Double Trouble for AutoCAD LT?

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At Autodesk University, huddled away in a casino bar, we got a first looks at a new product from IMSI (the makers of TurboCAD); it was a FREE, as in given away, 2D drawing tool which to all respects was a wannabe clone of AutoCAD LT.

The concept behind it being ‘why pay for LT when you can have this?’ and by the way there is a professional version for about £500. At the time the company was stuck for a name and wanted to call it A/CAD LT, a clever play on AutoCAD LT but there were legal reasons in its usage. Autodesk has been a tad letigious of late, slamming SolidWorks/ Dassault over the use of DWG and yellow boxes on logos, so it was going to be a bit of a punt launching front of the Autodesk legal-team firing squad.

The name was undecided and the launch delayed. Our friend Kenneth Wong at Cadalyst Magazine has just reported that the launch is now set for February and the name that has been chosen is DoubleCAD XT. IMSI have never really won any awards for their naming and this looks like another head scratcher. The concept is that it’s good at drafting and detailing. The Professional version will be called DoubleCAD XT Pro. It supports AutoCAD AEC, Mechanical design and has a plethora of symbols. It’s actually more powerful than LT as it also offers a clever 2D constraints system.

Given the economic climate DoubleCAD is likely to repeat on Autodesk’s digestive system, hitting it in the low cost kidney. Last time anything like this happened it was IntelliCAD, which brought out an AutoCAD DWG clone for a couple of hundred dollars – this didn’t make much headway as it was rushed out and Autodesk countered with the 100% DWG advertising campaign, which reminded customers that DWG files created elsewhere were likely to be a bit crap and possibly corrupt your system or introduce errors. Who knows what mayhem this could end up causing, it could impact manufacturing, products and the harm the general public.

What’s different this time is that DoubleCAD will be free. So even if it’s not all they make out to be, more troublecad, it’s like SketchUp and it didn’t cost you a bean, and that’s cool. Autodesk will either ignore it or go for the DWG jugular again, This is something that the company is doing anyway, trying to trademark the term and stop everyone else from using it.

Should 2D CAD cost anything? Will IMSI ever come up with a decent name for a product? Time will only tell.

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