You may be at a boil trying to run SolidWorks on a Mac or just looking for a way to model some product ideas on a new install of Linux. Maybe you didn’t even know there are CAD applications available for Linux.

Jack Wallen of GHacks put together a post on CAD Programs for Linux this morning and had some great suggestions. I have another one for ya, and it just so happens to be a 3D modeler you’ll likely relate to a little better than some of the 2D options.

The Linux Installation of Choice?

Out of all the distributions available, Ubuntu (oo-BOON-too) has to be one of the best, and also happens to be the recommended distro in the GHacks article. The 5 CAD programs that Jack mentions are below. Have you heard of any?

Others that deserve mention are:

Where to Start?

While some may not consider these actually CAD level applications, or on par with Windows or Mac version of MCAD software, they’re out there. If you’re a dedicated Linux users who also use Windows CAD Apps, you’ll like that there are some fairly decent options there. I wouldn’t use most in Jack’s list. However, Blender is a well-supported, capable modeler. Free-CAD is more like the 3D modeler many engineers and designers would be familiar with. I would start with those two.

Installing CAD on Linux

Jack also give the basic instructions for installation:

  1. Open up the Add/Remove Software utility
  2. Search for “CAD” (no quotes)
  3. Select the software you want to install
  4. Click Apply

Free 3D CAD. An attractive option.

Have you even used Linux or tried installing it? That’s the first step. Ubuntu makes it dead easy. While there’s not likely to be a big move to Linux product development tools, it’s still an available option, and for those hiding their pennies, a very attractive option.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.