Wednesday, June 13, 2012

software updates: friend or foe?

Design firms come in many different sizes, shapes, and types, but one thing they all have in common is the their software.  It's rare that you find an architect, landscape architect, interior designer, graphic designer, or any other design professional that has not heard of either Autodesk or Adobe.  Both of these companies lead the way in software production for all design firms, producing programs such as AutoCad, Maya, Revit, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver (just to name a few). 

I recently received an upgrade in hardware at work and as I was re-loading software, I began to wonder about the about the methods software companies use to update software from year to year and started to question these methodologies..

As many of our readers know, Adobe just released their latest "Creative Suites" package - CS6.  The new software is said to be a total overhaul in programs with new features added for a more productive use. Also, for the first time in Adobe's "CS" package, all programs will be 64-bit compatable, allowing for a huge boost in speed and quicker production.  This update, from CS5 to CS6 took a few years.  Adobe has been consistant in their releasing of software, allowing for some time between updates. 

Autodesk is signficantly different than Adobe in their approach on software updates.  Each year, Autodesk releases new versions of their software, claiming that they've added new features and have fixed "bugs" in their older versions.  These updates have consistantly been questioned by designers all over - and it shows! Each year, design firms question, "Is it worth updating this year?"  And each year we hear the same answers, "No way, it's not worth it until it becomes the industry standard!"

This is where I am beginning to question software companies (and more specifically, Autodesk).  They have found a way to release a new versions of their software every year, without once getting questions from their consumers.  Are we being treated fairly as consumers, or do we deserve a more fair system?  What about the added costs of updating?  Firms all over are still using outdated versions of the Suites and Autocad due to the added costs of these programs.  Wouldn't it be more fair if rather than needing to install a new version of the Creative Suites you could update your software with newer features for free?  As a consumer of these systems I find that it is unfair, and yes, these software companies are taking advantage of us.  It's time for a more afordable system to be put in place.  A system that can be more fair for both the providers AND the consumers!

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