Feb 23, 2011

Application Review: ARES Commander Edition for Linux (Part I)

ARES is a newcomer in Linux world. Released on October 2010 is one of the two -the other is Bricscad- Autocad-like .dwg based applications that are available on Linux.

ARES is available as rpm and deb package for all major distros 
(Debian, Ubuntu ,OpenSUSE, Fedora) and as .tgz for custom installations. It has 32bit packages only, but you can easily install it on 64bit systems although my suggestion is to use 32bit OS.
ARES uses Qt to provide a nice and clean GUI, similar but not same with the familiar AutoCAD classic look.
The icons are too large and I think that many users will find this annoying but it's very easy to reduce their size to normal.
The application offers about 400 commands and variables, full ACIS 3d modelling, support for DRX, LISP APIs. Some Windows-specific features like VBA, encrypted LISP, OLE, ActiveX, and COM are not supported by the Linux version.
Trial versions are available through Graebert's site.
There are two different ways to test ARES:
  1. Unlimited time with limited functionality and without registration.
  2. Full function 30-days testing with registration.
A full commercial license of ARES Commander Edition costs 995 euros, 
about 30% lower than AutoCAD LT.

Testing ARES CE on Ubuntu

  • Installation
Easy and fast. With gdebi package installer (I prefer it than Software Center when I want to install single debs on Ubuntu) took about 30 seconds and 3 mouse clicks to complete the installation. Application Launchers were created successfully at the right place (the Graphics menu).
  • Desktop integration
ARES integrates well with GNOME, Themes applied successfully and the application looks very nice and clean. On KDE the application has the plastique theme instead of oxygen and this is a KDE issue with applications that use previous versions of Qt than the system uses.
  • Performance
ARES works very well with nVIDIA cards and the proprietary driver. I experienced some problems with ATI cards with both open and fglrx drivers - the drawing area was blinking after opening a dwg drawing- but this was finally solved after I disabled compositing (Compiz or Kwin effects). I don't know if this affects all ATI cards but I know that it does not affect all dwg files. The GUI has good responsiveness and dwg files are loaded very fast.
    Read Part II here

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