February 8, 2019
There have been some disturbing developments WRT your SketchUp product.
I recently got a popup message that support for SketchUp 16 has been discontinued. I cannot complain about this as, I am running the free copy. I appreciate your need to move forward with software improvements. I also appreciate your problems with software piracy.
What concerns me is that my existing copy of this software (i.e. SketchUp 16) might be shut down by you. I know that there is an Internet connection within this software hence, it seems entirely probable to me that you could shut it off at your discretion. This would sever my connection to many man-years worth of SketchUp projects that I have resident on my machine. You could, at a whim, effectively wipe out the many man-years of work I have invested in these projects.
I am currently not adverse to paying for SketchUp and, I have the financial means to do so. As I am retired, it is not clear that these circumstances will endure forever. I am afraid to invest in a version of SketchUp that can be yanked out from under me the moment I am unable to pay for a license renewal. Again, the current arrangement gives you unilateral power to sever my access to my own work. This violates my copyright.
I do not want to invest in a software package that retains my work on the Cloud or that relies on Cloud-based computational services. Such dependencies violate my copyright and my privacy. It makes sustaining security for my work a matter that is handled at your discretion or lack of discretion. It would make my security subordinate to the security of the Cloud. Let’s get real, you will be hacked sooner or later and probably already have been and likewise for the Cloud. This means I could and would get hacked along with you and the Cloud. No thanks. The only secure computer is one that will still run after I have disconnected it from the Internet. The only secure data is data that I physically back up and keep offline under my control. Anyone with a modicum of common sense and awareness can see the simple truth of this.
I have been given to understand that the newer versions of SketchUp still retain a feature that allows users to backup their projects to their own hard disks. Given my lack of control over licensing procedures and costs, I could still have access to my own work denied to me. This brings us full circle back to my copyright concerns.
SketchUp 16 notwithstanding, I once tried to download a more recent version of SketchUp, but it would not run on my machine because of a graphics card incompatibility. I cannot replace the graphics card in my laptop as it is built into the motherboard. Newer machines follow this same paradigm. I would have to buy a much, much more expensive machine to move up to a newer version of SketchUp.
I am certain that making the Internet the sole delivery mechanism for SketchUp is not the only way to cure your software pirating problem. I know that, at one time, I could load Blue Marble from a CD. The CD was labeled with a serial number that was registered to me. If I had to replace a hard disk, or if I moved up to a new machine, I would call Blue Marble and get a password good for only that day and hour. They were happy. I was happy. You could do the same and be happy, too.
I think I have made my strong reservations about the security of the Internet clear. These concerns go beyond hackers and malware. Ultimate control of the Internet may end up being vested in another country, group of countries or world wide political organization. Politics being as volatile as they are, I think it an unnecessary risk to make my computer, my software access and my data access dependent on unwanted partners. I want software and data that are resident on my computer and hence not subject to the serendipity fostered by third parties whose participation is technically unnecessary. In my judgment, modern SSD devices provide a speed-of-access that is perfectly acceptable for my needs. My Internet access is frequently much slower than an SSD and confers no particular speed advantage. Indeed, my Internet access is frequently subject to weather conditions, time-of-day traffic conditions and serendipitous “parameter resetting” by my ISP. I see no reason to consume additional Internet bandwith to accomplish tasks that can be more quickly handled by my own machine. I think it high time to sober up from the rampant “new tech intoxication” that the Internet has fostered and apply some serious critical analysis to the real state of affairs.
I like your product and, even without support for SketchUp 16, that product is sufficiently bug free that I find it usable. Hopefully you will not sever my access to it.
I am willing to consider buying a newer version of SketchUp including a new machine to run it on providing:
- You make SketchUp available via CD.
- You make SketchUp runnable without an Internet connection.
- You make SketchUp, SketchUp’s supporting files and my SketchUp projects wholly resident on my hard disk.
- You allow my copy of SketchUp to continue to run even if I cannot afford an update or a newer version.
Hopefully I have convinced you that:
- Respecting the copyright of your customers
- Respecting the privacy of your customers
- Supporting your customers with time-proven, common sense security procedures
- Respecting the investments your customers make when they commit to your product
are all good business practices.
Norman J. Berls