Update 2/9/2012: If you’re having trouble downloading Ubuntu Draftsight, here’s a solution.
Update 2/5/2012: It seems that both the relative placement problems as well as the lack of being able to turn off the “CCS icon” and origin have been fixed! After some weird error, I removed the software and re-downloaded and installed Draftsight on my Ubuntu machine. After allowing a file to be updated per a prompt, things seem to be working perfectly (at least for these issues)! Thanks Dassault Systemes! (FYI, I had to download and install this manually using the terminal; it didn’t appear to be available on the Ubuntu Software Center).
The last time I reviewed Draftsight, it was the Windows version (my review here). With my recent conversion to the Ubuntu OS, I was quite happy that Draftsight (Download it here) was available. While away from work (and ProE), I do, obviously if you’ve ever seen this blog before, work on other projects. Generally they’re simple enough for 2D CAD – Draftsight in my case. With it’s ability to handle DXF files it really fits the bill when I’m trying to generate a drawing to send to my CAM software and have routed.
To preface everything, let me first say that it’s really great that Dassault Systemes decided to put out their CAD package for Ubuntu as well as Windows and Macintosh. Seriously, that’s pretty uncommon. As with the Windows version, the text commands are very close to AutoCAD, and, if you’re used to that package, the switch is pretty painless.
Painless, that is, until you start to draw things using relative dimensions (the @ command before stuff). Maybe I’m doing something wrong and I’d love for someone to tell me different, but the Ubuntu version doesn’t treat this correctly. I wouldn’t have noticed this necessarily, but after doing a quick sketch at work with the Windows version, it definitely handles things better. For instance, say you draw a line and then decide to draw another starting 1 inch away from the start point of the first one. Normally you would type “line”, then “from”, and select the point that you are referencing everything off of. Once selected, the normal procedure would be to type, say “@1,0″ if you want things to be 1 inch to the right in the x direction and 0 inches up in the y direction. I’m not quite sure if there’s some pattern to the madness, but when doing this in Ubuntu DraftSight, the results are fairly unpredictable. This works equally poorly when pasting elements into a drawing.
The workaround that I’ve used is to draw a line that would have been the offset and delete it later. Having to do this isn’t a dealbreaker for home use, but if I was using it professionally, I would have probably moved to a different CAD system. The Windows version doesn’t seem to have this problem, although I believe some early versions did.
The second thing that seems to be missing from Ubuntu Draftsight, is that you can’t turn off the “CCS” icon in the middle of your drawing (It seems CCS somehow just stands for “coordinate system”). This appears to be the same thing as the “UCS” icon in AutoCAD which stands for “User Coordinate System”. Draftsight has a dropdown menu for it under [view => display => CCS icon], but the checkmarks don’t seem to do anything. Apparently this is a Windows only feature as it works with that version.
In conclusion, I think it’s absolutely wonderful that DraftSight is available for Ubuntu, but if you’re thinking of switching your CAD station at work from Windows to Ubuntu in order to take advantage of “free AutoCAD”, you might reconsider.
I’m hopeful that DSS will fix this eventually (Edit 2/5/2011 – they did fix this, but since they have a good Windows version – my review – as well, I wouldn’t go Linux just to use this), and for a hobby CNC operator and random device designer such as myself, it’s more than adequate.
I’d love any comments good or bad about Ubuntu Draftsight, or if you know of a better CAD package for Ubuntu (not AutoCAD for WINE), let me know in the comments!