Nathan Willis reviews
the zero-cost-but-proprietary beta release of DraftSight, computer-aided
design (CAD) software for Linux. "Although this new app is not open
source, it is the first professional-level package available for free on
Linux that can read and write the industry-standard .DWG file format. Free
software CAD still has a long way to go, but for now DraftSight offers
Linux users a rare glimmer of hope.
He goes on to look at some of the alternatives. "As frustrating as it is, those are the options right now for CAD on Linux: non-free software that supports DWG, or free software that doesn't. All this stems back to the need to reverse-engineer the DWG file format itself. An independent group called the Open Design Alliance (ODA) did just that, and created a Linux-compatible library called OpenDWG. Yet as is too often the case, the organization and product do not live up to their names. You must be a paid-up member of the ODA in order to access its software, and you are not allowed to share it with others."
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