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Building software is not that relaxing.

Building software is not that relaxing.

 

I need a good CAD program on my mac laptop (Powerbook so no Windows emulation) and I have found my choices quite limited. As a student I want something free, legally free. Not due to not wanting to pirate software, rather there is not much software our there to pirate for what I am looking for.

Taking the advice of a TA I looked into the QCad community edition. The company releases their CAD software commercially with the binaries released under GPL. I like free open source software when available so I thought I would try it out.

I needed to build it myself, I have never done this before. I turned to my good friend Google and found this post. This gave rough instructions on how to do it and assumed a much deeper knowledge of the process then I had. I was starting from scratch. Here is what I did:

  1. I already had XCode and X11 installed on my computer from a while back so I did not need to install them. They can either be installed from the system install disks or downloaded from Apple (XCode at least).
  2. Next I downloaded and installed fink. fink is a program/terminal command that allows for easy acquisition and installation of packages.
  3. With fink I installed qt3mac by using the terminal command “fink install qt3mac” followed by the supplementary packages qt3mac-shlibs, qt3mac-apps and qt3mac-doc. These are installed by adding the “-shlibs” onto the fink install command.
  4. Next I used cd to go to the directly with QCad in it (the one that was downloaded) and set the path to qt3mac by using the command “export QMAKE=/sw/share/qt3mac” and “export QMAKESPEC=/sw/share/mkspecs/macx-g++”. This sets the correct paths for the build command of QCad.
  5. At this point I realized that I did not actually have gcc installed, I reinstalled it using the XCode installer. gcc is a C++ compiler or a collection of compilers. I think at least.
  6. There site I originally found has instructions regarding a patch but I could not figure out how to get it to work. So I skipped this.
  7. cd to the qcad directory /scripts/ and enter “./build_qcad.sh”. This will start the build of the program which should result in a nice QCad.app program to drop into your applications folder.

For me building the program failed. I think I needed the patch but since I could not apply it (alright I don’t know how) it failed. While doing all of this I found a pre-packaged version of QCad on this nice website. I think I also saw an intel version floating around somewhere, don’t know where I saw it though.

So none of this had to be done if I had just found this pre-compiled version first.

Ironically I finally opened up QCad to find out that it does not do what I need it to do.

I have installed Vectorworks 2009 instead with a student license and will try that out now. I could just break down and go use SolidWorks at one of the computer labs on campus, I just want to have a copy for me to use.

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