House Design SFW?

Lloyd Brown lloyd_brown at
Mon Feb 23 11:51:16 MST 2015

As someone who is married to an architect, I can say pretty confidently
that the tools used for early design stages are usually pencils and
paper.  I was surprised.  But apparently there's something psychological
going on, where some clients are unwilling to make significant changes
when they're looking at printouts.  Something about the clear, precise,
perfect lines, makes it hard to want to change.  I don't know why.  The
inherent messiness of a hand sketch seems to allow them better freedom,
especially during the early design stages.

Having said that, that particular industry does seem to be dominated by
AutoCAD and Revit, both of which are very expensive, only run on Windows
(I think), rely heavily on Direct3d (or whatever it's called now), which
makes it hard to virtualize or run in an emulation environment, and both
come from the same company, AutoDesk.

Outside of that, I suspect your best bet would be something like
Sketchup, as several people have suggested.  It seems to be reasonably
powerful, especially for something that has a free version (though there
is a paid version with more features).  There seems to be some
resistance among architects to use it, but I suspect that has more to do
with the completely different paradigm for user interaction, relative to
what their used to, than it does with any of the merits of the software

Good luck.

Lloyd Brown
Systems Administrator
Fulton Supercomputing Lab
Brigham Young University

On 02/22/2015 10:24 PM, Dan Egli wrote:
> With all the various open source software out there, not to mention
> commercial options, I was wondering if anyone had come across a good
> software for laying out a floor plan for a house? I suppose I could even
> use a CAD program or something like that if necessary, but really that's
> getting into more details than I want at the moment. All I'm looking for is
> a program that will let me place rooms as objects on a drawing pad, move
> them, resize them, etc... And since I'm not very familiar with using CAD it
> would have a steep learning curve. Obviously I'd prefer Linux software, but
> failing that, something that runs under Wine would be just fine. And Open
> Source is obviously preferred, although commercial is usable if it's not
> too expensive (i.e. < $75). I remember one program that would fit the bill
> nicely, but I don't recall it's name and I doubt it's even made anymore
> since it was published by Broderbund (I think) around 15-20 years ago.
> Any suggestions are welcome. If you know the program's URL, please mention
> that, too. Thank you, all!
> --- Dan
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