Autodesk's version of the FeatureCAM end user license agreement - Page 9
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  1. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    Drama aside, the ex-delcam products that I still have on active maintenance behave similarly!

    OT, but how are you getting on with the new interface? I trialled it to see if it might be worth getting back on board for and was unimpressed. I normally like the ribbon interface, but in FC it seems like an extremely poor half baked implementation for purely cosmetic purposes, just a facade with all the very outdated and extremely clicky dialogue boxes still present and correct behind the window dressing, just requiring more clicks to get to now...
    With apologies to the OP for the OT...

    For me these interface changes are irritating, but minimally so. As far as Featurecam is concerned, I give them credit for putting a switch in the hidden, CTRL-RMB menu to revert to the classic menus if you like. As for their ribbon implementation, this is the third time I've experienced this type of change. When Delcam plugged Festurecam into Solidworks (Delcam for Solidworks - DFS) their ribbon followed Solidworks UI reasonably well, but the moment you clicked on anything you saw the legacy dialog boxes. And the same is true when Mastercam added the ribbon in 2017/2018; new ribbon, but familiar dialogs. I just feel software companies are not about to redo all the legacy code for anything under the surface.

    And if they were to mess with those legacy dialog layouts, the number of torches and pitchforks would multiply dramatically.

    Fred

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  3. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freds View Post
    And if they were to mess with those legacy dialog layouts, the number of torches and pitchforks would multiply dramatically.
    Agree that similar transitions have been very painful for other softwares. However, those legacy dialog boxes are one area that desperately DOES need addressing in FC IMO. It's one of the most clicky pieces of software I've ever used - what they've done is added some window dressing that actually exacerbates the underlying problem AFAICT.

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    In cases like wheelieking's, where you have paid for software, is it possible to somehow clone the drive so if that computer dies you can put the cloned drive into another computer?

    One piece of software I "own" and have the disc, I can't load it onto another computer without vendor participation. In wheelie's situation it appears Autodesk would not help him in the event of a computer death.

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    Not quite sure about Wheelie's situation, but recent Featurecam comes with two seats, Work and Home. So you can set it up on a second machine to keep as a backup. If it was purchased far enough back, then as long as you have the disks, dongle and .paf file (stored on USB stick) then I don't think Adesk/Delcam need get involved.

    Fred

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freds View Post
    Not quite sure about Wheelie's situation, but recent Featurecam comes with two seats, Work and Home. So you can set it up on a second machine to keep as a backup. If it was purchased far enough back, then as long as you have the disks, dongle and .paf file (stored on USB stick) then I don't think Adesk/Delcam need get involved.

    Fred
    What if the dongle fails and Autodesk refuses to replace it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by converterking View Post
    What if the dongle fails and Autodesk refuses to replace it?
    Not "what if". If your dongle fails, your screwed. There are no replacements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    Drama aside, the ex-delcam products that I still have on active maintenance behave similarly!

    OT, but how are you getting on with the new interface? I trialled it to see if it might be worth getting back on board for and was unimpressed. I normally like the ribbon interface, but in FC it seems like an extremely poor half baked implementation for purely cosmetic purposes, just a facade with all the very outdated and extremely clicky dialogue boxes still present and correct behind the window dressing, just requiring more clicks to get to now...
    In all honesty I am a rather huge Powermill, Powershape fan. When they came out with the new "ribbon" format, I was more than pissed off. There are a few more clicks to get what you need, and all my custom buttons had to be re-done, and I waste allot of time fumbling around like a newbie. Now a month or so into it, I sort of understand why they did it, and I am getting used to it. Bottom line, they added enough very nice new things to make my bitching about the interface well worth it. Now, if they would have just added the new things, and left the interface alone I would really be a happy camper. Based on the ass ripping they are getting on the Powermill forums, I am not alone with my opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5 axis Fidia guy View Post
    In all honesty I am a rather huge Powermill, Powershape fan. When they came out with the new "ribbon" format, I was more than pissed off. There are a few more clicks to get what you need, and all my custom buttons had to be re-done, and I waste allot of time fumbling around like a newbie. Now a month or so into it, I sort of understand why they did it, and I am getting used to it. Bottom line, they added enough very nice new things to make my bitching about the interface well worth it. Now, if they would have just added the new things, and left the interface alone I would really be a happy camper. Based on the ass ripping they are getting on the Powermill forums, I am not alone with my opinions.
    Those products already had much more modern interfaces than FC.

    I don't know if you're familiar with Featurecam or not but it's built on a really horribly antiquated app framework that started life on W95/NT4 and basically stayed there. I forget it's name. Every dialog box looks like someone up-ended a big box of w32 widgets on a blank canvas and called it good. Delcam never fully ported it away from that when they bought it from ECS - I suspect the undertaking was deemed too much effort - they just prettied it up here and there over the years. Now AD are doing the same, at least in their first bash at it.

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    FeatureCAM descended directly from EZCam, which was a Bridgeport offering back in the late Eighties and early Nineties and originally running on Win95 with the DOS underbelly. ( I actually still have the floppy install disks.** ) ( EZMill, EZTurn, & EZCAM ) It was elegant in its execution, very simple, and very powerful. My understanding for years has been that the Boys in Birmingham bought that and started down the road that led to PowerMILL.

    ** - In fact, I wish I could because the turning program was super simple, super slick, and super powerful. It's basically to turning what I feel BobCAD v19 ( yes, v19 ) is to WEDM. You can't find a faster, easier, and yet powerful way to program for that purpose...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5 axis Fidia guy View Post
    In all honesty I am a rather huge Powermill, Powershape fan. When they came out with the new "ribbon" format, I was more than pissed off. There are a few more clicks to get what you need, and all my custom buttons had to be re-done, and I waste allot of time fumbling around like a newbie. Now a month or so into it, I sort of understand why they did it, and I am getting used to it. Bottom line, they added enough very nice new things to make my bitching about the interface well worth it. Now, if they would have just added the new things, and left the interface alone I would really be a happy camper. Based on the ass ripping they are getting on the Powermill forums, I am not alone with my opinions.
    100% agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahnrad Kopf View Post
    My understanding for years has been that the Boys in Birmingham bought that and started down the road that led to PowerMILL.
    I thought that Powermill was descended from DUCT?

    Featurecam was developed by EGS who were bought out by Delcam in 2005. I don't know the history prior to that, but I know Powermill was available for a number of years before that acquisition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    I thought that Powermill was descended from DUCT?

    Featurecam was developed by EGS who were bought out by Delcam in 2005. I don't know the history prior to that, but I know Powermill was available for a number of years before that acquisition.
    No, no... You are absolutely correct... I phrased that incredibly poorly and hurriedly... I had meant to say "led to many developments in PowerMILL". Of course, it occurred to me after I had walked away... zero sleep last night with a sick dog and not enough coffee in the world at the moment.

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    Zander
    EZCam started early 80's ran on a NEC 3 color monochrome all on one unit with 2 8" floppies.
    Used it in Chicago in 85 to cut Architectural model for SOM.
    It was also ported to Mac OS in the 90's we had 3 seat at our model shop in CA until we switched over to surfcam.

    they are still around just do a search people are still using it, Bridgeport aka Textron no longer own it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourDumore View Post
    Well, I can partially see your point there because there is nothing stopping you to have one standalone computer loaded with the old version using a dongle as the licensing agent,
    all the while you can have a second machine, on which the fully legal current version resides which is licensed through the web.

    Now, a few caveats:
    ADSK-s prior licensing agreement allowed a valid license holder to:
    a: Have the current version, and up-to three prior releases installed on the same computer
    b: In addition to the primary license, you were allowed to have a "home" seat activated under the same license.

    Also.
    Up-to the acquisition of Delcam, FC was either licensed through a hardware dongle, OR a license server.
    So, for those who had a dongle based version, it was in fact their De-Facto license. Period, The End.
    Now that ADSK switched FC to a web based licensing method, current and future versions no longer care about, nor can possibly check for a valid dongle.

    So, as a result with the current licensing agreement, ADSK is:
    a: Revoking your previous right to install, run, use, have-at-hand etc. any versions that are not current.
    b: They are attempting to confiscate all otherwise "your" property by demanding the return or destruction of a dongle.
    ( dongle being a piece of hardware, and as previously stated, license )

    Tell me how is this different than say going to lease a new Ford truck, pay the lease price as asked, and then be forced to return or run off the cliff the one you have within 90 days?


    As a secondary caveat.
    If you choose to be on maintenance for the purposes of having the latest, most complete, up-to-date version of the software to have at your disposal at all times, it means
    that you need or want those features offered, AND that you also plan to support further developments.
    In the process, you also accept the fact that none of your older versions be able to read, use, access or modify the data created by the upgraded, current versions.
    Which means - that for all intents and purposes - having an older version side-by-side the current one is useless for anything other than finding out what they've
    fucked up in the upgraded "new and improved" version, OR ( as it's often the case with ADSK ) what piece of software you no longer have access, or the right to use.



    version
    There can be a need to have more than one version at the same time. I have ran into that problem. If you have older 32bit files they need to be updated in 2017 or 2018 before you can import them into 2020. So older versions of your programs won't open in 2019 or in 2020. They have this converter but it only half works

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    Quote Originally Posted by skoobiz View Post
    There can be a need to have more than one version at the same time. I have ran into that problem. If you have older 32bit files they need to be updated in 2017 or 2018 before you can import them into 2020. So older versions of your programs won't open in 2019 or in 2020. They have this converter but it only half works
    Actually, that is one thing they've managed to fix ( the ONLY thing! )
    In Version 2020.2.2.0009, you now once again have the ability to open 32 bit files saved prior to Rel 2017.
    ( of course the question is still begging to be asked: What shitforbrains decided initially to take that ability away ....)

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    Quote Originally Posted by skoobiz View Post
    There can be a need to have more than one version at the same time. I have ran into that problem. If you have older 32bit files they need to be updated in 2017 or 2018 before you can import them into 2020. So older versions of your programs won't open in 2019 or in 2020. They have this converter but it only half works
    They have added back the ability to open 32 bit files in one of the recent updates.

    Edit: Sorry Seymour, somehow missed that you'd just written that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    They have added back the ability to open 32 bit files in one of the recent updates.
    Umm, I'm pretty sure both you guys know that files don't have bitness ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Umm, I'm pretty sure both you guys know that files don't have bitness ?
    Well, apparently ADSK is not on that same page.

    But, this is a funny.
    With each release or update, there is a release note from Autodesk.
    Each release note begins with:

    In a continuing effort to provide high-quality products, .... blah blah blah
    And then, just about 2 interim updates later, here is this gem:

    32-bit file compatibility: This update removes the ability to load legacy 32-bit FeatureCAM part files (.fm, .mf, .tsf, .md) saved from a 32-bit version of FeatureCAM. This does not affect part files saved from FeatureCAM 2016, 2017, or 2018 versions, but may affect files from earlier versions. Note that the initial 2019.0 release maintained support for these legacy files, so users who have files that need conversion may use that release to re-save them.

    Now here comes the asshole inside me to make a cynical comment on the possible reason for that.
    Since your license grants you the right to own and use the current version and 2 previous releases, they absolutely had to maintain backwards compatibility for 3 releases
    ( not necessarily save-as previous, but at least open-from previous 3 ), otherwise risk pissing off the brand new "subscribers".

    So, they choose the next best thing: They pissed off all older, dongle-based FC users who were loyal customers for years.
    You see, if you purchased a license anytime in 2015 or prior, AND you did not stay on maintenance, then you obviously don't give a flying [email protected] about compatibility.
    IF however you've remained loyal, kept up your maintenance and continued to use the new versions, you were SOL for files created on older versions,
    which in turn made ALL of the seats of previous versions useless, forcing you to discard it along with the dongle and switch to maintenance on them as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourDumore View Post
    Well, apparently ADSK is not on that same page.
    They are fucking you with version control, has nothing to do with 32 or 64 bit, files do not have bitness, you can store the same files on an 8 bit dos floppy as you do on the newest apple 64-bit whatever. It's just a file, a collection of characters in a row.

    You can't switch between different file systems unless the operating system understands both, but as far as I know, Windows still uses NTFS and FAT32. The files themselves are the same, it's just Autodicks finding innovative new ways to bend you over.

    If you had the time, using a hex editor you could probably find what they are using to tell the application what version it was written in. Change that and viola, file will read fine.

    If the newer version of the program uses features that were not present in the older version it may not work correctly, but the application is going to open it.

    Here's an example - Postscript does this in the open at the beginning of a file, so they can figure out how to deal with different printers. But the same thing is commonly done in applications, for other (and sometimes nefarious) reasons. Open your part files in a hex editor and search for strings, chances are you will see how they are doing this.

    %!PS-Adobe-3.0
    %APL_DSC_Encoding: UTF8
    %APLProducer: (Version 10.7.5 (Build 11G63) Quartz PS Context)
    %%Title: (todos)
    %%Creator: (TextEdit: cgpdftops CUPS filter)
    %%CreationDate: (Tuesday, February 18 2020 11:14:04 CST)
    %%For: (fred_flintstone)
    %%LanguageLevel: 2
    %%PageOrder: Ascend
    %RBINumCopies: 1
    %%Pages: (atend)
    %%BoundingBox: (atend)
    %%EndComments
    userdict/dscInfo 5 dict dup begin
    /Title(todos)def
    /Creator(TextEdit: cgpdftops CUPS filter)def
    /CreationDate(Tuesday, February 18 2020 11:14:04 CST)def
    /For(fred_flintstone)def
    /Pages 1 def
    end put

  21. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    They are fucking you with version control, has nothing to do with 32 or 64 bit, files do not have bitness, you can store the same files on an 8 bit dos floppy as you do on the newest apple 64-bit whatever. It's just a file, a collection of characters in a row.
    That's only true of text encoded files, which most are not in reality.

    It's perfectly common and normal to encode data files as packed binary, and if for example you write a struct of ints out to file as packed binary, then read it straight back in into 64 bit memory space it will be completely garbled as the offsets will just overlap. In such cases you have to know explicitly that you are unpacking int32s rather than int64s. Simplified example, but.

    And, in any complex piece of software like FC it's almost a given that there will be some amount of binary blobs in the data file, it's just inescapable.

    One of the things that has to be done when moving an extant application to a new bitness is that file i/o has to be rewritten to remap binary data as it's being read in, unless someone somewhere in the original development was prescient enough to include support for different bitness to begin with (which is common on cross platform software as they already have to support different endianness, but not on windows only software).

    So, AD can be accused of not wanting to spend the development time, but probably not deliberate version control. And if we're feeling exceptionally generous, this particular quirk is really Delcam's fault at it's core.

    While we're on that subject, Delcam were exceptionally slow to go to 64 bit, and lack of development foresight was probably the reason. I had two Delcam products during the transition to AD, and both of them had trouble with the 64 bit transition.


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