AutoCAD 2018.1 released, but only for some

Autodesk has released the AutoCAD (and LT) 2018.1 Update, not to be confused with the earlier ill-fated 2018.0.1 Update. It’s only available for currently-paying subscription and maintenance customers. The “non critical” bug fixes in this Update (by Autodesk’s definition) are being withheld from Autodesk’s other customers. Those of you who have allowed your maintenance to expire due to Autodesk’s development inaction and unjustified price increases can consider yourselves duly punished for failing to fall into line. If you have the execrable Autodesk desktop app installed (not recommended) and it works as expected, this update will present itself to you. Otherwise, …

What’s changed at blog nauseam and why

Last week, blog nauseam died. This post explains the background to that. You’re probably not that interested, so feel free to skip to the dot points that list the changes that have resulted. The problem was a faulty WordPress installation was using excessive resources. This caused severe performance issues and resulted in the server software stepping in to throttle the site to prevent more widespread problems. The trigger for the WordPress fault has not been determined and may never be. This is somewhat akin to an old AutoCAD drawing suddenly going bad for unknown reasons. The problem may date back …

Bentley marketers love Autodesk

Bentley Systems marketers are currently taking advantage of Autodesk customers’ distaste for the Big A’s rent-or-GTFO business model. For any Autodesk competitor, this is a fairly smart move. Autodesk has offered a free kick to its competitors and is betting on them all kicking the ball wide of the net. How accurate is Bentley’s shooting? In this case, AutoCAD customers are being encouraged to take up MicroStation. Via the Cadalyst Direct opt-in advertising list, I received an email entitled AutoCAD Users, you need options. We listened: Talk about feeling trapped (which has many Autodesk customers angry), options and flexibility (which …

The big Bricsys interview 11 – free viewer?

This is the final post in a series covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. If you’ve made it through to the end of this series, congratulations! I hope you found it illuminating. In this post, R.K. McSwain asks a question about a possible BricsCAD-based DWG viewer, which turns into a brainstorming session! R.K.: Do you guys have a viewer? A read-only viewer? Is it something you’re looking to do? Erik: No. BricsCAD classic costs, you know, $400. Steve: Autodesk is giving one away anyway. R.K.: They give it away, but …

The big Bricsys interview 10 – platforms

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, R.K. McSwain asks about BricsCAD running on three different platforms. Erik explains why BricsCAD for Mac (and Linux) is so much more complete than AutoCAD for Mac, which has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. R.K.: Do all three platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac) contain the same functionality? Erik: Yes. Sometimes it’s a bit hard with the Mac to bring it along but so far, so good. The only problem sometimes is …

The big Bricsys interview 9 – treading on developers

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. Erik explains that Bricsys won’t trample over its application partners in Autodesk-like fashion, except… Steve: Autodesk is known for treading on its third-party developers and replacing their market. Can you tell us about your attitude to doing that? Erik: We have always said that we are not stepping into any application market. We will not do it. There’s only one exception, that’s where there is no [other] possibility. There was no sheet metal. There is no …

The big Bricsys interview 8 – boundaries and BIM

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. Erik discusses where Bricsys can go in future and the place BIM has in that. Cyrena: So what is your vision, ultimately, of what Bricsys will become in tandem with your partners? Do you have limits or boundaries of which markets you will address and which you won’t? Are you going to be bigger than… “somebody else” one day? Erik: If it comes to the number of customers, challenging AutoCAD is difficult. 12 million registered users. …

The big Bricsys interview 7 – the applications ecosystem

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, Erik discusses the Bricsys efforts to work with and assist third-party developers. He does this without being prompted by a question – it’s obviously very important to him. Erik: For our future growth it’s very important, the ecosystem of the applications we have now. We have talked a lot about what we are doing and about our own products, but we should maybe have spent more time on the importance of the ecosystem. …

The big Bricsys interview 6 – lean and focused

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, the dynamic duo explain the mystery of how Bricsys can sell smaller numbers of a more capable product than AutoCAD for a fraction of the cost – and still make money. Steve: It’s kind of interesting that your product is so much cheaper than AutoCAD, and more capable. They’re making a loss and you’re making increasing profits. How does that work? Erik: I think it has to do with being lean and being …

Props to Bricsys for supporting education

Some time ago I raised a glass to Autodesk for supporting students and educators by making its software available free. I have been remiss in neglecting to point out that Bricsys also does this. So I raise a glass of dark, tasty and ridiculously strong Belgian beer to Bricsys for doing this. Cheers!

The big Bricsys interview 5 – perpetual licensing and choice

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, Erik confirms the Bricsys commitment to perpetual licensing. That’s a statement important enough to preserve, so here’s the recorded audio for posterity. We also learn what proportion of CAD customers choose perpetual licenses over rental when given fair pricing and the choice. Hint to Autodesk: it’s not 0%. Steve: Are you committed to the perpetual licensing model? Erik: Yes, yes. We are committed to choice. If somebody wants another way of licensing our …

The big Bricsys interview 4 – thank you, Autodesk

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, we learn that Autodesk’s move to all-rental has helped drive BricsCAD sales higher and continues to do so. Cyrena: Backing up just a step to sales, were you able to track any impact on your sales numbers with the chronology of Autodesk’s announcements of ending perpetual? Did you see an effect that you could map to that? Erik/Mark (together): Yes. Erik: We see that especially with large companies. I hear it from Mark …

The big Bricsys interview 3 – looking after people

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, I learn about Bricsys’ astonishingly good staff retention record and the reasons behind it. Autodesk likes to periodically pat itself on the back for being a great employer, but history shows it’s a company that discards about 10% of its workforce every few years to keep the share market happy. I suspect another round is coming up soon, unfortunately. There’s a stark contrast between a company that disposes of its chattels in that …

The big Bricsys interview 2 – making money

This is one of a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. In this post, I ask about Bricsys’ profitability and growth. Steve: Do you publish your numbers? Erik: No we don’t. We are a private company. Steve: Can you give us an indication of what’s happening with your sales at the moment? Erik: Last year we grew in revenue 25%. First quarter this year was up 27% over the same quarter last year. If you compare the sales in total of 2016 compared with 2015, it was …

The big Bricsys interview 1 – why invite the press?

This is the first in a series of posts covering an extensive interview with Bricsys CEO Erik De Keyser and COO Mark Van Den Bergh. On April 26 and 27, I attended Bricsys Insights, a press event in Ghent, Belgium. Other attendees included Cyrena Respini-Irwin (Cadalyst editor in chief), R.K. McSwain (CAD Panacea), Ralph Grabowski (upFront.eZine), Randall Newton (GraphicSpeak), Roopinder Tara (Engineering.com), Martyn Day (DEVELOP3D), Jeff Rowe (AEC Café), Anthony Frausto-Robledo (Architosh) and Paul Wilkinson (pwcom). Although Bricsys has invited some of these people (including myself) to previous events, this was the first gathering of such a significant number of …

BricsCAD documentation – a tale of three systems – part 3

In this third post in what was supposed to be a two-part series, I have more to say about the BricsCAD documentation system. See here for part 1 and here for part 2. Developer Help – Addendum In this comment from Bricsys API person Torsten Moses, he informed me about the availability of the Lisp Developer Support Package (LDSP) in the Bricsys Application Catalog. As always, when presented with new evidence I am prepared to re-examine my position on anything. Therefore, I will now further discuss the BricsCAD developer documentation. The first thing to mention is that the existence of …

BricsCAD documentation – a tale of three systems – part 2

In this pair of posts, I describe the BricsCAD documentation system. Click here for part 1, where I describe the general Help system and the descriptions in the Settings command. In this part, I discuss developer documentation and draw my conclusions. Developer Help If we count the Settings descriptions as a system, there’s a third documentation system for BricsCAD. The Developer Reference isn’t offline and included in an install like the main Help. Instead, it’s online, just like Autodesk’s default. Unlike Autodesk’s system, it works pretty well. Being online means the performance suffers, of course, but it’s generally not too …

BricsCAD documentation – a tale of three systems – part 1

Because of the great similarity between BricsCAD and AutoCAD in terms of commands, variables and most aspects of usage, you would expect the BricsCAD documentation to be about the same too. But it isn’t. Much of the content covers the same areas and due to BricsCAD’s command-line compatibility, there must be a lot in common. But the Help system is very different from Autodesk’s. How so? In this pair of posts, I describe the BricsCAD documentation system. I assume you’re familiar with the AutoCAD one. In this first part, I describe the general Help system and the descriptions in the …

Bloatware – a tale of two installations

In a previous post, I showed that AutoCAD is bloatware by comparing the size of its downloads to that of BricsCAD. Obviously, an application that’s ten times the size it should be is going to cost you a lot of unnecessary bandwidth, download time and drive space. But maybe you don’t care about that. What practical difference does it make? Well, for one thing, the blimping-out of Autodesk’s former flagship product has a big effect on installation time. Vast and ever-increasing amounts of time are wasted by users of Autodesk products, just waiting for the things to finish installing. But …

Bloatware – a tale of two CAD applications

You may have seen me mention in passing that AutoCAD is bloatware. That’s not just the general grumpy-old-user moan you see from long-term users like me, who can remember when AutoCAD used to fit on one floppy disk. Yes, programs get bigger over time as new functionality is added and old functionality needs to be retained. Hardware gets bigger, better, faster over time to compensate for that. I get that. Understood. The AutoCAD bloatware problem is much more than that. AutoCAD is literally ten times the size it needs to be, to provide the functionality it does. How do I know? …