Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Meeting with Autodesk

So, after my initial “rant”, I got a very quick response from Autodesk.  I already blogged and blabbered about that.  Then I followed up with another post a week ago.  Well, today was our first “meeting” by phone and I must say: I’m feeling very positive.

Our first meeting skimmed our list of basically 10-12 issues and dove into just a few of them in more detail.  Tomorrow we are scheduled to do a part 2 and dive a bit deeper.  The folks on the line were fully invested in the conversation, not just pretending.  I know.  I’ve been on both sides of these conversations for years.  I can smell fakeness in seconds.  They are geniunely interested in finding solutions and I’m saying that without having drank a single drop of kool-aid.

The key items on our list we are working on as of today is basically as follows:

  1. User Rights: Making all products work without requiring users to have elevated rights, even during the “first launch” of the product following installation.  This applies most to Inventor 2010 (dating back to version 11 though), which prompts the user to register (or “re-register”) on first launch.
  2. Installation/Deployment: Address the admin-image installation approach for easier bundling of multiple products.  Either of two solutions will suffice, but preferrably the first solution can be achieved.  The second would be a “plan B”:
    1. Preferred: Update the “setup.exe” to remain memory-resident until all sub-processes complete their work.
    2. Alternate: Provide detailed documentation on how to replicate the install process using the admin-image components (msi/mst, etc.) and the proper order of installation.
  3. Shortcuts: Address the issue of desktop and start menu shortcuts reverting to defaults upon “first launch” of the product.  This mostly applies to AutoCAD Mechanical 2010 (since MDT is going away), but even AutoCAD 2010 does this.
  4. Internet: Address the issue of products attempting to initate “backdoor” Internet connections during application launch.  User-initiated is fine, but hidden processes are a major badness.
  5. Uninstall: Address the uninstall process to suit item 2 above, as well as doing a more thorough job of removing in-use components.
  6. Raster Design: Address Raster Design’s integration with other products with respect to menus and profiles.
  7. Updates: Address the methodology and standard for delivering updates.  We also suggested creating a client-side manifest as a centralized inventory of all Autodesk updates for improved management capability.

Tomorrow’s meeting should be a good one, based on how today’s meeting went.  I will keep you posted.

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