I’m working in a dual-boot Linux/Windows environment these days, and things might be getting easier, since I’ve just seen a 2D CAD program that is supposed to be coming out in a Linux version later this year.

When I got my present computer, I decided to finally give Linux a try. I have heard many good things about it, and I’ve always had a contrarian, anti-mainstream streak (I was an Amiga user back in the day, so maybe it’s inevitable). I installed Ubuntu Linux, and was immediately taken with it. I’ve had some minor problems with it, and a couple things are occasionally wonky, but it’s at least as good as Windows, which is equally occasionally wonky. Neither one is perfect, but there are a number of things I love about Linux, and I use it as much as I can now.

One of the things that has kept me working in a dual-boot environment, instead of running Linux exclusively, is that several programs I like to use are not available in Linux. Architectural programs like AutoCAD or Revit are not available in Linux versions, nor is there a good equivalent (at least, not yet). I’ve looked around, and tried more than a couple of the available CAD programs available for Linux, but so far I haven’t found anything appropriate. I have also been using SketchUp more and more. Unfortunately, though, Google doesn’t make a Linux version of SketchUp. No CAD and no SketchUp is a problem for an architect.

I have found a Photoshop replacement. I started using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) which I have picked up quickly, and which I use for various image manipulation tasks. I used to be an advocate for the old Microsoft Image Editor program which I used for a lot of simple cropping and adjusting purposes. But GIMP offers a similar ease of use for the same kinds of things I need to do frequently, and I now have copies of GIMP for both the Linux and Windows sides of my computer.

There are options to run an emulator or a virtual machine under Linux, so that I can have access to Windows programs while I’m still on the Linux side. I’m able to keep my email in a single place, despite using a dual-boot environment, by using Thunderbird portable, which I am able to run under the WINE emulator on the Linux side, so that I can keep all my email centrally located and available no matter which side of things I’m working on. So far, I haven’t been able to get SketchUp to work under WINE; I probably need to spend more time messing about with it, because there are people who’ve gotten it to work.

But today I learned that Dassault has a free 2D CAD program called DraftSight that is currently available for Windows and Mac, but is supposed to be available for Linux in the near future. I’m going to try out the Windows version right now, so I can try it out and learn my way around it a bit. If it’s good, then I’ll certainly get the Linux version once it becomes available.