Registered. Got a bag of "gooodies." Lessee:
...three license plate holders reading "My other car was designed with IntelliCAD"
... two aluminum travel mugs witih the IntelliCAD logo, one for each hand while driving the car designed by IntelliCAD.
...two, uh, wad'ya call'em, rapper-type knit caps with the IntelliCAD logo.
...and two squeeze balls.
At breakfast sat with Eric of Bricscad, telling me about how his development is much faster than that of the IntelliCAD consortium's. While IntelliCAD 5 is being announced this month, the Bricscad varient came out in June.
ITC [IntelliCAD Technical Consortium] confirms they have purchased code from BricsCAD. Why? Main reason is speed. Numerous display functions, like hatch patterns and linetypes, are 10-20x faster, after BricsCAD programmers examined the code for bottlenecks.
The BricsCAD code will be added to IntelliCAD v5.x, codenamed "Fusion", and due to release in 1Q05. ITC is also working on ICAD v6, but no details on that -- yet. A slide gave one hint: PostScript output. And a presenter gave another hint: ARx.
Other features in Fusion:
- CTB amd STB files (for standarizing plots).
- print styles
- Xref manager
- User profile manager
- Alternative font
- SDS/LSP improvements
- paper space navigation
- Browse command history
But back to IntelliCAD v5, which is due to be released this month. The ITC's press release listed seven features, but there are more:
- Support for i-drop
- New system variables
- Updated documentation
- Customizable status bar, with items like current layer and dimstyle name.
- New toolbars
- Improvements to Trim, Extend, and Offset
With all those AutoCAD features being added to IntelliCAD, you would like (as would I) that the ITC is attempting to close the gap on Autodesk. Not at all, says ITC president Arnold van der Weide. "I'm not interested in being 100% compatible with AutoCAD, because then we only ever follow Autodesk."
Instead, the plan to stablize IntelliCAD as a platform (speed, bug-less, basic commands) and then take IntelliCAD where the ITC members want it to go. Each member, who pays $20,000 a year, gets one vote. This makes for democratic development, which Mr van der Weide admitted, makes for slow development. (And explains why BricsCAD went ahead with their optimization without the ITC.)
A few other thoughts captured on my Sony Clie, these also from Mr van der Weide:
* Third-party applications tend not to cost more than 20% of AutoCAD's price, because AutoCAD costs US$3750. They look at IntelliCAD, with a base price of $249, and think, I can't live on 20% of $249. On the contrary, says Mr van der Weide: you can charge far more for your software, because the total cost is still less.
* "Who sets the standard for DWG -- Autodesk or us [meaning all non-Autodesk software developers]?" With so many non-Autodesk CAD vendors using DWG, maybe "we" should take over. This sentiment was expressed by others, including one attended joking that perhaps one day in the future we'll see an error msg that reads, "Warning: This drawing was saved by AutoCAD."
* LT is outselling AutoCAD, according to several speakers at this conference. LT with no API and a price tag of US$800 -- members of ITC see that as a golden opportunity for IntelliCAD to provide a replacement product. There are, apparently, now over one million users of IntelliCAD.