A couple of years back, I visited the offices of Nanosoft in Moscow. There Dmitry Popov and his team showed me their dream for a free AutoCAD workalike. The money would be made through selling add-on applications. Some initial excitement greeted my report, and then interest faded. Russians are lousy at marketing.
Then earlier this week, I heard from Mr Popov, who wrote me:
It was long time ago you have visited our office and got pre-alfa version of nanoCAD. We promised you that nanoCAD will be available soon. Well, not soon, but the waiting is over. We just released nanoCAD 3.5 world-wide. BTW There are 120,000 new nanoCAD users in Russia for the last half a year. I like the number.
The UI of nanoCAD is handsome. Even the Web site's been given a make-over. So, what d'you get in addition to a CAD program to looks and runs like AutoCAD? Some of its special functions include linetype editor, creating viewports from model space, and an Excel-style table editor.
As for APIs, it includes the following:
- OLE Automation (Visual Basic Script/Java Script)
- C++ (NRX + MultiCAD API)
But no VBA or AutoLISP. The developer program is free.
As for the "why" in "Why free," nanoCAD explains it this way: "We started to develop nanoCAD back in 2008 inspired by a high piracy level in the global CAD software market. Our aim is to protect corporate CAD users business processes from legal risks and prosecution by offering them reliable, free and a hundred per cent legal solution – nanoCAD."