Thursday, June 30, 2011

DraftSight - really good CAD software, for free

I'm a bit late to the party on this one. Better late than never, I guess.

If you've been looking for a free or low-cost alternative to AutoCAD, you can stop looking. DraftSight, a new 2D CAD program that natively (that means without breathing hard) reads and writes DWG and DXF files, is now available for free from Dassault Systèmes Solidworks.

It's available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. And it truly is free. With some asterisks.

Here are the important asterisks.
* DraftSight is comparable to AutoCAD LT, the lightweight version of AutoCAD.
* Only the standalone license is free. That means each computer has to have its own copy. If you want to run it from a network server, you'll have to purchase a network license.
* No LISP support in the free version. If you want LISP capability, or support for all your AutoLISP macros, you'll have to purchase the API.
* It's free, but not open source. Eh. I can live with it.

Those are all the asterisks I can think of. DraftSight has gotten great reviews on the Web. I just downloaded it and tried out some rudimentary functions, and I like it so far. If I end up not liking it, I'll edit this entry and tell you what's not to like.

Download it here. Read about it here. I'll tell you more about it in my next entry.

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