Friday, July 9, 2010

Who Gave them the rights to my icon?

I was helping a customer today when he asked a question that is asked quite commonly by users involved with the constant struggle between good and evil, the dark and the light, the conservative vs. the liberal, the capitalist vs. the socialist. And it is a valid question, no doubt about that. But, since I have been working with computer aided design, and specifically windows based computer aided design for over 25 years and I have answered the question many, many times, I just wanted a different answer, and so this time I just wanted to have a little fun with it... Lets listen to my answer to how it happened that AutoCAD has the rights to use the icons in windows to launch DWG files, shall we? enjoy:


There is a long history to that. It seems that when Autodesk and microsoft first started working together they held an Auction for the right to be launched inside of windows by the icon. This was not uncommon as these types of rights were almost on continuous auction by one computer software company or another. Well, when it was Autodesk's turn to bid, John Walker got up to speak. Now at that time Autodesk was not the megolithic gobbler of small companies for breakfast innocent company they are today. Oh no, back then they had only produced 4 or 5 generations of AutoCAD, and had a long way to go before they earned their first Billion. So John was not as respected as he became to be, and when he announced his bid people were less than patient and quiet. In fact the chair overseeing the bid process thought John said he bid his Wife. And the chairman was not very pleased to hear it. So he told John he had to get out of the hearing. Not in such kind words either. There was an uproar and at the time Autodesk felt like it had just hit the brick wall all startups face in their early years. Phone calls were made from one coast to the other trying to patch things up between Mr. Walker and Bill Gates. The negotiations lasted three days before Bill finally relented and allowed Autodesk to corner the icon market for AutoCAD. So thats why now when you click on the little DWG icon in Windows Explorer it opens up AutoCAD instead of progeCAD.

It seems a little unfair when I think about how we were not even around then. No one ever did find out what the final bid was when they finally reached an agreement but there are those to this day who say that bill gates is now married to John Walkers wife.


I went on to explain to the poor fellow that I was actually pulling his leg, that there had never been an auction, that I did know who Bill was married to but I was fairly certain it was not John Walker's wife, and that you can simply install progeCAD again and it will regain it's rightful ownership of the icons inside Windows Explorer.

It's a Friday, what do you expect. I was bored.

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