AutoCAD alternatives?

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In a previous post Markus Jakas says...

Yes. That is the "Style Sheet" thing I've been talking about. You can save only layer names/properties, or any combination of text & dimension settings, hatch settings, etc.
For instance I have a style sheet named "Layers.sty" that has only the layer names, line colors, and line weights for my most commonly used stuff.
I open VCadd, load the style sheet (this can be automated with a script to run on VCadd Startup). I could load a second style sheet that sets font height and dimension properties. Or I could combine the "Layers.sty" style sheet with a style sheet for drawing scale and call it '1"=1'-0",sty'. this would load my typical layers and set fonts for a typical 1"-1'-0" printed scale.
There is a third party add-on called "Scalz" that has a lot of neat tools including one that sets drawing scale. The cost is about $50.00 and well worth it.
Finally, I think the regular posters in this group would get a kick out the on-line VCadd Users Group. We are a pretty eclectic bunch with lots of different interests, but all are passionate about VCadd. Any newbie posting a question there will generally have an answer or answers within 15 minutes
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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"Don"

The short answer is I don't know; the slightly longer might be that soft and hardware has evolved a bit since then, and any worth their salt-- open or closed-- should be friendlier.
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Richard MacIntyre wrote:

From Octree: "Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes and without fee is hereby granted provided that this copyright notice appears in all copies." (emphasis original)
I didn't see any place for someone to use it for commercial purposes. I'm assuming use in an architectural firm counts as commercial?
Also, it's a timedemo. You need to occasionally get a new auth code for their beta.
Also, it looks like it'll never leave "beta", as the Windows page proudly exclaims that it will work on a "PC unter Windows-95, Windows-98 and Windows-NT", while the "Binary Dependant Files" for Linux are for Linux 2.2 and 2.0. Nobody uses either of those kernel versions anymore; most distros nowadays ship with 2.6.
It's a dead project.

From QCad's website: "Includes script to build everything from scratch under any Linux / Unix system. Does not contain scripting module and polyline support. Sources are usually released a few months after the professional editions. Requirements: Qt developer edition 3.3.4, C++ compiler, GNU tools."
As long as you don't use scripts (possibly major) or polylines (I never use them in ACAD), you're set on any *nix. I'm booting up my Linux box now and I'll come back to you as to ease of install.
> FreeCAD: > http://www.askoh.com/freecad /
It's a mechanical engineering CAD. About as useful as Pro/E.
Don't get me wrong, I love and use FOSS as much as possible. But I honestly tried to use OSS for architecture, and I was less than impressed. YMMV.
-Matt
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"Matthew Erickson"

That may possibly be why I neglected to include it in previous recommendations I'd made... But I might take another look just to waste time.

By all means, and thanks the added info.

To be honest, I've been irritated by the whole CAD scene in general... ACAD's too expensive, maybe too bloated, and it's proprietary; Q-CAD is half-proprietary/half-open and they aren't intending to work 3D into it anytime soon, if ever; and some projects are mere gleams in (a) programmer(s) eye(s), dead, bogged or abandoned... I might take a second search for the previously-elusive Varkon... (any info on that, btw, Matt?)
Hey open source CAD programmers! Is there something out there that I've missed, or can you get your show on the road?!
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He're the problem... Architects, in general, are idiots. Most have barely gotten over the idea that they can't draw by hand any more. And, because of its inertia, they've gone the AutoCAD way. Most architects aren't programmers and those who might be both are good at one or the other, not both. There have been several "alternatives" over the course of the years...list whatever you like, but none have had the ability to overcome the AutoCAD. F=ma. AutoCAD has lots of m, even it it doesn't have lots of a. The only way to overcome it is with some combination that beats what AutoCAD has...and, by the way, doesn't require any retraining on the part of the architect.
So... to paraphrase... it ain't gonna happen.
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"3D Peruna"

I'm inclined to agree with some of your contentions... As for your paraphrase, I hope it's wrong. And there may be some glimmer of hope, as architects aren't the only CAD users. ;)
Incidentally, I have been working with Art of Illusion (in part as a "me and open source" test case scenerio, and also as a professional tool) for roughly 2 1/2 years now, and in its current beta release, its developer has finally integrated an important spacial quality that some, including myself, have been pining for for some time-- namely; where new objects created from old ones remain where they intuitively should be in the 3D model space. To me, this is a significant step toward being able to use the program more effectively for more spacially-relative work, such as with architecture, as an important example. For now, I can work around its current lack of definable units (with a calculator by my side), and might be able to import some pre-dimensioned flat plans (as flat lines & curves) (as DXF and/or SVG files) into it for some 3D modelling, like extruding, surfing(skinning), lathing and boolean, as well of course as the usual texturing, lighting and animating. Its SVG/Vector import/export and vector and/or wireframe rendering/animating/effects may also be handy.
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