u p F r o n t . e Z i n e

celebrating 15 years of reporting on the business of cad

Issue #653 |  July 13, 2010  |  English Edition

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In This Issue

1. Intergraph to Become a Subsidiary of Hexagon


2. Reading the DraftSight EULA


3. And in Other News


Intergraph to Become a Subsidiary of Hexagon

A trio of investors took Intergraph private in 2006 for $1.3 billion; just four years later, Hellman & Friedman LLC, Texas Pacific Group, and JMI Equity are selling the oldest independent CAD vendor for $2.125 billion -- a huge profit, and one that I am surprised Hexagon agreed to pay.


Stockholm-based Hexagon isn't well known in CAD circles, but is a worldwide player in precision measurement business (7,500 employees in 39 countries; last year's revenues were $1.6 billion). Their hardware and software products measure the locations and positions of objects precisely, such as how well the side panels of a car were pressed. Hexagon pays for Intergraph in cash, but will have to raise $850 million to do so. As for answering the "Why?" question, Hexagon says:


"The combination of Hexagon's leadership in solutions that capture rich geospatial data using aerial and ground based point cloud sensor technology, with Intergraph's leadership in GIS and CAD application software, will enable the enlarged Hexagon Group to develop and provide unrivalled [sic] integrated solutions to clients."


The other aspect of the deal that titillates observers is the position of Bentley Systems. As I understand it, Intergraph still owns 30% of Bentley, meaning either (a) Hexagon becomes a miniority owner, or (b) the Bentley brothers buy out Intergraph's share.




Reading the DraftSight EULA

You can't use the software on international flights:

It is probably best to use it on a computer disconnected from the Internet:

Treat this software as you would a Ming vase:

Smile for the camera:

Not suitable for designing nuclear reactors:

Disagree? Pack your bags for overseas:

Not for use by children:


And In Other News

Bruce Boes used to head up global marketing and strategy at Siemens PLM Software for Velocity Series, and now he's moved sideways to become vp of product management and marketing at VISTAGY. http://www.vistagy.com


Aras' Aras Innovator PLM software suite's new vault replication makes sure end users get a single view of files, even in globally distributed environments. Just another vault, you say? "Aras avoids the replication issues faced by other major PLM systems by assigning a unique identifier to every version of a file." Check out it out http://aras.com  


Here's someone I haven't heard from in a long time: Rasterex Software of Norway updates their raster editing and to-vector conversion software. (RxSpotlight runs standalone, while RxAutoImage runs inside is the AutoCAD.) New is the ability to convert raster data stored in PDF files. http://www.rasterex.com


IGE+XAO Group reports that revenue for the first nine months of its current fiscal year are still down 3.4% over a year ago. Revenues were e15.9 million.


Right Hemisphere appoints John Valentine as vp of engineering, who gets to stay right there in New Zealand, 'cause that's where Right Hemisphere has its R&D staff. Mr Valentine was formerly with RHE & Associates software development company.


FM:Systems is holding its International User Conference Apr 28-30 in Raleigh NC USA. http://www.fmsystems.com/events/userconf/2010UC/index_wrapup_2010.html


The headline reads "EDA launches First-Ever Web-Based Blueprint Creation Program" and I'm thinking, "Blueprints? Web-based ammonia smell?" Turns out it a kind of communal Web site for reviewing and downloading drawings using a proprietary process. The demos at http://www.edainc.net/Demos.aspx  are, unfortunately, locked: "Only EDA members may run the live demos! EDA has restricted access to the live demos. Please click one of the buttons below to request access or log-in."


Docupoint's DrawingSearcher does full-text searches of AutoCAD, PDF, TIFF, and other formats, and it automatically publishes the results of searches as DWF files. SmartZoom lets you view search results inside each document. http://www docupoint.com


You know, sometimes I wish I were still a transportation engineer. They've got some cool software for us these days. Like TRANSYT 14 from TRL Software of England: "By using TRL embedded link technology TRANSYT, in combination with an ARCADY and / or PICADY license, you can model non-signalized, through to partially- and fully-signalised roundabouts and mixed controlled junctions within your network." Reading those words still excites me; too bad the field is too politicized to provide a reliable income for those of us who love traffic design. http://www.trlsoftware.co.uk


On the other had, we're seeing some truly dreadful freeway intersection designs in our neck of the woods. I wonder if that's due to design software that allows really complicated interchanges to be designed by engineers without a sense of what doesn't work. Take Hwy #1 and 200th Street -- please!


Dassault Systemes = DS = DraftSight.


Letters to the Editor

Re : Spin Doctor of the Moment

    "Dell... came up with a unusual reason for the computers' demise: the school had overtaxed the machines by making them perform difficult math calculations."

    What’s so wrong with that? That sort of thing overtaxes me, too!

    - John Marchant


Re: Nightmare Scenario for Cloud-Based CAD Users

    I have this to say in agreement with Dave: It's the same ol', same ol' answer: CENTRALIZATION OF ANYTHING IS NOT ONLY UNREASONABLE, BUT DESTRUCTIVE FOR ALL CONCERNED.

    If the engineers and designers do not understand the reason for this, then they deserve to pay for their foolishness and complacency in these matters. Trusting big-business and government is ALWAYS a BAD position to take.

    - Chris H.



He comments about the high cost of translation and messing with CAD data problems: "average CAD engineer spends up to 4.5 hours a week on translation problems." In fact, at least according to our annual survey, it's much worse than this.

     In our 2009 results published late last year, we found that "Among OEMs, nearly 30% of design or engineering professionals spend 8 to 24 hours in a typical week reworking or recreating CAD data. Nearly 53% of these well paid professionals spend more than one day each week in this wasted endeavor! Among suppliers the picture is not much better. Approximately 18% of design or engineering professionals spend 8 to 24 hours in a typical week reworking or recreating CAD data. Approximately 50% of these well paid professionals spend more than one day each week in this wasted endeavor.'

    (This isn’t meant to be an advertisement, so I'll leave it up to readers to find the survey if they're interested.)

    It's actually shocking that more execs aren't paying attention to this. This is all time these high-paid professionals are not building great new products. Most often, I hear execs sweep this under the carpet as "an engineering problem."

    I urge Dave and anyone else interested in this topic to come to the Collaboration and Interoperability Congress (www.3dcic.com), coming up on its eighth year, where these and related topics are discussed in great detail.

    - David Prawel

    Longview Advisors Inc.



The answer to your question is "NO," and I doubt that nobody would disagree -- outside of software vendors. In truth, software vendors are the only winners if CAD goes cloud-only. Even a small amount of time lost by a very small (to the vendor insignificant) user will mean considerable disadvantage to particular individuals.

    Maybe, approaching the cloud should be done understanding it is going to be, at times, very similar to war. The plans are worked out, the landing goes according to plan, the troops are in place, and then the war starts. Chaos ensures and the ground commanders must now use their initiative, training and backup(s) to ensure their group continues to move forward whilst sustaining casualties and loses.

    Another option: don't start (or participate) in a war that has benefits, but is decidedly one-sided.

    - R. Paul Waddington



Spin Doctor of the Moment

"Take engineers for example -- can you imagine how much longer it must have taken them to research projects in the year 2000?!  Spending hours in a library doing research, digging through countless textbooks, making photocopies of graphs and tables..."

     - Cover email for a press release from a vendor I'll keep hidden to spare them the embarassment. We engineers weren't digging for information out of textbooks ni 2000. upFront.eZine Publishing, for instance, as on the Internet as of 1994. Even a decade earlier in 1990, we got information online through proprietary systems like CompuServe (home of the AutoCAD Forum).


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