By making file formats more obscure, CAD vendors are making it increasingly difficult for their customers to own the data. I use the term "more obscure" to avoid the it's-encrypted'it's-not-encrypted controversy. By "data" I mean the drawings and associated documets produced by drafters.
But here's a new wrinkle. In an effort to broaden sales and to stay atop the latest bandwagon, CAD vendors are broadening their software offerings to include PLM -- the cradle-to-grave documentation of projects, whether architectural, mechanical, or civil.
If some customers are already chafing against the increasingly-difficult-to-access CAD data, how much worse will it be when CAD vendors lock up PLM data in file formats that are bound to be more obscure?
Menno Huijben describes the problem more fully in the latest issue of PLM World: "Of course, data ownership isn't static. During the product lifecycle, ownership will be transferred from organization to organization, from process to process, and from system to system."
And he reminds us that the issue of data ownership is a difficult and tedious concept, "not easily understood or accepted in the business world." Ultimately, a 'PLM system' is an IT architecture -- not CAD software -- that owns all product-related information.
Who is the owner, you or the software vendor?