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I do a lot of drafting using AutoCAD 2000 LT on Windows XP, but I need to upgrade to a newer operating system (Windows 8). Unfortunately, AC2000 won't work. So, I am looking for a new free (no money) alternative that is:

  • Fast: I need to be able to modify some really large files
  • Is customizable: whether this means that it is Open-Source in C#/Java so I can mess with it's inner code, or is really robust for add-ons, I need to be able to add functionality.
  • Complete: So many of the projects I have found have either been abandoned, or are on such an early stage that they are very unstable.

Extras would be touch support, coded in C#, and things like XREFs.

Does anyone know of such software?

  • Given those constraints, I doubt you are likely to find any. Most are written in C++ and very few are open source. CADs are very complex programs so its not likely you will find something that meets your requirements. – CobaltHex Mar 1 '14 at 19:23
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    LibreCAD is free and open source. I don't do more than play around with CAD, so you would be able to tell in moments if it meets your needs, where I cannot. Good luck! – Marc Mar 2 '14 at 0:19
  • I agree with @Marc that LibreCAD is an excellent candidate. It's a little bit awkward in it's current state (just needs a little bit of UI love to fix the rough edges), but the current v2 isn't getting many features added since developers are in the process of porting it to Qt5. – Anonymous Penguin Jul 19 '14 at 0:58
  • Out of curiosity, what do you draft? Civil or Mech. Engineering? – mart Sep 24 '14 at 14:02
  • @mart: Civil engineering on mostly high-end homes. – Robbie Wxyz Sep 24 '14 at 16:44
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You're not likely to find any complete CAD software being opensource, simply because they are really complex programs.

However, one of the the options you have are:

Draftsight

  • Can handle large files and is free
  • Is very usable, having an AutoCAD-esque interface
  • Is cross platform and compatible with Windows 8 and 8.1
  • But not open-source

My father is a civil engineer and I can confirm that the above points are true.

  • I was considering this as a potential answer - it also lacks a free API - thats part of the premium product. – Journeyman Geek Mar 2 '14 at 7:49
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    I don't think this would work because being able to customize functionality is essential for me. I upvoted, but cannot accept. – Robbie Wxyz Mar 3 '14 at 21:00
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While my answer does not meet the requirement of C#/java, I thought I would mention it as it is in intensive development, and is open-source.

FreeCad

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It is written in Python and in some C++. It has an extremely active core group of contributors that do an excellent job of documentation. They will be quick to tell you that 2D-layout is not their direct goal, but the pieces are there to use it as such and will hopefully continue to grow.

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