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September 17, 2012


Evan Yares

Regarding Bill's comment:

Reminds me of an incident, many years ago, when Autodesk came out with a new product. A "competitor" who was well known to Autodesk bought a copy of the software, and installed it on his computer. It wouldn't run.

This competitor, being an assembly language programmer, did a dump of the product, to see what might be happening. He found out that his name was encoded into the program. A bit of reverse engineering, and he found that the program included code to look for his name on the computer, and if it found it, would not run.

Is the story apocryphal? I doubt it. I heard the story first hand, with enough supporting context to make me believe it. And other companies, for example Microsoft, have been known to do similar things.

I'm the bald guy in the light green shirt in the photo above.

Bill Fane

Re. "SolidWorks seems to have the high road all to itself." In spite of reference to its DNA, it wasn't always so.

One SolidWorks release many years ago checked for Autodesk installations. If it detected Mechanical Desktop (this was pre-Inventor) then a toolbar of commands to convert Mechanical Desktop models to SolidWorks plunked itself down right in the middle of the AutoCAD drawing area whenever you started a new file or opened an existing one. Autodesk procedures say that if you close a toolbar then it stays closed. Not this one. It would reappear every time you opened or started a file. I found and deleted the toolbar definition file, so SolidWorks promptly notified me that my AutoCAD installation had become "corrupted" and had "repaired" it. Next, I found the AutoCAD DLL module that SolidWorks had patched and replaced it with a clean one. Same story: "corrupted" and "repaired." It finally took a simultaneous 3-way repair of the menu file, the AutoCAD DLL, and a system registry entry to make the SolidWorks toolbar go away.
With the next release, they did much the same thing. They had introduced DWGeditor, their 2D AutoCAD-compatible program. Every time you opened or started a file in AutoCAD, a big purple splash screen proclaiming "Powered by SolidWorks" appeared in the middle of the AutoCAD drawing screen. Same problem: "corrupted" and "repaired." Same cure.

This hardly sounds like "the high road" to me, although I do freely admit that they don't seem to have done anything like this since then.

I also get suspicious of the "number of users" touted by virtually any program. Do they mean actual, current, commercial users, or do they mean the number of serial numbers issued since Day 1?

...and a bit of background info. I'm in the photo at the top of Roopinder's article, on the RH side, second from the podium. Roopinder volunteered to pick me up at the airport, and graciously waited an extra hour and a half because I missed my connecting flight in Toronto.


I think it is hard to make the case that Silence = Dignity. Especially when the silence starts right after lobbing a grenade into the customer's idea of "the future". Communication would be more dignified than silence.

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