Premier Issue: 1 May, 1995.
Hyperlink to the next issue of Upfront: Upfront #2
Autodesk Announces Release 13 for Windows 95
Short on details and long on self-praise, Autodesk's press release from Comdex/Spring '95 announces AutoCAD Release 13 for Windows '95. Once we get past the Autodesk-Microsoft mutual backpatting, we find that Autodesk plans to ship the software "shortly after" Windows 95 itself ships. I guess Autodesk is learning the lesson of not stating exact ship dates -- what with R13 for NT missing its promised 90-days-after deadline. The short details of AutoCAD for Win95 are:
Can you afford to guess at the hardware requirements of Windows 95 + AutoCAD R13?
- The beta that Autodesk showed at Comdex was running under Windows 95 Beta Version M8.
- R13 running under Windows 95 will be "Logo compliant." That means it'll meet Microsoft's demands before the packaging can boast the Win 95 logo.
- OLE v2.0 (object linking and embedding). Currently, R13 for Windows is an OLE v1.0 client and server.
- Support for long file names.
- Run multiple sessions of R13 (as does the NT version). Release 12 for Windows had this capability, which was subsequently lost in Release 13.
- Autodesk expands the multiplatform license of R13 to include Windows 95 -- added to Windows NT, Windows v3.1, and MS-DOS -- for current and new R13 users. While terrrrrific for users, the quadruple license makes it impossible for Autodesk to accurately determine the most popular of the four operating systems.
As Win 95 nears its ship date, corporate users are beginning to realize that there is no point in upgrading to Win 95. Instead, it makes much more sense to upgrade to NT. We'll leave the last word to Autodesk: "Autodesk anticipates that the AutoCAD Windows community, as well as AutoCAD DOS users, will quickly migrate to the Windows 95 or Windows NT operating systems."
Release 13 Acceptance Slow, Autodesk Admits
Autodesk chief financial officer Eric Herr confirmed on rumors circulating in financial markets and admitted that AutoCAD R13 is being accepted more slowly in the market than Autodesk expected. Reasons given by Herr for the slow acceptance are:
In addition, Herr noted that the lower US dollar in relation to international currency has caused Autodesk to earn less. Reasons not listed by Herr include:
- The market hasn't quite moved to 32-bit hardware.
- It is written in object-oriented format and customers' applications take longer to develop in object format.
Autodesk's announcement confirms an informal survey taken at last month's meeting of the Vancouver AutoCAD User Society. Of the 80 AutoCAD users in attendance, only 6 had upgraded to R13 -- four months after R13 began shipping.
- More than 200 bugs.
- Loss of R12 features.
- Significant hardware upgrade.
- Users being burned out by the upgrade spiral.
The New CAD File Format?
Autodesk boasts that AutoCAD's DWG drawing file format is the "de facto" industry standard because of market share -- despite the fact that Autodesk steadfastly refuses to publish the format. In the end, it's an open format that wins out and the CAD++ Newsletter editorial staff think they've seen the future.
At a press event last week, Bentley Systems described the new file format for MicroStation v6.0. No, that's not the next version of MicroStation; v5.5 is due out this summer; v6.0 won't come out until the summer of '96 (would that make it MicroStation 96? ).
The new DGN file format will be object-oriented, consisting of instances (equivalent to the data in "legacy" CAD file formats) and schemas. "Instances" allow users (actually third-party developers, in greater liklihood) to create new objects (entities), while "schemas" provide the code (written using ObjectiveMDL) that lets MicroStation act on the objects.
What particularly impresses us is that Bentley is releasing Objective MDL many months *before* MicroStation v6 ships, unlike Autodesk, who hopes to ship object-oriented ARx a year *after* R13 began shipping.
For more details on Objective MicroStation v6.0, read the June issue of CAD++ Newsletter, due out in the last week of May.
AutoCAD Release 13 Bug List
Later this week, WorldCAD Access becomes the exclusive Internet site to carry the "official" AutoCAD Release 13 bug list. Compiled by Bug Threadmaster Steve Johnson, version 3 lists more than 100 bugs (and workarounds) for Release 13, c1, and c2. The bug list also indicates which bugs have been fixed by a sub-release. The bug list will be available in three formats:
- HTML, for on-line browsing by Web browsers, such as Netscape and Mosaic.
- Word v2 and ASCII Text format, each in their own ZIP file, for fast download by ftp.
New this week on WorldCAD Access
This week, check out articles from CADvisory, the newsletter of the Vancouver AutoCAD User Society, which calls itself "the oldest and most dangerous AutoCAD user group." We've posted all the articles from the two most recent issues, April and May, 1995, with titles like:
Every month, we'll add the current issue (you will probably read it before VAUS members, who have to wait for it in the mail!) and another back issue.
- "Information Letter #14 Redux" by Freddy Format
- "Autodesk Drops Six CAD Products"
- "The Operating Systems" by Rob Cheek
- "Do You KISS Your Work?" by Ben Wiens
- ... and more ...
Great material for all those hardworking newsletter editors of local CAD user groups... I think you'll be impressed by the quality of the writing, particularly ernest Ben Wiens and flamboyant Rob cheek -- not to mention that rascal, Freddy Format, the scurge of pompous corporations everyhwere.
Yup, all those great articles are free to download and use in your own user group newsletter. Just make sure you include a credit note to V.A.U.S and the CADvisory newsletter.
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