CAD software running on Linux OS was a precarious thing. Yah, it was out there but none of the packages I tried were ready for Joe Headsdown Drafter who got his training at the local Autodesk-authorized Training Center. They didn't install effortlessly; maybe they read and wrote DWG files; and definitely didn't look or operate like AutoCAD.
(Yah, I know Joe isn't going to be running Linux, but work with me here.)
Until today, we had two flavours of DWG-based Linux CAD from which to choose:
- Bricsys Bricscad V11 Classic for Linux $395 (lacking 3D solids and APIs).
- Graebert ARES Commander Edition for Linux $995 (with 3D solids and APIs)
Today, however, a press release from Bricsys tilts the playing field. Bricscad for Linux is now available in a Pro version that adds the missing 3D solids modeling and APIs -- currently at the Classic price of $395. Further tilting the playing field in the other direction, Dassault is beta testing a free but hobbled version of ARES for Linux relabeled under the DraftSight name:
- Bricsys Bricscad V11 Pro for Linux $505 (with 3D solids and APIs).
- Graebert Dassault DraftSight for Linux $0 (with limited 3D and APIs)
Graebert-Dassault pricing spans the extremes, while Bricsys sits in the middle.
Whereas Graebert concentrates on the OEM market, Bricsys chases the third-party developer market. And the details of what Bricsys includes with the Linux version sound pretty interesting:
- The Pro version adds the BRX API, and Bricsys says that "developers now need only a single source code to compile for three platforms:
- Bricscad BRX for Windows
- AutoCAD ARX
- And now Bricscad BRX for Linux."
- The BRX Linux SDK contains Linux-specific link libraries, and 90+% of the Windows BRX functions. Bricsys promises to fully implement BRX in the coming months.
- Windows Platform Emulation Layer provides a large set of Windows API functions under Linux, and is built into BRX. More functions to be added.
- Documentation and user guides to assist developers migrate add-ons to Linux. To become available soon.
Download a 30-day version from here.
Europe Likes Linux
It is no surprise that the leading edge of DWG-based Linux CAD is coming from Europe, an area that embraced Linux and other lower cost software early, because of software vendors' penchant for overcharging Europeans.
(I still recall my shock in 1985 upon learning that Lotus charged 3x as much for 1-2-3 in Germany as in USA. Likewise, a German cousin was stunned at the low prices in USA, and dreamed of becoming a graymarket importer.)
One of the surprising things I learned from my trip around Russia is that Windows is popular there, because it was "free." I suppose the same is true in other countries where intellectual property protection is a matter of opinion.
Meanwhile, those of us who like to (1) run an OS more efficient than Windows or OS X; (2) not have to buy new hardware, as for OS X; and (3) be different, we like our Linux.