Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Aug 2010 22:26 UTC
Apple "When it comes to Apple products, the iPad and the iPhone get all the headlines. But in recent years, the company's Macintosh line of computers has enjoyed a remarkable revival that has been vital to Apple's emergence as the most valued technology company on Wall Street. In the latest sign of that comeback, Autodesk plans to announce on Tuesday that it is bringing its flagship AutoCAD design and engineering software to the Mac for the first time in nearly two decades."
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Where is version for Linux?
by ndrw on Wed 1st Sep 2010 02:16 UTC
ndrw
Member since:
2009-06-30

How come one segment of CAD software (CAE) is almost 100% Linux based while others are still toying with Windows (and port to Mac is considered a big step)?

Is that because CAD folks don't need a robust (as in "high performance, scalable, network transparent") work environment?

Is here any CAD engineer? How do you run simulations, verification, share design data etc?

Reply Score: 3

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

CAE is not 100% linux, but pretty close. For certain tasks, like large routing and placement jobs, which require globs of memory and as many computing cycles as you can throw... linux clusters are very cost effective approach. Also most major EDA packages were for the most part Unix programs (HP-UX and Solaris being the major platforms I remember), so porting them over to linux was a relatively trivial process.

I have seen many places with windows workstations as the front end, and large linux clusters to do the back end. Engineers prefer linux, because most of them cut their teeth in solairs (which used to be the main platform for most CAE packages) and they prefer unix, so that is where the adoption of linux for the front end is coming into place.

Think of it as a similar situation from large animation studios, which started doing modeling in windows and the rendering on linux farms, and are now some of them moving more and more of the modeling into linux as well. There is a similar break down between 3D animation and CAE in regards to the modeling/fronted and rendering/backend.

Also CAE is traditionally associated with EE and CE types, so they are more likely to be also fairly educated with regards to computing, so there is not a problem of adoption regarding Unix. Where as most mechanical, and architectural professionals do not have a similar level of proficiency with computers, or are that interested, thus windows environments have been the preferred system for a lot of these CAD packages like AutoCAD.

There are some exceptions like CATIA, which used to be the "killer app" for AIX, and some other CAD tools. But most of them moved over to Windows a while ago anyways.

Also, one of the big disadvantages of linux is how diverse it is, so CAE tools only support very specific distro configurations. It is OK for large organizations which can afford to set a large number of CPUs to a specific version of linux (in most cases it is also a fairly outdated distro). And most CAE shops tend to be relatively large, chip design being a very expensive proposition. Whereas small mechanical design and architectural shops usually have the CAD computer also being used for word processing, spreadsheet, etc.

I have worked in places which had servers with different distros each running a very specific EDA tool.

Probably the main obstacle to the adoption of OSX as a viable mainstream EDA is that OS is not that attractive when it comes to the server/backend part of it. Alas, since it runs X fine, you can always run most linux tools on a remote X session, since they are not that graphically intensive anyways.

Edited 2010-09-01 04:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

As a Mechanical Engineer I beg to differ that CAE is most familiar with EE/CE.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Alas, since it runs X fine, you can always run most linux tools on a remote X session, since they are not that graphically intensive anyways.

Ugh.

We are still talking about OSX's one-legged implementation of X, right ? The one where you can't even simultaneously use a mouse and a pen tablet in X without pointer positioning getting completely wrong ? Where it requires two clicks to click a button in an utility window ?

Seeing GIMP run on top of it, I've always thought that it was coded by some random guy ages ago and left by Apple as an afterthought, in order to say "Look, we are geeky !". In my opinion, anyone in their right mind wishing to port software on OSX should just ignore its existence and use native libraries right away.

Edited 2010-09-01 08:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

I know almost next to nothing about CAD, but I'm setting up a friends architect's office. They use AutoCAD and from what I've seen they are more or less using it as "paint that can plot". I also have some friends that have taken AutoCAD courses, and they too use only an extremely small subset of its functionality (that could probably be covered by something that doesn't cost $4000).

I don't know if this is a general trend, but I gather that there are a lot of people out there that use AutoCAD because they just "have to" and not because of its strengths, much less because it's "high performance, scalable, network transparent".

As I said, this is only from personal observations, so I could be completely off base.

Reply Parent Score: 3

hussam Member since:
2006-08-17

I don't know if this is a general trend, but I gather that there are a lot of people out there that use AutoCAD because they just "have to" and not because of its strengths, much less because it's "high performance, scalable, network transparent".

Here's the thing..no architect cares about performance, network transparency, etc..
All they need is a tool that they can use to draw their plans. How everything operates on the inside doesn't concern then and isn't really their business.

I'm a civil engineer (structural) and I work with a lot of architects. Rarely will you ever find an architect who is also a computer geek who cares about the level of technology used in his products or if it has collaboration tools or not.

The reason why autocad is so expensive is that it is meant for professionals and people who use it make a lot of money out of it. My company has done projects worth 50 million dollars before (with over 10 million in pure profit).

PS. Maya is a 3d modeling too, not a tool for drawing layouts of buildings, etc..
Varicad is too cheap for a big company to use it. I haven't tried it myself. It could be equal to AutoCAD but still too cheap for a big company to trust in it's quality.

Edited 2010-09-01 12:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

The problem is Linux.

It can't get anywhere on the desktop because it is too divided against itself.

The undercurrent of open source ideology doesn't help either. Companies like Autodesk are routinely denigrated for not wanting to follow open source ideology.

Now please bring your software to our divided platform you proprietary bastard.

Reply Parent Score: 3

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The problem is Linux.

It can't get anywhere on the desktop because it is too divided against itself.

The undercurrent of open source ideology doesn't help either. Companies like Autodesk are routinely denigrated for not wanting to follow open source ideology.

Now please bring your software to our divided platform you proprietary bastard.


And even if they choose one of the enterprise platforms then it is even more fun as they have to deal with the frankenstein of different API's and each with their own quirks. There is a reason why I gave up on Linux years ago and you've hit the nail right on the head - I purchase a Mac and everything just works. I purchase a Windows 7 computer and everything works without any problems - I can choose from big name mainstream software packages, my hardware is fully supported and problems are resolved rather than pushed to the back burner. Personally for me the open source world sounds a bit like a ideology that someone at college latches onto until that person confronts the real world and realises that it is unworkable and doesn't address the complex requirements.

Edited 2010-09-03 13:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2