Tips for working in AutoCAD 2000 under wine

Be sure to check AutoCAD 2000 in wine HOWTO if you don’t have acad installed allready.

TIP 1: GRAPHICS CARD Get a decent graphics card. Nvidia has the best opengl drivers and performance in linux is way beter even with a “cheap” 8400 or 7600 geforce. ATI SUCKS in linux (i know i have bought 3 and dumped them for cheaper nvidias when i switched to linux) although they try to catch up lately, they still have a long way to go. Intel cards work sufficiently for opengl apps but don’t expect miracles (they are better in opengl rendering than ATIs under linux no matter what the benchmarks say). Do install the proprietary drivers if you are planning to do more than just surfing and [open]office work on your pc.

TIP 2: SHADE MODE After you follow tip #1 go to autocad and Tools->Options->System->Properties and between software and hardare select hardware and pick the wopengl6 driver. This enables hardware acceleration in all 3d shade modes in autocad. To do that go to View->Shade->3D Wireframe or use the corresponding toolbar icon (ACAD->Shade). Even if your drawing is just 2d, switching to 3d wireframe mode will accelerate your viewport drastically.

[Cons: only solid linetype for 3d wireframe (meaning you can’t see the dotted/dashed lines but they are there) see also TIP #4]

[Cons 2: ATI users with catalyst drivers, you are out of luck, acad will crash immediately on hardware acceleration or the drawings will disappear from the viewport. The only solution i can think of is TIP#4a. And get yourself an Nvidia next time :) ]

TIP 3: DESKTOP EFFECTS Disable desktop effects when working in autocad. Compiz will make autocad unusuable under some circumstances. For examle if you minimize and restore the window. In general, as a rule of thumb: if you are going to work for a long time on autocad (or even on blender or any app that uses 3d acceleration) your best bet would be to disable desktops effects temporarily. Desktop effects is very nice for browsing, (open)officing etc but it stil has some issues with 3d apps and wine, so better be safe than sorry. If  disabling/enabling desktop effects is not your thing, or you want max viewport performance and space see TIP#5.

TIP 4a: TEXT pt. 1 One thing that slows down the viewport rendering significantly is TEXT. The workaround here is to work with text cleverly. Text rendering is slow only in 2d wireframe mode. There is an option to speed up the display by not rendering text when in 2d wireframe mode. Go to Tools->Options->Display and at the bottom-right of the window there is an option called “show text boundary only”, check this, click ok and issue a REGEN command. This will render all text in the viewport as rectangles. Usually when working on a drawing you don’t need to see text (i use “di” to get dimensions). At some points when you start dimensioning and documenting the drawing, where you need text, you can switch to 3d wireframe or 3d flat shaded mode where you can see text without a big impact in performance (if u have a decent graphics card that is).

TIP 4b: TEXT pt. 2 Use .shx fonts instead of TrueType in your drawings. SHX fonts are line-fonts originally developed for old-style pen-plotters but still useful for laser-cutters etc. Since these fonts have no fill and are just lines they are faster to draw on screen. AutoCAD ships with this sort of fonts (i.e. simplex.shx). The hard thing is to find good SHX fonts nowadays that support languages other than english. [Note for greek readers: there was some good shx fonts that support greek in the CADWARE for autocad 2000 package. Google for it.]

TIP 5: FULLSCREEN Did you know that all applications in GNOME (maybe in kde too but i don’t know how) can become fullscreen? This maximizes screen space and also improves performance for apps that utilize 3d acceleration (like autocad in 3d shade modes and blender)[This is especially true when you have 3d desktop effects enabled]. To access the “magick” function of fullscreen windows you have to assign a shortcut for it in System -> Preferences -> Keybard Shortcuts. Look for the entry that reads “toggle fullscreen blah blah” and assign a key. I prefer to assign Alt+F11 as it is similar to other apps that use F11 for fullscreen mode.

[Note 1: to exit fullscreen press the shortcut again]

[Note 2: To switch workspaces when in fullscreen without exiting it you can use Ctrl+Alt+R/L Arrows]

TIP 6: LARGE DRAWINGS Break up large drawings into smaller ones whenever you can. Use CTRL+TAB to switch between drawings.

TIP 7: ZOOM In autocad enter the command ZOOMFACTOR and set it to something around 60. By default in acad 2000 you get a value of 10 which translates to REALLY SLOOOOW zooming with the wheel of the mouse.

TIP 8: TRIM When trimming or extending multiple lines there is a way to do it fast. It’s called “fence” and is one of the burried options of the trim command. Look it up in the Acad help. Short story: issue a trim command, select trim borders, issue F (for “fence”), draw a line that intersects all the lines you want to trim, hit enter or space and voila! multiple trimming! [ Actually this is better than the option – later introduced in acad – for rectangular selection of lines to trim, since you can select diagonally or lasso-style. So long for innovations in acad 2006.]

TIP 9: SAVE OFTEN Do save often! Autocad was not designed to work under linux and wine is still buggy. Although it works sufficiently, acad still crashes from time to time. You have been warned!

TIP 10: TEXT EDIT In acad 2000 text can’t be edited by simply double-clicking on it. If you are like me and want minimal toolbars around and no right-click menus, you should add at least a custom button for the edit text command. Other usefull commands to go into buttons under wine are 2d & 2d wireframe shade mode.

TIP 11: [TODO] PLOTTING

more to come

AutoCad 2000 in wine HOWTO

Introduction

This was troubling me for a couple of years…

It IS posible to have a fully functional autocad 2000 in linux running under wine. It needs some tricks to get it working. I learned all these answers through trial and error and since i haven’t found any howtos for the process i decided to write one. I have tested the method described here on my systems and it works. One thing to notice is that i am refering only to the autocad 2000 version, not 2000i, not 2002 just 2000. Later versions of autocad might install with some similar way under wine but from my tests they do not work well and do crash A LOT. If you also follow the tips and trics post, autocad 2000 will prove more than enough for at least 2d CAD work. For 3d i suggest you head over to www.blender.org and get yourself a real 3d modelling application. From my personal experience 3d modelling in autocad SUCKS big time, especially for my line of duty which is architectural design. That said lets get on with the howto but not without a big fat warning:

WARNING! If you have other programs running under wine do a backup of your /home/<username>/.wine folder before proceeding. If you mess up your wine drive you could lose other wine programs you have already worked hard to install. For example on a terminal do:

$ cp -Rp ~/.wine ~/wine-bak

[EDIT:The short version is removed. The short version had some issues during the installation that messed up textediting in acad.]

Installation

First we need to install wine. Go to System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager and search and install wine (preferably using the up-to-date wine repositories)

Then to make things easy for us we will use a Graphical User Interface that helps us manage our wine installation. It’s called wine doors and you can get it here. Install the package and go to Applications->Wine->Wine doors.

The first screen needs a name and asks if we have a valid windows license to which we reply “Yes, unfortunately we do” regardless of whether we do have one or not. (maybe your auntie has one, does this count?). Wine doors will connect to the internet and kindly install some basic packages to our wine installation.

NOTE: During this time it may seem as it has crashed. Be Patient! It will get on with it eventually. If not see troubleshooting.

The second screen will be a list of available applications to install in your wine installation. From this long list we will pick the following (one by one):

  • Anything that looks like a font (Andale, Trebuchet, Tahoma etc)
  • The DCOM98 package
  • The Microsoft Foundation Classes 4 package
  • The Native Rich Text Editor Support 30 package

Click Apply and wait patiently for wine doors to download and install all of the above.

Ok now with the prerequisites installed we can finally launch the acad installation. Go to the folder where the installation files are (did someone say torrent or is it just my ears?) and right click on the SETUP.EXE and select to run it with wine windows emulator. If the installer doesn’t start or complains about the windows version and quits then refer to the troubleshooting section.

At this point you should have your serial number and cd-key handy and go through the installation screens up to the point of choice of an installation type. Here you select compact install. Other options cause trouble (see troubleshooting). Ok next stop is the select text editor screen. Here you can browse to and select c:\windows\notepad.exe if it’s not allready selected. A few clicks later and if everything went well you have autocad 2000 installed on your wine drive and a nice icon on the linux desktop. Last step for the installation is to restart wine so registry changes fall in place gracefully. Open wine-dors again and go to File->Reboot Wine.

Double-click the acad icon placed on your Desktop to fire up autocad for the first time. If it opens it will ask you to activate it, do that and close it. If not then refer to the troubleshooting section.

Ok the next step AFTER ACTIVATION is to install some service packs and driver upgrades for autocad 2000.

[The good thing about old programs is that software companies DID release bugfixes back then and didn’t force you to upgrade to a more buggy, extra needless features, wanna be word-like release of the program (i.e. AutoCad 2009 a.k.a. OMG! is this office?).]

There are two service packs for autocad 2000 and a driver update for the opengl driver. First get the installers from here, here and here.  A reader (thanks tyk) suggested that you should install also an update for plotting. Run them in the logical order, service pack 1, service pack 2 , 3d driver update and plotting update.

NOTE: The service packs exe files are winzip self-extractable archives. You need to run them once, extract and then run the extracted Setupex.exe file. By default they are extracted in /home/<<USERNAME>>/.wine/drive_c/windows/temp folder

At this point you should have a mostly-functional autocad 2000 on your linux machine. The final trick is to use the script provided below to workaround some issues. Copy the text into an empty text file in gedit and save it somewhere in your home folder with an “.sh” extension, for example /home/<username>/acad.sh . Give it executable permissions by right click on the file and: Properties->Permissions->allow execution as a program. The only thing left to do is change the wine-generated icon on the desktop to point to this file (right-click->properties->launcher->command->/home/<username>/acad.sh).

That wasn’t so hard now was it? Don’t forget to read through the tips and tricks post to tweak your old autocad 2000 to be more productive.

The Script

This little script is needed to run autocad for two reasons three reasons:

  1. For some reason if you maximize the acad window and exit the program it will never open up again. This happens because of s registry key that saves the window size on exit and if it’s larger than the screen bounds, acad crashes. The script deletes the registry key restoring the default (almost maximized) ssize for the acad window.
  2. If you need to read and write text containing characters other than basic latin you need to change the locale setting for wine to the language you want. I need greek text so i used the el_GR.UTF-8 locale. You need to have the corresponding language pack installed (System->Administration->Language Support).
  3. After every wine upgrade the PATH registry key gets reset (at least in my machines) this results in a broken autocad.Autocad needs some dlls in the Common Files directory and it won’t start if “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared” is not in the PATH. This script makes sure that it’s there.

To change the locale for wine just change the LC_ALL=”<locale_alias>” in the script below with the language of your choice or, if you don’t want support for other languages, just delete the LC_ALL=”el_GR.UTF-8″ part. Remember to change the username.

#! /bin/bash

##CHANGE TO POINT TO YOUR WINE INSTALLATION
export WINEPREFIX="/home/alxarch/.wine"

#Only needed if you want to write in your locale
export LC_ALL="el_GR.UTF-8"

# When autocad closes the size of the application window
# is stored in this key. If it was maximized when closed,
# it will not be able to open again.(on some windows managers)
# so it's easier to just delete this key on startup

regedit /D HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\Autodesk\\AutoCAD\\R15.0\\ACAD-1:409\\FixedProfile\\Application\ Window

# After a wine upgrade the PATH variable is unset for
# some reason. Autocad needs some dlls in the Common
# Files directory and it won't start if "C:\Program Fi
# les\Common Files\Autodesk Shared" is not in the PATH
# So we extract the key, using sed, we first remove it
# from PATH (if it exists) and then prepend it to PATH.
# This way Autocad won't break upon wine upgrades

regedit /E /tmp/path.reg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\System\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Session\ Manager\\Environment

sed \
-e 's/;;//' \
-e 's/C:\\\\Program\ Files\\\\Common\ Files\\\\Autodesk\ Shared//' \
-e 's/^\"PATH\"=\"/&C:\\\\Program\ Files\\\\Common\ Files\\\\Autodesk\ Shared;/' \
/tmp/path.reg > /tmp/correct.reg

regedit /tmp/correct.reg

rm /tmp/path.reg

rm /tmp/correct.reg

wine "C:\Program Files\ACAD2000\acad.exe"

Troubleshooting

If some installer doesn’t run (it happens to me in ubuntu hardy) you should issue the comand

$ sudo sysctl -w vm.mmap_min_addr=0

If the installer is complaining about the windows version you have to run the wine configuration tool (winecfg) and select windows 2000 as the default version.

In the installer, selecting the compact install option is the safest bet. As of wine 9.61 you are able to complete the installation by choosing custom install option (in earlier versions of wine it crashed). This is usefull if you want the express tools and the internet components. Database and VBA still crash the installer. I don’t know about other options. Proceed with caution. The best way is to install with compact option and then re-run the installer and select to add features.

If, after installation, autocad won’t launch you will need to tweak the registry of wine a bit. Regedit, find the key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Session Manager\Enviroment\PATH

and append (without quotes):

“;C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared”

This way it will find all required DLLs.

If the script doesn’t run make sure you have given it executable permissions, make sure you have replaced the usename and check the text in gedit so as not to have copied html code from the browser or other strange symbols (i.e. curly quotes “„ instead of straight ones ” ).

The tips and tricks section has moved to a seperate post in order to keep this howto small and to the point. If your installation succeeded then go to the tips and tricks post to learn how to use your acad linux installation efficiently, working around some issues especially with the viewport performance.

Hope i’ve been of help to you,

Alex.