Command equality for all OSes
When some years ago software companies like Bricsys and Graebert re-launched their CAD software, they did so with multiple operating systems in mind. The old mindset of writing programs using Microsoft's convenient programming and user interface toolsets (as well as DirectX)... well, all that has gone out the door now.
Being locked to Microsoft is seen as restricting the size of one's market. OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS each have their desirability factor:
- OS X and Linux -- underserved by (M)CAD software, as compared to Windows; hence, more sales potential as compared to the over-crowded Windows market
- Android -- the most popular operating system in the world; hence, sales to vast untapped areas of the planet
- iOS -- used by people who like spending lots of money; hence, big sales to free-spending folks
As of BricsCAD V8 and ARES, Bricsys and Graebert used cross-OS programming tools like wxWidgets and OpenDWG API, as well as developing their own cross-platform APIs. So the question becomes: how well did they pull it off?
AutoCAD Compatibility Score = 53%
First, let's look at the standard bearer, AutoCAD. We see Autodesk struggling for several years now to get the Mac version to catch up to the Windows version, which is, unfortunately, locked to Microsoft. It's been hard work to create a Mac version, and a comparison list provided by the company shows that the gap remains still huge in 2015: http://www.autodesk.com/products/autocad/compare/compare-platforms.
Counting the checkmarks, we see that of 125 features, 57 are unique to Windows and four to OS X. AutoCAD's compatibility score is 53%. This is calculated from ((125 - 4) - 57) / 121 = 0.528.
Autodesk charges as much for the half-featured Mac version as it does for the Windows version, and is missing a version of AutoCAD for Linux.
BricsCAD Compatibility Score = 98%
BricsCAD runs on Windows, Linux, and OS X. Its help file is helpful to today's exercise, because it applies Windows, OS X, and Linux icons to indicate which commands work with which operating system. See https://www.bricsys.com/bricscad/help/en_US/V15/CmdRef/index.html
Out of 705 commands reported by the Commands command in BricsCAD V15 Platinum edition, 14 are listed by the Help file as specific to Windows. All of the other commands are also found in the OS X and Linux versions of the program. BricsCAD V15's compatibility score is 98%. This is calculated from (705 - 14) / 705 = 0.980.
BricsCAD has the same price for its Windows, OS X, and Linux versions.
I didn't perform a rigorous count for ARES, but from an informal perusal of its help file, this CAD system has a compatibility score similar to BricsCAD. Graebert applies the same price for the Windows, OS X, and Linux versions of ARES.