The Search for an AutoCAD Alternative Ends

Four months ago an architect, who has 5 licenses of AutoCAD LT 2006 and 2 licenses of AutoCAD 2006, posted a question on the IntelliCAD.net forum wondering whether it was worth switching to an AutoCAD clone. Autodesk was due to retire AutoCAD 2006 and he was not too happy with the fact that he was being forced to upgrade, especially since AutoCAD 2006 was more than enough for his work. In his words, “This force upgradation after every three releases by Autodesk is really sucking my hard earned money.”

What followed was a lively discussion with other members offering advice and sharing their experiences with various AutoCAD clones. Today the architect arrived at some sort of conclusion. He wrote, “IMHO there is no AutoCAD Clone at present which is as fast as AutoCAD. …[snip]… I have come to a point where I am willing to pay the price of AutoCAD for its stability and speed. It is really unfortunate that no clone can do this (speed as well as stability). Since recently I am also fed up trying out every other AutoCAD Clone. I am now once for all settled for AutoCAD!”

They say quality comes at a price. The question is whether you can afford it. An equally important question is whether you have a viable option.

As far as this reluctant Autodesk customer is concerned, the search for an AutoCAD alternative has come to an end, not in the way he hoped it would.

  • Rakesh Rao

    I can fully understand what this architect went through. There is no doubt that all the earlier to current versions of AutoCAD are very stable, i.e it will not crash often out of the blue.The anti-Autodesk feeling prevalent does not come from stability of the product but from a whole lot of other issues.The clones are trying to put up a very credible and real alternative to AutoCAD and that is indeed good. I appreciate the efforts put in by Bricsys, ZwCAD etc.They have their current share of problems, some of which are common to them and some unique. They also have their share of strengths which are nice to see. Each has their own growth strategy and vision and I am sure that there will space for all of them to thrive depending on what the end-user is looking for and if the CAD in question delivers it.Having said that, I have seen eval/users who are perfectly happy or perfectly unhappy or somewhere in between when it comes to alternative CAD. So, go ahead and give it a try and make your choice yourself.I can say for sure that the path taken by this architect is not the only way to go.

  • Rakesh Rao

    I can fully understand what this architect went through. There is no doubt that all the earlier to current versions of AutoCAD are very stable, i.e it will not crash often out of the blue.

    The anti-Autodesk feeling prevalent does not come from stability of the product but from a whole lot of other issues.

    The clones are trying to put up a very credible and real alternative to AutoCAD and that is indeed good. I appreciate the efforts put in by Bricsys, ZwCAD etc.

    They have their current share of problems, some of which are common to them and some unique. They also have their share of strengths which are nice to see. Each has their own growth strategy and vision and I am sure that there will space for all of them to thrive depending on what the end-user is looking for and if the CAD in question delivers it.

    Having said that, I have seen eval/users who are perfectly happy or perfectly unhappy or somewhere in between when it comes to alternative CAD. So, go ahead and give it a try and make your choice yourself.

    I can say for sure that the path taken by this architect is not the only way to go.

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  • Have you looked at 3D Home Architect (http://www.3dhaonline.com)?

  • Have you looked at 3D Home Architect (http://www.3dhaonline.com)?

  • I don’t understand why he’d be forced to upgrade if he doesn’t want to. Why can’t he stay with 2006? Of course Autodesk is stopping support, but I’m pretty sure the 2006 release is pretty stable at the moment. And as for reading 2007 (and soon 2010) DWG format, with the DWGgateway plugin from Solidworks, he can do it within Autocad 2006.

  • Normand C.

    I don’t understand why he’d be forced to upgrade if he doesn’t want to. Why can’t he stay with 2006? Of course Autodesk is stopping support, but I’m pretty sure the 2006 release is pretty stable at the moment. And as for reading 2007 (and soon 2010) DWG format, with the DWGgateway plugin from Solidworks, he can do it within Autocad 2006.

  • Sure he can stay with AutoCAD 2006. But if wants to upgrade to a newer version of AutoCAD at a later date, it would be almost equivalent to purchasing a whole new license. Autodesk has formulated their upgrade policy in such a way that it is more profitable for customers (and to Autodesk as well) to upgrade regularly or better still, stay on subscription.

  • Sure he can stay with AutoCAD 2006. But if wants to upgrade to a newer version of AutoCAD at a later date, it would be almost equivalent to purchasing a whole new license. Autodesk has formulated their upgrade policy in such a way that it is more profitable for customers (and to Autodesk as well) to upgrade regularly or better still, stay on subscription.

  • The search is just beginning. Try GstarCAD from http://gstarcadsoft.com it is the best alternative to autocad.