I will indeed continue to drive my “car” for a while, but I very much don’t want to be in the situation where I am driving my car like normal, and I take it to the gas station one day expecting to get more gas, and suddenly discover that all gas stations have been simultaneously upgraded to electric-only refueling and no longer sell gas, so that suddenly I am unexpectedly left stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no transportation and a desperate need to be somewhere.
Also, note that if SketchUp was a car, that it would be one for which the manufacturer made purchasers sign a contract (Trimble’s EULA) when they buy the car such that under no circumstances will “car owners” open the hood or attempt to figure out how the car works or attempt to repair anything inside it themselves or allow third parties to do so. In this case, the car manufacturer also apparently considers blueprints (source code) to be trade secrets. Consequently, if my abandoned-by-the-manufacturer car ever breaks unexpectedly, I will be completely helpless. The manufacturer won’t repair it, and they won’t allow anybody else to either. (Note, by the way, that such a contract for a car would be illegal, in blatant violation of the Magnuson-Moss warranty act, and that the legality of “licensed, not sold” contracts for other types of goods like software is rather legally questionable and has failed before when tested in court. But I digress…)
How long would you drive a car under these conditions? Wouldn’t you try to get a new car as soon as reasonably possible before unexpected circumstances (breakage, incompatibility) inevitably forced you to do so anyway, probably without warning and at the worst possible time?
If Trimble goes out of business or decides that future development of SketchUp (or SketchUp Free) is not in their best interests, their cloud service could go away with little warning, and anyone with data left in it could simply be out of luck. Even people with SketchUp Make 2017 installed on their own desktops could see their access to online services (extensions, plugins, model libraries, etc.) disappear without warning, with no recourse. And of course bugs, even serious ones, would never be fixed. (At least Blender was sold to the Open Source community for future development when the company that created it decided it was no longer financially viable. I see no fallback position like that here.)
I am a software developer by profession. Software rot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_rot) is a real thing: I have learned the hard way not to invest large amounts of effort into dead and dying platforms, programming languages, and software tools. (“There is nothing as difficult and as expensive, but also nothing as futile, as to try to keep a corpse from stinking.” – Peter Drucker.) It remains to be seen whether SketchUp’s formerly dynamically thriving ecosystem can withstand being divided strictly into “people who can’t write or use extensions and can afford to trust all of their work to a potentially-unavailable-at-any-time severely-memory-and-performance-limited unscriptable cloud-based webservice” and “people who can afford to pay $700 for a CAD tool”. The reason I wrote my above post was to hope that long before I have had to make a decision to abandon Sketchup Make 2017 for something else, that Trimble will have given me, and people like me, an additional alternative to these options.
I can still use Sketchup Make 2017 for the time being. It meets my current needs of the moment, provided I don’t run into severe bugs. But if a year or two goes by and nothing has been done about this situation, I will assume that the hobbyist market for the product is effectively dead, and I will be seriously looking for alternatives. I hope that doesn’t happen, because I like SketchUp, and I have invested considerable time and effort into learning how to use it, but just as Trimble faces financial realities, so do I, and cutting my losses and starting to devote time to learning a new piece of software (instead of spending time becoming more expert at SketchUp) will eventually seem like the least risky strategy.