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DraftSight 2D CAD For Linux Beta Available 100

crypton writes "Dassault Systems, (Solidworks) has released their promised Linux version of DraftSight, their free 2D AutoCAD work-alike drafting program (deb and rpm files available). Right now it appears to be 32-bit only but it looks like one of the best Linux CAD alternatives (paid or unpaid) right out of the gate. Also available for PC and Mac."
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DraftSight 2D CAD For Linux Beta Available

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  • by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @01:28AM (#35450234)
    "Can I use this to create an animation of, say, a 3D car jumping off a ramp through a ring of fire? If not, can somebody explain what this software is good for???"
    • by JustOK ( 667959 )

      you could draw a pizza box.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Perhaps because everything that is made in reality in actuality generally requires plane to be drawn and followed. So a FOSS 2d CAD package can be used by anyone that would also use a spread sheet and word processor, whether it is to draw plane of the future home or changes to their kitchen cupboards.

      • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @02:05AM (#35450346)

        FOSS 2d CAD package
        This isn't a FOSS 2d CAD package. It's a proprietary program that you can download at no charge but it requires "activation" within 30 days and once per year thereafter. (I just read the FAQ on their website.)

        • To firms accustomed to licking ADSK's boots on command, that probably sounds like software freedom...
          • No joke about AutoCad...

            Now, I'll pay attention when there is a FOSS program for linux that can do what Dassault Systeme's Catia (Not solid works, Catia.) can do.

            Amusingly, Dassault used to release a version of catia for use on Caldera Unix, but they stopped doing so in favor of win32 and win64. A version intended for running on linux should be pretty trivial to cook up then, considering it already has unix-awareness.

            *Professional note: I am a professional CAD/CAM draftsman, and use this software every da

      • by deniable ( 76198 )
        Free as in Beer CAD package until the manufacturer decides it's not making any money and pulls support. PTC did a similar thing with ProDesktop Express. It could have killed the low end 3D design market (their competition) and used a similar key every year system.
        • The standalone version is free. There is a supported commercial version that looks interesting. This is Dassault; if you look at what they do you will see why they might want to have a CAD system that they own. Pendant plusieurs d'années, la France ne voudrait pas etre membre d'OTAN: faut pas chercher pour comprendre.
          • They already do, and it is one of the leading software packages used in Aerospace.

            CATIA []

            I know, because I use it daily as a CAD operator, and can attest that BOEING/SPIRIT aerosystems uses it exclusively for their avionics designs, as to Gulfstream, Bell helicopter, and a number of others.

            Catia is the SHIT.

        • by Shotgun ( 30919 )


          I still have some extensive drawings that I did while out of work (didn't have hundreds to spend on a commercial package...'cause I was out of work). ProDesktop pulled their license, and I'm left with a bunch of useless random bits. Complicated packages like these take months to learn effectively, and that learning curve has also been wasted.

          I still have the drawings, but haven't found a way to convert them to something useful. I won't be touching this package.

          • If these are simple 2D drawings, but in some arbitrary format, it might be possible to convert the data...

            What extension do the files have?

            (Note, I am a professional CAD operator.)

            • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

              There are quite a few 3D drawings, some containing quite a few of the others. I literally built the airplane from the plans piece by piece. I also probably did it very poorly; but, then again, I was doing it to learn 3D CAD drawing in my spare time.

    • by aklinux ( 1318095 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @01:56AM (#35450304) Homepage
      I have a good friend, and Linux supporter, that is an Electrical Engineer. He does things like lay out the wiring for new subdivisions and commercial buildings. He does not have use for 3D doing what he does, but has been using 3D on Suse and Debian for years. Al the while lamenting the lack of availability of some decent 2D CAD under Linux, or anything else for that matter. Game design is not the only reason around for decent CAD software. A lot of real work in the real world is done with it.
      • Game design is not the only reason around for decent CAD software. A lot of real work in the real world is done with it.

        Agreed. The D in CAD can stand for design or draughting/drafting. Civil, Structural and HVAC engineers for example will make heavy use of the latter for plans (what most lay-people call "Blue prints").

    • Pass. I downloaded it last month to avoid paying about two grand to Autocad for their latest lite version. It's decent but they would need to improve the block library for me to really love it. It's pretty much an Autocad clone if you're a serious keyboard shortcut user but the look and feel isn't quite there. For free, it's astounding.
  • slashvertisement (Score:2, Insightful)

    Let's see, free as in "activation required" (their words). "Runs on multiple operating systems" - I guess that means java. Not impressed.
    • by theskipper ( 461997 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @01:45AM (#35450286)

      I downloaded it then realized it's weird installing something in a linux distro that requires activation. Especially knowing no source code is available. It just feels...slimy and scary all at once.

      Like taking a shortcut through that dark alleyway with the bum standing in the shadows. He's probably harmless but hey, why take a chance.

      But it's their code so it's their perogative. I'll pass.

      • by kaka.mala.vachva ( 1164605 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @02:03AM (#35450326)
        You realize stuff like this is the only way Linux may become popular on the desktop? We can't really expect everything to be FOSS. Support this if its useful to you, and look past the activation - more companies may start developing for Linux then. Would hate to see the Loki story all over again.
        • Ok, that's true and I wish them well. But my post was coming from the "scratch an itch" user perspective rather than "change the world". And since my low risk tolerance doesn't mesh very well with the whole closed source+activation thing, it just won't work in my case. There's plenty of businesses that don't care about that sort of thing so they'll probably do well.

          • Well, those are reasonable (and reasoned) responses.

            Question : given that the learning-curve investment in Package X is done and gone and won't come back, how reliable are the non-AutoCAD (ADSK? ; I am not a CAD user) versions of the 2-d file format ".DWG" (or is it ".DXF" ; it's so long since I looked at this product area)? i.e., could you reasonably be aggrieved if a .DWG created on one package opened wrongly on a different company's equivalent product?

            The area I work in has 3 or 4 major software conten

        • by Anonymous Coward

          We can't really expect everything to be FOSS.

          Actually, we can. Continuing to tolerate personal freedom destroying system of "IP" will only escalate the vicious circle of piracy, guilt, detriment to competition and so on. We need to base economy of information on sound foundations, one that doesn't require tutelage from state authority. Make every software FOSS but not ("free beer") costless and let producers recuperate their expenses at the point of exchange - no valuable information is conveyed from those who have it to those who haven't until equiva

      • by Anonymous Coward

        While I agree, you seem to miss the most important part:

        Business just want to get work done. Now, as a business, it is reasonable to finally ditch autoCAD and windows and switch to linux.
        Business switch to linux? AMD may start to feel the pressure to get good working drivers for linux...

        • Isn't the AMD driver thing the fault of the community itself since AMD did what you told them to do? I mean how many times have we heard "If you'll just release the specs we'll take care of the rest" well guess what? They did [] exactly [] that [].

          So you just gotta love the hypocrisy here. you tell companies to open the specs, you say you'll support them if they'll support FOSS, and what happens? Nearly every post that has ANYTHING to do with Linux and GPUs has post after post saying "You should buy Nvidia" the comp

          • None of those links are a year old. One of them is from two weeks ago. If you want an overnight revolution you're in the wrong place; software is hard.

            In time, we can probably clean up the half-ass trash that ATI released. I'm not ragging on them -- big props for releasing the stuff at all, and we can, in time, take care of the rest. But it's still half-ass buggy trash *grin* there's a lot of cleaning to do.

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            There's no hypocrisy here. It's simply diversity.

            ATI drivers have always sucked. It didn't matter who made them. The fact that you can "blame the community" rather than the card vendor really doesn't change anything. Although there is some fleeting hope that some one that doesn't work for ATI can make things better.

            People buy nvidia gear because their drivers aren't crap. This is probably true of people that use "that other OS" too.

            Mandatory license management is annoying on ANY platform. The fact that it i

            • You DO realize there is a reason why people use phrases like "freetard" and completely ignore everything you say when you insist on acting like a loonie [] yes?

              Repeat after me: Microsoft is NOT Sauron, and Redmond is NOT in Mordor...see how easy that was? I mean do you really want to come off in conversations as this guy [] after you've gone to all the trouble to actually type a thoughtful reply?

              Now as for your replay simply realize you now have NO RIGHT to complain when companies refuse to give you specs or driv

              • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
                Well, they can't please all of the people all of the time. It will never happen. I know that since AMD has started releasing docs, I have seen more posts, and more statements of support for them. Before they started releasing docs, It was starting to look like Intel would be the GPU of choice, since it was 'good enough' for most uses, and had open docs. AMD seems to be turning that around. It takes time, but it seems to be happening.
      • Re:slashvertisement (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NtwoO ( 517588 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @04:08AM (#35450682) Homepage
        Your discomfort is understandable. Even such, I am very glad that QCad now has an alternative. QCad has no active development on the free version and still runs on KDE3. It is my weapon of choice when doing 2D CAD work. Whether DraftSight will replace it, is still an open point and the final choice is not as important as the fact that I have a choice. For doing electrical circuits in Linux one has very little choice but using Eagle. Also a commercial product. It is a very decent package and most definitely made my life a lot simpler. I'd love to have everything FOSS for my work and home environment, but often need goes ahead of want.
      • Because, of course, you have personally tested every single piece of software on your machine back down to the source code to make sure it's OK.
        • Transparency in the software is sufficient. All it takes is for one person to find any malware lurking in the code, and at that point (under the FOSS model) anyone can fork it with the offending code removed. It does a remarkably good job of keeping the swimming hole clean.

    • Avast is a free antivirus that does the same thing. It's free for personal use (both this and Avast).

    • It's Qt, you dumbass!

      (same toolkit as QCad).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We already have a 2D cad package for linux: qcad
    this would only be of interest if it was 3D

    • Check out OpenSCAD

    • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @05:02AM (#35450880)

      qcad is *very* low-end.

      I've done a fair bit of CAD work, and am pretty fluent in AutoCAD. I tried to use qcad for some simple things, but it's *really* lacking in basic functionality. Things like: Create a block. Assign layers to elements of a block. Set certain line colors to specific values, some to bylayer. Give the layer a color. Insert the block into a drawing. Change its color. The elements on a layer within the block inherit the attributes from the BLOCK's layer.

      It's so wrong on such a simple bit of functionality that I couldn't take it seriously for anything more than arranging the furniture in my room, and even for that I felt like its limits were sometimes exceeded.

      We really need more 2D CAD options in Linux.

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      Do any of these do easy floor plans? Where you pick from common configurations, and can draw walls where you want them? I know that a full true CAD application has it's uses for many many things. Right now, I am looking for something where I can quickly and easily sketch my house so I can plan out various renovation projects.
  • Also available for PC and Mac. What's everyone else running Linux on?
    • My fridge. Why do you ask?

      This is so useful. I've always wanted to do a little CAD work while grabbing a snack.

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      My Phone, TV, wireless router. Probably a few other things in the house that I'm not aware of....
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @02:29AM (#35450414)

    ... for "mere human" price.


    It does do everything. It's not as polished as ProE or SolidWorks, and definitely not UG/NX, but it's something you can use if you're a small one-person shop.

    If we're doing slashvertisement for Dassault, we may as well mention alternatives, no?


    • There is also OpenSCAD

    • UG/NX is also for Linux and Mac. The Linux version is only said to be supported on Suse Linux, but I think with some tweaking you should manage to run it on any Linux flavor. All though the Mac and Linux versions doesn't look as polished as the Windows version, both Mac and Linux versions are full featured UG/NX software. NX on Wikipedia [] Also ProE seems to have a UNIX version, according to wikipedia.
    • If we're doing slashvertisement for Dassault, we may as well mention alternatives, no?

      agreed and while we're at it, there's BRL-CAD (3D modelling) and QCAD (2D Drafting) as well. QCAD has a dual licencing model and has been around for some time.

      • by bmo ( 77928 )

        I downloaded BRL-CAD when it was first released for Linux, but I had no idea what to do with it. It was just an engine. No UI to speak of at all. I would love to see a decent UI for BRL-CAD. BRL-CAD with one would be spectacular.

        I've tried QCAD. I really just can't go back to pure 2D CAD anymore. Drawing the part and generating the views from the part makes so much more sense. I remember in school doing a 6 view isometric block rotation on paper (turning it 15 degrees each time). What a pain in the

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I downloaded BRL-CAD when it was first released for Linux, but I had no idea what to do with it. It was just an engine. No UI to speak of at all.

          BRL-CAD has *two* guis MGED and Archer. MGED for the pros, Archer for the beginners and extensive documentation.

        • by maxume ( 22995 )

          Is the MGED part of it not a UI, or was it too sparse?

          • by bmo ( 77928 )

            Dude, I had a GUI in CAD back in friggin 1992.

            Customizable and everything - the icons were actually drawings that had properties. You could draw them and make your own within the program - gcd.

            MGED is like using a pen knife to chop down a tree. Oh sure, you can gang up a lot of pen knives to chop the tree all at once and make lumber, but man, it's a horrible thing to deal with

            The manual for MGED is excellent and I wish all documentation was like it, but it's a lot of stuff to slog through.

            Too sparse indee

            • by maxume ( 22995 )

              I've never used it, I was just curious as to what you meant (it is fully possible that someone on the internet would download it and simply not read the documentation; obviously not the case here...).

    • I'm using Arcad [] to plan some buildingdesigns in 3D. Works reasonably well, comes with a paid license (I'm using the small Easy-entry-level license, which fits my needs just fine).
      Some nice trivia about the creators:
      - They use Linux exclusively to develop all their softwareproducts.
      - The Windows build is created mechanically.
      - They sell arcad for 98% to Windows clients.
      - The English translation still needs some polishing here and there; but the functionality is solid.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm not a regural user of 2D-cad software but I've used some over the years for work and personal stuff.

    Some time ago I needed to fiddle with some 2D on Windows and found DraftSight. Didn't mind registering because this seemed like a great piece of software for free (as in beer). I use mainly Linux so Linux release is excellent news to me. My 2D needs are so sparse that I wouldn't want to spend money on it.

    For me DraftSight seemed like AutoCAD was a few years back before it started to get weird GUI changes

  • by JPyObjC Dude ( 772176 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @03:01AM (#35450476)

    I have given it a go and compared it to QCad which I have a licensed copy and used heavily of late. Although, it is likely much more feature rich than QCad, it is missing one key feature of having a "Layers Pane" that is always visible. In DraftSight, you must open a modal dialog to manage the layers which IMO is kind of clicky for complex layer management. This is a pretty glaring usability miss for me and I am holding off for them to implement this before I jump on the band wagon.

    On the bright side, hopefully this will like the fire under QCad developers to get 3.0 out there which has been "under development" for a couple of years now. QCad itself has some issues too such as poor workflows and some basic usability features and its well due for some improvements.

    Good to see some progress in the free / reasonably priced 2D Cad world :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      one word for you boys: DWG

    • Exactly what you said. I've only given it a test run, but I immediately noticed the 'lack' of layer controls. It simply has to be within reach all the time. Admitting to some of QCADs shortcomings, I have yet to find a 2D CAD that beats it in 'speed' as soon as you learn just a few of the comprehensive set of keyboard short cuts. I stopped holding my breath for ver. 3 when I blacked out though, I guess they will release it when they're good and ready.
    • What??

      It has two layer selectors -- you only need modal layer manager when you add layers or change layers' parameters.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Imho AutoCAD is a good product (having used it for years) but Autodesk is becoming more and more Microsoftized with each release, so any competition to keep the Autodesk/Microsoft empire in check is a good thing.

    I might also look into VariCAD (thanks BMO)

    PS - for anyone that doesn't know what a 2D CAD package is for (1st thread on this page), look at just about anything around you (electronics, buildings, cars, aircraft, etc), chances are there are 2D engineering drawings for its design that are (nowadays a

  • This is really starting to irritate me. This isn't just my personal pet peeve anymore. It's become a major psychotic episode for me!
    PC means: "Personal Computer"! Guess what; macs are PC's! Your mobile phone is a PC nowadays. My fucking calculator is a PC! Your god damn blinking sneakers might be a PC!

    When makers of proprietary games say that their game will run on: "PC and mac" it sound just plain stupid. Oh? It will run on every personal computer I own including macs? Oh goody! I'm running the Ubuntu

    • by AVryhof ( 142320 )

      Just think of PC as an abbreviation for IBM Personal Computer, or IBM Personal Computer clone, since that was the product that defined this particular use of the term in the first place. Aside from that, desktop computers used to be referred to as microcomputers in that era.
      So, while "PC" is defined as personal computer, it mostly stands for IBM Personal Computer.

      Also, while I wrote the above before looking, here is the Wikipedia Article saying the same thing: []

      • IBM PC was an x86 machine running DOS. When you buy "PC" software today, it will not run on an IBM PC, because it is written for Windows. Why is it so hard to call it "Windows" software?

        As the GP said, personal computers are everywhere, and they run many different architectures and operating systems, so we need to be more specific.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          > Why is it so hard to call it "Windows" software?

          What's the fun in that? The Windows hegemony is a direct result of the MS-DOS monopoly. Effectively, Windows 7 is just another version of MS-DOS and it's useful to link Windows 7 back to it's original IBM/Microsoft roots.

          Those roots rear their ugly head on occasion.

    • No, PC is now the common term for a computer running Windows/Linux as opposed to an Apple OS.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Riiiiiight. So when those Apple commercials come on and the dude says he's a PC, he's really not speaking about Microsoft Windows specifically, he's saying he could also be Linux or BSD or Solaris?

        I don't think so.

        We need to take the term 'PC' away from Microsoft. We should start by complaining to Apple about their commercials.

    • by deniable ( 76198 )
      Funny thing. The Dassault site says Windows or Mac.
    • In conclusion: Don't say stupid things like: "I have a PC".

      You could do what my wife does and call the MS-Windows computers "IBMs". This is even after I explained to her that IBM no longer makes personal computers.

      I guess you have a couple of choices. You can learn to let it slide or you can seek therapy.

  • The problem is if the CAD program is for Architectural design and drafting, it's basically useless in the industry now unless it's BIM (Building Information Modelling). Which means you need a 3D system to create a model so you can extrapolate any data and export it to other 3D systems. ArchiCAD and Revit are the only two packages I would even consider these days, and ArchiCAD has the edge especially for big business and collaboration. Don't even get me started on the new features of version 15. (disclaimer:
    • Architects aren't the only people who use CAD. I agree that, for designing a building, BIM is much, much better than "dumb" CAD. However, at $5,495, Revit is overkill for somebody who just wants to plan their kitchen, or design themselves a new desk. A decent, free 2d CAD system is exactly what a lot of people need. There are now quite a few available for Windows (Draftsight, DoubleCAD XT: Free, ProgeCAD 2009 Smart for starters) but last time I looked (about a year ago) nothing on Linux. Personally, this is
      • by Anonymous Coward
        it's overkill for a lot more then that. need a set of plans for a starbucks finish out? bim is a sledgehammer, and the problem is a fly. need a builder's set to get prelim pricing for 30,000SF generic retail strip? bim is a nuclear weapon, and the problem is a gnat. need to renovate all the ingress/egress at an old office building to move into ADA compliance? bim is a vorpal blade, and the enemy is 115 year old paralyzed chimp. there's about 27.3 octillion more examples of where revit and bim are ju
      • For design rather than drafting, more or less everyone I interact with is using SketchUp (Windows & Mac). I even see SketchUp previsualizations on many of those remodeling shows on DIY network. And now that 3ds max can open .SKP directly, and VRay and Maxwell are available for SketchUp, you don't really need the Pro version unless you're taking the SKP into Revit or AutoCAD for drafting.

        It's also about the only relevant architectural design/3D software ADSK couldn't buy out with the change in its couc

    • by BuGless ( 31232 )

      Have you reviewed/tried Arcad []? It has (in the full version) architectural computations.

  • If only they ported Solidworks, at least 80% of engineers would be able to abandon Windows (the rest are a fraction of Electrical Engineers who still need Altium, but being a ridiculously expensive piece of shit with minimal functionality, it will be replaced by free software no matter what). AutoCAD... Autodesk can go eat a dick for all I care -- they have locked themselves to Windows and will die with it.

    • Autodesk released AutoCAD for the Mac a few months ago. It's not inconceivable that a Linux version is in the pipeline. Maya has always been available for Windows, Mac and Linux. If Solidworks gets ported to Linux and becomes popular, Autodesk will follow. My point is that Autodesk is the kind of company that will go wherever they think they will make money.
      • Autodesk released AutoCAD for the Mac a few months ago. It's not inconceivable that a Linux version is in the pipeline.

        "AutoCAD" base product is worthless without the rest of the suite, and from what I can tell, only that was ported to Mac. AutoCAD was more and more tied to Windows-specific interfaces over time -- it was available on Unix but once Autodesk started adding Microsoft crap without creating a clear cross-platform interface, it became unportable. Mac version of AutoCAD does not support Windows-specific interfaces, so unless Autodesk will port the rest of their AutoCAD-based products, it will be merely one of many

  • Disclaimer: I am a Mechanical Engineer by trade however my current job does not require 3D capability from my CAD program.

    While I agree with everyone that this program is not for the big boys of 3D modelling (although it would be the cat's meow a decade ago for 2D work) and that there are many free alternatives out there which will better this program, I think many people are missing the point. Solidworks actually released something for Linux - this is not to be underestimated. This is the 800 pound gorilla of CAD systems at the moment and when (not if) they throw their weight behind Linux and release something which handles 3D FEA modelling and such that will make a huge difference. They should be 100% applauded for doing this.

    As an aside, I'm not sure why people would complain about it only being 2D. How much great design was done using a drawing board and a T-square? Not everything requires the high end equipment that car manufacturers use. A straight forward 2D drafting program is sufficient for most any hobbiest and small operation.

  • Just so you guys know, Draftsight is actually actually an OEM'd version of ARES ( from Graebert. So it could be available as long as Dasault continues to pay Grabert. Autodesk has been trying to move into Dasault's teritory (3D solids modeling and simulation), and has been in several lawsuits with Dasault's Soldworks group. I suspect this is a way for Dasault to stick it to Autodesk's cash cow AutoCAD. Cut their cash flow by giving away a program for a market (2D drafting) that Dasault has little interest in.

    It's not a bad package. I'm an AutoCAD Certified Expert and I find it pretty usable. Does OK on older DWG files, but has issues with the latest versions.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"