Dec 31, 2012

2012 Flash Back

The year that is leaving today was an interesting one in the field of Linux CAD.
Below are listed the top events of 2012 for Linux CAD:

Dec 24, 2012

Dec 21, 2012

Dec 17, 2012

TeighaViewer 3.8-1 released

A new version of TeighaViewer is available for download. This new release has read and write support for .dwg version 2013.

Since ARES CE, BricsCAD and DraftSight use ODA's libraries to handle .dwg files I hope that soon all these programs will be able to read and write 2013 .dwg files.
(ARES CE and DraftSight  already have some basic read-only support for 2013 .dwg files)

Dec 2, 2012

New version for ARES CE

Graebert released an updated version for ARES CE. This new version comes with various new tools and fixes. A complete changelog is available here.
As usually .deb, .rpm and tar.gz versions are available for testing with or without registration (some features like saving and printing are not available in the unregistered version).
Unfortunately there is no native 64bit Linux version yet.
Also a special offer is valid until January 5th 2013 so you can buy ARES CE at the discounted price of 495€.

Nov 20, 2012

How to fix BricsCAD's segfault on Ubuntu 12.10

BricsCAD V12 doesn't work correctly on the new Ubuntu 12.10.
The problem is that BricsCAD V12 doesn't operate well  with the version of libfreetype that is installed by default on Ubuntu 12.10. This problem can be fixed by copying a working version of this library into BricsCAD's LD_PRELOAD path.

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.

Oct 20, 2012

Playing with FreeCAD: Airfoils and Blades

FreeCAD is a very interesting tool. One of its advantages is that it can read and use data from various other programs. This feature is very important and can save you a lot of time in various tasks. One of these tasks is airfoil and blade design. There are various tools that can create airfoils and then export them in a format that FreeCAD can use for further editing.

Oct 11, 2012

DraftSight V1R3 is available for Download

An updated version of DraftSight (v1R3) is available. This version has some new functionality for easy creation of Revision Clouds but it has also a problem with the display of .ttf fonts. You can download this version here. As usual both .rpm and .deb files are available but for 32bit Linux only.

Oct 8, 2012

How to install Blender 2.4.x on Ubuntu 12.04

You probably find yourselves wondering: Why anyone would like to have an older version of any program on his computer? Well, as known, Blender is a 3D graphics program, useful in particular for architects and engineers. The latest version 2.6.x has an updated interface and various new features. However, some useful scripts like dxf importer, blender mechanical gears, cad tools etc, are partially implemented or unavailable for the new Blender. So it sounds practical having an older version of Blender installed on your system and being able to use the above scripts! Let's see how this could be accomplished with the following tutorial.

Oct 7, 2012

Lost in Support: ARES CE

ARES CE is one of the available dwg-based AutoCAD-like programs for Linux.
It's a commercial application that costs  795 € and has a Linux version since October 2010.

Sep 29, 2012

ARCAD-C1 the new free version of ARCAD

ARCAD is a commercial 2D/3D architectural CAD package for Linux.
It comes in a variety of versions and a few days ago a free version was released.
Unfortunately it is available for older Linux versions up to 2.6.32 kernel (Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid).
I have succesfully installed this version on a Kubuntu 12.04 32bit machine but with a quick look it seems to be a very problematic installation. So if you want to test this version, it is highly recommended to use only Ubuntu 10.04.
More info and installation instructions about this release here.

Lost in Support: export SUPPORTED_ENVIRONMENT=?

After finishing with the OpenSource applications, I am going to continue my Lost In Support series with the proprietary CAD programs. For better results I believe that a new "variable" is needed. Which flavor of Linux does the proprietary app support officialy?
For OpenSource applications supporting every kind of Linux distros, it isn't difficult. At least, the source code is available for compiling so you can install the application in every distro.
Proprietary apps behave very differently. The CAD vendors choose what kind of distro(s) they want to support. This choice affects the overall Linux support experience.
So here it is: export SUPPORTED_ENVIRONMENT= ?

Aug 30, 2012

Lost in Support:LibreCAD

LibreCAD is an important piece of software for the OpenSource community. Currently it is the only available and mature OpenSource solution for 2D CAD.
Let's see what happens with its Linux Support.

Jul 30, 2012

How to embed the partlibrary of QCAD 2.x to the new QCAD 3

The final release of QCAD 3 is out and the new features of this CAD application like the property editor, the new scripting engine, the new library browser, .dwg support and more are available to its users.
One very interesting feature is the new library browser that can handle  different type of files like .dwg, .dxf, .svg and scripting items.
Many users may want to use the old QCAD's partlibrary with this new release. The solution is really very simple and with a few mouse clicks you can successfully embed the old partlibrary into the new QCAD3.
So the only thing you have to do is to open the application's preferences and navigate to Widgets-->Library browser. Then you have to add the path  to the partlibrary's folder and/or any other location that includes files you want to use into the Library Browser.

Save the changes and restart QCAD3 and you're ready!!!

Jul 29, 2012

Lost in support:FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a perfect example of a well-supported application under Linux. Also its active community provides excellent documentation and support with lots of tutorials, answers and helpful advices all accessible with a few clicks from the application's homepage.

Jul 25, 2012

Dassault released an updated version for DraftSight

A new version V1R2.1 for DraftSight is available for download. Nothing special at all but the 2 very annoying bugs of the previous version ( No menus and toolbars when you install DraftSight on a system with different language than the supported and the segfault when there is no Internet connection available) have been fixed. So these are enough to update your current DraftSight installation.
Download the latest packages from here (32bit only both .deb and .rpm)

Jul 17, 2012

A TeighaViewer Update is available

TeighaViewer has just updated today in version 3.6.0. It has various new features like toolbars and some basic design functionality (you can now draw lines, boxes and spheres with it) but continues to have printing problems. You can read the full announcement, the changelog and download TeighaViewer for Linux from here.
Both deb and rpm files are available.

Jul 3, 2012

Lost in Support:Intro

The latest DraftSight V1R2 release was a disaster. Despite the localization bug this version also has some very annoying problems such as the crash when there is no Internet connection available. These problems gave me the idea for a series of articles that will evaluate, compare and rate the support level of the available Linux CAD applications.

Things to compare:
Installation/Installation Instructions
Active Bugs/Bug Fixes
Linux-related answers
Help/Command Reference
Development/Improvements/New features


So how easy is for a Linux newbie and non experienced user to deal with these applications with only help the resources that the CAD vendors/developers provide?

Jun 29, 2012

How to install Bricscad V11 on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Bricscad V11 has a syntax problem in the description field of the .deb file. This problem causes a failure during the upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 but it also makes the installer unusable in clean installations of Ubuntu 12.04. The fix is quite simple and similar to the DraftSight on Ubuntu 12.04 64bit workaround.
You have to edit the control file inside the .deb installer. Here is the complete workaround:

May 24, 2012

DraftSight V1R2 is out but it's broken

A new version of DraftSight has been released but it's completely unusable with the new Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The application seems broken and I get a segmentation fault when I try to launch it. Sometimes the application opens but pull down menus and toolbars are missing. I'll try to investigate if there is any way to fix that but I don't expect any solution about this.
Ubuntu 12.04 users have to be careful with this. Don't upgrade if you don't have a copy of the previous DraftSight V1R1.4 installer.

DraftSight V1R2 on Ubuntu 12.04. Disaster!!!

Update: DraftSight V1R2 doesn't have any GUI problems with CentOS 6.2 32bit, OpenSUSE 12.1 64bit and Ubuntu 12.04 64bit ???!!!(All these are VirtualBox installations). On my Ubuntu 12.04 32bit installation I finally got back the toolbars but the pull-down menus are still missing.

Update 2: Finally I got a working DraftSight V1R2 on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 32bit. The problem is that DS tries to load missing or invalid CUI and Menu files when your system locale is not English.
To get a correct looking DraftSight you have to:
- type options on the command  line and navigate to File Locations--->Interface--->Customization File and then load the correct application.xml file. Save the changes

This will make the toolbars visible again.

After that:

-right click on a toolbar and select Customize Interface
Navigate to UI Profiles--->UI Profiles--->Menu Bar, then click to the button show menu explorer and then drag 'n' drop all the items into the Classic default entry. Save the changes again.

Finally DraftSight looks OK again


May 22, 2012

New release for VariCAD

A new version of VariCAD has been released. According to the release announcement there are various new features and improvements:

This version contains new methods of profiles lofting and extrusions, more options for 2D drawing in 3D space, support of ISO228 pipe threads and improvements of 2D threads exported from 3D views. In 2D, the new version has rebuild layer management. There are further significant improvements in user interface. 

List of new features:

 - Multiple new possibilities of lofting of profiles 
- New options of profile extrusions, improvements in other methods of basic solid creation 
- New methods of 2D profile selection, including better diagnosis of problems 
- New possibilities of 2D drawing in 3D space 
- Support of ISO228 pipe threads 
- New methods of selections of 3D edges for blending 
- New 2D layer management 
- Additional options for data exports from BOM 
- Further improvements in user interface

The release announcement has also a more comprehensive description of the new features:

- Multiple new possibilities of lofting of profiles - allows you to loft one profile into another, without limitations given by type of profile segments 
- New options for profile extrusion, support of draft angle 
- Improved method of creation of helical surfaces and creation of rotation combined with lofting 
- New methods of 2D profile selection, including better diagnosis of problems. This allows you to easily detect forgotten overlaps, gaps, intersections etc. 
- New possibilities of 2D drawing in 3D space. You can comfortably draw a profile at a selected plane and then select method of solid creation, like profile extrusion, lofting, rotation etc. 
- Support of ISO228 pipe threads, and better option for thread selections. Threads exported from 3D into 2D are automatically detected during dimensioning. 
- New methods of selections of 3D edges for blending. You can select multiple edges, or optionally edges of entire outlines. Before blending, selected edges are sorted automatically. 
- New 2D layer management. This contains a possibility to modify automatic layer switching. 
- Improvements in user interface - new multiple options for dialog panel buttons, for solid translations or for 3D view rotations. Some panels are changed to be more legible. 
- Multiple new selection methods are available between commands. Press and hold Shift for edges selection or press and hold Ctrl + Shift for drawing plane selection. 
- New default settings for icons size. The icon size is now automatically determined according to screen resolution. There are new toolbar configurations, now different for small icon size and large icon size. 
- Additional options for data exports from BOM. You can optionally export headers, or to select text file formats and encoding.
VariCAD 2012-2.03 on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
VariCAD provides .deb and .rpm installers for both 32bit and 64bit. Free trial versions are available after registration at application's website.

May 14, 2012

Customizing Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for CAD

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is probably the best solution for a Linux-based CAD workstation. Supported for 5 years and easy to use, allows you to create a zero-cost reliable CAD workstation powered by Linux. In this article I am going to show some tricks that will make your life easier with your new OS.

Apr 28, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and .dwg-based CAD

After the installation of the new Ubuntu 12.04 LTS I tested the installation of all the available .dwg based CAD applications.

Apr 19, 2012

QCAD 3 is near to the final release

QCAD 3 is very close to the final release. It will have a lot of improvements like dwg support, new library browser, new scripting engine, various UI improvements and more...
Also new versions for CAM Expert and QCAD Community Edition, based on QCAD 3 will be available.
All the beta/RC versions I had tested were working well on both 32 and 64 bit Linux and I expect the same for the final release.
You can read the full official announcement here

Mar 21, 2012

Important notice for Bricscad Linux users and testers

If you had installed Bricscad V10, V11 or V12 beta on Ubuntu and you want to upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS you will be affected by this bug that will cause a failure and your upgrade will not be successful. This bug causes a critical dpkg error during the upgrade process and your system will be damaged and unusable. It doesn't matter if you have already uninstalled Bricscad because the description of the package (this causes the error) remains on your system even if the package isn't any longer installed. 
In order to fix that you have to:
-Make a clean installation, not an upgrade. This is the easiest method to avoid this bug. If you have a separate /home partition it is very easy.
-Edit as super user the files /var/lib/dpkg/available and /var/lib/dpkg/status. You have to edit Bricscad's description and to put a full stop "." atevery empty line after the space that already exists. ( Each empty line has to be a space character followed by a full stop). Make sure that you keep the correct syntax of the file. Save the changes and test if your dpkg works correctly by installing any package from your package manager.
This bug will also affect Debian Wheezy when it will be released.

The error during the upgrade. The operation stops and exits.

Your system after the upgrade failure.

Mar 19, 2012

DraftSight and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will be released on April 26 with some important and useful features like multiarch-support. However some 32bit packages still have installation problems on 64bit systems because they don't follow the new specifications. One of the packages that need some tricks in order to install it on a 64 bit Ubuntu 12.04 system is the current V1R1.4 of DraftSight.

Feb 25, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit will make the life easier to Linux CAD users and vendors

As you probably already know all the .dwg-based Linux CAD are 32bit only and their installation on 64bit Ubuntu systems is currently painful. But this will  change soon...

Feb 23, 2012

Highlights of Bricscad V12 Linux: Screenshot tour

Fully editable tables can be created or imported from csv files.
Here is a test file created with LibreOffice Calc 

 Editing the above table

 Flatshot command creates 2D profiles from 3D solids in model space

 The Quad cursor in action for easy and fast 3D direct modelling

The Solprof command is similar to Flatshot but in paper space
Hatch wipeout!

Refedit allows to edit xref's directly

 With this command you can: select which entity of the xref you want to edit and lock the others, 
add/remove entities to set,draw new geometry, save/discard changes

 Livesections in action

Feb 20, 2012

Bricscad V12 for Linux is out!

Today Bricsys has released the final V12 version of Bricscad for Linux.
This release includes many fixes and new features such as direct modelling, 2D and 3D parametric constraints, realistic rendering via RedSDK and more ( a full changelog is available here).
Bricscad V12 for Linux is a powerful and affordable application that can reduce the cost of a CAD workstation significantly . Combined with the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which will come with a 5-years support period, it can be a reliable long time solution for anyone, not only current Linux users.
Bricscad V12 for Linux comes in 3 versions:
  • Classic (2D only with LISP)
  • Pro (plus 3D, direct modelling, realistic rendering, BRX)
  • Platinum (plus 3D constraints and design intent capturing)
As usual 30-days trial version is available after registration

The installation on Ubuntu 11.10 32bit was fast and trouble-free. However the new features and especially the real-time realistic rendering need more powerful hardware (especially GPU). Also consider that you have to tweak some settings in order to get better performance ( I had to change the default settings of quad cursor to make it work better in my machine).

Startup Wizard

3d modelling space

Push/Pull in action

A more detailed view and any possible tweaks/fixes will be available soon.

Feb 9, 2012

Trazar City Tools for Bricscad Linux: A very good start

Bricscad for Linux is a powerful and fast application. While the V12 is in the final stage of development with a lot of cool new features including direct modelling and more, the current stable V11 is a very good choice for a Linux CAD workstation.
One of the advantages of Bricscad is that you can extend its functionality via APIs.
Trazar City Tools from Bethel IngenierĂ­a is the first and currently the only available application that is compatible with Bricscad for Linux.
It is a Lisp application so you can also use it with the cheap, 2D only, Classic version of Bricscad. Of course it is compatible with the Pro version too.
This application contains a full set of tools and libraries for effective 2D design of pipes, ducts, fire protection systems, plumbing, HVAC, and more.
Trazar City Tools can be downloaded from here for testing. A full license costs about 895$ or 995$ if you buy both Trazar City Tools and Bricscad Classic.

 Trazar Building Library window

Trazar Suite window

 All the extra toolbars of Trazar City Tools

So you can have a 2D DWG -compatible, Linux CAD workstation with extra MEP functionality with about 400-500$ lower cost than a Windows-based workstation with AutoCAD LT which cannot run external applications. A very interesting choice!!!

Feb 1, 2012

A silent DraftSight update: Some important fixes and a stupid new bug

Today I mentioned that the DraftSight's deb and rpm files have been updated since January's 17 but there was no information about that. No mail notification, not even a post on DraftSight's community. However this new V1R1.4 version of DraftSight is important for linux users.

Jan 5, 2012

DraftSight on CentOS 6.2 (32bit)

I was very curious if DraftSight can work with RHEL clones like CentOS or Scientific Linux. So I decided to test the installation of DraftSight on CentOS 6.2.