I started out using pen and ink to draft. My first CAD experience was Microstation in 1985. Since then, I have worked with Cadvance, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, Autodsys, IntelliCAD, even a few ventures into Revit and Google Sketch.
I was determined not to submit to AutoCAD’s mandatory annual licensing and not to submit to the complications I was seeing with my CAD license and Microsoft’s latest operating systems.
So I tried BricsCAD. BricsCAD is native .dwg. This means that it does not convert AutoCAD drawings-it works directly with the files. There are several brands of CAD out there like this-and all of them actually came from AutoCAD way back when and then developed on their own.
The learning curve with BricsCAD is quick–like 20 minutes. There are a number of differences with AutoCAD but none that kept me from producing drawings.
The major selling feature of BricsCAD is that they permit users to own the software instead of renting it.
The cost of BricsCAD versus AutoCAD is more realistic to what software should cost.
Another great feature of BricsCAD is that it works equally well on Mac and Windows computers. (about time someone pulled that off!!!).
The money saved switching to BricsCAD from AutoCAD is substantial and the quality of drawings is equal. The ease of preparing drawing is exactly comparable. The learning curve great (I like to use two key commands when I draft and do a lot of copy and pasting from master templates). DWG files are no problem.
Lately, I compared notes with CAD drafters in other disciplines and found Draftsight. Draftsight has the right idea. There is a free 2D version that is similar to AutoCAD but simple and stable. If you want to do 3D stuff, Draftsight is as intricate as you want to get. DWG files are not problem.
In conclusion, AutoCAD is NOT to only alternative.