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Mar 07, 2011



I'm not sure Qt is the right choice for high-performance CAD UI anyway. I know these days some software would have us believe we have CPU cycles to burn, but IMHO Qt apps always carried larger process footprints and ran slower than say Gtk. Alternatively Pro/ENGINEER (now Creo) always used X/Motif which is just as portable as Qt, leaner, but perhaps not as sexy by some opinions..

Ralph Grabowski

For a long time, MicroStation also used Motiv/X. Dunno if it still does.


I have just been informed that the latest NX series is also using Motif for GUI framework even in their latest non-windows releases as well

Norm C.

NX was the result of the merging of SDRC I-DEAS and Unigraphics. Since the latter was first developped on UNIX (don't know about the former), I guess NX's Motif GUI comes from Unigraphics. Motif may be leaner than Qt, but it's ugly, from the few screen captures I've seen on the net, it does not seem to integrate well in a modern operating system.

Henrik Vallgren

The Nokia acquisition of Qt looked like a brilliant move: they got an software library that could be used to move desktop software to Nokia phones. They should have provided free Windows/Linux/Mac versions in an effort to get a wide acceptance for the library. And, of course, a free version that works with Nokia phones. Software success is about 3rd party developer support, be it Windows or AutoCAD.

Instead Qt licensing is a nightmare, partly advertising itself as open source, but still hinting that you better pay for licenses. Is it free or does it cost €6500 per developer/year?

That made wxWidgets a natural choice. And wxWidgets looks promising on the iPhone too, which sorts of fulfills the disaster for Nokia.


@NormC - Can you please clarify "it does not seem to integrate well in a modern operating system"? Since you mention screenshots as your basis for opinion, I'm assuming you still just mean "ugly"?

@Henrik Vallgren - WxWidget libs are leaner than Qt and do the job well (not hard to do, albeit -> Wx installprint 2MB / QT4 20 - before counting the endless QT4 wrapper modules uhhhhh...), good call. Yeah Qt licensing is a pain.

Norm C.


I should have specified "visually".

Also I'm not basing my opinion only on screenshots. A few years ago I've seen Pro|ENGINNER Wildfire v3.0 for Linux running on Ubuntu. For the text it didn't use the system's antialiasing (which in this age is unacceptable IMHO) or other system settings: fonts, menus, buttons weren't integrated well in the environment. And I was left with the impression of a "dated" UI. Apple is fanatical about making a homogenous user experience between all apps and they kind of have a point (even if they throw their high principles out the window when they make apps for Windows, iTunes being an example).

wxWidgets seems to do the job well... on Windows. On Ubuntu, my personal end-user experience is that Qt apps integrate a lot better visually with the desktop than wxWidgets. Two examples: Bricscad (wxWidgets) and ARES/DraftSight (Qt). Although the latter doesn't use the GNOME file open dialog (which is annoying), but I've seen Qt apps that do.

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