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QCad, AutoCAD alternative for Linux and Mac

As we know, AutoCAD can run on Linux under Wine or Citrix, but this time I’ll show you a tool that can be an inexpensive solution for Linux, Windows or Mac.

This is QCad, a solution developed by RibbonSoft since 1999, and that has achieved sufficient experience as to be adopted by companies seeking to minimize costs or by cooperative projects that can not supply high-priced tools and don’t want to promote illegal software (Spanish idiom: “piratería”). Let’s take a look:

Operating Systems

  • Windows: XP, 2000, Vista

Mac OS X: Leopard (10.5), Mac OS X Tiger (10.4), Panther (10.3)

clip_image002Linux: most distributions, including Ubuntu 5.1, 7.04, 7.10, 8.04; openSUSE 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3; Fedora 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Debian GNU Linux 3.1, 4.0; Mandrivia 2006, 2007; Mepis 6.0; Knoppix 3.3, 3.4, 3.8, 3.9, 4.0; SUSE 9.0, 9.1, 10.0; Redhat 9.0; Mandrake 9.2, 10.0, 10.1; CentOS 4.3; Linspire 4.5, 5.0; Puppy 1.0.5; UHU-Linux 1.2; Xandros 2, 3;

Similarities with AutoCAD:

QCad does many things almost in the same dynamics like AutoCAD, which helps reduce the learning curve, although it doesn’t do everything. Generally, it allows users do what’s most often used in AutoCAD such as:

  • Layers’ management, the interface is more simple and adapted to side panel like Corel Draw o Microstation
  • Blocks’ administration, maintains a similar library as Design Center and the Part Library brings 4800 objects
  • clip_image00424 thicknesses’ lines
  • 35 font types optimized for CAD
  • Good optimization of RAM, so you can have 200 steps of undo and redo
  • Possibility of exporting to PDF format in high definition
  • Qcad can do most of AutoCAD basic routines, such as object construction, modification, shaded patterns (Spanish idiom: “achurado”), dimensions, keeping the same dynamics as it does in both AutoCAD commands (as line) and shortcut (li)
  • In addition there is an extension called CAD Expert, which facilitates the creation of special output formats such as G-Code and HP / GL


Just $ 60 per license, then, for a company wishing 20 licenses their cost can be $ 308, what would be $ 15 for each one, and in case of an educational institution, with the same amount ($308), it can get unlimited licenses.

You can download a fully functional version that lets you work 10-minute sessions for up to 100 hours.

Interesting advantages

  • clip_image005This tool is available for 22 languages including Spanish and Portuguese; when you install only you must choose the language interface
  • It can be purchase via PayPal and definitely, the price is extremely attractive
  • It has a fairly well-constructed book that is available via Lulu


  • One of its major disadvantages is that it can only edit dxf files, which would imply that it should be combined with TrueConvert in order to operate with files produced by AutoCAD, including recent dxf formats.
  • It’s is only developed for 2D; for 3D, it has an isometric projection known as pseudo 3D. For drawings that are listed as examples, isn’t so bad.


In my opinion, it is the best offer I’ve seen as an AutoCAD alternative with a price less than $ 100, though, an investment for an IntelliCAD product could be a better choice.

It can be a solution to run on netbooks or for an educational institution.

Web: RibonSoft

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