LibreCAD / QCAD

As a professional AutoCAD user with many years of experience I can recommend you to give a try to another 2d drawing tool – LibreCAD. It is available for all three major operating systems – Linux, Windows and OS X. You may also prefer its parent, the original software – the free version of QCAD.

I actually like the original QCAD better, just because of minor differences in design of GUI. But, as it is LibreCAD which is included in the latest distributions of Ubuntu, I stick to that.

Once you get past the steep initial learning threshold, you discover, with some enjoyment, that it indeed is a convenient and useful tool. The approach to drafting differs very much from that of AutoCAD, so at first there is pain and irritation, but once you overcome it you are rewarded – it is small, it is simple, it is free, it is always available for download, it indeed works and it is actually quite sufficient for absolutely most of the 2d drawing needs, even if you are an engineering professional.

Of course, I wouldn’s recommend LibreCAD/QCAD over AutoCAD in professional setting (the price for AutoCAD is murderous, but, hey, it’s the company that pays). Still, for some small works and for use by home enthusiasts it is perfectly adequate and it is the only Open Source CAD software which is of actual practical value for an engineer, as much as I have seen so far. It does everything that most of the people do in 2d CAD anyways…

Talking about features, there are the good and the bad. What I like is, for example, the ability to extend two lines simultaneously until they hit each other. There is no such feature in AutoCAD. What I hate is the unbelievable absence of ability to rotate an object by reference.

All in all this is a software worth knowing and keeping your eye on. And as it is an OpenSource it will always remain available and definitely shall get more sophisticated in time.

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