DraftSight; How can Dassault Systemes offer 2D CAD for free?

As mentioned in an article earlier this week, Dassault Systemes announced the release of a new “professional-grade” 2D CAD application called DraftSight.  DraftSight is touted as an easy DWG file editor.  The big bonus is that DraftSight is free!

2D CAD at Dassault Systemes

Within the Dassault Systemes family of products, DraftSight now takes its place as the 2D CAD offering.  For non-SolidWorks users, it will effectively replace the old DWGEditor.  However, according to Matthew West of SolidWorks Corp in a recent tweet,

The SolidWorks 2D Editor isn’t going anywhere for the time being.  But [SolidWorks] customers are welcome to use DraftSight if they prefer.

It’s free?

Though it is free, DraftSight is not offered as open source.  Nor is it offered under a true freemium marketing model.  Dassault Systemes is taking a different path.  When I talked to Arron Kelly, Sr. Director, DraftSight, I expressed my concern that DraftSight may be yet another application that starts off strong as free but then eventual fizzles out and is forgotten.  What is Dassault’s plan to kept this product vital?  His answer was complex.

swymersDassault Systemes made a dual product release announcement that involves DraftSight.  The DraftSight application is being closely tied to the DraftSight.com community.  This new community is based on a new technology called SwYm (“See what you mean”).  The community is also free.  It will have community support, question and answers, voting on answers, blog, videos, knowledge base, etc.    According to Aaron Kelly, Dassault Systemes plans to “leverage the community to build a better product.”  They are going to rely on the community to determine how to develop DraftSight.  Users will make suggestions and prioritize enhancements, similar to SolidWorks Brainstorm.

Funding for the development of DraftSight will come in the form of paid add-ons and services.  For a yearly maintenance fee, users will be able to have direct telephone or online technical support.  Larger customers will have a network license.  DraftSight also plans to charge for the API extension.

I asked, does a user need to purchase the API package to use LISP, or do they just need it to develop LISP or C++ routines?

Kelly stated, users need to have the API extension to use LISP file too.

SolidWorks concern

One concern I have is for SolidWorks users who use SolidWorks 2D Editor (formerly DWGEditor).  We get support for 2D Editor via our VAR.  We are unlimited in our use of its API (limited that it may be).  If DraftSight eventually replaces 2D Editor, SolidWorks customers do not seem to have a path to use their SolidWorks subscription to gain support and the API extension for DraftSight.  Though 2D Editor is not often a selling point, it is part of what we pay for in the form of subscription and original purchase.  Does Dassault Systemes really intend to leave SolidWorks users out on a limb if 2D Editor is ever cancelled?

Review of DraftSight

I will review DraftSight and DraftSight.com in future articles.

Dassault Systemes Launches new 2D CAD free!

Dassault Systemes has announced that they are going to shake up the industry by public beta releasing a free community driven 2D CAD application called DraftSight.  Those of us who use AutoCAD or DWGEditor will find the interface familiar enough to use it without much trouble.  Future development will be driven by the community via the new DraftSight community at draftsight.com.  Dassualt Systemes plans to “leverage the community to build a better product”, according to Aaron Kelly.


As I used a private beta version last week, I did discover a number of bugs, so I will reserve my full review until I have a chance to try out the latest officially released version of DraftSight.  I will also talk about DraftSight’s place in the Dassault Systemes’ family of products and how this affects SolidWorks users.  Additionally, I will talk about how Dassualt Systemes plans to fund future development of DraftSight offered as free product.