Bye bye SketchUp since forced subscription licence

I don’t really like the Rhino interface, but I love Grasshopper.

I use 100% SketchUp + Layout to produce everything in my activity as an architect. However, since Trimble’s acquisition of SketchUp, we have experienced very disappointing development. Since 2 and a half years, I have learned and use Grasshopper on Rhino 5 Mac every day. I develop solutions that allow me to do without VisualArq which only works on Windows, and which disappointed me with its bugs and its slowness.

For the past few weeks, Trimble has abandoned support for our perpetual licenses, to force us to rent the software. I have been using it for almost 20 years, I will use a version that will no longer be able to update and I will gradually abandon it in the coming years to adopt Rhino definitively.

There is a lot of dissatisfaction on the SketchUp forums.

This to tell you several things:

  1. There are a number of us who NEVER adopt the software by subscription. So far McNeel’s licensing policy has been cool.

  2. I am careful to upgrade my version of Rhino to 7 on the Mac. I’m careful to run Rhino someday on Apple Mac Sillicon (ARM) because of the huge performances that are starting to leak. Maybe Intel X86 is a dead end technology for performance compared to ARM ?

  3. Just in case, I coded a small prototype of Grasshopper-like

  4. If Rhino’s licensing policy remains cool and Rhino continues to be developed on the Mac, you can be sure that I will be promoting it, as I have been promoting around me, of SketchUp. SketchUp success is the result of enthusiastic user.
    For the moment, I am concentrated on solutions to do better and faster with Grasshopper what I do on SketchUp.

Interesting, can you expand on that a little?

Yeah that sucks! I’ve encountered the same marketing ploy with many other apps and also abandoned them. I hope McNeel doesn’t flirt with that idea, otherwise it’s time to say goodbye to Rhino/Grasshopper.

Absolutely. They currently have a very exemplary licensing policy and pricing model.

As you should be and not only because of Apple’s move to ARM-based macs, which probably won’t pose a big problem. Compatibility issues between Rhino 6 and 7, deliberate or not, will later force users of RhinoWIP 7 to update to Rhino 7 straightaway, if they want to keep using their files previously created in the beta version. I fell for that once, during the transition between version 5 and 6, and surely won’t again. :wink:

Wut? O.o Tell me more.

Really? How? Can you show something, or is this only a tease? :wink:

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It remains to be seen when Rhino will support ARM (new Mac), as it may require a large scale of code rewrite.

There are several directions of work. One of them is very easy. It is very easy to produce architectural entities with Grasshopper, such as slabs, columns, parametric floor levels (which VisualArq does not do before the v2). On the other hand, the creation of wall, requires another approach, on which I am working.

we agree

I am not sure. There is too many third development library inside Rhino. I hope the Rhino dev team will find solution. But back to the Apple move from Intel to ARM, I think there is an anticipation that is not just about Apple. Maybe the future is ARM. Apple had often anticipated future of technologies.

It is too early. I just made a Proof Of Concept into some hundreds of lines of code, if I can reproduce the Grasshopper principle concept. I made it in Swift to learn it at the same occasion, but I will probably translate it in C++. I see unexplored paths maybe. I don’t believe too much at the moment in a Grasshopper alternative, but we never know. And it’s important to have multiple goals, we never know where it can lead.

Too early. I am working now on an algorithm to create external walls and structural roof from a curve. I find a simple method to enter different altitudes on the wall and on the roof.

The objective of this research is to replace SketchUp’s easy drawing with a simple process in Grasshopper, based on a limited number of geometric features. But this leads to more complex shapes faster in Grasshopper, compared to SketchUp.

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No, it is a recompilation.

But the problem is Rhino is based on too many external third party technologies and libraries as I heard.

Maybe, it is the occasion to convert them to inside MacNeel technologies.

No. It has been discussed here. The major reason is Apple is deprecating OpenGL, and turns to Metal. Since Rhino3D, inevitably, is a performance-critical app, McNeel will be required to maintain two code forks, one on Metal (for Mac) and one on OpenGL (for Win).

It is a similar issue with VMWare/Parallel as they use something that the abstraction middleware, i.e. Rosetta 2, cannot provide. The change will be far from just a recompilation (I know Apple advertised it).

I know. Except that there is an OpenGL patch for Blender that interest Rhino dev team.

I don’t appreciate that Apple is depreciating OpenGL because it is a standard. Until now Metal don’t show interesting performance. But since tests has leaked, it seems that Metal work very fast with Apple Sillicon

Metal is fast, which I myself develops on both Windows and Mac and cannot deny. It looks so good on iOS.

It will be an issue for a middle-sized company, though. Someone has to program that OpenGL patch. IIRC, Cycles for Blender still doesn’t support Metal.

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You know, yeah subscription pricing is annoying, but it’s easier to put down on your taxes and the fact is, this should be obvious by now, software is a service. Unless it’s kept continuously updated–unless it’s trivially simple–any program will either be broken by some Windows update or become a security threat. All our factories run on automation systems that haven’t been upgraded in decades…and that’s terrible.

The reason you buy the Rhino 6 upgrade isn’t because you want to use Rhino 6, it’s to be able to CONTINUE to use Rhino 6 that’s been in beta, so that’s…kind of the subscription model, really. Also, for people who want to run Rhino headless as a service in the cloud, they WANT rental pricing and it’s coming.

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Count me in. Rhino’s licence model is perfect. Period.

No. It’s like having a car and renting the engine. The car always works, until you retire (or a pandemic strikes and your income goes away) and then you have no access to or use for your car.

Renting your software is renting access to your data. Let’s see how long it takes for people to realize that. And when they do, it’s too late.

// Rolf


Subscription software mean if you stop to pay, you do not access to the application and to your files…

Subscription is the end of innovation. Look at Adobe and Autodesk…

But forced subscription is an eldorado to other companies. For example I stop to use Adobe and I buy all products from Affinity (Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, Affinity Publisher)


Yeah…as I said, the reason you buy the Rhino 6 upgrade isn’t so that you can start using Rhino 6, it’s so that you don’t lose access to your Rhino 6 application and work that you’ve been doing for the last year or two that it’s been in Beta. It’s not so different.


We have discovered in the same time an article of the terms of Trimble connect very funny :

For some who transfer data with Trimble connect (that is a forced service for mobile application, SketchUp shop and SketchUp free), take care about confidentiality and use of your work/data by Trimble :

“As between the parties, Customer will retain all right, title and interest (including any and all intellectual property rights) in and to the Customer Data as provided to Trimble. Subject to the terms of this Agreement, Customer hereby grants to Trimble a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free right to use, copy, store, transmit, modify, create derivative works of and publicly perform and display the Customer Data solely to the extent necessary to provide the Service to Customer (including making Content available to Customer’s Third Party Collaborators).”


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No. Subscription means that you lose access to your R6 data if you don’t ALSO buy R7, R8, R9, R10, R11, R12 … i think the point is clear if we go all the way up to R112 :wink:

It’s not the same model. If I use a software in beta I really intend to buy the software so I don’t lose access to my data by not having (any form of) access to the software.

// Rolf

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Good grief I know what a subscription means, I’m saying that software is a service, whether you pay for it like one or not, and the Rhino model of “free Betas” is not really so different, it gets you hooked that you need to keep paying.

Yes it is. I’m using R7 now since I made a decision to buy it when it comes. If I do NOT buy R7 when it comes I don’t lose access to work I’ve done with R6. I can stop upgrading when I want to. I can continue when I want to. Subscription forces upon you what the software provider wants to.

// Rolf


Software should not be a service in all cases. Softwares are tools. If I buy a hammer, should I also pay for it through a subscription model because of the service it provides me?

In my opinion it’s very different. Nobody forces you to use the beta at all. In fact, I bet most of the McNeel devs will disencourage using the beta for any production related stuff. It is a beta version and as all beta versions, it is meant for testing.
If you don’t want to lose R6 compatibilty just save as R6 file. I am currently developing in GhPython on R7 WIP and I can open everything in R6.


Is your hammer going to stop working due to a Windows update, or are hackers going to figure out how to use it to mine bitcoin? Software is ephemeral, unless you want to put a lot of work in and risk the security of everyone on the Internet, it needs to be kept up-to-date. That’s a service. Rhino is also never “finished,” the list of “bugs” to fix in it numbers counts in 5 figures. It’s an ongoing, changing thing. It’s a service.

Do you guys own everything you use in your life? Or do you “rent” some things? Of course businesses–successful ones anyway–tend to prefer renting and leasing models for everything they need that depreciates. This moral panic over the idea of renting software is absurd. I don’t like paying the Adobe tax every month, but it’s hardly “wrong.”

We pay and payed for updates and new versions - that is normal! But we have a choice - to pay or not, to use the new version or not! The new rent-seeking is forced subscription without a choice - pay or loose everything! Yes, subscription only for software is VERY WRONG! Imagine with IoT companies can shutdown all your house if don’t pay the fees! And this “continued” improvements is very funny - new version means new bugs that need new version - see Windows 10 “updates”!


I do not consider software on forced subscription