AutoCAD 2015: Managing the Application Manager

AutoCAD 2015 includes a new feature called Application Manager. I’m sure it serves a lofty purpose, but it comes across a lot like the slimy Norton and Adobe updaters that are really just Trojans in disguise. It gets installed by default, with no option to prevent installation. To Autodesk’s credit, they do provide instructions for preventing installation of Application Manager, and instructions for removing it after the fact. Uninstalling requires several additional clicks, as if they really, really want you to think twice before taking such a drastic measure.

I don’t want anything starting when I log into Windows except the bare minimum, so I uninstalled Application Manager forthwith. It can be installed and started manually if I decide to use it later.


If you decide to use Application Manager, there are some configurable settings. There is even a UI for most of the settings (such as disabling the automatic startup), but there’s a catch: to use the UI for changing settings, you first have to agree to the Autodesk Privacy Statement (and give Autodesk access to information about your installed software). I’m sure this is just an oversight, but the paranoid will not find it comforting.

Application Manager settings are stored in a plain text file, located by default at:

“%AppData%AutodeskAutodesk Application Manager.ini”

If you don’t want to agree to Autodesk’s terms, you can still change settings by editing the .ini file in a text editor like Notepad (just enter the file path above in Start -> Run). For example, change the line to AutoRun=false if you want to disable “Automatically start when you log into the computer”. Note that this setting is somewhat misleading: Application Manager always starts regardless, but it quickly exits again if AutoRun is set to false. If you already agreed to the privacy policy, but have since changed your mind, you can set PrivacyPolicyLevel=0.

Update vs. Service Pack

Of course I’m talking about Autodesk’s newly reinvented nomenclature for bug fixes. Once upon a time they were known as bug fixes, then service packs, and now “updates”. Is the Autodesk marketing department running amok? The subtle spin is certainly a sign of the times, but I wonder if the change in terminology comes about for another reason as well.
Autodesk promises “features extensions” to subscription customers. They have had difficulty delivering such extensions on a consistent basis. One of the reasons, I suspect, is that developers of extensions encounter the same brick walls that third party developers battle all the time: AutoCAD bugs, of course; but also incomplete APIs and feature limitations. It’s possible that updates not only fix bugs, but also fill gaps so that extension developers can get their extensions working.
Then again, the change in terminology might be part of a new fad. My wife, who is an engineer working in the automotive industry, informs me that they no longer issue drawing revisions in her company. Instead, they now issue “updates”. I wonder how long it will be before auto mechanics stop repairing cars and start updating them instead.

Creative Marketing

This Autodsys press release made me chuckle. Their IntelliCAD based AcceliCAD now supports custom entities, announces the press release. “Instead of creating custom objects as is necessary in some other CAD packages the application developer can instead use the primitives already built into the program such as LINEs, ARCs, CIRCLEs, and POLYLINEs.” Hmmm, that sounds an awful lot like blocks in AutoCAD — a feature AcceliCAD has surely supported since its inception.

The press release continues, “That means there is no need to define grip points or editing operations for the entities because those functions are already built into AcceliCAD.”

ObjectARX programmers have been able to create custom objects in AutoCAD for years. One of the most common reasons for creating a custom object is to “define grip points or editing operations”. Otherwise, blocks work just fine in most cases.

Egyptian Pyramid Scheme

Deelip Menezes asks what got me started on lamenting the sad state of the CAD industry in my previous post. Good question.

It all started with a Fox News story about a French architect’s claim to have solved the “Pyramid Secret”:,2933,262981,00.html. The article links to Dassault Systemes’ web site: My snake oil alarm went off when I saw the site. I’ll admit I didn’t read it, but it looks like a slick marketing ploy. I was irritated that I fell for it. It reminded me of how insideous and incestuous this industry has become, now reaching out to mainstream media in search of new victims.


In some ways the CAD software industry is a lot like the fashion industry. The movers and shakers are trying to establish new fads that are just recycled from older fads, while guiding the unwashed masses into adopting new trends that have been carefully molded to ensure perpetuation of the system. Meanwhile the up and comers try desperately to get a share of the action, while an entire industry of hangers-on tries to eke out a living from the scraps left behind by the big players.

It’s a tired old symphony played on the world stage, with pretty much the same players today as twenty years ago. The same seamstresses making the same old faux fluff, dressing it up a bit, draping it over a new model, and parading it down the same old runways.

Bah! I’m going outside, maybe that’ll cheer me up.