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best Linux for architects

Link to this post 12 Mar 12

Hello!

I am an architect in a small firm that barely manages, and I'm trying to avoid costly CAD software by switching to cheaper and free programs and applications. I never considered Linux before because AutoCAD - the main drafting program - hasn't been known to work on Linux.

However, things change dramatically since I've tried to work in DraftSight and decided to test out several other linux-compatible alternatives. ( http://www.osalt.com/autocad )

I would like to try switching to Linux now and have the following questions:

1. Which Linux distribution works best with graphic-intensive software? (supports graphic cards - although not the highest end)
2. Which Linux distribution would you recommend for me as a user? - I have never used Linux or DOS, but I've had to learn at least a dozen complex drafting programs in the last decade, I used to be able to write HTML and use other people's PHP scripts too. I'm prepared to take a few months to test it and get used to it.

Grateful for answers,
Hra

Link to this post 13 Mar 12

Almost any Linux flavour would allow you to install and run the Linux versions of CAD software. It's more the hardware that you're using, than the version of the Linux operating system that will work best with graphic intensive software.
I use Fedora myself, and, am able to run Blender (3D graphics program) and have occasionally run 3D games successfully. I use the Open Source graphics drivers to accomplish this. With a Nvidia card, it's the nouveau driver.
Some folks think that the Open Source drivers aren't up to the task yet, because they don't include all the capabilities and run slower than the Nvidia proprietary drivers. If you intend on using a CAD application, you might feel the same way, but, I would at least try Linux with the Open Source drivers first, and, see how they perform in your work environment.
Fedora (KDE version) and OpenSuse have the most advanced versions of the Open Source drivers that are tweaked to work with 3D.
If you're not into experimenting, and, if the folks who distribute the CAD software that you want to use recommend using the Proprietary drivers, distros like Linux Mint (KDE version), or Kubuntu have made it easy to install what we call the binary blobs, that are the drivers for various video cards. I know from experience that it is a hassel to get the Proprietary drivers working on Fedora, due to the fact that Fedora is cutting edge, or in other words, it has the most recent versions of the video graphics technology, and, it's hard for the video card manufacturers to keep up with the updates.

OK, now that I've rambled on about graphics and different distros, I took a search and found three distros that actually either come with CAD software, or have been developed to use scientific software, so, you could always look to see if one of these fits your requirements.
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=scientific
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=poseidon
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=cae
Going to these links, and visiting the home pages, you might recognize some of the applications that they come with. Posidon and CAE actually advertise the 2D/3D CAD software in their descriptions. I don't have time to look closer into Draftsight (I'd really like to see how it runs), but, I'd be interested to see what Linux versions and/or distros they would recommend running it on.

Ok, I guess that's a start. If you feel I haven't covered anything, just ask, or, you could also wait a bit, because I'm sure others will be by that have more experience with CAD then I do, and, might have some more specific suggestions.

Link to this post 15 Mar 12

My suggestions use OpenSuse / Fedora (free) for better desktop and if cost no matter go for latest version of SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. If ur problem about autocad go for LinuxCad: www.linuxcad.com.... See here for more alternatives for Wind SW related to Linux.

Link to this post 22 Mar 12

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