Apr 2, 2011

(Almost an) Application Review: Graphite One 3D CAD

GraphiteOne is a 3D Parametric Solid Modeler. It uses the Parasolid kernel which is used also in various well known similar packages such as NX or Solidworks.
GraphiteOne provides packages for various Linux distros: Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, OpenSUSE, CentOS.
A full list is available here
30-days trial versions are available with no registration.

Well, after launching the program for first time, you can understand that the try is incomplete. Old-fashioned GUI (it wouldn't be a problem if it had acceptable responsiveness), bad performance, bugs and some crashes. After some search in the GraphiteOne's website I discovered that GraphiteOne needs some older packages like gcc3.3 and libstdc++5. Once again it wouldn't be a problem if: 1) the installer informed you about that. 2) they didn't write in their website about Ubuntu 10.04 support when GraphiteOne needs packages that are not included in this version.
splash screen

a simple sketch with dimensions

extruding the previous sketch

These mistakes are unforgivable especially for a CAD application that isn't cheap (1600€). How easy is to trust for your productivity software a company that cannot inform you well for the system requirements of their program?
I had been testing for many days GraphiteOne on Ubuntu 11.04 32bit, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64 bit and OpenSUSE 11.4 64bit.
In all distros I experienced big problems, bugs and crashes. I tried several configurations like installing or not the "missing" older libraries, using different versions, (for example on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS I installed and tried both versions marked as 10.04 and 9.10) and the result was the same: Problems, bugs, crashes.

On OpenSUSE 11.4    
On Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Under these circumstances I am not able to make a complete review. The program, if it was working correctly, would be a quite interesting 3D CAD with all basics included, limited functionality in comparison with other well known programs but much cheaper and with good interoperability with other commercial 3D CAD. But at the moment is just a waste of time.  

2 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I felt the same (and struggled as much as you) when I tested it last year. Have you noticed how the GUI looks dated? For example, you click on a menu and there is no highlighting when you move your mouse over them. The GUI toolkit used is Motif, this thing is so dated compared to modern toolkits like GTK or Qt (I believe it was used in Unigraphics under UNIX, and is still used in the Linux version of NX).

    BTW the website has been down for a few weeks. It's the third time it's happened since 2008, the author has pulled everything from the site. This probably means he's preparing the V4 release. It's a very odd way to work...

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  2. The GUI toolkit is Qt3 not Motif but is still not usable. That is too bad for a commercial application. GraphiteOne has some benefits like the support of some well-known proprietary formats but is really painful to work with it. I hope that a new version will be available soon but I am not sure about that.

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