WARNING WARNING DANGER CADCAM ROBINSON THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE!!!
As we head into the end of another year it turns out that this one is a bad one. My favorite CAD program which has been relegated to pretty serious anonymity again probably will stay there for good this time. The pace of improvements has slowed down and the capabilities of the shrinking programmer developer group have dwindled. The VP over SE has promised some things at the annual convention but did not lay out how this would take place nor any time frames. I conclude that this means there is nothing. Look, common sense would say that a structure and framework for further community and sales expansion would require planning and time already into this effort by convention time. So you see they would have been able to lay out exact details then. I choose to believe it is smoke and mirrors once again and just words to fill a space that requires them. Not a promise of future actions they are committed to.
This is a real shame as first Dassault tries to give SE customers for years and nothing. Now Autodesk is going full steam into this wretched subscription only model. SE as of this time does not YET say they will go subscription only. Make no mistake here I consider the availability of permanent seats to be the primary consideration of any software and second to this the capabilities of the software. You have to be able to control how your program works and be able to financially hold a club over the head of the program author to make them respond to your needs. No auto updates, no forced updates, no mandatory cloud, no server space you will end up paying $$$$ for because this is where they are heading, and no forced migrations to a new version of Windows or your CAD CAM program. When you go subscription only you are screwed for life.
Solid Edge is a perfect example. I have been a dues paying customer for seven years now until last August when I decided that there were not enough new improvements for me to continue paying. I would have renewed for $750.00 but not $1,500.00. I can still use SE ST8 for the next six or seven years and be quite productive. I can export to a cad neutral format and if the past is a prediction of the future old files can be brought forward with no problems and old ones opened with new the same. At least with as much data as I need anyway. These guys forget that value is a two-way street and when I no longer need support and new features the new features better be good. The VAR pissed and moaned about how this was not giving them any income and my thought was it is always about them and not the customer. How about my value received? So they stagnate and if you are not a customer still represent a great value for now. Jump on board for a year or two and then let them go and use your permanent seat like I will. Sad future for SE though. I like Ralph Grabowski’s observation from SEU2015. For a company that claims to have 500,000 users why is their attendance so small especially considering that it is one-third the price of SW and Autodesks annual conventions. I don’t believe for one second SE’s claims of market size and numbers.
How would you like to be a customer of Dassault’s SW? They have lost more than they get in new users and don’t seem to care. They limp along with buggy programs whose chief claim to market size appears to be that their customers have tons of legacy data and don’t want to move away. As Dassault does the Catia Lite migration over time they will move anyway and move to more expense, just as many if not more translation problems and as a bonus become data hostages as the new stuff will only work with a current subscription. As in monthly or yearly with no permanent seat you can fall back on when it is time to cut them loose.
PTC has just come out with subscription only. Just like listening to that idiot Obama they tell you how it is for your own good and will save you money and will give you great flexibility and freedoms to choose blah blah blah. And it will be just as beneficial in the long run as Obamacare. In the mean time you become chattel now and in the future.
Word of warning to anyone considering Autodesk. I think Inventor Pro HSM is the finest value bar none on the market right now for what you can do. CAD is clunky as all get out but I see the work being done there. HSM as I have stated has deficiencies in various areas but for me with simple turning and three axis mill parts is the finest CAM program out there. HSM Adaptive is better than Volumill which is touted as the industries best by many. Try Adaptive and you will change your mind. They are assembling a manufacturing ecosphere I approve of.
What they are also doing is something I find completely disgusting and that is by 1-30-16 you better have purchased a permanent seat or forget, possibly forever if this junk flies for Autodesk, personal autonomy and all that goes with it. You will no longer own your own data and will have to rent it back from Autodesk if you want to use it. I can see it now. You quit making a widget but have to pay for years just to be able to open the widget file because your customer expected support on the old part. With a permanent seat no additional cost but with subs you pay to play. Pay to play. Pay to play. Pay to play. Did you understand that? You pay to play. It appalls me how many CAD and CAM customers are oblivious to what is right around the corner from them.
Maybe all these companies are right. Maybe most customers don’t care what slop and egregious conditions are served up to them. It is hard for me to imagine that. I still talk to current Autodesk customers who ask me about this email they have recently received warning them about “stocking up” on permanent seats just to be safe. Another sales stratagem I find quite disgusting. In this case though the extortion via extra “stockup” seats just may be to the customer’s benefit. But why does Autodesk feel they have to go there anyway?
The answer is more appalling than you might think. They want to secure their financial future. Not yours by competitively supplying a superior product at a superior price as they are doing right now with Inventor Pro HSM. They want pay to play and you as chattel. I wonder if their analysts predictions of the future are so grim that they figure the only way they can survive and thrive is to reduce the cost of entry but make sure you can never leave.
So 2015 will be the year that goes down as the beginning of the end for benefits and control of destinies being equal between users and authors of software. It is my fervent hope that incomes drop precipitously for the pay to play guys and they will be forced into relenting back to the model of choosing what YOU the CUSTOMER want. I will be sending a check to Autodesk next week because I liked what I saw and it is a permanent seat. The day I can’t do that is the day I am gone.
Somehow I expect to see files from older versions of everything with growing regularity in the future as people step out of legal theft and wait for the next great thing to come along. After all I see around here shops working with CAD and CAM years old and doing fine. The only real exception to this is CAM if they do not have a current or recent good High Speed Machining program. I hope in the coming economic problems this pay to play junk comes back to roost on all these pay to play proponents.