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Architosh Staff (
20 Nov 2002

Reader Q: What is the present state of Autocad on the Mac?

Q: I was wondering the present state of the AutoCAD coming to OS X for Mac. I am contemplating switching my engineering company to Mac OS X, but since AutoCAD is the principle program we use, whether AutoCAD can come with us is the deciding factor. Thank you for your help, -- Dan Stephens

A: Ah...this continues to be the most difficult question we get from readers writing in. The short answer is that we don't know for certain if Autocad will ever come back to the Macintosh. Sure! we are running a petition because we got hundreds of emails from readers asking about it in 1999, our first year of operation. So we have been gathering petitions surveys and now have approximately 5000 petitions for (not against) Autocad on Mac OS X.

Here is the longer answer

Architosh has been in various contact with both Apple and Autodesk employees over the years on this vary topic. Both Apple and Autodesk are aware of the petition and its publication status. They do not, however, know the details of the petition data because we have not yet finished gathering the data and writing the report.

Next question. When is the report due? We hope to publish the results of the Autocad for Mac OS X Petition Survey Data sometime in December of 2002. Our goal is year end. We recently had increased interest in the report by parties we are not obliged to mention here. So that is pushing up the report even though we are a bit shy of our 5000 petition goal.

Another Type of Answer

We are always alarmed to hear that there are companies and individuals who are holding off on purchasing Apple Macintosh systems because of the lack of 'this-or-that-software'. It's such a pity for two reasons:

1. We naturally feel the Mac, particularly with Mac OS X, is a superior computing platform for design and technical professionals. And despite some slight speed disadvantages (which will be only temporary --we assure you!) the Mac more than makes up for speed in a number of ways: like superior OS stability and uptime! But don't take just our word for it, listen to other technical design professionals describe why they use Macs by reading our Firm Profiles:

Firm profile 1: M.J. Neal Architects

Firm profile 2: LuminetIK

Firm profile 3: Flansburgh Associates

2. Second, why get hung up on the Autocad, SolidWorks, 3DStudioMax or Lightscape-thing when there are so many excellent choices that rival or surpass these programs and are fully supported on the Macintosh? The questions folks need to seriously ask themselves are: Do I really need these programs? Could other programs offer me better ROI for my software dollars and get me overall better compute performance for my dollar than Wintel?

These are seriously good questions not because they socially challenge the status quo in your industry, but because the so-called status quo, the alleged "industry standards" are painfully expensive and not the appropriate software in so many situations. Professionals can do better on the Mac but they need to start challenging the status quo with the same passion they exert in their professional pursuits.

Does it not behoove you as a professional contemplating a move to Macintosh, to also consider your software platforms? We strongly believe these are the baseline questions you need to ask yourself.

All of these programs below run on Mac and rival the PC-only "alleged standards":

• ArchiCAD - (challenges Autocad, Microstation, Revit, et al.)

VectorWorks - (challenges Autocad, Microstation, Revit, et al.)

BOA - (challenges Autocad, Microstation, Revit, et al.)

• Ashlar-Vellum's Products - (challenges SolidWorks, et al)

• form-Z - (challenges 3D StudioMax and Lightscape)

• Electric Image - (challenges 3D StudioMax and Lightscape)

• Lightwave 3D - (challenges 3D StudioMax and Lightscape)

• Maya - (challenges 3D StudioMax, Softimage, et al.)

• ET Shade - (challenges 3D StudioMax and Lightscape)

• AEC Software's FastTrack Schedule - (challenges MS Project)

And there are many more but these are some of our favorite recommendations.


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