Linux provides good foundation for CAD

Linux provides good foundation for CAD

It's hard to find an office these days where someone isn't trying out Linux. It's an essentially free operating system with essentially free applications, but they all have more going for them than price.

Linux is a stable OS with attractive features, including multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, proper memory management and TCP/IP networking. Originally developed on PCs but now ported to many other hardware platforms, it can be a reliable alternative to Microsoft Windows.

A small army of developers continue to improve Linux, adding features and applications free for the download.

Linux supporters have long thought the OS' features and support of a variety of cross-platform graphics would make it an ideal platform for computer-aided design. Because many Linux devotees are engineers, it seemed desktop CAD for Linux would be a natural blend.

The wait is over. There are several CAD programs available for Linux. QCad is an easy-to-use 2-D CAD product available under a general public license.

This type of license, common in the world of freely distributed software, guarantees that anyone can distribute copies of free software'and charge for the service if they wish.

QCad is distributed through a group in Switzerland, though the software is in English. Download it from www.qcad.org/index.php3?body=download.

Closer to home, Software Forge of Schaumburg, Ill., offers the LinuxCAD drafting program for Linux. LinuxCAD costs $99 but boasts an assortment of high-end 2-D and 3-D CAD features and symbol libraries. Find out more at www.linuxcad.com.

Finally, Deneba Software has released a version of its Canvas 7 for Linux. Learn more about it at www.deneba.com/dazroot/news/pressrel/linuxfaq_frame.html.

These offerings should satisfy penguin fans for a while, but expect to see more CAD products for Linux soon.

'Edmund X. DeJesus

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