Open Source Threat for CAD

Open Source and CAD. Do you think something is going on in this direction? I had chance to discuss Open Source topic several times in my previous posts. But, actually, I almost never took an angle of CAD and open source relationships. The following article drove my attention yesterday.

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What is interesting is that Open Source CAD alternatives specifically focusing on AutoCAD space. It will be probably obvious to remind you that in the past Autodesk made a revolution change in the CAD software space by moving CAD from lucrative and exclusive high-end environments to PC. So, should current CAD software vendors worry about Open Source threat? I don’t think so – not yet. However, in my view open source will come to the space of CAD too, and I see initial signs of movements toward this. My expectation that open source CAD introduction will happen bottom up, first will come as a mix of graphic and drawing tool and future expand in the space of mid-range CAD packages.

I’d like to mention few projects and systems in this space that I tracked so far – Archimedes project, BRL-CAD project, K-3D.

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Another interesting project is Russian Nanocad is promoting ideas of of Open Software.

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Separate thinking should be done around Google Sketch-Up. The product is free is available from Google. With Google’s general interest and focus on Open Source, it can be considered as an interesting option too.

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Just my thoughts. YMMV.
Best, Oleg


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  • Hi Oleg,
    Really Interesting article.
    But I don’t see these open source CAD application as threat.These applications are really hard to Extend for Engineering applications. These are quite good for animation industry….
    On Secondary note Cost of the CAD application’s are still low & you have variety of options ranging from Auto CAD to CATIA V5 /V6, with different costs & catering to different needs of the industry.
    Looking ahed I see a real threat of Open source to PLM. Reason — COST.
    Bhushan Teli

  • Bhushan
    Thanks for commenting! You probably talking about license cost. I agree, Open Source can come with different business model and propose zero license code compared to traditional licensed PLM Apps. However, if you think more about CAD applications, the additional advantage of OSS will be a significant openness. Organizations is paying a very significant price translating data between different CAD platforms. What do you think about that? Best, Oleg

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