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Autodesk + Instructables: For Makers?

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the interesting-bedfellows dept.

Hardware Hacking 77

ptorrone writes "MAKE magazine has published an in-depth look at what the recent acquisition of Instructables by Autodesk means for makers and the DIY movement. MAKE suggests it wasn't about getting the millions of members or projects at Instructables or upselling Autodesk tools. Instead, the acquisition was more about creating many Instructable-like communities around Autodesk's new free and trial tools including their 3D printing site and service, Autodesk123D."

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It would be worse... (5, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | about 3 years ago | (#37004046)

There are three companies that would be worse than Autodesk in this role:

1. DSS.
2. Altium.
3. Microsoft.

I mean, of all things, Autodesk? The guys who make poorly designed, expensive CAD program that only keeps its market dominance because of its semi-documented, closed file format? One that ported its engine to OSX but "forgot" to bring any of the modules that make their software in any way useful?

That never ever touched Linux (and is worse than Solidworks with Wine)? That abandoned all Unix ports of their software many, many versions ago? (well, Pro/Engineer and CATIA bested them by abandoning an existing Linux port, apparently just to spite users).

That never did, nor ever promised to give a fuck about any "community" other than corporate managers who make purchasing decisions?

That never ever open sourced anything?

That thinks, anyone sane would use crippled "free" tools specifically made to frustrate the user, to do design of anything that matters?

Re:It would be worse... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004066)

Fight for the blender in this dark times!

Re:It would be worse... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#37004656)

As long as Blender won't replace that piece of shit they call a UI it'll remain stuck in the "also ran" category.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 3 years ago | (#37005454)

Blender DID replace its GUI, you imbecile.

But Blender is not a CAD program.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#37005506)

1) Moving a few things around and changing the labels of every third button does not qualify as a real replacement.

2) AutoTurd isn't the only thing in Autodesk's product line. Compared to the UI of 3ds Max or Maya (aka space bar hell) or Blender barely even wins a consolation price (for just showing up).

Re:It would be worse... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004124)

Altium? They're not bad guys compared to (shudder) Cadence. You want poorly documented closed source bizarre GUIs with proprietary scripting languages? Cadence! Any Cadence employees reading this: fuck you.

Re:It would be worse... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004600)

Yeah, I remember using PSPICE/CaptureCIS/whatever in school. It was powerful, but it hated us all. Sometimes it would just do something random that no one would be able to explain, other times you'd have to perform some ritual to get it to simulate your circuit without shitting a brick. My favorites, though, were the Donuts of Doom, which it would stick in your schematic where it thought you had a problem.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#37004204)

Hey! They can't be ALL bad, after all, they maintain Maya well. And AutoCAD is an improvement on the TurboCAD GUI (showing my age and experience here...), IMHO, so they do write software, they don't just buy it!

You're right about the corporate-orientated business plan though. But what do you expect when their main clients are architects and planners? They market to the segment that buys their software. Don't shoot them for that.

"Bring their modules" to the Mac... implies you're a bitter Mac-head who'd LIKE to run AutoCAD if you could... maybe you should have bought a few components which would have cost half what your Mac cost and assembled them yourself, then you could have the same toys as me, no?

Re:It would be worse... (-1, Flamebait)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#37004222)

Also, you trolling twat, I've caught you out since I posted that. 3DS MAX and Maya are available for Linux and SGI, running natively. Thanks for playing. Go troll the latest M$ article, at least they deserve your ire.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004328)

Sorry - only Maya is available for Linux.. 3DSMAX... nope..

Re:It would be worse... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#37004704)

Back in the Discreet days there was a prototype which ran on RHEL, but further development (e.g., .NET integration) has made sure that'll remain a dead end.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004814)

Back in the Discreet days there was a prototype which ran on RHEL, but further development (e.g., .NET integration) has made sure that'll remain a dead end.

Never heard of Mono, have you?

Re:It would be worse... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#37005322)

Yes, it probably matters to those three guys who actually use that incomplete port.

Re:It would be worse... (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about 3 years ago | (#37004304)

You're right about the corporate-orientated business plan though. But what do you expect when their main clients are architects and planners? They market to the segment that buys their software. Don't shoot them for that.

You mean, they market to the only segment that can afford their software because it's overpriced? Ex: Altium, who destroyed the whole hobbyist EDA software market by buying up everything from it, and only selling it in one over-expensive, bundle.

"Bring their modules" to the Mac... implies you're a bitter Mac-head who'd LIKE to run AutoCAD if you could... maybe you should have bought a few components which would have cost half what your Mac cost and assembled them yourself, then you could have the same toys as me, no?

I probably could care less about OSX and all software that runs on it, but that won't be much.

OSX port could indicate that company is committed to cross-platform development, what usually means sane file formats and modularity. What would, in its turn, mean Linux port being feasible (that I DO care about), and possibility of standardized interfaces and protocols usable by other software (what would be VERY HELPFUL with some project I know, that involves 3D, architecture, mechanical design and simulation).

Re:It would be worse... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004436)

You keep talking... now you're saying some shit would benefit you if it were for your precious OSX... I mentioned Revit previously.

Butthurt? I think so.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004378)

I mean, of all things, Autodesk? The guys who make poorly designed, expensive CAD program that only keeps its market dominance because of its semi-documented, closed file format? One that ported its engine to OSX but "forgot" to bring any of the modules that make their software in any way useful?

That never ever touched Linux (and is worse than Solidworks with Wine)? That abandoned all Unix ports of their software many, many versions ago?

What's poorly designed about Revit? Who the fucking-asshat uses OSX to do BIM (building information modeling)?

Sounds to me like you are talking out of your butthole.

Re:It would be worse... (2)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 3 years ago | (#37004440)

Being a draftsman, I have to disagree with you. I've never seen another CAD application that had so much polish. It's extremely customizable in the user interface, as well as in function, yet it's also very, very stable. Sure, you might be able to find a car you wouldn't mind driving for less than the price of AutoCAD, but the typical use for it, is on projects that pay several tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even hundreds of thousands. If you're in a business that needs CAD work done, AutoCAD is well worth the investment.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37007188)

I find Solidworks easier to use than AutoCAD. What makes you find AutoCAD better? I'm not trolling, just genuinely curious.

Re:It would be worse... (4, Interesting)

Migraineman (632203) | about 3 years ago | (#37008038)

Autocad is fundamentally a 2-D drawing program, with some 3-D capabilities spackled on top. It excels at 2-D line drawings, like those found in architectural plans (plat view, elevation, etc.) It struggles with 3-D solids, as they are a serious afterthought - move a drilled hole for me, please. Solidworks is 3-D at it's core, so it's a bit clunky to manage 2-D drawings that aren't derived from 3-D sources. You're burdened with the 3-D support overhead when doing a 2-D only drawing.

Autocad is a claw hammer. Solidworks is a ball-pein hammer. They can both "hammer," but each is better for a particular job. You should choose the appropriate tool depending on the objective. Do you need to pull nails, or shape sheet metal? (sorry, no car analogies today.)

I've been using Autocad since about 1985 ... back when the UI had to be toggled between the text command window and the graphics display window. I also currently use Solidworks.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 3 years ago | (#37010042)

I never did find a scripting language in solidworks, not saying it isn't there. AutoLISP isn't great, but better than what I found in solid works. Also I never did master the "dynamic blocks" in solidworks.

Also autocad != solidworks, inventor ~= solidworks.

Solidworks was nice for doing 3D stuff.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 3 years ago | (#37068002)

Truth be told, I've never used Solidworks. I've used AutoCAD a great deal though, as well as Microstation and a number of less expensive CAD applications. AutoCAD was initially developed before GUIs were well developed, so its command line is central to its operation, and even after all of this time, it still hasn't abandoned that for the trappings of a GUI interface. While the option remains to build your work space around toolbars (and even that accursed "ribbon" that Microsoft introduced with Office, but that's another rant altogether), if you want to maximize your viewing space on screen without interruption, you can strip it down to just that command line. Everything can be executed from there. That kind of work environment makes sense to me, and it's done me well for 15 years, now.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012636)

If you ever worked in 3D you'd curse AutoCAD to the 7th circle of hell. The only CAD app, I've ever seen to let you work in 3D in a somehow sane way is Vector Works.
 

Re:It would be worse... (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 3 years ago | (#37004550)

I hope you're right, in the sense that Instructables sucks enough that I wouldn't mind at all if they were dragged into the abyss and it was made that much easier for competitors to replace it.

Visiting that site is just a miserable experience--you have to be logged in to access the most basic of features, or worse, a paid membership, which it's always trying to foist on you, and otherwise it's full of ads. It has some great content--thanks to the user-community that puts up with them. But the longer it takes to replace the more content that is going to be tied up there.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

TrnsltLife (779961) | about 3 years ago | (#37010262)

Check out CommentHow.com [commenthow.com] , a site still in its infancy, but where all the viewing options are available to everyone, logged in or not. (Commenting and posting articles requires a login of course.)

All content will be public domain, Creative Commons Attribution, or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike, meaning everything can be remixed. That's why every article has a "Copy this Article" button, letting users base their how-to article off someone else's. That lets them extend it, translate it into their own language, or localize it to the needs and materials of their local context.

Speaking of languages, Comment/How doesn't limit you to English. Pick from any of Earth's almost 7000 languages to browse or post in. (Of course, most of these don't have content in them yet.)

And there are less ads.

Re:It would be worse... (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37004720)

I remember finding a video for my painting instructor and being shocked that it cost $500 for a DVDR copy with no right to back it up and being told that that's more or less just what films for schools cost.

Same sort of thing with AutoCAD, it is expensive, expensive enough that it's not affordable for anybody that isn't working in the industry. But, if you're drawing up plans for a multimillion dollar project, the cost is a pittance comparatively speaking compared with the other costs involved. And ultimately as long as everybody else is using that software that's what you'll get.

Not that it makes it right mind you, but that is how that works. I'm skeptical that this is a good thing ultimately for the folks that use the site.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37005482)

this is the same point I made in my recent post, starting from the fact that Autodesk locks CAD worse than Microsoft locks office documents , see http://stop.zona-m.net/2011/08/autodesk-buys-instructables-wait-a-moment/

Re:It would be worse... (1)

bosah (2117736) | about 3 years ago | (#37006384)

That abandoned all Unix ports of their software many, many versions ago?

Ermm. thats not true at all really. I'm always up for a bit of Autodesk bashing but Maya, Mudbox, 3DSMax, Softimage, Flame all run on Linux. In fact its CAD which is the odd one out really in their product lineup. Also the Area community isn't too shabby tbh. Oh, and FBX is pretty open really. I'm not an Autodesk fanboy by any means I'm an old Alias/Wavefront fanboy who is still bitching about some of the weird things they've done to Maya.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

bosah (2117736) | about 3 years ago | (#37006470)

Also, I'm frankly impressed that they've maintained Maya, 3DSMax and Softimage as independent prdoucts beyond what was in their roadmaps when they acquired them. I, and a lot of other people, were expecting some horrible hybrid single product to emerge to replace them.

Re:It would be worse... (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about 3 years ago | (#37008132)

Their software, not things they bought. AutoCAD ran on Unix before they microsof-ified its interfaces.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

bosah (2117736) | about 3 years ago | (#37009916)

Yeah, and we're talking about something they just acquired aren't we.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37006974)

That never ever touched Linux (and is worse than Solidworks with Wine)? That abandoned all Unix ports of their software many, many versions ago? (well, Pro/Engineer and CATIA bested them by abandoning an existing Linux port, apparently just to spite users).

Their M&E folks are very multi-platform (I know because I used to work with them).

There was one product that used to be on Unix but it went Windows-only at some point. However, one developer kept an internal-only Linux port going because he hated working on Windows and insisted on having a Linux workstation; this was quite handy because it kept the product multi-platform enough that when a Mac port was desired, it was a lot easier to create one because OS X is Unix-y enough that a lot of the core code didn't have to be touched.

Re:It would be worse... (2)

fermion (181285) | about 3 years ago | (#37007320)

Autodesk Autocad was designed to replace the drafting board. It was released at a time when only a few firms had what would be called personal computers. It was never a mass market application. It was a vertical market application for professionals, those that needed reliability and support. To sell they had to mimic the drafting table and tools so that users could easily transition. This means a 2d interface that is unfamiliar to those that entered school after 1990 or so.

It took about 10 years for the idea of 3d modeling to take root. This makes sense, computer can render 3d, so why draw a 2d object when you can draw a 3d object and then have the computer render the traditional 2d shapes. For precise mechanical drawings, this is not so easy to do, and Solidworks does it well. But that is not to say Autodesk does not do it well. Autodesk is now a legacy company with the most experience of serving the drafting industry, and that give it some legs.

One has to remember how expensive Unix was in the 80s compared to a DOS machine. Autocad was not a toy. One did not buy it to add to an already acquired computer. One acquired a computer to run Autodesk software. One still does. The average PC does not do it. I use my Macbook Pro.

Autodesk has what I would consider one of the most attractive program for students, hobbiest, and schools. The complete line of Autodesk products can be had for not a huge amount of money, and for students no money. The only better value is Google Sketchup, which for some is free. Obviously this is not philanthropy on either part. Companies want the future engineers to come to college knowing a software package, so the college will license the product, and commercial firms will license the product.

The community to be built is more like linkedin rather than facebook. Targeted not to the masses but to future professionals. It is the same think that Solidworks is doing with First. That is community of robot builders that will form a clique well into early professional life and will insure Solidworks sales.

Re:It would be worse... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 3 years ago | (#37008204)

[fluff skipped]

Were you trying to make some kind of a point here?

The community to be built is more like linkedin rather than facebook. Targeted not to the masses but to future professionals. It is the same think that Solidworks is doing with First. That is community of robot builders that will form a clique well into early professional life and will insure Solidworks sales.

Linkedin is a community without communications. It's basically for people to announce their presence. It helps to maintain a list of connections and keeping resume posted in some accessible way, but it does not encourage participants to do anything, least of all to copy each other's preferences and idiosyncrasies. The best Autodesk can do with it is "hey, see, there are so many people claim that they used AutoCAD for something!"

If Autodesk's current effort to maintain dominance will continue succeeding, it would be unnecessary.
If Autodesk's current effort to maintain dominance will fail, it would not help a single bit.

closed document format is not relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37007612)

Autodesk always tried to use its closed dwg format to reinforce market dominance but they never really succeeded with that. The Open Design Alliance offers a very competent alternative and has been doing so for a very long time. But a good program is much more than reading and writing files. In fact part of AutoCAD's success is that it's reliable and performant, and when you have to pay for a draftsman, the possible cost of using a program with even minor performance or reliability issues will make you think a long time before changing to a cheaper version. AutoDesk has huge amounts of cash to pay for extensive development that is simply not easily matched.

Re:It would be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37007712)

You forgot to add,

And then they purchase one of the largest online forums where open communication of ideas, which is completely counter to the entire history of their business practice for their target demographic.

I knew it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004084)

I when the advertising started, I knew they were angling for their big cash out. Well, looks like they got it. Here's to hopeing they choke on the money their community made them.

Resistance is Divine... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004194)

Autodesk continues their 'Innovation through Acquisition' stormtrooper march.

March 31, 1997 Softdesk Inc.
May 6, 1998 Genius CAD-Software G.m.b.H.
March 16, 1999 Discreet Logic Inc.
April 22, 1999 VISION Solutions
January 24, 2001 Gentry Systems
September 24, 2001Buzzsaw
February 21, 2002 Revit Technology CorporationAugust 6, 2002 CAiCE Software Corporation
December 18, 2002 truEInnovations, IncMarch 4, 2003 Linius Technologies, Inc
February 24, 2004 MechSoft, Inc.
March 2005 COMPASS systems GmbH
May 10, 2004 Unreal Pictures
June 10, 2004 AVEVA
December 17, 2004 CAD ISV
June 16, 2005 Colorfront Ltd.
July 6, 2005 c-plan
August 22, 2005 Solid Dynamics, SA
October 17, 2005 Alias Inc. (Maya Wavefront .OBJ File format)
August 6, 2007 Skymatter Inc (Mudbox)
August 9, 2007 NavisWorks, Inc.
August 20, 2007 Opticore AB
August 28, 2007 PlassoTech (CAE)
November 25, 2007 RobobatMay 1, 2008 Moldflow Corporation
May 7, 2008 Kynogon SA and REALVIZ SAJune 26, 2008 Square One Research (Ecotect)
October 23, 2008 Avid's Softimage, Co.
December 17, 2008 ALGOR, Inc.
December 2009 VisualTAO (PlanPlatform)
February 17, 2011 Blue Ridge Numerics, Inc.

So long Instructables... It was nice knowing you...

Re:Resistance is Divine... (4, Interesting)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#37004214)

As long as capitalism encourages this, it will continue. Don't blame the child, blame the parent.

I would also like to add that they retain the teams and platforms - gosh they still have seperate 3DS MAX and Maya teams! I'd like you to use those finely-honed research skills to compare and contrast this with, say, IBM, or M$...

Re:Resistance is Divine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004448)

Easy, Karl. Deep breaths... deep breaths.

Re:Resistance is Divine... (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#37005230)

Who's Karl? Someone on the board of Autodesk, or the reincarnation of Karl Marx?

Either way, I'm flattered, apart from the fact that Karl is most probably male. But then again, Margaret (context, think for a second!) was treated as and measured against the men, and she took that stick and hit them over the head with it!

This has to be nicest AC I've ever met.

Re:Resistance is Divine... (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#37005240)

Right, I've googled it, and concluded two things:

Carl Bass is President and CEO of Autodesk, so if you're referring to him, you spelt his name wrong, but I'm reasonably flattered.

And, as I already suspected, Karl Marx would be correctly spelled if that's who you're referring to, and I'm more flattered than I would be if you were referring to Carl, above.

Thanks for the little research idea, anyhow. Rachel

Re:Resistance is Divine... (1)

Iggyhopper (1880812) | about 3 years ago | (#37004574)

You can also blame the sellers. Can't buy what's not for sale.

Re:Resistance is Divine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004388)

Autodesk reminds me of Oracle in so many ways

Re:Resistance is Divine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37006546)

That list is about a 1/3 as long as Google's list of acquisitions in a smaller time period.

Re:Resistance is Divine... (1)

darkjohnson (640563) | about 3 years ago | (#37007468)

Most large software companies acquire smaller development groups, that's SOP these days AND many of the smaller companies WANT it. I know I worked for a couple of start-ups that had those hopes. Some of the software acquisitions you listed saved the software from simply going away because they weren't being profitable on their own (damn that capitalism) so Autodesk saw an opportunity to keep some technologies alive. (yeah, don't be all grateful or anything) I'm sure when faced with the choice of going away or being acquired by a company that sells design software - the decision wasn't difficult in the slightest. Geeze Louise people - get over it.

Re:Resistance is Divine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37024994)

Yeah, my dad worked for Softdesk, then was at Autodesk for the rest of his career after the acquisition. I recall him saying that the Autodesk approach to acquisitions was always to take a company, "throw it in the blender", then see what comes out.

Communities? (2)

EdIII (1114411) | about 3 years ago | (#37004262)

Since I actually know a couple of 3rd party software developers for Autodesk with UIDS under 1,000... I remain highly skeptical of Autodesk's commitment towards any community.

From what I remember Autodesk "absorbed" a lot of people's hard work into their own software and said the developers legally had no recourse. I'm fuzzy on the exact details, but from what I remember, one of my friends was making good money with their 3rd party software and then all of the sudden it was gone.

So if Autodesk totally screwed over its entire development community years back, what makes you think they have a real commitment towards supporting anybody but themselves?

Re:Communities? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37004352)

I would hardly underestimate the possibility of them fucking it up; but if they don't care about some method of turning "community" into profit, every penny spent on instructables was a complete waste. According to terms c. and d. of their legal blurb, instructables gains broad rights to publish and derive; but entirely nonexclusive ones, so anybody they piss off can just run to blogspot and post their hacks there.

Technologically, instructables is just another CMS-driven site, nothing particularly notable there, so if they drive people away they'll just have a cute domain name and a bunch of nonexclusive rights to assorted curious projects for their trouble. I hardly think that their motives are altruistic, it's just that there won't be anything to suck dry if people leave...

Re:Communities? (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 3 years ago | (#37004470)

To be fair, it'd be hard to hurt Instructables too much. The site is a cesspool of forced, unnecessary account creation and logins, advertising overload and bad conversation management. I'm not sure why it's the go-to place for that kind of thing.

Re:Communities? (1)

Grail (18233) | about 3 years ago | (#37004978)

It's the go-to place because that's where everybody goes.

c.f.: the network effect

Re:Communities? (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 3 years ago | (#37005116)

I'm sure you're right. I guess it's time for a Facebook to their MySpace.

Re:Communities? (2)

TrnsltLife (779961) | about 3 years ago | (#37010376)

I'm not sure it's a Facebook to their MySpace, but since this came up on Slashdot, I'm plugging my new site: CommentHow.com [commenthow.com] . The site still in its infancy, but where all the viewing options are available to everyone, logged in or not. (Commenting and posting articles requires a login of course.)

All content will be public domain, Creative Commons Attribution, or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike, meaning everything can be remixed. That's why every article has a "Copy this Article" button, letting users base their how-to article off someone else's. That lets them extend it, translate it into their own language, or localize it to the needs and materials of their local context.

Also, Comment/How doesn't limit you to English, which has been a problem for some of the users of Instructables. Pick from any of Earth's almost 7000 languages to browse or post in. (Of course, most of these don't have content in them yet.)

Re:Communities? (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 3 years ago | (#37012964)

That's cool, sounds like it solves many of Instructables problems. I've also been looking at Make Projects lately (I have a project to post). I'm sure you're aware of it: http://makeprojects.com/ [makeprojects.com]

Re:Communities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37006346)

Correct. And the third party developers had to pay something like $500/yr for the "privilege".

Re:Communities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37007556)

From what I remember Autodesk "absorbed" a lot of people's hard work into their own software and said the developers legally had no recourse. I'm fuzzy on the exact details, but from what I remember, one of my friends was making good money with their 3rd party software and then all of the sudden it was gone.

Not sure what else they were suppose to do to sell a new version; the fact that people bought your friend's product meant they wanted that in Autodesk's product....which is where it went eventually. I guess it would have been better if they'd paid your friend off for his code, but oftentimes that would involve greater expense for incorporating it. Your friend made good money on it, but you can sit on that forever like a music royalty.

Hypocritical (2)

pjfontillas (1743424) | about 3 years ago | (#37004386)

Getting people to use free and trial versions of their Autodesk software isn't part of a plan for them to upsell? And they're not going to make Instructable-like communities by obtaining members and projects from Instructables? Ok... I'll bite. What other things do they have planned, MAKE?

it means the first attack has begun (2)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37004586)

autodesk is about as anti-open anything as you can get. they are 100% against any kind of open standard for anything.

combine that with the power of patent lawsuits, and you can pretty much kiss free 3d-printing goodbye in the United States.

their plan is to make you pay for every single last triangle in your STL file, claiming they somehow invented triangles.

Re:it means the first attack has begun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37016830)

I'd go so far to say that the main things maintaining a Windows monopoly in small businesses is Intuit (Quickbooks) & Autodesk. SMB home-grown stuff is either easy to port or outright replace.

A + B = (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37004622)

Autodestructibles. For Destroyers.

Clear now: A common open CAD data structure needed (5, Interesting)

beachdog (690633) | about 3 years ago | (#37004770)

This report of the sale of Instructables to Autodesk makes it clear to me that the free software community needs a common drawing data structure and a set of user drawing interchange utilities.

The world of free drafting and CAD doesn't have the many little component drawings available to the users of AutoCAD proprietary drafting software. From the previous poster's comments, AutoDesk is unlikely to make any user data files or data structure information more available in the future.

I just finished spending 2 months reviewing many of the free CAD programs. I am looking for programs and applications to design a solar water heater installation, a radio antenna, a fractal made out of wire, an electrical circuit and a wagon. Is there anything yet to match sheets of quad paper, a .5 mm mechanical pencil and a HP-48 calculator and some assorted handbooks?

What AutoDesk seems to have, that is never released by AutoDesk, is the Autocad user drawing data structure and the little drawings of ready to use components.

What is missing from PythonCAD, Qcad, Blender, and Varkon is libraries of little drawings called "components". (An interesting program is the Beta prototype "Fritzing" for designing Arduino breadboards. Fritzing is all about placing components and drawing wires between the components. It has a delightful simple data structure for doing this.)

The whole world of CAD or mechanical drafting programs is wrapped up in incompatible islands of proprietary user drawing data structures. It seems to spring from business based engineers who want to be paid directly for every single use of their engineering knowledge.

Since it is partly free and it does run on Linux (with Wine), I like Google Sketchup. The drawing app is genius, the user data structure is proprietary and the data can be exported only using the $500 professional version of Sketchup. I wish they would publish their user data structure.

It would be both fun and a first class challenge to write conversion utilities to convert files from Sketchup to Blender, from Sketchup to PythonCAD and Qcad. From the CAD programs back and forth to SAGE and Xnec2c. Here is an interesting problem in doing user data structure conversions: When doing the file conversion, you need a way to not throw away data that one program uses and another doesn't. One way is to provide for internal comments within the user application data structure for each drawing application. And figure out how to keep each comment together with some active point within the data structure.

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37005192)

If you're looking for a good free CAD program, try DraftSight. It is available for free (you need to give an e-mail address, but there is no activation key).

It can be found on this website:
http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/download-draftsight/ [3ds.com]

That's the same Dassault that acquired SolidWorks.

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (1)

evanspw (872471) | about 3 years ago | (#37005932)

Agreed, Draftsight is very good and the closest you'll come to an Autocad clone. I've found a few minor bugs but it's more than made up for that by being free.

Autocad itself is a yawn. It's not getting better. Also, the vast army of middlemen you have to wade past to even buy a copy is depressing. There's something about the while experience that is pre-Internet, or like AutoDesk is in some alternative universe where the internet got made proprietary and stuck like sand in glue.

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37005382)

www.opencascade.org

'nuff said. Do your homework.

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (2)

kop (122772) | about 3 years ago | (#37005840)

http://www.google.com/search?q=Sketchup+to+Blender
Done!

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37005870)

Well, there are a few "open" CAD data formats that could be used:
1. STEP (ISO10303)
2. CGM (ISO/IEC8632)

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/ISO_10303 [wikimedia.org]
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Computer_Graphics_Metafile [wikimedia.org]

HTH
AC

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37013000)

the little drawings of ready to use components

are actually part libraries. Every CAD software has them and there are plenty of 3rd parties supplying nothing else but part libraries.

Re:Clear now: A common open CAD data structure nee (1)

Deefburger (1345835) | about 3 years ago | (#37015110)

You are right. But with an open standard the next thing is a conversion utility....

What Autodesk is up to (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37004798)

Autodesk already has a deal with TechShop - if you're a TechShop member, you can get a 6-month free license for Autodesk Inventor, their high-end CAD package. The intent is to increase the pool of people who know how to design and make things. Those are the people who use Autodesk products.

Inventor takes weeks to learn, but is worth it if you're doing serious mechanical design. It's the attention to detail, like having a library of about 75,000 standard parts like bolts, nuts ("would you like a lockwasher with that?"), and bearings. The parts aren't just pictures; the system has strength and wear data for them, and can do the engineering calculations for a bolted joint or a bearing. It can handle moving parts, nested subassemblies, finite element analysis, wiring harness layout, piping - all those things which are a giant pain in real world design.

123D is a toy-level Autodesk Inventor. The 3D and graphic visualization tools are there, but not the engineering calculations or the big parts libraries. Some parts from those libraries are distributed free with 123D, but without the engineering data. It's easier to use than Inventor, but it's definitely a CAD program,not a drawing program. It seems to be designed to get people thinking about mechanical design in the way it's done professionally. That makes sense from Autodesk's perspective.

Re:What Autodesk is up to (1)

ptorrone (638660) | about 3 years ago | (#37007998)

wow, this is the best comment i've seen on /. in forever.

mod uP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37005948)

Politic`s openly.

other options (1)

phrostie (121428) | about 3 years ago | (#37006924)

my guess is that clones and compatibles (bricscad, cadopia, progesoft,,,) are making them nervous.
people are starting to realize there are other, cheaper options.

they are losing their lock-in.

No OS X Version (1)

MBCook (132727) | about 3 years ago | (#37007296)

I've been playing with various cad programs to design things for my MakerBot (my standard is OpenSCAD [openscad.org] and TinkerCAD [tinkercad.com] for example) and last night I watched some of the videos of 123CAD and it looked quite nice. I went to the download page and... nope. Windows only.

So I checked their forum and it seems that a Mac version is the most requested feature.

It's a neat looking program though.

My own OSCOMAK effort, maybe it inspired others? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 3 years ago | (#37009680)

http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/ [kurtz-fernhout.com]
http://www.pdfernhout.net/sunrise-sustainable-technology-ventures.html [pdfernhout.net]
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/SSI_Fernhout2001_web.html [kurtz-fernhout.com]

At least I tried to get the ideas out there. But great minds think alike, so it may well be independent invention. :-)

Good luck to the new merger. Too bad it is not centered aroun free and open source software for the CAD side.

My copycat website: CommentHow.com (0)

TrnsltLife (779961) | about 3 years ago | (#37010436)

Since this came up on Slashdot, I'm plugging my new site: CommentHow.com [commenthow.com]

All content will be public domain, Creative Commons Attribution, or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike, meaning everything can be remixed. That's why every article has a "Copy this Article" button, letting users base their how-to article off someone else's. That lets them extend it, translate it into their own language, or localize it to the needs and materials of their local context.

Also, Comment/How doesn't limit you to English, which has been a problem for some of the users of Instructables. Pick from any of Earth's almost 7000 languages to browse or post in. (Of course, most of these don't have content in them yet.)

If you've got something to share, come join Comment/How - a more open way to share your project instructions with the whole world.

Comment/How
Comment je l'ai fait... / How I did it...
Step-by-step DIY tutorials for makers in the world's 7000 languages

Autodesk Tools Cost? (1)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | about 3 years ago | (#37021200)

How much does AutoCAD cost anyways? Like $5k USD? I don't think people are going to be interested in that. I wish there was a cheaper way to get a hold of a legitimate license.
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