Henrik Vallgren and I have had long email discussions in the past about Autodesk. He has informed me several times about the history of the company and many of its practices that are not always flattering. For instance he mentioned some of the painful ways developers had to write dialogs in the system back before Microsoft provided better tools and Autodesk took advantage of them.
Our earlier discussions centered on OpenGL and DirectX as competitors in the graphics operations arena and how if one major CAD company jumps on DirectX they may all follow. So far this hasn’t truly happened as OpenGL continues to be the one true cross-platform standard. Also, cross-platform technology–or embracing it–is the way many Autodesk competitors compete or differentiate with Autodesk. Copying that company’s strategies in a coordinated “follow-me-too” way could only hurt the lot of them competing with what has become a true 800-lb gorilla in the room.
Henrik’s strong determination to fight back, sort of, with StreamCAD should be applauded. He is saying essentially that the rules and situation have changed dramatically for Autodesk third-party developers and that the company has become different then in the past regarding these loyal supporters. By creating an alternative–one that is cross-platform–he is doing, at the minimum, what Autodesk has thus far failed to do: support the burgeoning Mac platform. For this we applaud Henrik and his company Streamspace.
Another thing to add to this is that Henrik has become a Mac fan since beginning development upon graduation in 1996. This has meant he has grown both loyal and critical of both Autodesk and Apple and so I appreciate very much his well formed opinions on various matters. Though I will say this too…he views that DirectX could be a serious threat to Apple in the CAD space warrant serious attention. Thankfully, Linux is huge in the 3D and FX arena and hence substantial pressure exist for cross-platform standards.
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