It should have been premonitory – while looking for other reviews or info on the upcoming AutoCAD for Mac OS release, I stumbled upon this post by Steve Johnson, owner of cad nauseam, in which he details why AutoCAD for Mac would be a bad idea. While I agreed with some of his views, as this has happened before countless times (case example: Skype, which took years to catch up still lacks behind in features and stability compared to its Windows version), I believed things wouldn’t be that bad.
It really does not make sense for us to implement features on the Mac platform that nobody’s going to use. So basically what the customers are asking for is that we are going to deliver. So like I mentioned before Mac users on the Architecture side shouldn’t notice much of a difference.
OK so you release a trimmed product with not-so-oft used features missing, but at the same price? That doesn’t really fly, no matter how you look at it.
San Rafael, we have a problem
My first reaction when I saw the activation window, right after installing AutoCAD on my Mac Pro, was “OMG they have transplanted the Windows version using Java”. It was SO ugly – in essence, a copy-paste of the Windows workflow into a Mac window, and I suspect they load the content as HTML from a server. Scrollbars? On a modal tool window?
This was before I had to activate the product, which required creating a whole new account, as my teacher login details would not work at all. Autodesk apparently “had no record” of my email address and password, so I had to go through the account creation once more, then finish the activation process, which takes a few more, totally unnecessary, steps. A simple “give us your product code and serial” followed by a “thank you for activating” is more than enough.
Once you fire up AutoCAD, you’re greeted by this splash screen:
which is not particularly informative, but still, shows something. The next thing you are greeted with, at least with the educational version, is this:
OK, so I am using an educational product, but you don’t need to keep reminding me of this fact every time I open a drawing done with a different version – a “don’t remind me again” checkbox is all it takes. The warning would be useful if it came up with drawings you made with a full AutoCAD version, given by others, etc. but it also shows up when creating a new drawing from one of the included templates!
Finally, expecting a normal drawing area, I was greeted by this (click for full size):
It almost reminded me of a BSOD. No matter what I did, I could not even get the cursor to appear in the drawing area, never mind actually draw something. The application was completely unusable. Creating a new drawing, from a template, blank – nothing worked, I either got the blue bars of death (BBOD) or a black drawing area into which everything was sucked into, a-la-black hole. No cursor, cross-hairs, nothing.
The next logical step was to open a drawing recently created using AutoCAD on Windows, and this came up:
I give up. I will try to install it on my MacBook Pro, and see what happens. If the problems reappear, I’ll go back to BootCamp or VMWare with the Windows version, which is fully-featured, stable, and usable. Nice and commendable work on bringing back AutoCAD to the Mac, but so far, it appears the bugs and missing features, even when they are fairly unused ones, are killing the product. Again.