Autodesk logo

The Autodesk File

Bits of History, Words of Experience

Edited by
John Walker
Fourth Edition, 1994


The Autodesk File chronicles the history of Autodesk, Inc. and its principal product, AutoCAD, through contemporary documents edited and annotated by Autodesk founder and former CEO John Walker. The book traces the company from the first glimmer of an idea in the minds of the founders, through start-up, initial public stock offering, and growth from a loose confederation of moonlighting individuals to a leader in the industry of computer aided design. The book is available in several different editions, suited for on- or off-line reading with various tools. Click on the titles of the section describing the edition you select to view it or download to your computer.

Web Edition with Frames

If you have a fancy browser which supports frames, this edition allows easy navigation through the book with a panel which lets you click chapter titles and go directly to that chapter. If, in addition, your browser supports JavaScript, simply moving the mouse over a footnote icon, like this one: [Footnote] will pop up a window containing the footnote. Moving the mouse over other footnotes displays them in the auxiliary window. Browsers without JavaScript (or users who have disabled JavaScript in their browsers) may display footnotes in the main document window by clicking the footnote icon, then use their browser's "Back" button to return to the main text.

No-Frame Web Edition

Works with Any Browser Users with browsers which do not support frames, or those who prefer a more linear presentation in a single window, may access a no-frame edition of The Autodesk File with identical content to the frame-based book. The no-frame edition includes the pop-up footnotes present in the frame edition, but since few browsers which lack frames are likely to support JavaScript, you can simply click on the footnote icon to display it, then use the "Back" button or keystroke to return to the text containing the footnote.

Acrobat PDF Edition

Acrobat PDF Screen If you prefer to read the book off-line, you can download a PDF edition (5.8 Mb, ZIP compressed) which you can read with the Adobe Acrobat Reader utility, available for most personal computers and Unix workstations, which may be downloaded free of charge directly from the Adobe Systems Web site. The Acrobat PDF edition preserves all the formatting of the original book, much of which was lost in creating the Web editions, and permits point-and-click navigation among chapters and to follow cross-references in the text.

Adobe is one of the most consistently irritating companies on Earth with which to do business. I'd like to give you a nice button for downloading your own copy of Acrobat Reader, but they won't let me use the image without "registering" and "licensing" it, which I'm certainly not going to do in order to promote their product and its file format.

PostScript Edition

The Autodesk File was originally typeset using TeX with the LaTeX macro package. Camera-ready copy was generated from PostScript created by the dvips utility. The PostScript edition is a single monolithic file, more than 16 megabytes, containing the entire book as originally typeset. You can read it on-line with a PostScript viewing program such as GhostScript (which is free), or print it on any PostScript-compatible printer. Before sending this file to a printer, consider that the book is almost 900 pages long! This is a big print job, which will consume lots of paper, toner, and, potentially, good will of any colleagues with whom you share the printer. The PostScript edition may be downloaded as either a ZIPped archive or a gzip compressed Unix tar file; both are 4.9 Mb in length and uncompress to a 16 Mb PostScript file.


by John Walker