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."
Is it based on ITC code, or is it programed from scratch?
That market is getting almost crowded, with DoubleCAD XT and DraftSight. On WIndows anyway.
Posted by: Normand C. | Mar 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
My understanding is that it is programmed from scratch. They do use the DWG APIs from Open Design Alliance.
Posted by: Ralph Grabowski | Mar 09, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Yes, we use Teigha from ODA. And yes, it was programmed from scratch. BTW we already have 12 CAD apps based on nanoCAD (Russian only).
Posted by: Account Deleted | Mar 09, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Is there also commercial product from Nanosoft ?
Posted by: Nurk | Mar 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM
What is the limit on the number of 'free' copies? I think DraftSight has a five-seat limit, then it starts to cost..
Is there a practical limit on this one?
Posted by: John Moran | Mar 12, 2012 at 02:57 PM
My understanding is that there is no limit, because the company plans to make money from the sales of add-ons.
Posted by: Ralph Grabowski | Mar 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Nurk:Is there also commercial product from Nanosoft ?
Dmitry Popov: we already have 12 CAD apps based on nanoCAD (Russian only).
Posted by: Art | Mar 12, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Yes, we set no limit on number of seats. But each seat should have its own license, there is no network license management.
Now nanocad.com with English version is 6 days old. Just a cute baby.
Our experience is limited to Russian market only. What we have learned: companies prefer to buy Tech Support with nanoCAD. It is $99 per seat/year in Russia. It includes network license management, hot line, bug fix requests. Nobody wants to be alone with his CAD, even it is very small one :-)
Posted by: Account Deleted | Mar 13, 2012 at 07:02 AM
Since the license is a "one-year renewable license" there is the 'possibility' that if it becomes popular (and the developer changes their minds) users may find themselves having to pay for renewal.
The learning curve loss is minimal since it's ACADlike but any investment in (application specific) add-ons could be held hostage (or lost) by the requirement!
If the intentions are *truly* to be free, why not provide a perpetual license in the initial install?
Posted by: User48 | Mar 13, 2012 at 09:02 AM
This is a legal issue only. We faced it in Russia already. Company can't give something to other company for free perpetually according to Russian legislation. That is why in Russian EULA use default period according the law. And it is not renewable. User should apply for another one. To make generic world-wide license we decided to avoid investigation of legislation in different countries and to use this simple and proven formula "one year renewable". BTW We passed way big scepticizm in Russia about our free CAD, because it was launched as beta and stayed beta for two years. People said that it is free because it is beta. But now nanoCAD is released version and we have huge growth of users in Russia. We proved that we will stay free of charge.
Posted by: Account Deleted | Mar 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I'm waiting for mail with download adress for a couple of hours. Is there are some problem with obtaining license now? I tried with gmail and yahoo mailbox and nothing. Someone obtained license last 24 hours?
Posted by: mehoweck | Mar 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Perhaps you entered an incorrect email address? When I downloaded the software, I received the confirmation email within minutes.
Posted by: Ralph Grabowski | Mar 15, 2012 at 08:12 AM
Wow - generous offering - had not heard about this package but since having trouble with display issues using Draftsight on Windows 8 64 bit I thought I would try this and it is working. Saved me!
Posted by: Simon Dahl | Mar 24, 2012 at 08:01 AM
I think that there should be API support for Python and Scala. Python would be an excellent addition to the languages listed here. Will these (or other development languages) be supported (or added) ?
Posted by: Rodney | Jul 10, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Since it includes a .NET API, you could use IronPython, IronRuby, Boo (a Python-like language with better .NET support), F#, etc.
Posted by: Tony | Jul 10, 2012 at 03:23 PM
It looks like v4 is a paid version in Russia (see http://www.nanocad.ru/information/articles/index.php?articles=615998 ) but the price is utterly reasonable. I am trying out v 3.5 at the moment and I am impressed. I think it is a great solution for 2-D CAD.
The page I linked to shows some of the updates in v4 - LISP! for all you/us old-timers ;). I think the English version will be well-worth its price. If my impression of v4 is as favourable as I think it will be then I will be recommending it to my clients as a much-better alternative to AutoCAD LT.
The fact that it has APIs makes it an easy winner. So does their NO COST developer network. Yes, I know he ADN is finalyl offering a no-cost version but not before they managed to fleece their supporters for years. Oops, sorry - wrong rant.
Posted by: CAD bloke | Sep 04, 2012 at 03:09 PM