Overview of free 2D CAD options for Linux, macOS X, and Windows

Since 2011, Draftsight is typically the top choice for free Linux/Mac/Windows AutoCAD 2D-compatible CAD users.

If you prefer libre software, you can consider QCAD or LibreCAD, then use the free Teigha converter mentioned below as a first/last step to convert to/from DWG <–> DXF.

I didn’t include FreeCAD here as it’s mainly for 3D / Solidworks (and also cannot open DWG at this time).

item Draftsight QCAD LibreCAD
License free, NOT libre GPLv3 GPLv2
Registration YES install AND periodic REregistration NO NO
Download 64-bit .deb source or binary source or PPA
DWG YES: through R2017 free Teigha DXF-DWG converter free Teigha DXF-DWG converter
DXF YES: through R2017 yes yes

Draftsight: “easy” 2-D CAD

Draftsight is free and typically “just works” with most DWG / DXF someone sends you. But DraftSight is non-libre.

QCAD: GPLv3 2-D CAD

For using DWG/DXF, QCAD requires the non-libre, non-free DWG package (or use the free, non-libre Teigha DXF - DWG converter).

LibreCAD: GPLv2 2-D CAD

LibreCAD can read some DWG.

Free conversion DWG to DXF

Free, non-libre Teigha File Converter supports through R2017 DWG/DXF (which is using the Autocad 2013 AC1027 DWG format).
Teigha File Converter may be used to convert from DXF to DWG en masse as a first/last step. The OpenDesignAlliance is the same organization where QCad gets its non-free non-libre converter from.

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