Month: September 2016

CAD Applications on Linux

I’m relatively new to Linux. My first experience with Linux was configuring a dual-boot setup with Windows XP and Ubuntu back in 2008. Dissatisfied with what Ubuntu and Linux had to offer then, I attempted again in early 2011. Again, I was dissatisfied. Round three, I’m surrounded by all things Linux. I have a Synology NAS, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, LG G4, my Ultrabook running only openSUSE and my desktop dual-booting openSUSE and Windows 10. Am I, now, still dissatisfied?

Well… that leads to a complicated answer…

I would first need to explain where I was dissatisfied back in 2008. It was a pretty significant year for me, considering my main jam: AutoCAD. I had transitioned my way through AutoLISP and gained traction with AutoVBA programming and had began to peruse the ObjectARX SDK. AutoCAD had a foothold on dynamic blocks for a couple years, and had just introduced annotative objects and data extraction. These were big milestones for Autodesk and it positively impacted my work. And in my opinion, AutoCAD still had its own degree of identity… this was before it had adopted Microsoft’s ribbon user interface. Among all this geeky reminiscing… what I’m trying to express is that if I had any interest or investment in computer technology… it was in the realm of computer-aided design technology.

Actually… it still is, and that’s what makes this Linux satisfaction answer so complicated, because at the time, I couldn’t utilize the same CAD technology I was used to, yet there was a sense of freedom in using Linux.

I am very satisfied witnessing Linux evolve into what it is now, since 2008. Though, I remain dissatisfied to see that CAD applications haven’t evolved much. And it’s this reason why I maintain my desktop workstation with Windows 10; simply to utilize Autodesk software. But even admitting that I continue to run Windows 10 just for Autodesk software causes me to feel shame.

In my 8 years experimenting and familiarizing myself with Linux, I have become more familiar with the kernel concept and the different types of software licenses, and have consequently grown a huge respect and admiration for free and open source software. Throughout the same time, I have witnessed Autodesk products, AutoCAD specifically, evolve in parallel with Microsoft and increasingly bloat their software to a point where it seems adverse to what made AutoCAD so valuable in the first place. Really… what am I holding onto? In principle, I would rather uphold free and open source software. And in logic, I believe the more highly cohesive and loosely coupled software to be more efficient, valuable and functional. So specifically… why am I holding onto Autodesk products?

You could say, perhaps, it’s because my education and experience revolves almost entirely around Autodesk products. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Autodesk doing what they’re doing and me following suit. You could also say it’s because organizations revolve almost entirely around Autodesk products too, and this certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Or you could say it’s simply because Linux CAD applications bite.

And they do.

Not exactly a great way to begin making friendships with Linux developers… I certainly don’t mean to slight anyone or discount the time and energy that’s been placed into the open source CAD applications, but I believe that the Linux community has opportunity to do so much better. I believe the community is already better, and that Autodesk is providing the community a stage, considering the direction they’re moving. I simply wish the CAD FOSS reflected it. In fact, 8 years has shown me I need free and open source CAD software.

I am willing to move away from Autodesk products. I am so close. And that statement I made above, that shouldn’t be taken lightly; I really do believe organizations too, large or small, can transition to open source software in the right conditions.

If I’ve Learned Anything…

…it’s that I am alive when I am engaged.

I truly learn when I explore; when I ask honest questions. I find my passions this way, and it’s this performance which I believe best defines who I am.

I struggle with managing my array of interests and even more-so I’ve neglected the value of taking time to communicate my work.

So with my best intention to change that… here it comes.

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