Feb 28, 2011

Draftsight Windows vs Bricscad Linux: Cost Comparison

As you already know Draftsight -the free 2D ARES-based AutoCAD clone from Dassault- has released the final version for Windows a few days ago. Linux version, although it had been announced, seems to be delayed for unknown reasons and I didn't find any information about the future. So the user who wants a free dwg cad system has to use Windows? I don't think so...
In this post I'll show how the cost of buying and maintaining Windows is actually higher than using Linux and a commercial 2D CAD application like Bricscad Classic. As time period I choose 5 years, the typical lifecycle of a Windows computer for productive use. I ignore some parameters, like the better performance of Linux on older hardware that increases the lifecycle of your computer and reduces the cost of updating hardware, or some possible stability and performance issues on software that need extra maintenance.
So the testing parameters are 5years lifecycle, only routine maintenance tasks, no hardware failures, typical configuration. Prices are in Euros

Draftsight Windows

  • OS license: 80-100
  • Antivirus software: 250 (50 per year)*
  •  CAD Software license: 0
Total:330-350 €

    Bricscad Linux

    • OS license: 0
    • Antivirus software: 0
    • CAD software license: 315 (+ VAT for customers inside EU)
    Total: 315 € (+ VAT for customers inside EU)

    * Antivirus software has many versions and a wide range of prices. Free antivirus like Windows Security Essentials or Avira Free aren't recommended for professional but only for home usage. Also the cost decreases a lot if you buy multiple licenses therefore this is not the target group of this specific usage of a 2D CAD I am trying to describe in this post. Multiple licenses are needed if you have many workstations and this affects people  who use a 2D CAD package to have backwards compatibility when migrating to 3D CAD like Solidworks. This post is for people who want only a 2D CAD package like small offices of 1-2 workstations. For these people the typical cost is 35-70 Euros per year so I believe that 50 Euros per year describes well the real cost.
      Maintenance (Typical necessary tasks)

      • Defragmentations (1 per year minimum if you don't want to wait a lot for simple tasks)
      • Installation of 1-2 Service Packs
      • Antivirus scanning
      • Various simple cleaning tasks ( cleanup: registry, browser cache, deleting unnecessary files etc)
      • First installation
      • New installations or dist-upgrades (about 1-2 for a period of 5 years**)
      • Various simple cleaning tasks ( cleanup: packages cache, browser cache, etc)
      ** When you use a distro recommended for professional usage, with a long maintenance cycle like Ubuntu LTS, Debian, CentOS etc. Distros with a 6-month release cycle and maintenance cycle of 18 months are primarily for home usage and not recommended for professional usage. Also you are not recommended to use unsupported distros, so I think that upgrades are necessary.

      So as you can see the between the two configurations cost is similar and Linux is the clear winner on maintenance. Defragmentations and installations of Service Packs are very painful and demand much more time than upgrading or having a clean install on a Linux system. So if you want a cost-effective 2D CAD workstation and you can't wait for the Linux version of Draftsight the choice of Linux+Bricscad probably saves for you time and money than staying on Windows and using the free-of-charge Draftsight.

      PS 1: The free-of-charge version of Draftsight does not contain commercial support.
      PS 2: Special offers of Bricscad are available sometimes.
      PS 3: It's possible to run the Windows version of Draftsight on Linux via Wine. I don't like this solution because I want native Linux applications but if you want, you can give it a try.

      1 comment:

      1. draftsight available for linux, but as for me bricscad is better chois