Strong response to DraftSight for Linux

Dassault Systemes dives head first into uncharted waters with its beta release of a no-cost Linux based 2D CAD application called DraftSight for Linux, announced earlier this month.  Though DraftSight for Linux is not open source, it is free to download and use, and the community of users will direct its development via 3D SwYm.  There are two Linux versions available for download, Ubuntu and  Fedora/Suse/Mandriva.

File compatibility

DraftSight reads and saves .dwg and .dxf file formats.  It can read those formats from any version 2.5 and after.  It can save to any versions from R12 to R2007-2010.  It can also export to PDF, PNG, TIF, SAT and STL.


What makes this stand out in the Linux community is that DraftSight for Linux is the first non-GPL release of a 2D CAD application from a major corporation that is free for both commercial and personal use.  Even ARES does not offer that!  DraftSight for Linux will have a paid subscription service for educational and commercial customers who want phone support, network licensing, and access to API.  Other than that, free activation of DraftSight for Linux is required to access certain functions.

Linux community response

The response from the community has surprised Dassault Systemes’ Aaron Kelly, Senior Director of DraftSight, who states,

Over 11,000 [downloads] since yesterday (3/16/2011).  A little over 1,000 a day on average.  80% choose the Ubuntu download.  I am surprised by this number as it is about what the MAC uptake was.  These are not users we typically reach. 

An article about DraftSight for Linux appeared on Slashdot, and threads are appearing on Linux related forums.  (These have generated a substantial amount of traffic to SolidWorks Legion.)

System requirements

Ubuntu 9.10 Gnome, Fedora 14 Gnome, Suse 11.2 Gnome, Mandriva 2010 Gnome and KDE, or higher versions, 32-bit

  • 1GHz x86 processor
  • 1GB RAM (2GB recommended)
  • 1GB hard drive space
  • 1024×768 display (1680x 1050 or higher recommended) with True Color graphics card
  • Mouse (wheel mouse recommended)
  • DVD-ROM, only needed if installing from a DVD (who’s doing that?)

64-bit installation

Now, there’s been some comment from the Linux community that DraftSight for Linux is not 64-bit.  Leave it to the Linux community to address its own complaints!  Check out this solution at for Ubuntu 64-bit users.

Other versions

DraftSight for Windows and DraftSight for Mac OS (beta) are also available.

DraftSight ends Beta; general release announced!

The big news from Dassault Systemes today is that they just announced the general release of DraftSight for Windows.  DraftSight is a no-cost 2D CAD application for CAD professionals, students and educators which allows them to create, edit and view .dwg files.  The very long beta release of the Windows version has ended with an impressive 400,000 450,000 downloads (as of 5:00PM ET on February 22, 2011) from the DraftSight website.  In a conversation I had with Aaron Kelly, Senior Director of DraftSight at Dassault Systemes, he stated that this number is “a lot more than we expected.”  He added that the total number of full DraftSight activations is over 95,000.

Language support

Also according to Kelly, since the beta 3 release, the DraftSight user interface has simultaneously supported 14 languages at once (English, German, French, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, Korean, Polish, Russian, Czech).  As of today’s general release, DraftSight will now also support these languages in the Help file, meaning that DraftSight is now fully localized (all 14 versions will be released at once for each update).

DraftSight is community driven

Free support, training and enhancement requests may be conducted through the DraftSight online community, based on Dassault Systemes’ SwYm online collaboration and social innovation platform.  SwYm communities have profiles, blogs, micro-blogging, “iQuestions”, wikis, media sharing spaces (data, audio, video, and even 3D), status updates, and more all within one online user interface.

Other updates in the general release

API support for DraftSight is now available, for a fee.  This enables users to write add-on programs for DraftSight in C++ and other supported programming languages.  The addition of Command Variables Enhancement allows users to set and change system variables directly from the command line.  Aaron Kelly adds, “we fixed a bunch of bugs that people reported”.  He also stressed the value the user base in improving DraftSight.

Service options

DraftSight offers a variety of support options, including no-cost community support (mentioned above), as well as fee-based Premium Services that may include telephone and email support, network licensing and access to DraftSight APIs.  There is now the Education Premium Service for educators which includes curriculum materials, network licensing and telephone and email support.