SolidWorks V6 is not SolidWorks


Two years ago, at SolidWorks World (the show) SolidWorks (the company) showed what appeared to be the next generation of SolidWorks (the software): SolidWorks V6 (also software.)

SolidWorks (the company) got major flak from bloggers concerned that SolidWorks V6 (the software) would replace SolidWorks (the software.)

This year, at SolidWorks World (the show), Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks (as the company is now known) didn’t talk much about SolidWorks V6 (the product), other than to say that they’d talk about it in 2013.

Now that we’ve got that all clear, let’s talk about what matters: SolidWorks V6 is confusing branding. It confuses not only users, but even pundits who write about CAD software.

My understanding, after talking to company representatives at SolidWorks World, is that SolidWorks V6 is the name for not just one product, but a future series of products. Those products may incorporate some existing SolidWorks technology, but they’ll be based largely upon CATIA and ENOVIA V6 technology. Because they’ll use the CGM modeling kernel (which was originally written for CATIA V5), they’ll likely be more compatible with CATIA than with today’s SolidWorks.

It makes sense that Dassault Systèmes would want to leverage the strength of the SolidWorks brand for this upcoming series of products. The SolidWorks brand is one of the strongest in the MCAD world. If SolidWorks V6 were actually based on, and entirely compatible with, SolidWorks—the name might fit. But it’s not, and it doesn’t.

The SolidWorks V6 name creates unnecessary fear, uncertainty, and doubt among SolidWorks users who are concerned that they’ll be forced to transition from a CAD program they know and (sometimes) love to this new technology, whether they want to or not.

What’s particularly unfortunate is that, if Dassault Systèmes had originally used a code name for the technology instead of calling it SolidWorks V6, they never would have created this whirlwind of FUD among their users. People might have seen it as just what it is: A really interesting future product, that they might want to add to their portfolio of CAD tools some day (when it’s ready.)

The bottom line is that the new technology called SolidWorks V6 isn’t SolidWorks, and won’t replace SolidWorks. According to Fielder Hiss, SolidWorks VP of Product Management, the development team working on SolidWorks 2013 is even larger than the teams that worked on previous versions.

The real SolidWorks—the CAD program now used by about 1.7 million people—is going to be around for a long time.

12 Comments on “SolidWorks V6 is not SolidWorks

  1. The confusion over SolidWorks and SolidWorks V6 and the kernels they will use has been seized upon by Siemens Solid Edge US marketing and some of their VAR’s. Siemens Solid Edge US marketing, instead of going after SolidWorks many flaws, have instead decided to compound the FUD about SolidWorks and SolidWorks V6.

    Using FUD isn’t going to help Siemens or their VAR’s convert SolidWorks users to Solid Edge ST. I think pointing out how dated SolidWorks is, like I have on my blog, is a much more effective technique:

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA

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  3. Hi, Dan. I don’t see SolidWorks changing from Parasolid. I think it would be too much work to do so. What I do see is SolidWorks being phased out if SoidWorks V6 with the Catia kernel is accepted. I really don’t have a problem with SolidWorks wanting to develop V6 and I think it’s a very smart move. The big problem isn’t really the kernel it’s that SolidWorks is old and very dated in so many ways. That SolidWorks Corp. didn’t address this situation sooner is to me sad. I certainly tired for many years to get them to listen.

    I think it’s much more significant to discuss whether the new head of R&D for SolidWorks will be able to successfully implement the direct modeling tools that SolidWorks so badly lacks compared to Solid Edge ST. To me SolidWorks World 2012 was a huge disappointment and nothing announced was very significant.

  4. Nice writeup Evan.  The lack of a good code name, caused many to brand it as SolidWorks V6.  As Ralph Grabowski had commented, it would have been good for them to give it codename without the name “SolidWorks” in it.  SWV6 is indeed a platform and will umbrella many tools for cad, fea, pdm, etc.  
    It will be interesting to see how the message will unfold over the next 1.5 years.  Unfortunately, telling the world about the plans back at SWW10 and then silent for the next two years has made many impatient and wondering.
    I supposed we will all get a feel of what it may be like when SolidWorks Live Buildings is out in Q4 of this year….maybe. ~Lou

  5. Fielder Hiss, SolidWorks’ VP of product development, said in a press briefing on 2/16/2012 that the current version of SolidWorks will continue to be developed (not just supported) until there is no more demand, and will continue to be based on the Parasolid kernel. We are not “quitting Parasolid.” Only the new V6 applications will use a different kernel. There will be a Parasolid-based SolidWorks 2014, 2015, 2016, etc. We have not set any end-of-life timelines for existing products. The existing SolidWorks tools will continue to be developed until our customers tell us they no longer want or need them.

    Matt / SolidWorks

  6. If there was one mistake that SolidWorks made, it was disclosing their plan to develop a “next generation” mainstream platform.

    If they haid said nothing, the CAD pundits would have gone merrily along, praising Autodesk for their non-integrated “bundle/suites”, Siemens for their efforts in direct editing, etc.

    The fact is, hundreds of thousands of commercial users are effective using SolidWorks (the current product).

    The rampant speculation from bloggers and the press is just that, speculation.

    I realize that everyone wants to know what DS/SW is up to, but I don’t fault DS/SW for not showing their cards.

    From my decades of experience working with software developers, I’ve learned that you should never talk about the future, or commit to specific timelines.

  7. I don’t see SolidWorks being around for the long haul, the new HQ doesn’t have “SolidWorks” on the building, it say’s “Dassault” and it’s obvious we all will eventually be left with a take it or leave it approach when the time comes.  I imagine a transition where SW as it is will be around for a few years, then eventually we may have no choice but to go with the new.  I can’t blaim Dassault, why continue to pay royalites using Siemens Kernel, thing is they dragged their feet for too long and should have done this a while ago.  I like Catia so I’m not complaining.

  8. Is there any news on a future Mac OS X version?

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  11. Does anybody remember the axiety that abounded when Autodesk began talking in meetings and back-rooms about Rubicon?

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