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From: Dan Wilder (dan@ssc.com)
To: The Answer Gang (linux-questions-only@ssc.com)
Subject: Re: [TAG] a couple of problems
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 20:08:38 -0800

You might have a look at


use the search phrase

linux cad

Mentioned are:

QCad, a 2D Open source package

and a link to


mentioning a variety of GPL possibilities including

And some others. Mostly pretty early in their development.

I'm just looking myself into:


which seems to be in early alpha.

Qcad is mentioned fairly often but claims to require the Qt-3.0 developer's edition to build. A costly item, if I'm not mistaken. Free Qcad binaries are available for some platforms.

If anybody knows anything about any of these, feel free to pipe up. Amitava, if you learn any more about these, let us know!

Dan Wilder

From: Matthias Posseldt (matthi@gmx.li)
To: linux-questions-only@ssc.com
Subject: Re: [TAG] a couple of problems
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 16:40:22 +0100

On Thursday 23 January 2003 05:08, Dan Wilder wrote:

> Qcad is mentioned fairly often but claims to require the Qt-3.0
> developer's edition to build. A costly item, if I'm not mistaken.

No, QT-3 is licensed under QPL/GPL, so that you can use the GPL version to develop GPL software and the QPL to develop closed-source software. While the "Professional" version which allows you to develop closed source software is quite costly, the "Free edition" is free of charge.

Ciao, Matthias

From: "Benjamin A. Okopnik" (ben@callahans.org)
To: The Answer Gang (linux-questions-only@ssc.com)
Subject: Re: [TAG] a couple of problems
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 12:07:03 -0500

I've used "qcad" and "xtrkcad" in the past and liked them both, although they're very different. There's also something called "electric" in Debian that's described as an "electrical CAD system"; sounds like it would suit you (I haven't tried it myself.)

Ben Okopnik

[RM 2007 note: See http://xtrkcad-fork.sourceforge.net/ for an active fork of the original XTrkCad at site http://www.sillub.com/, apparently stalled as of 2005. "Electric" is at http://www.gnu.org/software/electric/electric.html.]

From: Jimmy O'Regan (jimregan@o2.ie)
To: (linux-questions-only@ssc.com)
Subject: Re: [TAG] a couple of problems
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 12:15:44 +0000

The OpenDWG Alliance has full (?) specs for the dwg format available (http://www.opendwg.org), so the format is open. Since most proprietary CAD programs use it, it's standard => open standard. There aren't any open source programs that use it, though: The only thing you'll find is a viewer that uses OpenDWG's proprietary libs.

http://www.cycas.de/ (Cycas). CYCAS is a piece of architectural software for drafting and design in 2 + 3 dimensions.

In addition to typical CAD functions, CYCAS offers special elements and techniques for architectural design. Therefore, you can easily design and draft your ideas.

Developing professional 2D presentation of your design is worked out as fast as and as effective as illustrating your design 3 dimensional. CYCAS enables intuitive and uncomplicated handling of 2D and 3D elements.

Information sites on CAD and related tools:

[RM 2007 addendum: See also: http://www.usinglinux.org/cad/.]

DraftSight will be available for Linux starting in late 2010.


User Environment & Features:

Productivity Enhancers

Setup and Administration


Drafting Tools

Edit Tools

From: Rick Moen (rick@linuxmafia.com)
Newsgroups: linux.astcomm.net
Subject: Re: Netscape 6 vs Mozilla
Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 06:25:22 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.
User-Agent: tin/1.5.13-20020703 ("Chop Suey!") (UNIX) (Linux/2.2.19

Chris Olson (chris@astcomm.net) wrote:

> I demo'd Microstation at the University of Minnesota
> Institute of Technology (where I graduated with a BS Mech
> Engineering back in the dark ages). Microstation is an
> excellent product but it falls short of the mark compared to
> AutoCAD because it can't handle Parasolids, so 3D work is
> limited to wireframe and surfaces. It is also not
> competitive cost-wise to the Windows solutions.

Yeah, I can believe that.

I've seen people do amazing things with AutoCAD.

> To my knowlege, AutoCAD has not been run successfully with
> any of the Windows emulators on the Linux platform :-(

If you need AutoCAD, you need AutoCAD.

Unlike the case with, say, MS-Project, AutoCAD probably would not be usable either under VMware/Win4Lin or via any of the remote-imaging protocols such as VNC -- because it's so inherently graphics-intensive.

So, if I were using *ix as my primary desktop system (which I am), and if I were a competent user of AutoCAD (which I'm not), then I'd probably use a KVM switchbox. AutoCAD really needs a box dedicated to that task, anyway.

Avocent (formerly Cybex) KVMs are a bit more expensive the Belkins -- and worth it. Much, much fewer hardware-compatibility problems.

Looks like someone runs a mailing list on Linux CADD:
And here's a Linux Gazette survey article:

However, I saw a recent post to the Answer Gang on Linux Gazette (in which I participate). Quoted without comment, as I don't know the gentleman and this is outside my field of experience, but it seems relevant to your interests:

Original question from: answerguy@ssc.com,"Richard Brown"

Saw your "not yet". I am a mechanical engineer. I run AutoCAD daily on Linux using VMware. (Running SuSE 8.0 or 7.3, AMD 1.4 with 768MB.) Works beautifully. Frequently, I had 10 or 15 sessions of AutoCAD running at the same time: Never a problem. Nice also when I want to reload or update, as from 7.3 to 8.0; simply copy back the Windows 2000 file. To me, it is the preferable way to run AutoCAD.


From: John Foster (jfoster@augustmail.com)
To: debian-user@lists.debian.org
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 10:13:08 -0600
Subject: Re: Using AutoCAD 2005 on Linux:


If you want to do 3D development, you may want to try BRL-CAD (http://ftp.arl.army.mil/brlcad/), as it far surpasses anything currently available, even AutoCAD. It has a very steep learning curve. The best of the others that I have tried are Octree and Cycas:


...but they are still very young. They show a lot of promise. Both BRL-CAD, which requires a security verification process, and Octree, which has a very unusual GUI, are free of charge. The others may offer trial stuff, but, to gain funcionality you will need to consider a purchase. BTW: I am not in any way an expert in CAD systems; I do build high-end personal workstations, and use these apps to test the hardware. Good Luck.

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 19:29:47 +1100
From: Roger (hovergo@net-tech.com.au)
To: luv-main@luv.asn.au
Subject: Re: Open Source Graphics/Rendering Engine

Hi, Hugh.

I do a lot of design and concept work (private), and use Blender 2.42 for 3D CAD visualisation stuff. It's got a learning curve unlike the proprietary equivalents. It's got 3 render engines: native Blender, Yafray, and Povray. I use Blender engine for most of my stuff. It does not have measurements or snap, as yet, because it is primarily a modelling and animation system.

I have tried BRLcad, which is primarily text-based and not easy to get on with. There are a few other 2D CAD packages and 3D CADs, all with with their own idiosyncracies, which is what makes thoroughly learning Blender the best way to go. There are a lot of Python scripts and plugins being done for Blender, so it has very good capability.

There's a new kid on the block, called PyCad. It's entirely Python, and quite simple to use. It's 2D only.

If you are after something like AutoCAD, Lightworks, TurboCAD, Solid Works, 3DSMax, then you're out of luck, although a friend of mine in the USA got 3dsMax to work very well under WINE in Linux, and uses that for his design tool.


[Roger's 2007-01-24 addendum: "I feel that there are 3 or 4 initial tests that should be applied to any 3D and or CAD software to test its application to modern requirements and to user ability. Each is overlooked by the developers, in favour of the number of tools available. So far only Blender comes close, in that."]

From: Cefiar (cef@optusnet.com.au)
To: luv-main@luv.asn.au
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 16:39:11 +1100
Subject: Re: Open Source Graphics/Rendering Engine

On Thursday 18 January 2007 15:37, Hugh Dixon wrote:

> Can anyone recommend/suggest open source CAD packages

You might want to look at SALOME and Code Aster. You can download a liveCD distro that has all the bits set up called CAELinux (see http://www.caelinux.com/CMS/ for details), otherwise you may just be able to install the bits you want. CAELinux also has a whole heap of other CAD/CAE related programs as well, so it might be worth a look (either download or just a package manifest).

Of note is that SALOME uses OpenGL. Never used it, but from what I can see it looks quite full featured. One of my Ex's is an engineer, and I can see a lot of the same sorts of functions in it that I know she used. I only know about them though because I kept on having to remove spyware and viruses from her setup.

> or DWG/DGN (AutoCAD/MicroStation) viewers?

I've not seen much on this at all, even for Windows. AutoCAD aren't exactly fond of giving away their file specs AFAIK.

[RM note: Code Aster is not separately noted in the index, because it isn't actually a CAD package, but rather a major and ambitious software package for finite element analysis and numeric simulation in structural mechanics. It has been available under the GNU General Public License since 2001.

[RM 2007 note: The Linux/GNU CAD CAM Project at http://gnu-cad-cam.sourceforge.net/ is reputed to be at the alpha release stage. Author Terry L. Ridder appears to be working on both CAD and CAM packages.]

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2012 16:14:12 +0000
From: "Philip Trickett (List)" (phil-ml@techworks.ie)
To: ilug@linux.ie
Subject: Re: [ILUG] CAD recommendations?

On 14/01/12 12:08, Michael Jonker wrote:

> Unfortunately, CAD is a bit of a poor cousin in the FOSS world.

> If you had to compare Gimp/Photoshop; LibreOffice/MS Office, you
> could be debating the qualitative merit for a good while.

> If you compare the industry benchmark, AutoCAD, to any FOSS CAD>br> > (such as QCad), the debate is going to be very short!

> That said - I am qualified as an architect, and my expectations from
> CAD extend well beyond basic functionality. If you are looking for
> something to draw a non-collaborative, basic, one-off technical
> drawing in the .dxf format, QCad is going to do the job for you.

> If you are looking for something more, you have 3 options:

> 1) AutoCAD from Autodesk running in WINE. (The older versions are
> reported to run well.)
> 2) Draftsight from Dassault ('Free' as in beer but a bit clunky, IMO)
> 3) BricsCad from Bricsys. (An unashamed AutoCAD clone - but then
> again, AutoCAD is good.)


Librecad - fork of the QCad GPL code: http://librecad.org/cms/home.html

FreeCAD - Complex, but versatile: http://freecad.org/

Varicad - 2D and 3D CAD, full-featured: http://varicad.com/en/home/

HeeksCAD - Mainly aimed toward CNC and 3D: http://heeks.net/

QCad is good enough for most 2D CAD requirements.