Ever since a tiny software company of Bellingham, Washington named Softsource first began VDraft in the year 1996, a universe of software companies have continues into materializing that dream. The Dream is that, among AutoCAD’s millions of users, there must be a few hundreds to thousands or even more who want software that works more like AutoCAD, but costs lesser.
As per estimations, today, there are about 30 AutoCAD work alike on the market. But are they really clones?….Legally speaking there are no actual AutoCAD clones around; because whenever Autodesk comes across a suspected clone, it launches a legal fleet to shut it down.
As the companies we mention here are unused by Autodesk, their software is but safe to use. By now workalike are well-versed in the legal steps they need to take to avoid stepping on Autodesk’s toes.
To be considered an AutoCAD workalike, programs have to provide the following functions:
Natively read and write DWG files
Make use of the same command names as AutoCAD
Perform many of AutoCAD’s 2D sketching, editing and plotting functions
Include some 3D functionality
Give some customization and programmings similar to that of AutoCAD
The workalike market started to boom in the years following 1998 when diagramming leader Visio launched IntelliCAD – a very big company offered an AutoCAD workalike at 10 percent of the price.
Visio made such a big marketing impact that Autodesk felt compelled to react, thereby authorizing the new competitor. Visio executives, didn’t understand the CAD market well enough and so failed to make a mark.
To overcome this Visio licensed the IntelliCAD source code to an independent organization, IntelliCAD Technical Consortium and the MCAD universe thus exploded.
Anyone could become an ITC member, license the IntelliCAD code, customize it a bit and then resell it. Many companies did so, with names like Autodesys (USA), CADian (Korea), 4M (Greece) and progeCAD (Italy).
A second group of software firms, which began by making their AutoCAD workalike software based on ITC, finished it completely rewriting their programs to differentiate themselves from other ITC members. They also developed their software at a faster pace than what the ITC was capable of. Some of these firms include Bricsys and Gstarsoft.
The third group of workalike started right from the start to independently write Auto Cad-compatible code. The companies include IMSI/Design (USA) and Graebert (Germany). Of which Graebert has itself become a kind of ITC, customizing its ARES CAD system for companies such as Corel, Dassault Systemes and SKA .
The foundation for all of these workalikes is but another organization,Open Design Alliance. Each year, it does the massive work of deciphering the latest changes made by Autodesk to the DWG format, and then providing its 1,200 members with programming libraries that can read, write and edit AutoCAD drawing files.
The APIs are available for Mac,Windows, iOS, Linux and Android
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