We would nevertheless like to mention a few points to sketch an impression.
BricsCAD has undoubtedly become a class of its own. Characterized by innovative, but that is cutting corners. While competitors stay on their island, Bricsys uses and integrates existing techniques (not “not invented here”). An excellent cocktail with Grasshopper programming in it and full integration of Enscape visualization. Enscape can be used for forensic science – to name just one example.
All those innovations will at times lead to some growing pains, but we’ve seen them all disappearing quickly so far. Bricsys is open and flat. This also made it possible to conduct in-depth conversations in Stockholm ranging from natural ponds with architect Tal Friedman (triangulated!) to volumetric plastic deformations of sheet material (think of rolling) with mathematicians from Bricsys Tech Russia.
All in all, Stockholm was a great and educational experience and NedCAD is happy to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved. Weather forecast for next year: See you all in the congress building of Portimao Algarve 😉
PostScript, in .ps files, is a page describing language. You copy the file to a PostScript printer and you’re done. That is how it started early 80th, the printer did the processing.
PDF is a descendant of PostScript, lacking typical program language features, adding the possibility of embedded fonts and interactive media. Development: ~2000. For more: see Wikipedia.
PDF’s are processed in the computer itself and printed to all kinds of printers, contrary to PostScript. Raster Image Processing, RIP, is what is done to turn a PDF to a raw stream of print pixels.
There are printers that can deal directly with PDF by the way.
Linux and macOS are much more centred around PostScript and PDF printing than Windows. Centralizing PDF in the printing process is obvious, contrary to Windows printing.
PDF is never a substitution for a CAD file. As “page printing oriented”, it lacks precision and it has never been intended to be an exchange format. People sending PDF’s for use in CAD systems should think twice and consider sending proper CAD files.
Unintended scaling is a pitfall that needs you attention, in particular when using Windows. If you want proper scaling, check your process carefully.
A user, a client, on the same computer or a different one, sends a print job to a CUPS host. CUPS does ripping, spooling and everything needed to get a result from the target printer.
Printer dialogues for setting up printers in modern Linux distro’s typically configure CUPS invisibly. You can find the “real” interface at http://localhost:631/printers/.
Command line: using lpr or lp
In BASH, command lpr or lp stands for line printing. It uses CUPS. lpr and lp are not the same thing, they more or less do the same thing.
On the CUPS site lives a clearly written document about using lpr and lp. You should read it, what follows here is a summary of tools to get jobs done.
Getting all information
What printers do I have?
Example, issue command lpstat -t in a terminal (ctrl-alt-t):
$ lpstat -t
scheduler is running
system default destination: EPSON_ET_4750_Series
device for Epson-Stylus-Pro-11880: socket://10.105.2.159:9100
printer Xprinter-XP-360B is idle. enabled since zo 18 aug 2019 15:19:10 CEST
Two possibilities for example for printing on the command line:
And the configuration possibilities seem endless, and when all options (-o abc -o def -o …) are defined properly, the process is under control. No surprises any more when printing and that is the power of CUPS for macOS and Linux versus Windows printing. But wait…
And… The finishing touch!
With knowledge about Unix/Linux printing it becomes tempting to automate things. There are two things to consider:
Look for Creating Saved Options, for creating “instances” of your printer with exactly the right settings – mostly paper sizes.
Consider using BASH scripts for hassle free printing. Example: $ ./drop_A0_pdf_on_me.sh
Hope you liked it so far, by writing I learned a lot myself too! Now, where were we… BricsCAD and Printing!
BricsCAD and Printing
That was a long introduction with details on PDF and CUPS. What it means for BricsCAD: Forget about PC3 files, it all boils down to creating proper PDF’s.
All printing is centred around Print as PDF.pc3
Consider filing your print PDF’s for later reproduction purposes.
Do CPAGESETUP: Print as PDF.pc3 is greyed out, there are no other printers.
Setting up media sizes
CPAGESETUP results in this:
At this point something is odd:
If you do ctrl-p > Preview, you get a proper PDF.
If you do ctrl-p > <Enter>, you get an A0 proposition and a custom size, made with button 2, is not in the list any more.
That problem does not occur when doing a -plot command. So -plot is a workaround, just as saving the Preview.
It is temporary, it has the attention of developers (2019-08-30)
This information screams for further automation…
How to get a Lisp list of CUPS printers?
By piping things I could transform $ lpstat output to an impressive but Q&D one liner that generates the requested list, paste this in a terminal:
Sometimes LibreOffice tries to be too smart. If you type MHz, you don’t want Mhz but there are plenty examples with multiple capitals you want to keep. Automatic placement of capitals as first character is annoying in Calc. Here we go…
Use synaptic to search for “hunspell”, select languages for installation and apply.
Menu > Tools > Options > Language Settings > Languages > Default …
Activated after restarting LO
In Writer > bottom screen > LMB “language X” > more
Menu > Tools > AutoCorrect options:
Tab Options: Everything turned off. Maybe you like “URL Recognition”.
Be aware it is set per language, more languages means setting it again.
This web browser deserves tuning. Privacy is an issue these days. See for example this article with links to extensions. Other functions can be added too so it’s time for add-ons, extensions.
First paste about:config and be careful 🙂
When you alt+lmb, you want to “save as”. Enter browser.altClickSave in the Search space. 2lmb on tag browser.altClickSave and see the value change from false to true.
Paste about:addons as address for your local settings, take some time to browse for Firefox Add-ons…
Cookie AutoDelete: Quote… “Control your cookies! This WebExtension is inspired by Self Destructing Cookies. When a tab closes, any cookies not being used are automatically deleted. Whitelist the ones you trust while deleting the rest. Support for Container Tabs.”
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials: Quote… “Privacy, simplified. Our add-on provides the privacy essentials you need to seamlessly take control of your personal information, no matter where the internet takes you: tracker blocking, smarter encryption, DuckDuckGo private search, and more.” It changes your default search engine. I think this is not bad because Duckduckgo respects your privacy. If you want to change setting, paste about:preferences#search as address.
uBlock Origin: Quote… “An efficient blocker: easy on memory and CPU footprint, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there.”
Privacy Badger: Privacy Badger automatically learns to block invisible trackers.
Languages: In synaptic, search for “firefox-locale” and choose your additional language packs. If your language is okay, don’t install.
Now that you have a panel entry for keyboard layouts, configuration is needed. This depends on where you live. I have an “English (US)” layout and want to add an “English US international with dead keys” layout. For switching I want to use the keys left-ctrl+left-shift.
Menu > Settings > Keyboard > Tab Layout >  Use system defaults > Add, "English (US, int., with dead keys)" > OK > Change layout option: Left Ctrl + Left Shift > Compose key: Right Win > Close
Optionally change time area Clock:
RMB > Properties: format field > %A,%d-%m-%Y, %T
Compton is a compositor. Do we need it? If you notice “tearing”, just give it a try by doing “apt install compton”. But before doing so, you may want to go to:
Menu > Settings > Window Manager Tweaks > Tab Compositor
Font DPI settings
Menu > Settings > Appearance > Tab Fonts > DPI
Have some windows open and play with settings. For example, my 40″ 4k screen is set to 130 dpi. BricsCAD deals reasonably good with it.
Really? Okay, just a bit then, before we discuss things like “ugly”.
Active window themes
A coloured window title bar shows what window has focus. Out of the box, only “Kokodi” and “Moheli” offer that. See:
Menu > Settings > Window Manager > Tab Style
Play around… If you want less fancy, more functionality, contrast:
Menu > Settings > Appearance > Tab Style > Raleigh
Icons… Very personal but functionality is important too. For example, I work often with LibreOffice master documents and “Humanity” has different icons for .odm files.
Menu > Settings > Appearance > Tab Icons > Humanity
Personal Package Archives. Not discussed here in detail. If you run into trouble with a checked and secure package from the official distributions, and there are ppa’s, you can consider using them, effective giving access to the ppa maintainer but solving your problem.
SMB Linux client example
Everything as root.
Install: apt install cifs-utils
Obtain the IP number of the server with the name of the share. For example, 10.105.1.1/sharename, sharename is “projects” in this example.
Create a local directory /data/servername/sharename, for example mkdir -p /data/projects
Change the rights of sharename to 2770 and owner and group to username. For example cd /data/ then chown JanJansen:JanJansen projects/ then chmod 2770 projects/
Add the following line to /etc/fstab: nano /etc/fstab Then, add this line at bottom: //10.105.1.1/projects /data/projects cifs uid = 1000,gid = 1000,credentials=/etc/samba/user,noexec 0 0 then ctrl-s and ctrl-x.
Put data in file /etc/samba/user: nano /etc/samba/user add this username = JanJansen password = yap@ssword then ctrl-s and ctrl-x.
Where Samba is based on SMB technology, reverse engineered Windows server stuff, NFS is for Unix networks.
If you don’t need SMB, go for NFS. There are times we go “off grid”. Packed with a data copy we work in a far away country without internet and our (NedCAD) workstations utilize only NFS where one Linux workstation exports the data copy to other Linux clients. Back home, we rsync everything to the main server.
Interesting for military and all other kinds of off grid operations too, but that is outside the scope of this post. If you want to implement it, read for example this post.
Several things you may want to check, for example “Screen Locker”:
Menu > Settings > Session and Startup > ...
Dual monitor support
Running into trouble with dual monitor configs, example with two Full HD monitors? Create an executable .sh shell script file, you can add a link to it in “Session and Startup” and or create a launcher (RMB panel). It can contain something like this, tune to your needs, don’t just copy:
Start up and usually call F12 / F11 for a BIOS startup menu when starting a computer. Some old computers have difficulty installing from USB, then bake a DVD first. Conversely, UEFI can be annoying, dive into the BIOS (F2 or Del) and make sure you can start without UEFI. General: installation is straightforward, follow all instructions and everything is (usually) good. It is to consider arranging some things differently …
Selecting other partitions can be useful. /boot is too small by default, often causes unexpected problems with flooding. The question is whether LVM makes sense for a workstation. Swap-file is not really necessary if you have enough RAM, but the kernel likes it when it’s there. The pluses outweigh the minuses, for a system that is reinstalled after a limited number of years – we are talking about a workstation here. In summary: KISS! So new partition table and one ext4 partition with mount-point “/” and a swap partition that is about as large as the amount of RAM.
Just follow the installation steps and you can’t go wrong.
Linux is about choice, freedom and security. Great news but it looks hard to deploy a professional CAD environment in Linux. BricsCAD is the key to it and these pages are to help unlock it, from A to Z.
THIS ARTICLE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. YOUR POSITIVE INPUT IS APPRECIATED.
CAD and Linux were difficult to combine until a few years ago. Ironically, because many CAD systems have started on Unix. But that aside.
There are a few great freedom based basic CAD programs for small projects. But for serious and professional work, there was actually nothing. Bricsys has changed that with a closed source application BricsCAD. For an overview of CAD programs, look at this.
Why these pages?
Why invent the wheel? With so many possibilities for software and configuration in Linux, many things can go wrong. You’ll notice it takes long to troubleshoot errors or just find out how to configure things.
These pages are based on a working solution.
Even that is no guarantee things will be the same, different hardware can cause different problems for example. But, I think it might help a lot of people to get familiar with a great experience, instead of getting frustrated. And remember, there are tons of information on the net, use it. And a lot of people willing to help within the community.
Another thing, splitting all in dedicated pages results in more possibilities, not using Xubuntu but Debian plus XFCE keeps other pages valuable for example.
Why you should not use BricsCAD in a Linux environment
Windows releases have focus of Bricsys. Linux and macOS lag behind. You’ll probably hit more bugs with Linux, just like performance, graphics will probably be a bit slower.
I think it is fair to speak that out loud. You should ask yourself the question whether all pluses and minuses justify a decision to walk a Linux plus BricsCAD road.
Having said that, it should be mentioned that Bricsys support is outstanding, problems are solved very fast. Besides that, the more users on the Linux plus BricsCAD road, the smaller the differences become between OS specific variants.
Personally, I think I made a good choice following this road and I hope you’ll join me!
Many Ubuntu flavours have already been tried. All these flavours have their pros and cons, but net, Xubuntu is the most appealing, it is simple like Windows 7 classic, XP and still offers many possibilities by installing packages of other Linux flavours.
Tailoring a system requires effort. For many people, Ubuntu is standard, out of the box – just like macOS and Windows – also good enough. For power users, the following pages can be inspiring. Don’t expect eye candy on Xubuntu.
BricCAD running on the newest Linux versions is not a good idea. That is why we always try to lag behind with versions. It is also very tempting to go for Debian with XFCE, but for now we stick to Xubuntu.
Things to remember
terminal: In a terminal you enter commands. Search in your menu or try ctrl-alt-t.
sudo: Sudo ensures that you can perform tasks as installations as “root” (admin). If you read: sudo command_x, remember that you can also permanently work as root by first typing “sudo su“, back to the user: “exit“. If it says “# command“, do it as root and if it says “$ command“, do it as a user.
RMB is short for Right Mouse Button. And there are LMB and MMB and even 2LMB and 2MMB.
Software licenses always raise a lot of questions:
What are the possibilities?
What is the most interesting option for us?
Are there disadvantages not mentioned?
So-called subscription licenses prove good for developers’ profits but are not always pleasant for the customer. And when is a somewhat more expensive network license profitable? With many developers the choice is limited, so you are pushed in one direction. In the case of BricsCAD you are free to choose and you can always switch from one contract form to another.
The problem with subscription with Autodesk is not only the price but also that you can no longer use older licenses. The latter is sometimes difficult if newer AutoCAD versions do not support older customization and moreover, recent versions are downright slow. Workflow at companies is endangered and additional costs arise to resolve that. This is also an important reason to consider whether you want to continue on the current path or whether you want to take a new road with another party.
The biggest problem with Autodesk subscription is that the choice is limited between subscription and … subscription! In other words: You are stuck and you are completely dependent on the supplier (vendor lock-in1). One of the strengths of BricsCAD is that it has multiple license types so you can always choose.
Strictly speaking, a license is a user agreement. The license types at a glance, we assume BricsCAD v19:
“Single/Volume”, standard license, also called “Node Locked”. A “perpetual license” – you purchase the usage right once and, as long as the operating system supports the CAD program, you can continue to use it. You can also purchase updates separately.
“All-in maintenance license”, you purchase the “Single / Volume” usage right plus the update for the next version only once, after which you pay annual update costs. This resembles subscription but has to compete with other licensing forms and is therefore often a cost-effective no-frills solution.
“Yearly subscription”, you rent an annual version (rental). This is similar to the Autodesk model, with the big difference that you can always choose a different construction. So you are not stuck. This option is interesting for when you temporarily need extra licenses for a project, for example. Unlike the other licensing forms, you cannot cut back on this, not paying means not being able to use the software.
“Network license”, also called “Floating License”. A construction whereby the program can be installed freely on all computers, but the total number of users using BricsCAD at the same time is limited. A license server must be installed on the network2. It goes without saying that it is useful to properly index work habits and occupations of computers and to compare this against the additional costs and additional system management.
“Specials”, “Academic license”, These types of variants are not taken into consideration here. Individual agreements can be made for commercial education. For example, an “All-in maintenance license” can be purchased that is provided with multiple license keys.
Someone who is drafting 4 hours a week will first investigate whether “Classic” is a suitable option. A mechanical engineer who constructs full-time will soon develop a preference for BricsCAD Mechanical, supplemented with Communicator.
It is advisable to make an informed choice when choosing one of the Bricsys products. However, switching between products is possible without a complete loss of investment.
In principle, all license types are available for all products:
The basic product is “Single/Volume”, the bare product with a standard license. Translated to the most useful constructions:
Shopping to negotiate a lower price makes little sense, the prices are fixed prices. You will therefore not find any differences between dealers themselves and Bricsys, not even on an international level.
However, a dealer will always be willing to convert part of his margin into added value for a customer. Speaking for ourselves, this may include additional support, training, etc., depending on the sales amount. A good relationship between us and you is an important aspect, with mutual interests. Buying directly from a dealer is therefore the advice.
Costs based on current prices
The last dimes are less interesting and moreover this is a moment in time. For that reason we limit ourselves to 2019 and use percentages.
Choose your product, take the “Single/Volume” price as the basis, as 100%.
The “Single/Volume” prices:
€ 1 135
€ 1 750
€ 1 650
€ 1 935
This graph shows the total license costs divided over the years of use. The license costs are indicated as a percentage of the initial “Single / Volume” price of a product.
As an example, BricsCAD Platinum “Single” costs 1135 euros. A choice for “Single / Volume + All-in maintenance license” (orange) means that the average costs over the first 5 years are 50% of 1135, so 570 euros per year.
“Single/Volume”, a basic license (blue) and not upgrading, is, as expected, the cheapest solution in the long term – but often not the most sensible. You could do this and then do an update with “All-in maintanance”. You could also do this as an alternative to “Yearly” if, for example, a project takes a little longer than two years.
“Single/Volume” + “All-in maintenance” (orange) is interesting for many organizations because the pace of development at Bricsys is high and there is a good response to market wishes. Bricsys itself also tries to put this variant on the market as a good alternative. This is a long-term approach.
“Single/Volume” + “All-in maintenance” + “Network license” (yellow) is interesting in places where people are not working full-time on CAD. This is actually only interesting within larger organizations.
“Yearly subscription” (+ “Network license”, green and purple) is interesting for limiting investments. See also the graph with comments below.
Tip: “Single/Volume” can be copied once extra for the laptop at home.
The price data is anything but stable. In a sense, the CAD market is a saturated oligopoly. As a result, companies do not pay in line with the market. Newcomers have virtually no chance to penetrate that market. As a breath of fresh air, Bricsys appears to be an exception to that rule.
To generate a sufficient development budget, Bricsys needs market share. You can carefully conclude from this that prices will remain considerably lower for many years than those of established competitors. In other words: Increasing the market share from, for example, 1% to 2% results in a doubling of budgets, while doubling takes 5 years if the price increases by 15% each year.
It is likely that Bricsys will continue to raise prices for the time being. Then the question arises what the consequences are. For this reason, the following scenario has been worked out, with an annual price increase of 8% being applied. This is a more or less random assumption.
The picture then looks like this. Suppose you are going to use BricsCAD Mechanical for 5 years, Single + All-in (orange), then the average price per year is 55% of 1650 euros, which means 908 euros on average per year.
So if a program is purchased for a maximum of two years then “Yearly” is interesting.
For more than two years “Single / Volume” is interesting with the remark that an upgrade after 3 versions almost corresponds to the purchase of new. Moreover, new developments are not available and support is somewhat more limited.
In the long term, variants with “All-in Maintenance” will be the most interesting for many organizations. You would like to maintain a choice for a CAD platform for many years.
Bricsys will influence this picture in the coming years. For now it seems no coincidence that prices for “Yearly” and “All-in” converge (purple with yellow and orange with green, between years 7 and 8). The trend is “license-hopping” (with “Yearly Licenses”). In other words: Another CAD program tomorrow. “All-in-users” are therefore more valuable for Bricsys, but you can only see that back between 7 and 8 years. With Solidworks3, for example, this tipping point is around 3 years old.
This story is about costs and choice of licensing forms of BricsCAD. If the products are compared with other packages, it is clearly visible where the differences are:
Some remarks are desirable:
About the packages:
BricsCAD Classic is the alternative to LT.
BricsCAD Pro is the alternative to AutoCAD plain.
BIM is the alternative to the Revit and AutoCAD combo.
Mechanical can be measured with Inventor and SolidWorks.
The graph shows very well the consequences of the price increases of recent years, the oligopoly of the big ones. And these turnovers go to a large extent to shareholders where at Bricsys the turnovers go to product development to a large extent. Many organizations are concerned about the development of price increases for “subscription”.
The wishes of CAD users are the key. If they discover that Bricsys products are faster, better, made with a vision for the future, with updates that add surprisingly useful functionality every time, then switching to BricsCAD is extremely obvious. And with a wide range of license forms, a good construction is always possible.
If you have any questions, you can of course contact us.
For BricsCAD and AutoCAD, the use of the space bar corresponds to the Enter key. Why would you want to use a font where spaces are clearly visible? To see what you are going to paste on the command line of your CAD program of course!
You can type a number of commands in a word processor and then copy and paste them on the command line.
The challenge is to ensure that everything is correctly selected during copying – near spaces at the end you have to be careful, because every space is an enter.
An paste example where each underscore is a space:
A circle with a radius of 1: circle_0,0_1_
A line from 0,0 to 1,1: line_0,0_1,1__
Note that there are two spaces at the end of the last example.
A font with visible spaces
How nice would it be if there were a font with visible spaces?
I searched and did not find it.
So let’s make it! Fontforge is heated up and character 0020 (space) will be hit by the forging hammer. The default font is FreeMono. During editing, the capital S and P are placed together as SP and then scaled to 35%, after the anchor points have been removed. Then a TTF was created with the name FreeMonoSp.ttf