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Will MacIntel Hardware Open The Door for Mac OS X CAD? 126

Posted by Cliff
from the new-niches-for-exploitation dept.
xcleetusx wonders: "I've been a fan of Apple for years, and with their current strangle-hold on mainstream media my desire to make the switch has been growing ever more, but the same nagging issue that has prevented my switch for years still remains: I'm an engineer, and I simply can't invest in a computer that won't run modeling/simulation software like CATIA and Solidworks. Since this software is available on Unix (which Mac OS X is built on) and also on Windows (Intel hardware), is the Apple switch to Intel-based hardware going to better my chances for a Mac OS X CAD workstation, or will it remain a pipedream?"
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Will MacIntel Hardware Open The Door for Mac OS X CAD?

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  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:28PM (#13792425)
    Hopefully the switch means increased popularity which will lead to more support from venders. I'm an engineering student (ece) so i don't usually deal with cad and solid works but i deal with other stuff like spice and vhdl. Luckily eagle comes for os x.

    Biggest complaint though is that most software that is "ported" uses X11. It's quite nasty.
    • X11 is not nasty. X11 can be extraordinarily elegant, and efficient, in ways which CAD users can appreciate.
      • Running two concurrent windowing systems, regardless of the properties of either system, is hardly elegant.
      • by Mattcelt (454751) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @02:38AM (#13796104)
        X11 is not nasty.

        On OSX it is. In fact, it's the antithesis of everything the Mac UI stands for - it's clunky, enigmatic, and difficult for people who aren't familiar with it to troubleshoot.

        My girlfriend gave up on using openoffice altogether because of X11.

        While I don't argue X11's potential, its implementation on OSX leaves much to be desired.
    • Hopefully the switch means increased popularity which will lead to more support from venders.

      The switch will mean OS X will be easily pirated. Apple's whole plan is predicated on something Microsoft has known for years: piracy = marketshare. No matter how you slice it, people who otherwise wouldn't have bought an apple machine will download and install this on some machine or another, even just "because they can". Apple knows this.

      When they release OS X for x86, you can expect a huge jump in market
      • When they release OS X for x86, you can expect a huge jump in marketshare from the current ~2%, simply because people will be torrenting this thing like crazy. (as if they aren't already)

        Its probably true. I've even considered downloading it just to see if I could get it to work myself. Its not like I really need another OS though.

        Some years ago I actually dumped my ROMs from my Ebay Mac IIcx before I scrapped the thing. I cut off the ROM chips with a dremel tool and have them in my desk drawer even now.

  • Say it with me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ndansmith (582590) on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:30PM (#13792454)
    Developers Developers Developers Developers!

    Since Mac OS X will use a Darwin (Unixish) on x86, it will not be very hard to port your standard CAD programs to run natively in OSX. Mostly it depends on the demand in the market. If a lot of users start asking the CAD software developers for a port to OSX, it will probably happen. Short of that, your best bet may be Darwine or X11 for OSX. Using one of these may allow you to run standard CAD software without it actually being ported (don't hold your breath for Darwine, though).

    • Re:Say it with me (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ebooher (187230) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:01PM (#13792719) Homepage Journal

      don't hold your breath for Darwine, though

      Why not? Besides the fact that you'll pass out, fall down, and start breathing again. The only thing really holding up Darwine is the emulation of the processor being tied to the API's. You have to get an x86 emu installed, tweaked, then install something that's not always entirely stable to begin with on top of something else not entirely stable.

      The original post is asking how the move to Intel will affect CAD software. I say any CAD software that is written for a *NIX on x86 will appear very quickly on MacTel. WINE, being what it is, will probably be available for MacTel on day 2. They will no longer need to emulate the x86 hardware, it's already there.

      In fact, I predict someone in the Open Source community will completely side step the issue anyway and develop a Mac-On-Linux (MOL) like system "hole." MOL allows Mac Linux users to continue to run Mac OS X within Linux by giving it control of the underlying hardware resources. Better than Virtual PC, and probably what the Virtual Server product Microsoft is talking about does. I also know there is something on Linux (that I've never used so don't remember) that allows something similar in running multiple Linux instances on a single hardware set.

      What ever bad things the MacTel moves brings with it, the good is in the instant tripling of software that will be available. Whether it be through WINE, or WOM (Windows-On-Mac) (hey ... WOMBAT ... now what can the BAT stand for), or Virtual PC, or straight up multi-booting. MacTel is looking good.

      If nothing else, I regularly SSH into a linux machine next to my current PPC Mac and push programs to it via the X11 protocols. This won't change no matter what the underlying hardware is, so worse case scenario is two machines. One Mac desktop and One Massive *NIX box. (I'm thinking rack mounted Solaris might be fun) and you're set. The great thing about networking is you don't need to run *everything* native. Let something else do the work and push the visual to you through ethernet.

      But everyone here already knew that, right?

  • is the Apple switch to Intel-based hardware going to better my chances for a MacOS CAD workstation
    Maybe. The software of which you speak is less dependent on the processor than it is on the Windows or UNIX API that is being used. Your best bet is to write a letter to the software company indicating that you want a native MacOS port.

    What might happen that could help you is that virtual PC programs will be able to run MS Windows at near full speed since it'll be running on the same processor that Windows is written for. So you should be able to run a virtual PC program with Windows and your CAD apps on your Mac.

    • My understanding is that CAD software has a lot of processor specific opitizations. There lies one of the biggest problems with porting. A move to x86 will certainly help with porting.
      • My understanding is that CAD software has a lot of processor specific opitizations.

        Don't count on it. A lot of the serious maths is farmed out to external libraries. Those libraries are often highly portable. Given the inherent complexity of many of the algorithms involved, and the frequency of new compiler/processor releases, there isn't really time to do much platform-specific optimisation work beyond setting sensible compiler options and the like.

        Even if there was time to spend on micro-optimisatio

  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:34PM (#13792483) Homepage Journal
    My best answers at this point are. . .

    We can only hope.

    -and-

    We'll have to wait and see.

    I'm a big user of GIS, and while I find GRASS to be a wonderful alternative to ESRI products, it's sometimes too much hassle to fire up GRASS, define a region, import files, etc., if all I want to do is edit a shapefile or query a feature. I do know about QGIS and other alternatives, but sometimes it would be nice if ArcGIS was ported to the Mac. Given the change in landscape over the past couple of years and changes yet to come (Intel, I'm looking at you), I think there's more probability of these sorts of things happening. They are, however, still possibilities. Until a company commits to producing their specialized software (CADD, GIS, etc.) for the Mac, or until there is an increased demand for Macs in such industries, we're still just speculating.

    Now, if Apple manages to wedge their way into the server market with a killer Intel-based Xserve coupled with a low-cost Xserve RAID, we may see those pressures come from another side. Time will tell.
    • I'm a big user of GIS, and while I find GRASS to be a wonderful alternative to ESRI products, it's sometimes too much hassle to fire up GRASS, define a region, import files, etc., if all I want to do is edit a shapefile or query a feature.

      Well personally, I find grass to be a wonderful alternative to sobriety. It's never too much hassle for me to fire up grass.
    • I have to say this:

      I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but I like hot butter on my breakfast toast.

      Y'know, the old school kind.

      I too would love to see better GIS on the Mac. GRASS is good, and the price is right, but when you need to get down and work sometimes you want what you paid for to run on your pretty workstation...
  • Hardware OS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Florian (2471) <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de> on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:35PM (#13792491) Homepage
    The switch to x86 doesn't change the API of MacOS X and hence won't magically give you Intel PC software. And if that software had been cross-API-compatible (via Qt, wxwidgets etc.), it could have been released for PPC-MacOS already.

    The only thing that is likely to happen with Intel-Mac is that Windows Emulators - and hence Windows software - will run at nearly native speed.

    • At least, it will give MacOS X users a chance to use wine to run Windows applications. Applications linked against winelib don't have a problem - if they were built for PPC arch- but you can't use the wine binary itself to start Windows applications on non-Intel arch.
    • Something more interesting will be the ability to run x86 emulators (VMware, Xen, bochs) and have a full windows running at native speed. That should be much better than VirtualPC, and more flexible.

    • Re:Hardware OS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eil (82413) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:52PM (#13793128) Homepage Journal

      The switch to x86 doesn't change the API of MacOS X and hence won't magically give you Intel PC software. And if that software had been cross-API-compatible (via Qt, wxwidgets etc.), it could have been released for PPC-MacOS already.

      True.

      The only thing that is likely to happen with Intel-Mac is that Windows Emulators - and hence Windows software - will run at nearly native speed.

      Not strictly true. Everybody is concentrating so hard on the whole Windows emulator possibility that they're completely missing another benefit to x86 Macs that I'm personally looking forward to: Linux binary compatibility.

      FreeBSD has had rock-solid Linux binary compatibility for years. Almost any executable compiled on and for Linux will run perfectly well on FreeBSD. Porting the Linux compatibility layer to Darwin is probably something that a skilled dev can do on a rainy weekend. And that's if it hasn't been done already. For x86 Mac users, this immediately opens the door to almost all programs built for Linux, both open and closed.

      I say to the fellow who wants his CAD software on Mac: You'll probably waste your time pestering the vendor to release a native OSX version of the application. And WINE is unreliable at best, which x86 OSX won't change. What you want is to be able to run the Unix version of the app natively on your Mac and that's what Linux binary compatibility will do.
      • But the apps compiled for Linux on MacOSX will need X to run; no X, no GUI. That will be a major stumbling block; likely if X is already available then the App vendor can just recompile the app for Mac OSX already.
        • Re:Hardware OS (Score:3, Informative)

          by frankie (91710)
          apps compiled for Linux on MacOSX will need X to run

          You mean, like this [apple.com]?

          if X is already available then the App vendor can just recompile the app for Mac OSX already

          Except that it is, and they don't.


        • It's been my understanding that X11 has been working on OSX since day one or earlier. No, it might not come with the default OSX installation, but it is available.
      • > And WINE is unreliable at best, which x86 OSX won't change.

        x86 OSX will roughly double the wine user base, dunno how much difference that would make for wine development, but i'm sure it's more than nothing.

        and another thing: companies that make applications for windows are used to target multiple (sometimes quite different) versions of that OS. agreed, "system requirements: windows 2000/XP/vista or wine vX.Y.Z or newer" does sound utopic, but not _that_ utopic.
    • Florian is correct. The differences between Mac OS X and Windows is probably a bigger factor than the differences in PPC and x86 CPUs.
      • The differences between Mac OS X and Windows can be handled by an API layer like wine, the differences in PPC and x86 CPUs can be handled by CPU emulation like virtualPC. Both are complex tasks and likely to never reach perfection, but there is a huge performance in performance hit.
    • The switch to x86 doesn't change the API of MacOS X and hence won't magically give you Intel PC software.

      Right. But...

      Virtual PC will run a whole lot faster.
    • This is not true of all sofwtare. For software that does a lot of math calculations, it may use code aoptimized for SSE2 etc. They may ahve an unix version for x86 linux/bsd, but not PPC. This version may even use a crospplatform AIP
      like QT. Porting to macOS PPC would take a lot of rewriting. Getting it to run on xwindows on intel macOS might be trivial, as it's the SSE2 parts that are nonportable.

      You assume that the software is windows. If it's unix for intel, theer should be little difficulty porting
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:36PM (#13792502) Journal
    This is not complicated and I don't get why people find it so difficult to comprehend. Macs are still going to be Macs, with MacOS and Cocoa. There's going to be a chip inside with a different instruction set; everything upstream will be essentially identical.

    MacOS is not going to magically turn into Windows or Linux just because there's Intel Inside. Mac development will be unchanged, with some marginal exceptions.

    • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

      by node 3 (115640)
      But it will make four things dramatically easier and more compelling.

      1. Emulation
      2. Porting
      3. Games
      4. Drivers

      Emulation is obvious. Compare VMWare vs VirtualPC.

      Porting isn't as obvious, but anything that takes advantage of, or relies on, features of the CPU (byte ordering and SSE/AltiVec are important).

      Games, because they depend on the CPU, optimization, and video drivers.

      Drivers, because now NVidia and ATI (for example) can leverage x86 optimizations on their Mac driver.

      So, you're right in that it doesn't m
      • by Lars T. (470328)
        No, it means that less programs will be ported to Mac OS X, because Mac users can just run them on a Windows emulator.
        • Re:No (Score:3, Interesting)

          by node 3 (115640)
          No, it means that less programs will be ported to Mac OS X, because Mac users can just run them on a Windows emulator.

          "No" what? No, there won't be increased demand for OS X native software if there are more OS X users? No, there won't be more OS X users because they have the comfort-option of dumping OS X and running Windows? No, developers won't have a potentially easier time porting apps and such to x86 OS X than PPC OS X?

          And you're a fool if you think fewer apps will be ported. Right now, very few apps
          • by Lars T. (470328)
            Yes.

            But if there is a Windows runtime/emulator/whatever-you-call-it, there will still be less native Mac versions. Count on it.

            • by node 3 (115640)
              Yes.

              But if there is a Windows runtime/emulator/whatever-you-call-it, there will still be less native Mac versions. Count on it.


              You're saying that there will be fewer apps than there are now? That companies will tell potential customers to buy VMWare and Windows if they want to run their app? Especially as there are more and more Mac users?

              It just doesn't follow.
              • by Lars T. (470328)
                Face it, this is capitalism. Why spend money on a Mac version, when you can just tell Mac users to buy your Windows version and emulate it at full speed. I never said it was smart, just that it would happen. Count on it.
                • Re:No (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by NMerriam (15122)
                  Why spend money on a Mac version, when you can just tell Mac users to buy your Windows version and emulate it at full speed.

                  Because developers who are interested in cross-platform sales already make Mac versions -- they know they'll lose customers if their app no longer has Aqua effects and built-in spell checking and other things Mac users expect.

                  Developers who don't do crossplatform, well, some of them will say "great, now I don't have to worry about it since they have VMware!", while others will say "gre
                  • by Lars T. (470328)
                    First of all, cross-platform will not be "a lot easier", at best it will be a little bit easier.

                    2: Developers don't make decisions, managers do. They can save money , they will, even if it doesn't make economical sense. 80% of all managers are stupid and quarter result oriented.

              • That companies will tell potential customers to buy VMWare and Windows if they want to run their app?

                Companies already do tell Mac users this and have for decades now. Microsoft even bundles VPC with certain versions of MS Office so that they can sell Visio and Project to Mac users without having to port it.

                I have to agree with Lars T even though for some reason we're on each other's enemy lists. A well-integrated version of Virtual PC would look make the MacOS look (technically) a lot like OS/2, and we al
        • Re:No (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          What kind of Mac user is going to use an application that's been designed to Windows UI conventions, for a Windows audience? Answer: only the tasteless. And how many tasteless Mac users do you know?
          • by Lars T. (470328)
            Don't tell me, tell the people who will still decide that way because they can save money.
            • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

              by am 2k (217885)

              Well, when two different products are available, Mac-users will always pick the one that's more Mac-like, so who's going to be the one with more money in their pocket in the end?

              • by Lars T. (470328)
                Thanks for proving my point - managers are stupid. Why else would they not enter a small pond where they would be the only fish? No, they jump into the big pond with a hundred otheres - and a big shark.

    • MacOS is not going to magically turn into Windows or Linux just because there's Intel Inside. Mac development will be unchanged, with some marginal exceptions.

      I dunno, maybe this falls into the "marginal" category, but "scientific" [or "mathematical"] programming is really REALLY REALLY difficult.

      For instance, take a gander at the list of FFTs catalogued at BenchFFT:

      Then look at their relative performances for speed and accuracy:

      http://www.fftw.org/speed/ [fftw.org]

      ht [fftw.org]

      • I dunno, maybe this falls into the "marginal" category, but "scientific" [or "mathematical"] programming is really REALLY REALLY difficult.

        That's *exactly* the sort of thing that I meant by "marginal".


        • That's *exactly* the sort of thing that I meant by "marginal".

          I Am Not A CAD Developer [IANACD], and, for that matter, I Am Not Even A CAD User [IANEACU].

          On the other hand, I know a fair amount about LabVIEW, which shares a great deal in common with CAD environments, and I know that National Instruments has a budding problem on their hands because their graphics package depends on OpenGL/MESA, and Microsoft looks to be deprecating support for it [slashdot.org].

          But it would be interesting to hear from some CAD devel

          • But it would be interesting to hear from some CAD developers - do you write low-level stuff in-house, e.g. do you write triangles directly to the GPU, or do you purchase development environments [PIXAR, DirectX, OpenGL/Mesa, VRML, whatever] that perform the low-level translations for you?

            Usually the latter; CAD applications are complex beasts, and life's too short to reinvent the wheel all the time.

            IANACD either, but I do write libraries used by them. :-)

    • You may be right, in that the change of processor will not mean a magical porting of an application that was not previously ported to Cocoa under PPC. I agree with that. However, a Mac with an x86 processor may increase the probabilities of a user using it as a dual-boot system. So, you get to experience the wonders of OS X Tiger, and you keep to use your good ol' engineering software under Windows or Linux.
  • by SSpade (549608) on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:36PM (#13792509) Homepage
    ...it'll run on OS X under X11 with fairly minimal porting effort today.

    If the companies haven't made that port available then the (trivial, from an application developer point of view) change from PowerPC to x86 isn't going to change that.

    It's all about size of market and differential pricing. Not the CPU that happens to be in the box.
  • Pipedream. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sootman (158191) on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:39PM (#13792533) Homepage Journal
    Programs run on operating systems, not CPUs. Your best chance is if the new Apple/Intel hardware dual-boots, or if Apple gains enough market share that CAD companies decide to start coding for them.
    • Re:Pipedream. (Score:3, Informative)

      by nine-times (778537)
      I'm no expert, but it's been my understanding that some plenty of programs do, in fact, rely in some way on the processor architecture. Therefore, while porting applications from X11 on Linux on x86 to x11 on Linux on PPC is relatively easy, it does sometimes require some amount of work.

      Therefore, (again, from what I understand) the Intel switch to x86 will make porting some Linux software to OSX slightly easier.

    • Not Exactly (Score:3, Informative)

      by ravenspear (756059)
      Programs run on operating systems, not CPUs.

      Nope, they run on CPUs also. Operating systems do to. Operating systems and programs are both software. They both run on CPUs. The operating system schedules what programs get to run when, and when the OS itself runs, but everything happens on the CPU.

      Now what you may have been trying to say is that programs are built to be run with certain operating systems, which would be correct.
    • uhmm Shakespeare coined over 700 of those "old sayings" & words out of whole cloth, he just stuck the damn things in there and brazened it out. The fact that many of them are still around in our language attests to his creativity and chutzpah :)
  • Good news (Score:3, Informative)

    by john82 (68332) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:01PM (#13792718)
    'm an engineer, and I simply can't invest in a computer that won't run modeling/simulation software like CATIA and Solidworks.

    You do realize that Solidworks is available for OS X [apple.com], right?
    • Re:Good news (Score:4, Informative)

      by ephex (898529) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:09PM (#13792778) Homepage
      you do realize that's just a viewer, right?
      • that's just a viewer

        Bringing up the viewer is a major portion of the work in bringing the rest of the system to OS X. CAD vendors tend to have their own pile of rendering code that's redundant in these days of OpenGL, but their apps depend on these obsolete libraries.

        -jcr

    • Re:Good news (Score:3, Informative)

      by john82 (68332)
      Architosh has a forum thread on this very topic which you might find interesting. Start here [forest.net].

      Aside from that, will IMSI TurboCAD 3D [imsisoft.com] or Ashlar-Vellum [ashlar.com] meet your needs?
    • This is a viewer application, it's on Linux too. One can see data created via Solidworks on a win32 PC, that's about it. Well, measure, etc...

      Solidworks is about as closely married to the win32 API as one can get. They stated this goal early in their development process and have not deviated one iota.

      The whole integrated deal will keep a lot of MCAD off of Mac and Linux for a very long time to come yet. Microsoft is very aggressive in this area, working with vendors closely to interlink CAD with Office.
      • Exactly ... The *ONLY* reason there is not much CAD and Engineering Analysis software on Macs is that there is no demand. There's no demand because engineers don't work on Macs, and they don't work on Macs because there is no software. :-(

        Porting any of these software packages to any given platform is as easy as any other, as long as you have Posix/X11/OpenGL available. Replace X11 with some other windowing system and then it's easy if you use a cross-platform toolkit like Tk or Wxwindows and moderately
  • Two points: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Evro (18923) <evandhoffmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:10PM (#13792781) Homepage Journal
    • How does the Mac have a "stranglehold" on media? The iPod is a popular music player... I don't see how that equates to a stranglehold on media.
    • If you love Macs so much, shelling out $500 for a Mac Mini shouldn't be such a huge "investment." It's not like you can only use one or the other.
    • As others have said, the Mac running on Intel hardware really doesn't mean much in the usable software sphere, the APIs are the same.
    • The Mac is said to have a stranglehold on media because professional media shops have historically been Mac based. Not so much in audio, but the visual arts have always had relatively poor Windows penetration.

      And 80% of the market for MP3 players does kind of give Apple on selling downloadable music if they keep the DRM tightly held.

      And, I think, 100% of the market share on downloadable television episodes. They're certainly the dominant player in online music sales right now.

      The gain for the Mac-on-Intel i
  • VectorWorks and TurboCAD are already here - and have been for many years. After several conversations with the AutoDesk AutoCAD procuct manager, it seems they think the Mac is dead, or dying. Anyhow, VectorWorks does handle AutoCAD files nicely, as long as you can get the M$ AutoCAD users (wiennies) to use standards-based file formats. CAD was born on the Mac... and I believe its still better with the available stuff today; AutoCAD is very much a M$ product - too much of everything, and nothing worth
    • Oh, I don't know about that last. It's been a few years since I got out of the drafting biz, but as of r14 and 2000 the intergrated AutoLISP programming language enabled me to do some really sweet parametric sheet-metal manufacturing design. I looked at replicating the capability in Solidworks, but what we had already in AutoCAD was going to remain faster for over 80% of designs and of equvalent output quality. (As far as actual manufacture went, anyway... visualization was way better in Solidworks.)

      Of cour
      • no its not specific to AutoCAD - i encourage you try more...
        • Like I said, I'm out of the drafting profession. But I still have occasional need to draw some stuff for my own use. What would you suggest for a free/cheap/libre drafting application with broadly similar features to AutoCAD? (In particular, 2D/3D drafting with [hooks to] a full programming language and keystroke macros?)
    • by david duncan scott (206421) on Friday October 14, 2005 @05:42PM (#13794151)
      CAD was born on the Mac...!?

      Look, I'll give you DTP and maybe even the slide puzzle, but CAD was born well before the Mac. [mbdesign.net] In fact, I'll lay a buck that the Mac was designed using CAD.

      (While you're at it, can I recommend John Walker's site, Fourmilab [fourmilab.com]? His history of AutoDesk:

      1. includes the following: "If only because of the support burden, we can't target every computer system in the world during the first few months. The current idea is to pursue the CPM (8080 and Z80) market immediately with all we've got. This means installing the Sierra Z80 board in lots of existing computers.

        We need to do more evaluation of the IBM and Apple situation with respect to both technical and marketing questions. We ought to be getting hardware for non-Z80 systems within 4-6 weeks.
        ", which I think makes it pretty clear that they were showing a CAD program back when Apples accepted CP/M cards,
      2. and neat trivia like, "We're also looking closely at JPLDIS, a very useful data base system written in Univac Fortran. The program is in the public domain, so we have the right to convert it to microcomputers and sell it. In fact, it apparently is being sold now under the name of Dbase II, but there's nothing to stop us from getting into the act.

        Who knew that DBase sprang from a PD program?)

    • I have been using Vectorworks (previously MiniCad) for about 10 years now. In fact, the first Mac that we bought at work was specifically for running MiniCad which was Mac only back then.

      Its a good program for light mechanical drafting. I think it is used much more widely in Architecture because a lot of the features are geared toward Architectural Drafting.

    • CAD was born on the Mac.

      I wish!

      AutoCAD was a nightmare on CP/M and PC-DOS. (Yeah, I know. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Autodesk is truly the Microsoft of the CAD world.)

      -jcr

  • by fideli (861469)

    As many people have mentioned above, the fact that OS X runs X11 means that if there was a market, there would be a version of your desired UNIX programs on the Mac right now. A good example is MATLAB. For Mac, it's basically the UNIX version with (I'm assuming) minimal changes since it runs in X11.

    As for Intel chips, I agree that there will be no magic change that would all of a sudden allow your programs. Macs will still be Macs.

    • Although MATLAB on OS X is a flaming piece of shit - even worse than the Linux version, which at least works moderately well. Frankly, I'm embarassed for those developers. They're such 'tards. I could stand the fact that they use an ugly Java interface for MATLAB on Unix, but it's also unreliable, antiquated (hello? There's this thing called a scroll wheel?), and slow as shit. That's when it works, mind you. I've recently switched to IDL for my data analysis. While it may take more programming to do t
  • Last I heard from the Intel OSX leaks a while back, you could just install Windows on the systems with no problems. I don't imagine there would even be any legal issues with this, as long as your Windows copy is legit.

    So yeah, I'm guessing you'll be able to buy a Mac, buy a copy of Windows, and with a bit of fiddling, install it so you can choose to boot to Windows.

    Even if this isn't possible, I'm sure programs like WINE will be running a LOT faster with the Intel Macs, so you could probably run your Windo
  • ooh (Score:3, Informative)

    by i_c_andrade (795205) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:39PM (#13793639)
    better not tell the people at Architosh.com [architosh.com] that there is not a MacOS CAD workstation
    • For years I too have wished for a proper CAD system that could run on Mac hardware. However, at this point I'd settle for being able to teach everyone out there that 2D CAD is a pale, shallow, crippled, painful excuse for CAD as compared to any mainstream parametric 3D CAD system.

      OK, I'll concede that there is CAD for Macs, but it's a glorified electric drawing board, not a useful engineering tool. THAT is what I want to run on Macs... The day that Pro/ENGINEER, or SolidWorks, Alibre Design, or any of th
  • "Since this software is available on UNIX (which Mac OS X is built on) and also on Windows (Intel hardware), is the Apple switch to Intel-based hardware going to better my chances for a MacOS CAD workstation, or will it remain a pipedream?"

    If the software is available on UNIX, and is not available on the Mac right now, then whatever is holding it back is unrelated to the processor the Mac is using. Either the vendor does not consider the Mac market large enough (which is odd, since by this time the majority of workstations capable of running UNIX software are Macs), or they consider even a port to another UNIX platform unreasonably difficult, or they don't realise that Mac OS X runs ordinary UNIX applications very well.

    These are not problems that will be solved by switching to a new processor, case design, color scheme, mouse, keyboard, monitor, or pizza topping.
  • by mduell (72367) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @02:39AM (#13796109)
    What makes you think the switch will prompt Dassault Systemes to port CATIA to OSX?

    They already support AIX on POWER and PowerPC. Given that they haven't ported a program that runs on AIX/PPC to OSX/PPC, what makes you think they will port a Win/x86 program to OSX/x86?

    It's not about obscurity. CATIA runs on platforms with tiny marketshares like HP-UX (on PA-RISC?), Solaris on Sparc, and IRIX on Rx000. The software is obviously very portable, DS just has no interest in an OSX port.

    I'm a huge fan of CATIA (just reupped my license a week ago :\), and it's one of those pieces of software that keeps me from switching to OSX (Valve's Source is the other big one).
  • Versacad was available on the Apple II, and followed Apple to the Mac and was available as early as the Mac Plus, I think. I used it many years on a Mac II and later machines. Then it disappeared for awhile, but is now back. Its available from a company run (owned?) by the original designer/programmer, at www.archwaysystems.com. I transitioned to something else, and no longer use it, but its good for 2D for sure.
  • CAD on the Mac depends a lot on what you are doing- for Architecture Vector Works is quite viable, for solid modeling it's very weak. I've been using Ashlar's Cobalt http://www.ashlar.com/ [ashlar.com] under OSX and Windows for about 18 months, and for what I do, tending towards industrial Design, Injection molded plastic parts, prototyping, etc. I like it much more than SolidWorks. You get both Windows and Mac versions for one price, and the license allows you to switch back and forth, which I do frequently as in orde
  • The chips Apple uses don't matter. Commercial vendors want to know if there's money to be made by adding a new platform. If the move to Intel expands Apple's marketshare, then your chances for getting your CAD programs goes up.
  • ... is the Apple switch to Intel-based hardware going to better my chances for a Mac OS X CAD workstation, or will it remain a pipedream?

    My wife lost her ability to see the future, and my friend who can read the minds of distant CEOs an product managers isn't here right now, so I guess I'll have to resort to my magic 8-ball:

    "Better not tell you now"

  • I don't know if any nice packages will be ported to OS X for Mactel, but since the dev boards are basically standard x86 mbs, it is likely that any OS that will run on a Dell will run on the macs (although OS X seems to be copy protected to only run on the macs). So even if CAD software won't run on OS X, you can still dual boot into Windows or Linux and run it there.

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