Autodesk AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT Cross Platform Licensing
With the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2019 for Mac release coming much later in the year than the windows version, a common question I get asked is “why are there separate Windows and Mac version releases?”.
This is with the understanding that AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT benefit from cross-platform licensing.
Cross platform licensing for AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT essentially lets you activate your CAD software on either Windows or Mac operating systems. This applies to versions 2013 or later and also supports subscriptions with multi-user access. Licences used on both Windows and Mac operating systems can pull from the same licences on the network licence server. Many software vendors, not just CAD Software, have separate versions across operating systems, many requiring a “duplicate” purchase, so although cross-platform licensing isn’t unique amongst CAD software vendors, it is certainly still a great benefit.
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2019 for Windows was released back in March 2018, a full 9 months before the Mac version this month. This is generally due to additional development required to ensure AutoCAD/AutoCAD LT is up to standard, but there is also alignment of the new Mac version with new Mac operating system releases and patches.
This alone does not justify a separate release schedule, so the next point is related to honesty and ensuring customers know what they are actually buying. Let’s say you purchase your AutoCAD subscription immediately after the 2019 Windows release, its’s all branded 2019 and you are thrilled to use all the new tools available. You would be disappointed and feel mislead if upon reviewing your download options, 2018 was still the newest version available. Personal disappointment aside, CAD software features can significantly increase efficiency and productivity – they can also be essential for a specific project, so this may have large ramifications.
The final reason is related to the packaging changes made by Autodesk over the past year or so. It is worth noting that cross platform licensing only applies to the individual products, AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD – where these products are present in Suites or Collections, cross-platform licensing does not apply. So, AutoCAD LT as contained in the AutoCAD Revit LT Suite is only available for Windows. The most recent example of this is AutoCAD Including specialised toolsets. This version of AutoCAD contains all the specific industry toolsets (Architecture, MEP, Mechanical and more). As those specific toolsets are not available on Mac, it would be extremely misleading to sell this as a Mac compatible version.
As two completely differing operating systems, there is bound to be some differences, maybe not in what the software does, but likely in the way it does it. These reasons offered hopefully, at least to some extent, justify two releases of the same CAD software.