John, The first question is: Who else plays in the $750 range in CAD?
The second question is, How is someone getting away with a $750 program when most of the market is playing in the $5000 to $15,000 range?
You need to think that one through.
I will be the first to admit that Alibre has its problems. However, as someone who goes back and forth among and between Catia, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, ProEngineer, and Alibre, I can assure you that they all
have their weaknesses (as well as strengths) and problems. As someone who started using CAD in 1971 (Gerber IDS), I can assure you that this is nothing new. The thing about Alibre (and most CAD companies) is that their users
provide most of the real
support for other users. Try posting your question/problem in the forum at http://forum.alibre.com
and see who answers. This often alleviates the need for an official answer from Alibre -- and will often spark action
from Alibre itself.
It is a real PITA to constantly use work-arounds
to do things that should
be functional in the core kernel of the program. I have my own list of bitches in this regard for every
CAD product I use. As somebody who worked with Mark Eyelander (the programmer who created the original kernals for NURBS
, and ParaSolids
), I understand how poorly many things have been implemented and
how often the terminology
used by such systems is just plain wrong!
Unfortunately, John Walker established the norm
back when he created Autodesk. He insisted
that none of the programmers or testers have any experience in engineering drafting
-- and that is still the norm
today! Thus it is that every
major CAD system on the market today calls what traditionally was known as transforms
by the term loft
(there being no true lofting operand
of the <$30,000/seat CAD products on the market today). Yeah, it is a real PITA.
However, having said all that, just think what the market
for CAD products would look like without
Alibre? There are really no other low-cost CAD systems that have the grandfathered licenses
that allow it to work towards competing with the high-cost systems. (Here in the U.S. it costs a non-grandfathered (i.e. something on the market since prior to 1997) CAD company more than $150,000/year merely to get the testing done to qualify under ISO-10303 (aka STEP
).) TurboCAD, just about the only other program with this kind of history
has changed hands so many times that I doubt all their code exists in one place anymore (this being an opinion
and not an actual fact
-- but I was quite aware of what happened to TurboCAD when they were controlled by IMSI). If
David's assertion is correct that you do not
have a currently active for support
license for Alibre, then you
need to ask yourself if you
would be providing support to a non-paying customer? Without
ongoing (positive) cash-flow nobody
stays in business, right? If you are not
supporting the low-cost entry into the competition, you choices are rapidly going to devolve to paying the premium