Microsoft took over Caligari TrueSpace earlier last year and later released the software as freeware. They have now decided to discontinue TrueSpace - the first services will be disabled by tomorrow. This is a truly sad day for their loyal user base.
Ton Roosendaal, Lead Blender developer, reacts:
When I first saw Caligari on Amiga I was really blown away... imagine, over 20 years ago now, and it had full-window 3D perspective editing, drawing objects in solid even. To my knowledge this was the first editor dropping the traditional 4-split view, which was a big inspiration for me. In the years that passed I only occasionally looked at what trueSpace did, but I know they kept exploring innovative 3D editing, moving user input to the 3D window where ever possible. They even introduced integrated collaborative workflow via internet in their latest release.
Hats off to the Caligari team, and especially to founder Roman Ormandy. You've written a piece of CG history nobody will forget.
I know how it is to be locked up by corporate demands, and the tragedy of seeing your baby slip away in other hands... Blender fortunately escaped this route, and hopefully Roman will - in a few months when the dust has settled - find the method to make Microsoft accept a community buy-out too. Reading trueSpace forums, there's a massive and very devoted community there, don't underestimate their powers!
Looks like a more sufisticated sketchup client with blender tools.
Pretty stupid they first buy it and then stop it.
If you don't have a decent plan to run it why buy it?
I just want to say that when Truespace 7.6 was released as freeware I downloaded it and have enjoyed exploring what it can do. I had a feeling that something was might happen when the link to Vray was taken down. I was with them for a year but I will still miss TrueSpace as if I was with them from the beginning. And maybe the community buy-out could happen, (crossed fingers).
@Ton: your message says it all; a beautiful software that was and is 3D Legend.
Maybe, that they just wanted to destroy it and use the source for making their own application :(
I started in 3D with trueSpace way back in the mid '90s and was very active in their community. And while I dropped away from trueSpace and eventually took up Blender, I am very sad to hear about this. I know Microsoft must have made the decision to kill tS because of "bottom line" financial issues, but I wonder if they know (or care) that doing this sort of thing affects a lot of people who have used and loved trueSpace for years.
On the positive side, though, this will probably mean that more people will learn the power and beauty of Blender!
Typical Microsoft strategy.
If you needed another reason to use Blender instead of ***put the name of any commercial 3D modeling application here*** you have one now. If a commercial vendor go under: you're screwed. You don't have the source code!
trueSpace was the first 3d app I used, back to the Amiga times. I had the opportunity of running it on a Pentium 100 on 1995.
3d world is really shaked nowadays, with the announcement of Indigo and Kerkythea commercial versions, and now trueSpace ending.
Why not ask the Caligari team to help develop Blender then?
Integrate some TrueSpace in Blender.
Although it depends mostly on the caligari developers. After all everyone got to live...
I understand what is to developer losing control over his software... I wish I had Amiga in the times of its glory:P
Even if the first graphic which I had to deal with was Autodesk Animator ;/
meabe free code and addons for blender in near future!! big collaboration!
I hate seeing a freeware fall. with the ridiculous pricing of the proprietroy software, most non-professional users turn to free programs such as Blender or Truespace. I truly hope that Truespace is bought out by the community. Maybe it can became developed by a user-founded foundation like that Blender Foundation and keep it upgraded and user-scripting friendly.
They had the first....
1. 3d manipulator.
2. solid draw mode
3. full screen perspective view-port
I am very upset over this move.
I have a strong feeling that 10 years down the line it it will be Autodesk vs. Blender and every other 3D-software manufacturer will have vanished.
WOW ,I didn't knew that in the early 80' there were fully functional 3D apps, by then I was rather playing may toys:P Where we could find informations of computer graphics from that time? Is there any repository on internet that keeps track of pioneer software and such things like demoscene?
Oh man, I thought MicroSoft bought TrueSpace to get some good 3D tool for their 3D endeavors and I'm really dissapointed in them right now. I'm also a former TrueSpace user and it seems big companies work hard nowadays to buy out the competition and making the market much less diverse, removing legends from the market. I don't know the reasoning but they even could keep selling TrueSpace, instead they gave it away free. I'm sure it's all about Software Patents and bad things like that. I think we all agree that the GUI wasn't like all other MicroSoft standards and maybe that's one of the reasons too to discontinue it, but man I'm dissapointed in MicroSoft right now.
I don't care if MS would come with 'their own' 3D solution but do feel they demonstrated again that customers are secondary to them. I bet most TrueSpace users were very happy when they could get the latest version for free, and as happy they were then, I only can imagine their pain.
As for the chance of MicroSoft open sourcing it, I think that would never happen. (Or maybe you have to pay them a couple of millions). TrueSpace: RIP
Wow, this is really sad. After I had cut my teeth on Max at school I bought trueSpace (a more affordable solution for a student) and used it through several versions.
Skwerm, I remember you from my trueSpace days, especially after trueSpace implemented python scripting and we (mostly you) started posting scripts on the trueSpace forums. Even after I started using Blender I continued to keep an eye on developments at Caligari
I was really quite upset when I heard Microsoft bought them out, becasue I had a feeling something like this would happen. My hat is off to Roman and the trueSpace developers They truely were pioneers in the field.
Why would Microsoft buy Truespace, and then discontinue it ? Strange.
I wish Roman Ormandy could join Blender, participate with his ideas and colaborate with his talent.
Prophetic words. I completely agree. It might not even be 10 years at the rate Autodesk is buying stuff up and the rate Blender is developing. I see it as an inevitability at some point, as Linux challenged windows and eventually ousted them for good in the server market.
"To my knowledge this was the first editor dropping the traditional 4-split view, which was a big inspiration for me."
WOW! I am very happy now. I never understand the 4 split window thing...
I think Blender has the best GUI ever.
Microsoft did the same to flightsim x. bought it then twenty years down the line the entire team was shown the door (a few weeks ago)! well fortunately I am a fluid user i've just switched (kinda - still have my flightsimx) and I'm enjoying it!. I too hope former development teams join the opensource bandwagon!
EDIT:i switched to flighgear
I hope today more users will understand the importance of open source applications. Think of all the time TrueSpace users invested in learning the application, and now it's just gone (unless it can be bought from MS, as Ton said).
As someone who developed software for years, the same thing can happen to developers. It's difficult to learn a source code base, and then just have that source code yanked out from under you, and then start all over again somewhere else. Learning general purpose languages helps, but the older you get, the harder it gets to get up to speed on a complex application.
Good luck to all the TrueSpace developers.
I've read that open source developers can be paid even more than closed source developers - if I was looking for a paid position, developing open source software would be a high priority.
"but the older you get, the harder it gets to get up to speed on a complex application."
Sorry, but at this point I must disagree. From biological point of view it doesn't matter -Rather people gets trapped
by their routines...
Sad!! so sad!! Didn't Babylon 5 get created in this?
Microsoft should hand it over to the Blender Foundation, someone who knows how to deal with a community OS project.
Shame to let it die!
But I'm sure Ton would hand it over to Roman though.
I mean that in a good way.....
I'll put my spade away now.
Babylon 5 was created with LightWave 3D from Newtek (and Amigas). Different story, also a nice product and still successful...
However, TrueSpace was the innovative product which explored new ways in usage and rendering (since raytracing was too time expensive, TrueSpace used the (at this time) innovative shader algorithms).
Ah! I stand corrected! :)
Yet another good company falls to microsoft. Truespace 3 was the first 3D software I learned on years ago. Truespace gave me a big interest in 3D. I am very greatfull that blender is still here and going strong.
I cannot wake up from the nightmare we all have.
Autodesk buying Maya ???
Autodesk buying Softimage ???
Microsoft buying Truespace ???
Microsoft destroying Truespace ???
What the f**k is this ??? It looks like the end of the world of CG. And all of this because there are milions of dollars lost on Hollywood's side. Check out what happened to thepiratebay.org. These are all the same problems.
The powers wanting to seize the power, taking back people's voices. I am really worried if they don't somehow copyright the internet so nobody would access it.
Its very sad that a software, a piece of code, especially if it's 10 years old, gets thrown away.
There should be laws for this. Once a software that thousands of people have bought is made freeware, the source should be freeware, too, unless you have secret plans with it.
And if you decide to discontinue it, why not release the source code ???
Would someone find the secrets of windows if they access Truespace source ?
This is really crazy. It is more and more obvious that these corporations are the enemy of the free world.
And don't start with the economy crisis ...
Easy Seb! Back boy! Back I say!!!
See that Microsoft!! Nearly had a Seb chewing your gonads off then!!
But you make a good point, Maya, 3D Max, and others are all still stupid expensive, and things like Truespace get thrown away like unwanted toys from a spoilt kid.
Thank God Blender is nothing like in that situation!
Ton really is a rebel with a cause on this. As is every member of this community.
@agile: "Sorry, but at this point I must disagree. From biological point of view it doesn't matter -Rather people gets trapped
by their routinesâ€¦"
I agree there is some of that. But, as an extreme example, my 88 year old father is not going to be making any significant contributions to any project.
From my own personal experience (I'm 54), I've found it slowly getting harder.
I wonder, at what average age do Nobel laureates do their winning work?
Anyway, this is getting off topic and probably not appropriate.
Long live open source!
i see, that many us agree that the free softaware it becomes a very good choice, in the latest version autodesk publish, is strongly feel that the Maya did not have many improvements such as 3d max, it looks like they were discontinued over time in an indirect way, and now this happens with Truespace, is a pity indeed...
That's pretty sad.
Before discovering Blender, TS 3.2 was the software I used for quite a long while... I really hope a community buy-out could be possible. I'll be glad to see that happen.
There have been articles before on blendernation about ways to make transitions from Maya and Max to Blender easier. What about a trueSpace transition?
I used TS back in the day on my ol' AMiga. LOVED that machine! Since then I have used almost every 3d app out there and guess what? I always go back to Blender. TS was WAY ahead of its time and the developers and community were and are a class act. I would love for some or all of them to bring that zeal to Blender. The Blender community and developers are great but fresh ideas are always welcome.
I haven't heard of Truespace until now, but reading the comments, it was a big deal. The end of a software and its community is never happy, though, so Kudos to Roman Ormandy. But atleast more people might shift to Blender?
Well, they all are welcome to blender community.
If Microsoft closed it ,i guess it will be updated on a new software .
That now they knowledge about its limitations of upgrades on its engine .
Since Microsoft is not Blender ,dont fall all the hate on me .
But as i sayd before and everyones was on a try to kill me ...well ,
And why not Blendernize Microsoft with 3D content ?
I don't know ,but theres ideas for made use to this ,
do it for Blender then with a GNU content for Payd content .
Yeah its looks like a war about good and not so good .
That can start with some ScreenSavers to later something more .
And that GNU Licent is really all that FREE and OPEN SOURCE ?
Who's in charge to all of this ?Its really no ones land ?
I can see its as a basement to something else to forget .
OPEN MOVIE IDEIA
Like if some aliens fall in from another galaxy and want to take Blender ,
translating it to some new language like "1010376530101" that no one can understand .
Building it buildings up to this with a Blender logo on some poster wall ,but so far
something else like Blender to be what is it ?Did did saw that ?
The GNU Licence now on the hands of another living form make its user and its controlers
idealists crazy that wants to change it for a payd version .
A galatical war started then about the free with also a want to understand the space ,
a markething war for licence put the planet in check on the sight of unknow weapows
about to destroy the planet .
Who's gonna whin this ,economy its about to change ,virtual no never be the sabe ,
and everything the humans sometine knew is about to be destroyed .
Check out our feeds for this new release .Blender 3.0 Update is about to start .
I worth a million to the marketing or what ? hehehe
It is sad news, but I think that this movement will strength Blender in many ways.
I am newby on 3D modeling, I am lerning a lot with Blender.
But I am curious, if you see size of TS files vs Blender files it is almost 10 times bigger. So, my question is Â¿what can you do with TS and not with Blender?
Janidotux: "Â¿what can you do with TS and not with Blender?" --> Make bigger file sizes ;)
Janidotux, Blender has a very compact file representation, which may be why it's so much smaller. I don't know about TS's, but a file format that is in xml or otherwise human-readable will be much larger. Blender's file format is binary and not human readable.
So perhaps the answer to your question may be that you can print up a copy of the TS file and read it over breakfast with your coffee? (I'm not sure if this is the case, but it would account for the file size difference).
Such a damn shame. I first used TS back during it's 2.x. I cut my teeth in 3d using Truespace so I always appreciated Blender's similarities.
I hope the TS user community can free their program from the clutches of Microsoft. Good luck to them.
TrueSpace was perhaps the most innovative 3d program of its time. I can still remember being amazed at how you could paint textures directly on to the model, this was in the 90's, long before all the other behemoths, ie 3D Studio, etc, where you had to faf around with texture editors and texture plug-ins to do the same job.
TrueSpace is a monument to innovation and as such should continue in some form or other.
I had hoped that giving it away as freeware would herald the appearance of a new more powerful version, but not to happen, especially when a software giant famous for producing less than stable software, basically a service-pack vendor, takes over.
The King is dead, Long live the King!
Say it ain't so Microsoft!
I remember the early days of TrueSpace.
I almost chose it to be my main modeler back then because I loved the interface.
Good thing I didnt.
Once I started using Blender I never had a doubt for other software.
I've tested and used many others and still do but nothing compares to Blender.
There is a lot of other software out there and when compared with blender they can try and show it up.
Most of the time its said that another piece of software has a feature the blender doesnt, but its only cause
they dont know how to do it in blender but it can be done.
Anyway dont let Autodesk buy up Blender ever!! LOL
TrueSpace 1.5 was the first 3D package I ever used and made my first animations with.
After that I discovered Blender. At that time Blender still fitted on one diskette and Blender ran on my 486 laptop (I'm actually more impressed by that fact now then I was then.)
Anyway, it's a shame TrueSpace is dead now, but I'm hoping it will also be open-source one day.
Its so sad. Hopefull it wil survive in open-source. For many years i bought Truespace , and i like it. To day i only works with blender. The best opensource program ever i think
MS doesn't seem to know what to do with the 3D market.
I still have the complete box of Softimage|3D with the name Microsoft plastered all over it. MS doesn't seem to be capable to get revenues of it and finaly sold it off. Now it's happening again with TS.
If MS bought Autodesk, even then they can't handle it.
The only thing they are good at is office/windows (not starting a flamewar here) and killing of good 3D applications they have in their portfolio.
It's a big loss for the 3D market. Diversity in 3D apps results in new development.
Matbey Ton could get in touch with Roman Ormandy and see if any of his 3D knowledge can flow into Blender :)
I used to use Caligari, before it became truespace, on the Amiga. I was actually looking for printed manuals for truesapce 7.6 before this announcement. Now there is no point.
What has happened is terrible.
Microsoft will not give up the ghost on it. They will probably keep the code. If someone could find a way to release truespace, that would be brilliant, but Microsoft will probably kill it before allowing it to become freeware, as they oppose freeware in principle. The recent nonsense over file formats in court, should tell everyone that.
Autodesk has 3DS Max, Autocad, Revit, Inventor, Smoke, Toxik, Mudbox, Motionbuilder, Visualisation, Maya, XSI, etc.
Microsoft has bought and destroyed Truespace.
Only Lightwave, Houdini and Blender are independant.
There has been to much consolidation in the market for comfort.
I think now is a good time to back Blender if only to stop price rises due to monopoly.
Tbh I kind of expected something like this to happen.
Truespace was the first 3d program I used. Although I gave it up for another alternative after a years time, it certainly taught me a lot and gave me some good times.
This is typical, I was researching for the cheapest and most familiar 3D suite for my friends and I simultaneously find out that Truespace was freeware and is now being discontinued?
Damn, if I had them list their favourite 3D suites it would be 3DSM then TS. They're sure as hell not paying for 3DSM seeing as in the 10 years since they bought a license, nothing has changed that excuses the price-tag.
My friends have no choice but to accept their blender overlords do they?
Thankyou Microsoft, you sure know how to wrangle AutoDesk into ensuring that competing OS's don't get ports of AutoCAD.
Roman Ormandy must have made millions selling TS to MS. Now that it's discontinued he is free to enjoy his fortune afer 25 years of (hard) work on it. Good luck to him - he surely doesn't cry over losing TS. If he would have wanted to keep it, he shouldn't have sold his company and his brainchild to Big Bill.
About the users: how many paid for it, and how many just downloaded the free version. The latter should thank MS for the free ride. It isn't over, as the software doesn't stop working just from not beeing developed anymore. If you paid for 6.x or 7.x. Well you got what you paid for in yesteryear. Their is no garantee software is developed and enhanced forever.
All guys saying, that this couldn't happen to Blender: in theory you are perfectly right, but in practice there are thousands of abandoned open source projects - no one cares for and no one has time or knowledge to develop. Look at Open FX - if you want an example of a open sourced 3D app that was once nice but no community build to take on, after it was discontinued and
I think it is very unlikely for Blender to decay in this fashion, even if Ton Roosendaal drops out as a leader of this project some day (hope this is decades away). Blender may have reached the point where the community is so big and talented, that it will always be developed and enhanced by someone. But there is no 100% guarantee.
For example it could fork up and make 5 more and more incompatible version, with ego wars between main developers - turning off a lot of potential users and contributors - look at BSD Unix: 386BSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Dragonfry ...
To me the 3D market looked very crouded: how many big office software is there? It's MS or OpenOffice (with heavy investment of Sun/StarOffice). How many useful web browsers exist: MS Explorer, Mozilla, Safari, Opera.
A web browser of even a full blown office suite is toy stuff compared to a descent 3D animation package. Despite the much smaller user base for 3D there exist:
Maya, 3ds max, Softimage, Lightwave, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Modo, Blender, Realsoft 3D, Carrara, trueSpace, Hash A:M, Messiah Studio,...
A lot of specialized apps: Rhinoceros, MoI, Vue, Terragen, Zbrush, Mudbox, Silo, Bodypaint, Hexagon, formz, Amapi Pro, Poser, Quidam, MakeHuman, Motionbuilder, pM Animate, SketchUp...
Looks like a lot. So even Autodesk is king with a lot of big 3D applications, there is still a lot of choice. No need to panic, just because one app is discontinued. That's evolution. If there would be no change, the world would still be owned by the T-Rex...
It's Microsoft strategy! When they buy an adversary, they kill it to avoid a competitor to their products! Microsoft is planning to enter into the computer graphics arena. I'm sure they are doing research on it and they are preparing commercial 3D programs, it happened with other software. It happens again with TrueSpace.
And despite of Autodesk, blender and all the other 3D-Apps they have their own Game-Console. They'll build their own 3D-App and produce their own Games with in-house tools for the xbox. xbox-owners buy them at a average low price and are amazed by the bling-bling. Not even thinking about which quality-games an independent Software-company would have developed (for a lesser price)
I think when there is a interest in an open source software it will be maintained. As you correctly said, open source software *no one cares for* get abandoned. ;)
And you forgot Chrome as useful browser (maybe it is not the mature yet, but it will be in a very short time). And I wouldn't say that correct HTML+CSS rendering is toy stuff.
Well thats interesting,
Roman the ex CEO of Caligari posted at the TS Forums, here it is:
"First of all let me thank to those of you who posted here or sent me letters of support and stories of trueSpace, I was very touched by those e-mails and posts, it is a privilege to be given the opportunity and make a difference in lives of so many people. In that spirit I have a few positive news:
I am pleased to announce that trueSpace web site will stay live for at least 5 more months, albeit with less support and no new content other than new items on forums. You still will be able to download products of course.
We are also releasing trueSpace7.61 patch which includes many months of bug fixes and some new features in Link Editor and other places. Enjoy it!
Beyond that I am looking forward to dialogue in trueSpace comunity. I personally feel that best days for 3D authoring and collaboration are yet to come and there are many ways in which trueSpace team members and trueSpace users can participate in this exciting future, current difficult economic conditions nothwithstanding."
So the Forum lives for another good bit AND the new v7.61 IS OUT. The links in that URL below include SDK Downloads and a version of 7.61 WITHOUT the legacy part.
Get it here:
FREE FREE FREE!
Well that's too bad and this is not the first time that this kind of thing happens and it won't be the last. I don't know if any of you remember Genericad which was a piece of software that was competing in the CAD market in the low end many, many years ago. I remember that Genericad was starting to sell pretty well back there and it was a good economic alternative to the very, very expensive Autocad. It was a good piece of software that offered an affordable alternative to CAD back then, then guess what happened? Autodesk bought it and shortly after that they abandoned it's development altogether, an obvious move to destroy the software from the get go to get more market share, if it wasn't that good and they were not worried about the software eroding the low end CAD market why do you think they did this? Now Autodesk buys Maya and XSI, two of the mayor high end players in 3D software market and Adobe bought Macromedia the second mayor player in the graphics and other software market and now a lot of the best graphics software out there is owned by this two companies, this monopolization has consequences for the end user because if anybody looks at history you will know that monopolization always hinders innovation one way or the other, competition is something that gives people two important things, faster and better innovation and many times better prices. The people that pay the price for this are all of you, the end users. How do you think that the customer base of Genericad felt after what Autodesk did to them? After spending so much time learning how to use their software and then were not offered an upgrade path? What were they going to do? take some sort of offer from Autodesk to upgrade to Autocad and pay a whole lot of cash for it? That's not the reason they bough their software, they bough it because it was an affordable alternative and an upgrade to Autocad was not an option for them. And by the posts in this place I see that that's how many Truespace users feel now. I at least am a Blender user but when companies do this to software they seem to forget that it's not just a software that they abandon, they abandon all their user base and those people were the ones that supported the software all the way because if they didn't buy the software what were those companies that made them going to earn? When companies do this to programs is like they slap their user base in the face and THAT same user base is a lot of times the customers that also buy other software from them which is something that those companies seem to forget too easily. I really hope that Truespace becomes open source program for the sake of the Truespace community. Too Bad.
Oh, and by the way another example that I forgot to mention of a user base that was abandoned from Macromedia was the Freehand community. Adobe is just telling them that they have to switch to Illustrator of course and that's just a consequence of buying Macromedia because they can't keep developing two similar Illustration software that are too alike in features and price so again bye, bye Freehand and good luck to their user base.
I sort of agree with you.
Throughout human history it has been the community that ultimately owned and benefited from ideas, but of course twentieth century capitalism changed that.
Whether or not this is a good thing, I really don't know - there are good and bad arguments on both sides. But I do know that there is now growing evidence that communities were better off in the 1970s when fewer oligopolies ruled the world. Autodesk is an oligopoly (amazingly, before Reagan and Thatcher there used to be rules that prevented this from happening).
My feelings on intellectual property are this: If a community is paying for its use of an idea, then over time it deserves to take automatic ownership of that idea.
The period over which the community takes ownership should be long enough so as not to stifle entrepreneurship, but should also be short enough so the community benefits (this benefit must be in addition to any so-called economy trickle down effect because of the effectâ€™s gross inconsistency).
Can you imagine, say after 12 years of the release of Windows XP that its source code automatically becomes public domain.
On a closing note, did you know that over 57% of the Western population are violating at least one intellectual property related law in a non-petty way. Does this mean over 57% of the Western world are criminals - or does it mean that the rules need changing?
seems stupid microso$t would buy this program then dump it. all of there new windows products seem just like windows 95! nothing different really! there idiots and i think there losing money.
Well, what they did is unfortunately an exploitation of US tax and software laws. By buying Truespace, they own the rights to its source (which they can still use later), but by posting losses on Truespace which then "forced" them to shut down Truespace, Microsoft can write it off as a loss and salvage tax expenses on it. This allows them to maximize profits on their next 3d software endeavor without having to pay steep costs in the short run. That is the way American tax laws can screw the end-users while keeping the rich in power.
Microsoft creating a 3d software package? hahaha... sure.
Microsoft should stick with Office. And be glad if they can survive with that.
People are getting tired driving the trabant amongst the computers.
TrueSpace, the fist 3d modelling program I used... until I found blender :D
This wouldn't be the first time Microsoft bought an Amiga developer in order to cannibalize their technology. They did it before with a music program called Bars and Pipes Professional. For the longest time it was the MIDI sequencer of choice for the Amiga.
At least TrueSpace lasted this long, although I didn't really like the interface any more than I did when the Amiga version was called Caligari.
well i always liked truespace but never really got into it. i like blender alot! :D
wish it werent so hard to understand thou :(
Go thing i switched to Blender several month ago and i'm not looking back
Good bye Truespace and Caligari. The only software that delivered for the price!!!
AMIGA and truespace forever.
- maxon cinema
I can't fathom why microsoft would dissolve truespace unless it meant implenting a truespace clone in silverlight or directx frameworks.
I've used trueSpace right from the beginning of it's release on the Windows platform in 1994. V 2.0 was a big improvement with solid realtime modeling via DirectX.
I have tons of stuff I made in trueSpace back some 20 years, that I would like to import into Maya. That's been a hit and miss thing.. Getting to the application is cumbersome, because it's on my old PC, which isn't on a network, and it's ancient TI4600 graphics card can't drive my HP flat panel monitor properly, so it's a pixillated world, accessed via a mouse instead of tablet. I've opened a couple of files and exported them as DXF with some success. Then copy to USB drive and sneakernet to the main workstation.. would be nice if I could convert the files some other way.