Dassault Systemes Releases Free DraftSight For Linux

Today Dassault Systemes released their third installment of DraftSight running on Linux, the free AutoCAD clone based on the ARES platform from Graebert. This completes the DraftSight trilogy for Windows, Mac and Linux. Here is a screen shot that Dassault Systemes PR sent me yesterday.

Just like how the Windows and Mac versions were when they were released, the Linux version of DraftSight is released as a beta. Recently Dassault Systemes made the Windows version of DraftSight a released product (see “DraftSight Comes Out Of Beta“).

In an earlier post titled “$0 DraftSight For Mac To Be Released Before $4000 AutoCAD For Mac” I wrote:

So as I see things happening, on Windows, $0 DraftSight will need to try its best to dislodge the $4000 AutoCAD. Whereas on the Mac, the $4000 AutoCAD will need to do much more than its best to try and dislodge the $0 DraftSight.

The situation on Linux is skewed completely in favor of Dassault Systemes. Autodesk does not have a version of AutoCAD running on Linux. At least not yet. But if you have spent enough time talking to Autodesk developers in the past couple of years, you will have heard the term “Big Split” mentioned quite often. The big split signifies the splitting of the core AutoCAD code into two parts: the core geometry and feature code which was made cross platform and the rest of the code related to stuff like user interface which needs to be platform specific. One of the results of the big split was AutoCAD for Mac itself. Another is AutoCAD WS. So things are already set up for AutoCAD for Linux to take birth, if the gestation hasn’t already started, that is.

Graebert did the equivalent of the big split years ago when they started working on their ARES platform. That is why they are ahead in the game and find themselves in a position where they can offer their AutoCAD clone for Windows, Mac and Linux. I believe this was one of the deciding factors when Dassault Systemes went shopping for AutoCAD clone technology.

Something else needs to be mentioned here. All this would not have been possible without the work done by the Open Design Alliance in creating the Teigha platform, which is basically a clone of the AutoCAD platform. In fact, DraftSight is skin sitting over the ARES platform which a feature rich layer sitting over the Teigha platform. A while ago I wrote a similar “thin” layer myself for my book “OpenCAD – A Step by Step Guide to Developing a Professional CAD Application“.

Needless to say, the ODA is the root cause of all of Autodesk’s problems when it comes to AutoCAD clones. If you remember, Autodesk did try to “deal” with the ODA a few years ago by dragging them to court over the TrustedDWG issue. I get the feeling that the ODA is feeling a bit emboldened now that they have large corporations like Dassault Systemes having an increasingly larger stake in their well being.

As an aside, I am also quite interested in the opening of the Graebert Market for DraftSight. At SYCODE we have been working closely with Graebert to port our ARES plug-ins over to DraftSight and hope to have them ready when the Market opens for business. We started working on our big split some time ago. We have been working to make our core geometry and feature code cross platform so that we can extend our plug-ins to CAD systems running on other operating systems like Mac and Linux.

Click here to download DraftSight. It costs nothing. 😉

  • Sorry Deelip. This is not IntelliCAD 7. For some reason GreatStar changed the variable, but I don’t think they know that this is not allowed according to the rules of the ITC. The fact that they are using a newer version of the ODA libraries does not mean much, because the members are allowed to do this in the Version 6 product. IntelliCAD 7 was not far enough along a year ago to ship. This is not really news, so I would probably drop it as your leads story. The only story is some product manager approved a number change without understanding the repercussions.

  • That is rather impressive. I loaded up a moderately complicated 2D drawing from AutoCAD LT 2009 and it had no problems. I did find a bug in DXF support (from QCAD Professional in that it wouldn’t show any entities on a layer that was originally hidden in QCAD, regardless of its hidden status in DraftSight..

  • Cesar

    deelip, you should do a piece about the DraftSight API..

    • I just might when the time comes. The thing is everything is very secret right now and I am under NDA on a lot of things related to ARES and DraftSight

  • Vital

    Thanks for the news. Hey it runs on windows; that’s all I need; why should I care about crappy linux?

    • Pietro

      Vital, I think you made a mistake in your post. Maybe this is what you ment: “Hey it runs on Linux; that’s all I need; why should I care about crappy windows?”

  • Someon

    Looks like the app is QT based, am I right?

  • Lativ

    Thanks for the news. Hey it runs on Linux; that’s all I need; why should I care about crappy windows?

  • I tried driftsight for several weeks, honesty speaking,in my opinion, for some large drawings, it is not as good as some other CAD. I hope it can be better and keep free.

  • Rakesh Kanagu

    Hello Mr.Deelip,

    How will be the effect of Draftsight on ITC products(AutoCAD Clones) and AutoCAD?

    • Hua-Wang

      Although the question is addressed to Mr. Deelip, let me take the liberty here…

      Carl Bass is up in arms and is accusing Dassault of manipulating its accounts and what not. So the expected effect of DraftSight on AutoCAD is pretty clear from that. Effect on ITC products? That’s a little hazy. Personally, I would just grab DraftSight for most of my needs but would still prefer to sit on a couple (not too many) of AutoCAD licenses, just to make sure there aren’t any issues in the generated data from DraftSight. Just don’t want Dassault to do a ‘Microsoft Visual Java’ on me.

  • Christian Martel


    Installed on 3 Ubuntu 32 bit machines. Works like a charm on first 2,
    for last couple of months. On 3rd machine will only run as root.
    Noticed that Gdebi installed files with Root as owner and rights, but I
    installed it from my account. Tried changing access permission to
    include my account, and applied to all files below /opt/dass…. but to
    no avail.

    What to do? Thx!