Ares, a CAD alternative for Linux and Mac


There haven’t been many aided design solutions that go beyond Windows. ArchiCAD had been rather lonely on the Mac, AutoCAD now has decided to enter this market, and Ares is another interesting alternative. Its name does not sound us like AutoCAD, with the shadow made by that P2P downloadable program and what remind us the God of war in Greek mythology.

But Ares is a robust tool that not only runs natively on three major platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux.

How Ares has born

While little is known about this software, the company which creates it is not new at this. This is Graebert GmbH, born in 1983, leading AutoCAD distributor in Germany.

  • In 1993, apart from AutoDesk and a year later they were launching FelixCAD, later called PowerCAD, now owned by GiveMePower Inc. This still exists but only supports 2.5 DWG versions to 2002.
  • Graebert was the creator of PowerCAD CE that by the 2000 became popular as one of the few CAD applications for PDAs.

clip_image002From 2005 start working a new idea that was launched five years later, apart from iSurvey. Since last year we have seen in Cadalyst magazine some interesting Ares reviews.

It is clear that anyone who already has AutoCAD will be interested on using another solution unless finding an added value that captures its attention. Let’s see what this solution offers:

It has potential multi platform.

This is the most attractive, especially for users accustomed to take advantage of Mac operating systems, which are well positioned in design field without mentioning Linux.

  • clip_image003Ares runs on Apple systems Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher.
  • Also on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
  • And on Linux distributions: Ubuntu 9.10 Gnome, Fedora 11 Gnome Gnome Suse 11.2, Mandriva 2010 Gnome and KDE.

Development’s potential and value.

Ares comes in two versions: One call only Ares ($ 495.99) and other Ares EC (Commander Series) ($ 995.00). It can be said that in price terms is extremely attractive, it is also feasible to migrate under a lees value from PowerCAD 6 and 7 even that software is no longer owned by Graebert.

The value added by Commander Edition version is in the core to develop applications. It can taken advantages with programming in Lisp, C, C ++ and DRX in order to create new functions, macros and plug-ins. On Windows version you can work with Visual Studio for Applications (VSTA), Delphi, ActiveX, COM, including OLE objects embedded links.

You can also customize the user interface through toolbars and XML nodes.

clip_image004Other Ares interesting features

Ares works on native 2010dwg format, although it can read and convert to any dwg / dxf format from R12 versions. It also reads and edits ESRI shape files.

The interface is quite convenient, with pallets that easily drags and fit without much back. The mouse right-click contextual features facilitate work, but also supports command line for users who like the archaic custom.

The objects properties go beyond simple attributes. You can make notes on the drawing like freehand sketches, including associating audio to them. You can imagine:

“Modify the entire area, according to the log on page 11, once completed send it to my email and look for supervision signature of the contractor”

The features in printing layouts management, precision aids (smart snaps) and 3D drawing (based on ACIS standard) are quite similar to AutoCAD. Although rendering can combine different shading types in the same view and creating print templates seem more practical, also zoom / pan don’t take refreshment and can operate in real time without killing memory.

Supports DWT templates, DWGCODEPAGE; external references can be loaded using polygons clips (not only rectangle), it also edit blocks on the fly and export to pdf/dwf.

In short, a great tool that comes on more than 12 languages, including Portuguese and Spanish. It remains to be seen how they go on in positioning terms in a quite-captive market but with much potential.

Here you can download trial versions for 30 days:

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