Good afternoon, CadTutor and the community;
After reading about ProgrCad (which "chance" posted a week and a half ago), I went home and down-loaded it there for an evaluation. Here are some initial observations on it.
A) It truly is free. Their "place" for donations sends you to a charity-ware donation site for "Doctors Without Borders." However, If you do donate a minimum of US$ 25, they e-mail to you a library of 10,000 pre-defined objects.
B) In return for "free" you must put up with 2 Nag-screens. The first asks you to register (again free) and receive an "authorization code." Doing so deletes Nag-screen #1. Not doing so still allows you to continue on and use the software. The second Nag-screen is about donating to charity-ware as mentioned above. Making the donation removes Nag-screen Number 2. By the way, the 10,000 symbol library is worth far more than the twenty-five bucks.
C) The speed of saving of drawings is very slow compared to Acad Lt or Acad regular.
D) Installing it in a computer which already contains Autocad will change the file associations of .DWG and .DXF files to Intellicad (the platform upon which ProgeCad is built.
E) By default, it opens for the first time without drawing scroll bars. You must enable them in Tools/Options. However, when you do enable them, the scroll bars do not actually "scroll" the on-screen drawing; the screen re-positions when you let go of the bar. (This is OK if you know approximately where in the drawing you need to go; if you don't know [e.g. a drawing which you have received from someone else], scrolling is purely guesswork.)
F)If you remove the installation using Control Panel, it leaves about a dozen and a half entries in the Registry.
I admit these things are perhaps a bit picky; for one used to Autocad, they may cause a frayed nerve or two the first time through. Other than that, you would swear you were using Autodesk software: the on-screen icons are even quite similar (although not exactly so): close enough that I didn't bother reading the instructions before I made my first drawing.
Their Professional (read: "pay-for") version costs only Euro 170 (US$ 223). I have not purchased the Pro version, so I don't know the exact differences. But if the Pro version is, as claimed, equivalent to regular AutoCad, and if enough people discover this fact, Autodesk may possibly face some stiff competition in the not-too-distant future.
Hope this rambling helps someone along the way.
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Excellent information Vince0115 - very useful indeed. A lot of people are wary of installing free software like this because you just don't know what you're going to get. From what you say, it does sound as though this is a viable free alternative to AutoCAD LT (for the first time AFAIK). I guess the scroll bar problem is really the reason why it's not turned on by default and you might expect it to be slow saving files - this is a common issue with free software compared with "commercial" applications.
It also sound as though ridding the nag screens is a reasonable and fairly painless process. I'll definately be keeping an eye on this one.
Gold star for you Vince0115.