I have written a lot about using GNU/Linux in education where it is just about perfect at helping teachers, students and administrators create, find, modify and present information, the lifeblood of education. Today, I read about an engineer’s use of GNU/Linux for his work. Most of his work can be done with applications available from Debian GNU/Linux’s repository although he uses a few things running under Wine:
- Qalculate which does a nice job of converting and calculating with mixed units.
- CAD software, including QCAD and others, free and non-free (” I’m writing about software that I really used or use for production purposes, so my opinions are not from a inexperienced person on this type of software…. I’ve been working with cad software since 1996″)
- SF Pressure Drop, supported on Wine, and non-free.
- Xournal for annotating PDFs and PDFChain allow me to crop, rotate, split and merge PDF’s
- Elmer finite-element simulator and Gmsh 3D finite-element mesh generator. I wish we had those in the 1970s when I did stuff like that from scratch…
So, there you have it, another profession that can use GNU/Linux satisfactorily. This crap about no applications being available is FUD. Some of the applications the guy needs are available in Debian GNU/Linux and others he can run in Wine. With the APT package manager it’s pretty easy to install these things and with Wine the installation of other apps is rather trivial. In installations I have done, from the GUI, I clicked on the downloaded installer and Wine ran it. This gives the professional a reliable speedy OS and all the apps he needs.
I am going to install some of these apps as I plan on moving my workshop to where I live and puttering in retirement. One of my first projects will be building an hydraulic lift. I built a static hoist with a winch previously but my wife allowed it to be discarded as an eyesore while I was in the North… I can do a decent job of overkill on scraps of paper but the finite-element method will allow estimation of stresses at every point in the machine, for greater certainty. This software will save cost of materials and welding/machining time. I am not a professional engineer but I was a professional physicist in a previous career and I bow to the wisdom of engineers when it comes to making things.