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As it turns out, the mystery Parasolids customer appears to have been UGS PLM Software itself with its own CAD/CAM application UGS NX 5, destined for Apple's upcoming Leopard operating system. Leopard will be a full 64-bit OS with simultaneous, non-penalizing 32-bit backward compatibility. No other major operating system in the world has that exact capability.

Back in May, Architosh got a chance to discuss UGS NX 5 for Mac OS X Leopard with Jerry Sarfati, marketing director, NX, for Siemens UGS PLM Software (Siemens acquired UGS in May 2007). Key questions on the minds of many CAD users and observers alike include both the obvious and not-so obvious such as: why is UGS PLM Software supporting the Mac now? And what is this effort really taking? And are there specific NX customers asking for Mac support?

Jerry fills us in on these and more to explain some of the inner workings of this decision and what is a very hopeful start -- for Mac users -- into the world of "heavy weight" CAD/CAM on Mac OS X.


Some Background

AFR: Why has UGS decided to be the first PLM provider to support Mac OS X?

Jerry Sarfati (JS): We've had demand for it. Some user groups have been asking for more OS X support. Secondly, supporting Apple's Mac OS X platform is reflective of our "openness strategy." You can now run NX on Vista, XP, Linux and soon OS X, and our EULA enables you to set it up with flexibility.

AFR: Obviously supporting Mac OS X is a big deal. What were some of the key elements that needed to take place in order to enable support of Mac OS X for NX?

(JS): We did quite a few studies on OS X before we made the final decision to support it fully. We know that underneath OS X is a pure UNIX system, and NX already runs on UNIX, so that part was fairly easy. It is a very robust operating system. We've sent developers to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and they have taken a lot of classes to learn about OS X's unique features.

AFR: How long has UGS been actively working on the OS X version? When did it all start?

(JS): We had a NX 4 for PowerPC in an alpha program prior to Apple's announcement of the switch to Intel processors. It's been going on a little over a year. We started with the alpha program to get feedback from our users interested in a Mac version, to understand it better, and to begin to develop the support and training on the Mac version. When Apple announced the Intel switch we waited to develop for Intel only. We want to take full advantage of the 64-bitness of Leopard.

AFR: So when did you reach beta?

(JS): We've had an alpha version for PowerPC since the November 2006 time frame, we plan to go into beta once Leopard is released.

UGS NX 5 by UGS PLM Software is currently an X11/Motif application, running on Mac OS X Leopard as a full 64-bit CAD/CAM. The view above shows version 4. UGS NX 5 will enter beta stages when Leopard ships in October.

AFR: So NX 5 for Mac OS X is waiting for Leopard to be released?

(JS): Yes. Leopard is fully 64-bit. NX 5 on OS X Leopard is a true 64 bit application. Most NX users today are not using 64-bit operating systems but they are all looking at it. Linux supports it, Windows has it. With Leopard the Mac platform will have it.


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