the validity of your statement, but I do know that they are quick to send their lawyers out if they think you are profiting with a pirated copy of their software.

Then their business model seems to have been working perfectly. They had the apparent moral high ground to send you letters and try and scare you out of working using pirated software, but thanks to the dongle crack you managed to go and build yourself up an AutoCAD skillset anyway.

Did you end up purchasing (or get purchased for you) a legitimate copy for any later projects?

Re:how about that (2, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 5 years ago | (#27497331)

It's actually cost effective to freely distribute your software to people who want to learn it.

It's like someone figured out that someone will eventually pay for a license for software you are good at using.

That may well be, but here I am with an Ubuntu machine and I'm willing to pay for another full Solidworks license if they will release for this platform. They _could_ be making money off me, but they'd rather give the software away for free then let me pay them for a Linux port. Luckily, SW 2006 runs fine in Virtual Box, and I can open it's window alone, without having the whole XP desktop visible.

Re:how about that (1)

fuziwuzi (1207084) | about 5 years ago | (#27497393)

imo they are using the psychological law of reciprocity, basically people are more willing to help you or give you money, if you give them something in advance. i assume autdesk are having issues with finances, and are just going to weather the recession, but this tactic means that more people will be likely to by their products after teh recession as a result of reciprocity and being helped in tough times. the krishna used this tactic to make money in the US airports in the 60s and 70s.

Re:how about that (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#27497511)

It's like someone figured out that someone will eventually pay for a license for software you are good at using.

Blizzard and WoW. The client itself has no copy protection whatsoever.

The catch: all the free servers out there suck. Horribly.

Re:how about that (0)

digitalunity (19107) | about 5 years ago | (#27497683)

That's why you run your own server and reroll paladin. You can 1 man all the content, except for scripted events that require more than one player(Lady Vashj comes to mind first).

Kudos to both. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497881)

It's too bad employers aren't more willing to take "risks" on people who can prove that they've been able to learn on the job before.

I mean, I'd never get hired to use AutoCAD, but I learned to use at least the basic functions on the job here. Heck, from looking at some crazy AutoLisp program we bought, combined with a bit of Googling and minimal knowledge of functional programming, I modified and expanded the code to cover nearly everything we do regularly.

That said, I think these guys are doing the right thing by releasing versions like these. I only wish that more software companies would consider things like this when they have meetings about how best to "fight piracy," because this is a far more sensible way to deal with their problems.

May I just say... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 5 years ago | (#27496637)

They are also developing a Mac version, two decades after abandoning the platform.

...it's about FRICKIN' TIME! What were they waiting for? Windows XP to become a legacy system?

Re:May I just say... (1)

zuzulo (136299) | about 5 years ago | (#27496709)

This is really awesome. I love solidworks and autocad inventor, great apps. But of course, they waited to give out free windows licences till just about a month *after* i got rid of my only remaining microsoft machines which were used exclusively to run these two applications. bah humbug, after finally getting out from under the microsoft heel now i have to go back again. At least i still have xp pro licences lying around. ;-)

Re:May I just say... (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 5 years ago | (#27497207)

They were waiting for Apple to get more than 0.0005% market share. (Yes, I'm exaggerating.)

The funny thing is, now that they've finally done it, it's not necessary. If someone wants to buy a Mac for the "cool" factor of the design or having 8 xeonriffic cores, they can load windows on it and run all the windows software they want. :)

Re:May I just say... (2, Informative)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 5 years ago | (#27497447)

Actually, AutoCAD was the classic example of companies that "just don't get it" when it comes to the Mac.

AutoCAD for the Mac was released back in 1988, I believe. But what they did was port their DOS-based product to the Mac. It didn't work or look like a Mac product (no menubar, windows, or anything like that), it worked and looked just like the DOS product. The company said that they planned to release this version first and then make a "more Mac-like" one later on based upon how well this one sold.

Of course, nobody bought it. If you were already doing CAD work on the Mac using one of AutoCAD's competitors, you certainly weren't going to give it up. If you didn't have any Macs, why would you buy the Mac version when it didn't give you anything you couldn't do with the DOS version? Even better, AutoCAD announced their plan to create a "more Mac-like" version. So most Mac users said, "Cool. We'll wait for that one, thank you."

A few years later, AutoCAD for Mac was dropped because there "just wasn't a big enough market for CAD on the Mac." The reality, though, was that there wasn't a big enough market for DOS ports to the Mac. Mac users expected a Mac interface.

Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequence (5, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 5 years ago | (#27496639)

"These uncertain economic times"

I'm tired of hearing it. It's like the PR tool's qualifier for everything.

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (5, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | about 5 years ago | (#27496747)

No kidding.

Maybe if people stopped calling these "economic times" "uncertain", then they'd stabilize!

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (5, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | about 5 years ago | (#27496837)

Maybe if people stopped calling these "economic times" "uncertain", then they'd stabilize!

And maybe if they stopped calling these times "economic" all money would disappear!

Sorry.

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27497041)

And maybe if they stopped calling these times "economic" all money would disappear!

And maybe if they'd stop calling it "time" our universe would disappear!

Or at least be static, in which case we'd have no chance to formulate thoughts on the universe, in which case the universe would, in essence, cease to exist due to lack of observation. Or maybe instead we'd all instantaneously be travelling at the speed of light, since the universe would be static (i.e., "time" would have stopped). Or something.

Now, where did I put that cruller?

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | about 5 years ago | (#27497237)

You may have been marked as funny, but you do deserve a bit of insightful for that.

Perhaps not all of it, but a portion of the 'uncertainty' is due to the fact that everyone is certain that we are in 'uncertain' times. If we stopped pushing that down folks throats, then there might be less panic to keep things stired up.

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (1)

Chabo (880571) | about 5 years ago | (#27497411)

You're right; I wasn't actually going for Funny with that one.

People are scared of spending money right now because they hear "OMG CRISIS" every day, but the best way to make sure that we don't end up in another Depression is for people to spend money. Otherwise, more businesses (small businesses, mind you, I'm not talking about those "too big to fail") will go out of sale, putting more people out of work, putting the economy in an even worse state.

Fortunately for me, I just got a new job and moved across the country when all this started to happen, so I was able to buy all the things I would've needed to get anyway for much cheaper than I otherwise would've spent.

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27496865)

True, in reality it's pretty certain what's going to happen from here on out.

Higher unemployment, a bit of something that looks like recovery, a sudden bout of inflation, high interest rates, more unemployment, inflation gets under control, unemployed bankers find something better to do with their lives than make bets about something they don't understand, then recovery. Might be some other fun stuff in there along the way, but that's the main thrust of it.

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (1)

plopez (54068) | about 5 years ago | (#27497177)

unemployed bankers find something better to do with their lives than make bets about something they don't understand

They knew what they were doing. See:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/transcript1.html [pbs.org]

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27497715)

Fuck them all.

I've been wondering for a while now why they didn't just get down to the business of finding the exact value of the mortgage backed securities. If they did, it would end the whole problem almost immediately: investors would be willing to buy them again because they would know their true value.

Now I know. It's corrupt bankers, trying to hide their corruption, and cowardly politicians, trying to 'protect' the general public. We could be all done with this by now and on the road to recovery.

Everybody is a marketer these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497055)

Every administration has it's catchphrase. The last one was "because of 9/11...". This one is "in these uncertain economic times".

Re:Four words I am damn sick of hearing in sequenc (1)

DavidJSimpson (899508) | about 5 years ago | (#27497391)

That's to distinguish it from all those certain economic times, where everyone knows the next day's stock market results, lottery numbers, winning horses, etc.

Adobe has a similar program for developers (4, Informative)

md17 (68506) | about 5 years ago | (#27496645)

Adobe recently announced a similar program but for software developers:
http://www.jamesward.com/blog/2009/04/03/free-flex-builder-for-unemployed-developers/ [jamesward.com]

-James (Adobe)

Re:Adobe has a similar program for developers (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 5 years ago | (#27497121)

There are two big problems with Adobe software: full licences are very expensive (particularly the upgrades) compared to good-enough competition, and a lot of the big name products now come with DRM that causes serious practical difficulties even without the ethical considerations that would offend a lot of people reading this.

Until you fix those things, your software is not a viable choice for many of us, so please keep your unsubtle advertising to yourself.

Re:Adobe has a similar program for developers (1)

BillAtHRST (848238) | about 5 years ago | (#27497213)

That may be the case with other Adobe products, but not Flex:
  • Flex (incl. ActionScript) is free and open-source;
  • so is BlazeDS, the server-side component;
  • FlexBuilder (the IDE) is $250.

Re:Adobe has a similar program for developers (1)

Malkin (133793) | about 5 years ago | (#27497519)

Which differs from Autodesk... how, exactly?

I'll be honest with you: The DRM in Photoshop causes a very real and direct problem for me, as a single user who previously used her Photoshop license on three machines, all of which are not used by anyone else. I am a legitimate user, not attempting to defraud the company in any way, and Adobe's DRM is nonetheless extremely inconvenient for me. However, I have the same exact problem with the DRM in Autodesk Maya, which also limits me to two machines. So I don't understand why you're picking on Adobe, here. The Flex notification was every bit as useful and/or relevant as the Autodesk one. In fact, I would have posted about it myself, if someone else hadn't.

Moreover, I don't think that most of your complaints about Adobe's products really apply to Flex, as a product, per se. Flex is, in my opinion, more reasonably priced than Adobe's other software, and it doesn't seem to use the same noxious DRM system that's used in the Creative Suite products. (If someone has better information, feel free to correct me on that.)

Re:Adobe has a similar program for developers (1)

PPNSteve (1287174) | about 5 years ago | (#27497479)

Adobe recently announced a similar program but for software developers: http://www.jamesward.com/blog/2009/04/03/free-flex-builder-for-unemployed-developers/ [jamesward.com]

-James (Adobe)

3) My license to use Flex Builder 3 under this program will not be used for production or commercial purposes, nor will it be transferred to any other person or entity, including to my employer should I become employed. Yeah right.

I am unemployed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496657)

And I spend my day looking at goatse [goatse.fr], and wishing I was a nigger.

I looked... (3, Informative)

Chabo (880571) | about 5 years ago | (#27496667)

I was hoping that they were just giving away short-term licenses to anyone, but apparently if you sign up for the program, you have to be verifiably unemployed. I wonder what method they use to check...

(hmm... Firefox says that "verifiably" isn't a word, but I looked it up, turns out it's a valid adverb form [thefreedictionary.com] of "verifiable")

Re:I looked... (1)

Chabo (880571) | about 5 years ago | (#27496717)

To answer my own question:

Autodesk reserves the right to contact the former employer HR contact to confirm program
eligibility and applicants will be asked to consent to such enquiries.

Re:I looked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497257)

If a sequence of letters has an obvious pronunciation and an unambiguous meaning to the general English-speaking population, then it automatically a valid English word, even if you made it up 5 minutes ago.

That's the beauty of the English language.

Re:I looked... (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#27497327)

They could easily verify if you are jobless. E.g. referrer=slashdot.org at work hour.

Oh wait...

Smart Move (4, Insightful)

Pearson (953531) | about 5 years ago | (#27496739)

This actually makes sense. The most important thing for a software company to be successful is to have people who know how to use their software. Which is why student prices and Learning Editions exist. And there have been reports that some laid off workers are starting their own companies, so getting your software into the hands of those people would be a smart move, too.

Re:Smart Move (1)

geobeck (924637) | about 5 years ago | (#27497005)

A number of years ago, an Autodesk sales rep told me that the company consciously turned a blind eye to 'unofficial' copying of their software by students. Their increasing use of DRM has probably made it more challenging to copy AutoCAD since then, but it seems as if this announcement is merely making an unofficial policy official as a PR move.

Re:Smart Move (2, Interesting)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 5 years ago | (#27497377)

This actually makes sense. The most important thing for a software company to be successful is to have people who know how to use their software. Which is why student prices and Learning Editions exist. And there have been reports that some laid off workers are starting their own companies, so getting your software into the hands of those people would be a smart move, too.

My local Solidworks distributor is a moron in this regard. He insists that students pay $400 for a license. And the company won't sell to me directly. I don't think that SW even has our local language support, so I will probably buy the $99 student version from a foreign vendor.

I should also mention that when I went to my faculty's computer help desk to ask about a student version, they gave me two options:
1) Pool with 9 other students who would be willing to share a license (I have no idea how this would work).
2) Pirate it. The student assistant was even willing to give me the disk.

Re:Smart Move (1)

davidsyes (765062) | about 5 years ago | (#27498257)

http://www.bricsys.com/en_INTL/bricscad/features.jsp [bricsys.com]

http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/ [boatdesign.net]

http://www.touchcad.com/tc3features.html [touchcad.com]

http://www.touchcad.com/tc3news351.html [touchcad.com]

See 3/4 of the way down on this for OpenGL rendering
http://www.touchcad.com/tc3news35.html [touchcad.com]

Possibly dated review:

http://software.techrepublic.com.com/abstract.aspx?docid=599221 [com.com]

This one:

ProgeCAD, is kinda interesting. It has a layer management system that is different from but kinda similar to ACAD. I tried it last year, but then it timed out on me. It's free for academic use, otherwise, starts about $250 depending on the version, IIRC. It's one of those that seems to be an ACAD knock-off, but kinda updated or less crufted than ACAD 2007/2008 maybe due to a cleaner, newer codebase (as opposed to, say, accumulating decades of in-fighting over code functions, (my ACAD course instructor in 07 said ACAD))

http://www.progecad.co.uk/Downloads/ [progecad.co.uk]

Also, consider ViaCAD

http://www.punchcad.com/products/viacad2d3d.htm [punchcad.com]

Their prices are pretty good, and if you're not needing the overkill of ACAD and not working with clients who DEMAND ACAD, and who live with DXF/ACIS formats that contain the info, then why get addicted to a product that costs a fortune to use legitimately. You have rake in some serious dough to justify paying $4k+ on software which can take years to get proficient with. ViaCAD is GREAT for me for lofting/surfacing & solids-making.

Right now, the ship design industry (maybe, based on the economy now, compared to last year) is short on designers/drafters who are GOOD at CAD. If you're designing real or model boats for sale as kits (or ships & boats to be built) check out the combination of delftship and Punch ViaCAD...

Also, see boatdesign.net

http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/design-software/ [boatdesign.net]

and...

http://www.polycad.co.uk/links.htm [polycad.co.uk]

GOOD LUCK!

Re:Smart Move... Employment Status... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | about 5 years ago | (#27498097)

Hmmm, if they say you must be verifiably unemployed, they have to check with the (or each) state's unemployment benefits division. It could take weeks for people to get counted, and in that time, people might game the system with fake information.

For those who are honest, though, they might be starting up their own company, but then the software companies giving away software to the "unemployed" will have to "look the other way", since in some states the mere ACT of operating as a business means you're in business. That is, incorporating, signing documents, opening business bank accounts, advertising on web sites and issuing business cards, and the like. So, if the STATE says the person is in business (income absence need not verify that you are not employed, it just means you don't have cash flow...), then the can of worms opened up is caused by companies turning a blind eye.

If they are GOING to turn a blind eye, why not just offer the software for all, but then continue to key-code it and grant continued functionality/accessibility only to those who prove they are meeting the spirit of the contract.

WARNING: these companies *might* compel the student/unemployed to furnish their SSN. THAT would be a bad move. Thus, these start-up types might need to get an EIN (Employer Identification Number), which further murks their employment status, depending on the state. IIRC, Calif will let you draw unemployment if you are not actually earning income/cashflow while in start-up phase, but, don't try to game the system. If you are a student, make sure your school uses student ID numbers not made up of parts of your SSN. If you are a non-student, you may want to initially contact your EDD/UI division and pre-arrange some proxy/substitute ID that binds the state protect your SSN, even though this is a 3rd party event tangential to obtaining for free some product/service not offered by the state.

It might be interesting if one or more enterprising unemployed or part-timing students band together and create competing training centers. If they already KNOW the material/product, they could create their own course that only lacks creds/authorization/blessing of the software company. Then, OTOH, i suppose they'll have already writtn (or will soon) a clause barring such competitive-purposes acquisition of their products.

Bravo! (2, Insightful)

N!NJA (1437175) | about 5 years ago | (#27496763)

nothing like an economic meltdown to make Co's recognize the value of their most important asset: their current and potential customers.

Seems to be a trend in sales... (1)

slummy (887268) | about 5 years ago | (#27496771)

Buy a new Saturn today!*

If you lose your job, don't worry.. we will postpone the repossession for up to 9 months!

SolidWorks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496819)

SolidWorks is a package; IIRC, it is the cousin product to Dassault Systemes' (under license by IBM) CATIA. It is not a "company" as far as I know. Much like 3DSMAX is owned by Discreet. Also, SolidWorks is not the "Flagship" product. ;) That would be CATIA. :D

I'd MUCH rather see free licenses for Catia V5, than Solidworks any day. SolidWorks is OK, but you can do WAAAY more with a "Full" seat of Catia. (Everything from avionics, to radar waveguides; there's a workbench for it in Catia.)

They killed the UNIX port (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496851)

...and now we get a mac port? We used to get a version that would run on all kinds of UNIX platforms. Now they have to use OSX? Bullshit. Civil3d is hitting the trash can; I'm switching to Inroads.

And for software engineers? (1)

rocket22 (1131179) | about 5 years ago | (#27496859)

Any company doing the same for developers? Something like IDEs, build tools, profilers, version controls?

Re:And for software engineers? (2, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27496961)

Visual Studio Express [microsoft.com] is free (as in beer) by design. Of course, it is a Microsoft product, so you have to be willing to contaminate your workstation with binaries from the Evul Kingdom.

And a 240 day license of the various MS server products is free as well.

Re:And for software engineers? (1)

Chabo (880571) | about 5 years ago | (#27497573)

Microsoft also has free (again, as in beer) versions of much of their software available to students.

https://www.dreamspark.com/ [dreamspark.com]

This includes Visual Studio 2005/2008 Professional Edition, and Server 2003/2008.

Re:And for software engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496983)

Here [ubuntu.com] is a similar program for software.

Avoid! Just getting you hooked on the stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496899)

There is too much nasty software out there. Forced upgrades, incomprehensible licenses, AdobeDesk monopoly, since they bought all competition in their respective markets I moved to linux and illegal Autocad 2000.

Next step: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27496933)

HR realises that they can save licencing $$$$$ by firing the entire engineering team and farming out CAD jobs on Mechanical Turk, for the newly unemployed to do with their free software.

Ponies for everyone!

Can't stand 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27496979)

I've never used SolidWorks, but I've used AutoCAD extensively. Autodesk knows how to force upgrades by capriciously changing their file formats better than anyone. As soon as one company in the network of companies that use AutoCAD upgrades, their peers are also forced to upgrade in order to remain compatible, and their peers, and so on. It's a cash cow not based on design excellence or innovation, but scurrilous abuse of their customers.

Which leads to the question: why are there no good free-as-in-freedom CAD programs? Because I haven't written one yet, I know. But surely I'm not the only one who's aggravated by this. I would be more than happy to assist anyone making a serious effort.

Re:Can't stand 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497767)

You want Rhino3D. It's file format is open sourced. Its user interface is what AutoCAD should be.

What this really means (4, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | about 5 years ago | (#27496995)

Read this sort of thing along the lines of: "Since you're now low on dough and high on time, we're giving you our stuff for free so you dare not move to open source in general and Blender [blender.org] in specific to refocus your skills there, because that little Project is closing in on us in leaps and bounds and frankly is scaring the living piss out of us."

I sold my Lightwave 8.5 Licence (+ books 'n stuff) and forfeighted the right for cheap upgrades of this very neat Hollywood Grade 3D Kit because Blender has gotten so good, there are only very few features missing that LW has, and quite a few that LW (or any other closed source kit) doesn't have. Oh, and btw., Blender 2.5 is coming closer with a complete architectural redo that will boost its developement even further. The 3D market is tough as it is and Blender is a scaring thing to watch for SideFX, AutoDesk, NewTek and the likes, you can believe that. The 3D tool market allways was tough, but these days its even more so - wouldn't wanna swap with any of those companies still asking upwards of 3000 Euros for their software.

Re:What this really means (5, Funny)

igloonaut (1376833) | about 5 years ago | (#27497093)

[My english is better than most other people's german, so please point out mistakes politely. Thank you.]

Good afternoon! I believe German should be capitalized if you please.

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497199)

Good Afternoon! I believe German should be capitalized if You please.

Fixed.

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497297)

"You" should not be capitalized except at the normal places for any word.

Re:What this really means (4, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 5 years ago | (#27497403)

"You" should not be capitalized except at the normal places for any word.

Apparently the AC is a capitalist.

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497513)

Maybe he was talking to god.

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27498089)

I'm not pleased.

-GOD

Re:What this really means (2, Insightful)

mephistophyles (974697) | about 5 years ago | (#27497175)

That may be true for the architectural design side of things, but isn't really true for floorplans and is certainly far from true for the SolidWorks part of the story. SolidWorks is still the platform of choice in almost every Mechanical Engineering project I've gotten a glimpse of.

The thing however, and this applies to AutoCAD too in this case, these products are 3D CAD, not graphics software. The mindset to work in one is different to working in the other

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497367)

Is there an open source app that competes with 3d cad apps from Solid Works?

Having worked in the industry (support for a particular 3D cad toolkit) I'd honestly say that the vast majority of all manufacturing shops use Solid Works for everything (certain verticals like Aviation use Catia and other apps, but still use Solid Works for other projects).

Re:What this really means (1)

ivoras (455934) | about 5 years ago | (#27497423)

Since it's such a successful project, it looks like somebody must pay for the developers... 3D graphics is a fairly specific area that requires not only generic programming knowledge but a fair amount of math. I looked around a little at http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/ [blender.org] but there is no list of donators or sponsors. So, who's paying? If it's about services - what services? Developers are usually not very good at teaching art and writing books.

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497629)

From your link:

The Blender Foundation has offices in the Amsterdam Blender Institute. Revenues from e-shop and publishing enable Ton Roosendaal and a small staff to work full-time on Blender, organize activities like for Siggraph or the Blender Conference, support development/documention projects, and pay for bookkeeping and administration expenses.

Re:What this really means (1)

clong83 (1468431) | about 5 years ago | (#27497475)

Just so you know, Blender is not a suitable alternative to SolidWorks for 3-D mechanical design. If there was an even halfway decent open-source project that had 3-D modeling capabilities that was halfway compatible with SolidWorks (industry standard), I'd switch in a heartbeat. This seems like a logical and good move on their part. They understand that if people get used to using their software, they might just buy a license down the road...

Also, if you know of an open-source alternative, please don't hold out. Let me know about it.

Re:What this really means (2, Insightful)

adamchou (993073) | about 5 years ago | (#27497553)

I think this is incorrectly interpreting the motive of these companies. Its not because of fear of blender. If it was, they would give it away regardless of the economic situation. This is much more about marketing their product to people that are in a dire economic situation. Once they attain these loyal customers now, they'll continue to be loyal when the economy returns. Besides, there is some evidence [google.com] that during the great depression, it was the companies that continued to aggressively promote their brand and advertise that ultimately succeeded.

Re:What this really means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497587)

Blender has some nice algorithms under the hood (which are likely patented and unlicensed by the blender team, LOL!), but its user interface sucks ass. If you dare research into ways of reorganizing the user interface so as to make it more intuitive and post your suggestions to the forums, its developers will quite readily tell you to go f^ck off.

No thanks.

Re:What this really means (1)

asadodetira (664509) | about 5 years ago | (#27497969)

At the mechanical engineering level a good example would be Alibre, which is a parametric design software (like Solid Works or Autodesk Inventor).

Re:What this really means (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 5 years ago | (#27498055)

Blender 2.5 is coming closer with a complete architectural redo that will boost its developement even further.

Wow, looks like they forgot about the hookers and blackjack and got down to business.

Re:What this really means (1)

Sardak (773761) | about 5 years ago | (#27498079)

It's been a month or two since I've done anything significant with Blender, so it's possible that it has changed significantly since then, but at the time it was atrocious and unintuitive at best, and down right unusable at times, compared to the likes of Maya. Granted, it's not nearly as bad as Milkshape, but it still got in the way and just plain didn't provide some of the functionality that is commonly needed in the workflow I've become accustomed to as well as that which is used by my artists.

The only useful aspect in which I would consider it to be superior to other 3D packages is in its plugin/scripting system. I was able to toss together a quick Python importer/exporter in a night's worth of coding, whereas the API for most other packages is much less friendly.

It must suck to be beholdern to these corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497035)

I'm only a lowly programmer, not a CAD designer or anything fancy like that, but this kind of thing is exactly why I stopped using commercial programming tools and went with open source tools for my consulting business.

Glad to hear it (1)

Maalstrom Aran (889627) | about 5 years ago | (#27497083)

I'm impressed. Sounds like an easy hand out to potential customers. Smart, and effective I bet.

Re:Glad to hear it (2, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 5 years ago | (#27497409)

I'm impressed. Sounds like an easy hand out to potential customers. Smart, and effective I bet.

Not all Solidworks' customers want a hand out. I actually want to pay them for a full license for an Ubuntu port. But they'd rather hand them out to Windows users for free than take my money.

Re:Glad to hear it (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 5 years ago | (#27497641)

All you need to do is prove to them that you aren't the only one that wants to pay them for a Linux port. Whining that they don't want your money is counterproductive. Find more people who also want to give them money, and prove to them that it's in their best interests.

AutoDesk can eat shit and die... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27497455)

It's about as close to an extortion racket as you can find. You can opt for $1000/seat "maintenance" where they send you the next years version with only half of last years bugs fixed and a full crop of new ones, plus the need to double your workstation horsepower. Or you can hang onto your license for four years - about a year beyond when they update their file format (which is not backward compatible) and you get tired of most of your clients not being able to send you drawings without a hassle - and pay the price of a new seat (magically, just about 4 years x annual maintenance).

Oh, and of course if you ever decide to get off the train, you can't sell your licenses without selling them as part of the assets of your entire company.

Autodesk can kiss my hairy white ass.

solidworks response is to google sketchup (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 5 years ago | (#27497503)

we (well not me, but the engineers i work with )are pretty serious solidworks users.
and at the last project mtg, the boss says, i gotta show everyone this, i did a model of our project over the weekend with google sketchup which is free, and he says, of course it isn't solidworks, but the 3d rotation is better...
Those of you with memories of more then a few minutes will remember that there use to be this great software called proE, and it was incredibly exspensive, and along came this "low cost" upstart, solidworks...... the innovators dilemman, in software

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