“The Make users haven’t got much room to complain. They haven’t made a financial investment in the development of SketchUp.”
I am a Pro user; have been from almost the start. But I am also an extension developer. Some of which I sell. So I am not immediately affected as a SketchUp user. As a SketchUp developer, my audience has will be much smaller.
To say that the Make users haven’t room to complain and have not made a financial investment in SketchUp is both incorrect and ignores the business model that SketchUp was founded on. When developed by @Last Software, SketchUp’s strategy was to create a market by appealing to hobbyists with free software. @Last Software understood that by doing so many of those free users would both evangelize SketchUp and in time become Pro users. In addition, many of them convinced the company they worked for to adopt SketchUp. Without the free version, SketchUp would never have made it out of @Last Software; it would have died in incubation. Even today, if a free version of SketchUp were not available SketchUp would likely die a slow death.
Your argument that SketchUp 2017 is still here and still working, misses the point. Even a novice can read the writing on the wall; eventually, even the Pro will be cloud-based and the free version is aimed at education. Without a Ruby interpreter and extensions, SketchUp Free is simply a toy; it can’t even produce a cut list for woodworkers.
I am sure there will be improvements to SketchUp Free in the future, though users may grow too frustrated in the meantime and walk. Your prediction that they will include a Ruby interpreter soon may be wishful thinking. If that were their intention they should have made an announcement that indicated their roadmap intentions instead of raising concerns with their customer base.
The analogy of purchasing a table saw every year to acquiring a new software license is lame. The functionality of the table saw has had only one change since the Shakers invented it; now it may not cut off your fingers. Software, on the other hand, is expected to improve and change functionality yearly and within a couple of years be markedly different. SketchUp 2017 still leaves a lot to be desired.
SketchUp would do well to listen to the feedback of its users.