Mar 23, 2011

Bricscad V11 vs DraftSight

After the release of the first Beta of DraftSight a few days ago, it's inevitable a comparison between DraftSight and Bricscad V11 Classic. Both products have similar functionality and target group. Also both have benefits and disadvantages.
For better understanding I will present the results in categories.

Look and feel:
Both Bricscad and DraftSight have a nice look. But the winner is DraftSight because fits better with the generic look and feel of your Linux desktop.

Desktop integration: Both applications integrate well with common Linux Desktops. A point goes here to Bricscad for better integration with the file manager. But DraftSight adds My Drawings folder and the "open with DraftSight" option when  you right click on a supported file.

Performance: DraftSight is slower than Bricscad.
DraftSight uses less memory at program startup but Bricscad is less memory-hungry when working with dwg files.

Graphics Performance: Bricscad here is the clear winner: Loads complex dwg files faster and the performance of pan and zoom commands is much better than DraftSight's. DraftSight wins only in temporary graphics.

Features: Some features are missing from both products. DraftSight has no APIs but has some printing options (PNG, JPEG,PDF, SVG*) and table support that are not available on Bricscad. But the support of LISP and DRX APIs is a big advantage of Bricscad.

Workflow: Bricscad is easy to use and much more AutoCAD-like but I believe that DraftSight's workflow is the best. Great balance between keyboard and mouse, fast, easy to learn. I find it perfect."

Printing/Exporting: DraftSight has more printing options. You can extend Bricscad's printing functionality with the installation of cups-pdf package which gives you the "print to pdf "option.

DraftSight is  a great product and the best of all: It's free...
Bricscad V11 isn't free but is a cheap product with great value for money and better performance. If Bricsys fixes some minor bugs, that are annoying and give the feeling of an unfinished product, the result will be more than great.

Conclusion: The choice between these two programs depends on your needs. If you can do without APIs and with slightly worse performance you have to choose DraftSight. Otherwise Bricscad is your choice.

*SVG printing didn't work for me.


  1. Thank you very much for your comparison. We are an architectural office and planning to migrate to Linux. We are seriously checking the Bricscad and Draftsight alternatives. Please remember that as we are a company, we need commercial version of Draftsight. We have been using Autocad. Would you please recommend us which way to go?

  2. This post is definitely outdated. Things are very different now. Bricscad is much more mature and stable and DraftSight has also many improvements. However for commercial use,probably Bricscad is the only solution. DraftSight continues to be a beta version and there is no commercial version* for Linux right now.
    Bricscad also offers some extra functionality (layered PDFs, LISP, working SVG export,2D constraints and more...) that you may find useful.
    Bricscad also has the advantage to work well on VirtualBox so you can test its functionality without making any changes to your productivity machine.
    Also consider that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with 5-years support and multiarch may be the best solution for a company so I suggest you to wait for about 2 months before you migrate to Linux
    *version with LISP and commercial support, of course you can use the free version of DraftSight to create drawings for commercial use.

  3. Hello, yesterday I found your Website during the search about CAD and Linux. Also I want like to migrate. Yesterday I did write a comment about 64bit and Draftsight install problems...
    Today I have a another question. It seems Cycas will not developed anymore. Now I take a look about alternative CAD and I found Draftsight, Bricscad and Ares Commander Edition. After a short testperiod in my opinion this three applications are the most professional CAD on linux (especially for architectural work). But I'm still not sure what is the best choice. For example Bricscad will crashed if I want draw in 3D. Draftsight is still beta and the free linux license is not allowed for commercial use. Ares Commander Edition works best on my system (xubuntu). Have you any expierence with Ares? Perhaps can you expand your really good comparison with Ares?
    Thank you for this great CAD Linux blog.

  4. First, you can use the free DraftSight version for commercial use. Dassault allows it. You can also use DraftSight in more than one computers with one activation but not concurrently. ARES is the "father" of DraftSight and has similar functionality + some extra features (APIs,3D,voice notes etc). Bricscad is the program with the most features of all but needs more work in its new V12 features.
    Which is the best for you?
    I believe that only you can answer this question.
    An application that I believe that is great, for you might be incompatible/slow/expensive/without a feature that is extremely necessary for you etc.
    Perhaps I can help you more if you can describe your workflow.
    -Do you use 2D only or both 2D/3D?
    -Have you noticed any missing functionality in any of the above programs. If yes, is there any workaround for it?
    -Can you successfully exchange data from/to other programs that you use? Which other programs would you like to use? (graphics processors, office applications etc)
    And much more...
    Migration to a different program isn't easy. However I believe that is possible in most of the cases. Testing all the possible options before the migration is painful but save you from any mistakes/incompatibilities/problems in the future.

    1. Thank you very much for your statement and your tips about migration. In terms of your points, I think a migration to one of these is possible. All three are a good choice for my projects.
      For me would be interesting to know, the behavior of these programs on linux. Has Ares the same behavior like Draftsight (relationship) regarding the performance and memory management? Here you have the answer already given partially. Can they handle a bigger file with more than 20 layers and more than 10 sheets? Do they running on linux very well (stable, without crashs)? Especially Bricscad is running quite wobbly on my system. Maybe because of 64bit. Is generally still recommended to switch back to a 32bit system?
      According to these criteria, I'm not sure which is the best choice.

    2. In my computer I didn't notice any significant differences in performance/memory managment with all these programs. Bricscad is a little bit faster and needs less memory but nothing special. All the programs can handle large files but you have to be careful with very large files (30+ MB) and drawings with missing xrefs. Except the new features of Bricscad V12 that have problems especially with non-Nvidia GPUs all the programs are stable.
      For the 32/64 bit dilemma the answer is quite simple.
      If you want the performance boost of a 64bit system in applications like Blender/Inkscape etc it's better to use a 64bit system. But if you want to use primarily any of these 32bit-only CAD programs it's beter to use a 32bit OS.

    3. Thank you very much again. Sometimes we need the opinion of another person to find a decision. I think, I'll take a closer look to Ares and Bricscad again.
      By the way, especially for architecture/construction work on Linux, there are only two programs. One is called Cycas ( the last update is 2008. The another one is a high end CAAD called Arcad ( Maybe you will take a look, both are in english too.