Don't know about inventor, but a quite good alternative to ACad is BricsCAD
, I've used the Windows version before (on Trial). It's not free but way cheaper than ACad, e.g. their "Platinum" version (i.e. full capabilities incl. Lisp, VBA, ARX/BRX) is around $640, and around $380 for the "Classic" (only Lisp). Compare that to a "Vanilla" ACad at $6400 or even the drastically cut down LT version (i.e. nearly no 3D and no Lisp/VBA): $1200. BC opens and uses the latest DWG version files which ACad does, so that's not an issue (like having to convert your already made DWG's).
It depends on how much of ACad's newer feature set you're using though. It's not comparable to the newest acad versions, but very close to (say) 2008's version. Stuff like Geometric Constrains / Dynamic Arrays are not implemented. Dynamic Blocks have just come into being on BC, as have Fields ... they're not perfect yet. I'm not ready to use BC in the production environment as yet, they've promised to increase some of their feature set - and that's why I'm interested. For most guys in my office BC would actually be overkill, since a lot of them are still stuck using ACad 2012 as if they were actually in the early 90's R10 on DOS (i.e. no dynamic anything, only one DWg open at a time, Design Center: "What's That?", Associative Dimensions: "Huh!", XRefs
don't get me started on those ... and no paper space even, never mind multiple tabs
). So for them a change "down to" BC wouldn't matter in the least, they're not even using 10% of BC's full feature set!
There's one caveat I have to mention. I've been trying to install the Linux version on Fedora 16(x86_64) and have as yet not got it running. I've had their v11 run on Ubuntu 12 previously, but that was a 32bit VM version. They do state that they've not been able to make the DEB/RPM files auto install with all dependencies in 64bit linuxes (as yet). But they do give some workarounds: http://www.bricsys.com/common/knowle...pic.jsp?id=305
Though at this time I've tried it, and (on F16 at least) I'm failing to get it to work: https://www.bricsys.com/common/suppo...d.jsp?id=18407
. If I can get it to work properly, I'd purchase the thing for myself - if only to have it so I can test my customizations (mainly Lisp, but also ARX / in this case BRX through C++) to make sure they work in BC on Linux as well.
I've tried VM's before (both VirtualBox and VMWare), but the trouble with these are that their graphics capabilities are less than stellar. I couldn't get acad set to use DirectX/OpenGL without artefacts - never mind better performance than the software driver built-into acad (i.e. using the CPU as a rendering device). And not to mention, other proggies from AutoDesk (like Revit / 3dStudio) are simply unavailable in Linux, apparently. I'm guessing you've got the same issue with Inventor - haven't used it myself except for test-driving the Inventor Fusion which came packaged with my Architectural Suite (Revit Arch, ACad Arch, ACad Vanilla, Impression, InvFus, etc.). I'm not exactly in your line of CADding (i.e. Mechanical - I guess), I'm in Architecture. So my 3D models (usually in Revit) are huge instead of "exact". E.g. the RVT file I'm working on now (a 200 room, 10 storey hotel) is touching 250MB while consuming 5GB of RAM on my Win7-64-pro. I simply cannot even try this inside a VM (just crashes), so I've run it the other way round (Win7 as native and Ubuntu in VM), believe me I've tried numerous times.
Since that my personal PC's crashed (yet again - that makes 3 times in one year - typical M$ cr@p) and I've now decided I'm going to try a dual-boot. And while I'm at it I'm going to try out Fedora instead (since Ubuntu's just failing to install on my Asus P8Z68-V motherboard), I like the KDE destop a bit more than Ubuntu's Unity, even F16's GNome3 (which I'm on now) feels more like Unity did but a bit less "strange". I must say though F16 just feels faster, maybe because I haven't installed all the apps yet, or more probably because it's running natively instead of through a VM ... only time will tell.
As for 3dStudio, I keep hearing people say "Use Blender". Have they even tried the 2? The 2 programs are worlds apart! And it seems as if the creators of Blender simply did not have the user in mind when they designed it, as opposed to ADesk rubbing corners off their product since the mid 90's. It would take me a year just to become a beginner on Blender, whereas I can get any newbie to be a passable user in 3ds inside of a month (a week if they've got any savvy). I think the guys proposing Blender instead of 3ds/Max are thinking that I'm wanting an alternative to Maya
... I'm not trying to recreate a Pixar film, I'm trying to create presentations of buildings. Trying to generate the 3d model in Blender is simply stupid. I'd rather do this with basic ACad or even BricsCAD, but the most efficient would be Revit (or even SketchUp). The problem here is that while I can export a model to something which can be imported into Blender, I will loose all materials & mappings already assigned in the modeling app. While 3ds can directly open a DWG/RVT file and use its materials as is - so even the Pre-Rendering process is a snap in comparison.
For Post-Rendering I'm already using Gimp instead of PhotoShop, though I've not found a decent layout proggy in Linux either. I prefer using InDesign instead of Scribus. But could probably make do in this case. What I can't handle though is 2D presentations, InkScape simply doesn't have a stick to swing at ADesk's Impression
, even the non-Linux CorelDraw would be a step backwards for me.
I haven't tried the addons to BricsCAD as yet, but from others I'm hearing that some like CADprofi Architectural
is a close second to ADesk's AutoCAD Architecture
. Not too sure about the rest of their "Applications
", it seems none of them work in Linux, so it's probably not worth the mention
It's sorry to say, but if you're looking for anything in technical graphics, then ADesk has the best apps ever. They're the most user friendly, efficient, resourceful, and user base rich you can possibly get. There are clones of their more popular products (i.e. ACad), but for their really specialized programs there's simply no alternatives which can even be mentioned in the same sentence. If only their political stance can grow up and stop snubbing Linux in favour if WinCrash (and now tentatively touching MacExpensive), they might make even more huge profits. What I do hate about them is their tendency toward introducing new features instead of fixing old bugs, e.g. the old RefEdit (since 2000) is still causing those dollar-sign layer/linetype/text style/etc. or worse no Copy-n-Paste and crash with Hatch/Dimension. At least the "new" BEdit (since what was it ... 2006?) doesn't do these nasties, but then it doesn't do XRefs either
OK, I'll stop ranting now