Phil Thane wrote:
On Thursday 19 July 2007 14:16:58 Andy Trevor wrote:
The core of LTSP technology is sound and a no
brainer. The killer here
in the UK is the lack of "quality" educational apps.
I'm pushing Linux and FLOSSIE in Wales (with zero success so far). As an
ex-Design & Tech teacher a real sticking point is CAD. There's plenty of high
end pro CAD out there at a high end price, but I think the UK is pretty
unique in doing D&T the way we do so demand for a child proof CAD package is
Two bits of good news;
1. TechSoft's 2D Design works OK under WINE. I used to be support manager at
TechSoft and tested it years ago. Two minor snags, toolboxes take on GIMP
like qualities and don't stay with the main window when you minimise. Filled
arrow heads on dimensions produce a screen draw error, but filled arrows look
ugly anyway so choose open and it works OK.
2. VariCAD is a simple 2D/3D CAD package that works well on basic PCs under
most forms of Linux. Imports and exports all the usual CAD formats. Only snag
is it's not free. The student version is £50, I'd like to see some schools or
education authorities get together and persuade VariCAD to do school site
licences a lot cheaper.
My personal preference would be to get the Welsh Assembly to sponsor an Open
Source educational CAD package, taking some of the good stuff that's already
out there and developing a kid proof version.
At the moment it's more likely they'll do a deal with PTC to buy ProEngineer
for Windows. That really p****s me off because, freedom issues aside for a
moment, it's way too complex for most kids (and teachers) and just helps
entrench Windows as the de facto OS for schools for another (school)
generation just as PTC's ProDesktop did in the late 90s.
I am not a recent CAD user. My last dalliance with CAD was AutoCad 10
(some 18 years ago) and before that it was a Gerber system.
Recently, I downloaded QCaD to my Ubuntu system here at work that
doubles as a web server for the LUGX (Linux User Group of Xerox). There
is a learning curve for sure but, it seems pretty full featured and
fairly intuitive. There is a Community Edition that can be had for free
There is help and a electronic manual
included. It will only import DXF files with the community edition but,
presumably kids would be starting from scratch. They also have the
'Part Library' which is a collection of about 4500 mechanical,
electrical and processing symbols and parts in DXF format.
I have also used xFig but found that the User Interface could stand a
makeover. It has a few features but they are harder to find, especially
Good Luck not matter what you use.
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