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Date:      Fri, 23 Jan 2009 13:20:09 -0500
From:      Chuck Robey <chuckr@telenix.org>
To:        Boris Samorodov <bsam@ipt.ru>
Cc:        Frank Staals <frankstaals@gmx.net>, "freebsd-questions@freebsd.org" <freebsd-questions@freebsd.org>
Subject:   Re: technical drawing program
Message-ID:  <497A0A59.8020403@telenix.org>
In-Reply-To: <01189938@serv3.int.kfs.ru>
References:  <20090122123734.615f79a1@gom.home> <49799BC3.8080909@gmx.net> <01189938@serv3.int.kfs.ru>

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Boris Samorodov wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Jan 2009 11:28:19 +0100 Frank Staals wrote:
> 
>> It's a shame the FreeBSD port's version is so old (6.0-pre23 while the
>> current version is allready  6.0-pre31 (or even 6.0-pre32 I'm not
>> sure) though.
> 
> Do you know that saying "it's a shame..." you are actually speaking
> about yourself either? The port is maintained by ports@FreeBSD.org
> (it's a public maillist). That means that the port is maintained by
> all FreeBSD users uncluding you. Since you use this port you may
> consider updating the port and send a PR about it. That's may be
> your contribution to the project. You even may become a maintainer
> of the port. Thanks for your contribution in advance!
> 
> 
> WBR

Well, maybe I might categorize things a bit.  There are programs, like inkscape
(which was mentioned), they're really far better at either doing drawing, or
modifying already finished drawaings.  These kinda programs (including the
biggest of them all, gimp), while being incredibly good at drawing, they fall
very far short of being "technical" drawing programs, which basically want to
help you lay out spcific items constructed mostly from lines, circles, etc,
packing them up into subitems which can then themselves be manipulated (like,
drawing a schematic of a transistor, saving it, and then dotting that transistor
all over).  A technia drawing program is what you want for that, and a art
drawing program is what you want if you are trying to get straight artistic
effects (like maybe a web page background.

There's a 3rd level, the Cad programs, they're usually based upon the technical
drawing programs, either directly, or merely extending the command set) but they
usually add in substantial support for active dimensioning.  If you're going to
do something really substantial, like drawing an architectural drawing, you
definitely want a CAD program, like maybe Autocad.  Drawback with those is that
they're definitely pricey, and definitely have a far harder learning curve.

If you wanted to limit yourself to technical drawing, your best bet is likely
the xfig program.  It's been around more than 20 years now, 20 years where there
has been steady improvements.  The interface is so well conceived, you don't
really even need to read teh manual to use it at the 80% level, and a little
thought can give you all the rest of it's capabilities.  This won't do you any
good if you're trying to do something like take the fog out of a picture, or
maybe remove red-eye, but if your goal is to produce a technical drawing at 0
cost, and with the least investment of your time, with results which can still
look very nice, then go look at xfig.

There's a second one ... I never really liked it all that well, but tgif seems
to be more integrated into using a browser as an active tool, and it's also had
all those years of active development.  Like I say, it's not by favorite, but if
you wanted to be able to look at 2 of the best technical drawing programs and
then make your choice in a more reasoned manner, then compare xfig with tgif.
They're both FreeBSD ports, both VERY well done, if you want technical drawing
without reliance on advanced pro-level features and dimensioning, this is the
way to go.

I never had a chance to look qcad over.  Maybe someone else who has that
experience with it could give a better critique of it, without sounding like a
salesman or a booster.
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