Autodesk announced 1-Year Free Licensing on select software. The program is called Learning Edition Software. Here’s the link to Autodesk’s free software announcement.

Currently they are only offering two titles under this temporary licensing:

Alias and VRED

Autodesk Announced 1-Year Free Licensing with Autodesk Learning Editions
Source: Autodesk Blog

As I understand it from Tech3D, the intent was to deliver familiarity and capability with Autodesk software to those not involved in education. However, the license is for one-year and is not renewable. I do not know why those two titles were selected initially, however there is hope they will expand the program.

Siemens offered a Start-up program a few year back. It was also for a 1-year term, and was renewable on a case by case basis. I don’t know if it was successful; I recently saw a link to a newer program that included price-reduction, not free. I’d really like to see some amatuer-type licensing offered by Autodesk, perhaps $300 per year for fully functional software for personal use only; and renewable. Restrictions would need to be in place to discourage commercial use. The current Learning Editions licenses restrict the export of the models to only Autodesk native formats. This seems rather acceptable – but I don’t know how that handshakes with Inventor, for example. Siemens had at one time a mechanism that would restrict further use of the models with commercial software; no comment.

Autodesk offering 1-year free licensing is a great step, and I hope it helps a lot of people. However one year is restrictive, especially if you are busting your fanny with two jobs to make ends meet; there’s just not enough time in a day to learn. This is of-course only the beginning, and we have no idea how it will progress. So let’s hope for something great.