Oct 28, 2012

Lost in Support: BricsCAD

BricsCAD is a unique piece of software. It tries to be a full .dwg-based solution with some exciting features like direct modeling, 2D/3D parametric constraints, etc. So it is unfair to describe it as an AutoCAD-clone. BricsCAD has a native Linux version since September 2010 and it comes in 3 different versions: Classic, Pro and Platinum.

export SUPPORTED_ENVIRONMENT= 32bit Ubuntu,Fedora and OpenSUSE are the supported distros for BricsCAD. However Bricsys provides some extra bits of Linux support that you can find in the text below. (copied from the official Bricscad's system requirements)

(*) Supported Linux distribution versions:
Bricsys has chosen to support Fedora, OpenSuse and Ubuntu. For the distribution versions being supported in Bricscad (Linux), we follow the official support periods as offered by the creators of Fedora / OpenSuse / Ubuntu.
Bricscad (Linux) is built on the oldest Ubuntu LTS that is supported for the desktop. For instance, at time of writing (2012/04), Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is the oldest Ubuntu LTS that is still supported for the desktop. In practice, Bricscad (Linux) can run on almost any distribution that is newer than Ubuntu 10.04.
We receive many support requests for other versions or other distributions. As a rule of thumb, if we can reproduce the reported issue in one of the supported distribution versions, we provide support for it. 

Honestly I couldn't find a better model for Linux support. Bricsys model combines very well the needs of the CAD vendor and Linux users' demands. It is very hard for any Linux user to be unsatisfied by this support model. Linux, despite its similarities with other OSes, is a different ecosystem with different needs, advantages and disadvantages. So, for anyone who wants to provide quality Linux support for a commercial application it is necessary to understand the Linux ecosystem. Bricsys understands the Linux ecosystem better than any other CAD vendor.

Installation/Installation Instructions: Bricsys provides .deb, .rpm, PiSi (Pardus), and tar.gz packages for BricsCAD. You will not face any problems if you try to install Bricscad on a supported 32bit distro. 64bit installations may need some tricks but especially on Ubuntu 12.04 the installation is easier than any other CAD program because Bricscad works well with multiarch support. Also detailed information for 64bit installations on older Ubuntu versions and other distros are available.

Active Bugs/Bug Fixes: Typically BricsCAD has some annoying bugs in its new features. But the bug fixing ratio is quite good and many bug fix releases are available during the product's lifecycle.

Linux Related Answers: Linux users must feel very comfortable with BricsCAD.
A separate Linux forum, the RSS feed for new Linux releases, detailed comparison charts, a knowledge base with some Linux-related topics, and extra Linux love at every documentation topic or resource are here to help you.

Help/Command Reference: Detailed documentation is available via the help menu. Also video tutorials and free or paid e-books are present.Unfortunately for Linux users, the built-in documentation is available only if you have an Internet connection.
You can download the PDF version from the above link and use it offline but you still cannot access it within BricsCAD.

Bricscad's command reference in PDF format.

Development/Improvements/New Features: BricsCAD is a product with impressive development cycle. A lot of new features and improvements came out the last 2 years. Its Linux version still misses some features in comparison with the Windows version but most of the new functionality is available on Linux too.
Also a huge amount of Linux-related work isn't visible with the first look (APIs).

Summary: The Linux version of BricsCAD  needs some further improvements but its support is really great. The biggest advantage is that Bricsys understands well the Linux ecosystem and works in the right direction.

Rate: 5/5

This post is a part of the Lost in Support series. My main goal is to evaluate, compare and rate the provided support of all the available Linux CAD applications. A new tag named LiS will indicate all the posts of these series.

1 comment:

  1. I am currently using Bricscad V13 (Linux) and I agree with the authors comments. Some features are not working perfectly yet but the support is great and I know that they are moving forward with the development. Even in its current form, it is a quite useful CAD tool.