Bug#604595: Update on the future of qcad (a popular CAD package) in Debian

Scott Howard showard314 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 11 16:40:20 UTC 2011

The Debian Qt/KDE team is planning to remove the KDE3 and Qt3 libraries from
Debian shortly after the Squeeze release. The transition phase to KDE4 and Qt4
will finish since both KDE and Nokia upstream don't maintain the old versions
of those libraries anymore.

In order to make this move, all packages directly or indirectly depending on
the KDE3/Qt3 libraries have to either get ported to KDE4/Qt4 or eventually get
removed from the Debian repositories [1]

The GPLed release of qcad has only be available for qt3, and the
developers have withheld releasing the qt4 version under a free
license for several years (they are keeping it closed/commercial
code). In fact, upstream has not had the resources to review and
maintain community patches even for the qt3 version. Another project,
"qcadfree" [2], has incorporated community patches and is actually
what Debian has been using as "qcad" since Nov, 2009. That project has
stalled and does not appear to be porting to qt4. If no qt4 qcad is
released, qcad will be removed from Debian.

Recently, a new project started that ported the qcadfree project to
qt4 using qt3support libraries.

Since this project is continuing the lineage that Debian has followed,
I am preparing a package for Debian. ITP [3] and git repos are up [4],
as is a PPA [5] for testing by Ubuntu users. It is still in beta but
have made good progress, and they have accepted all Debian patches to
qcad into their project. Additionally, the author intends to add CAM
support to interface with Mechmates [6] and such. I encourage
debian-science users to help with testing so that we have a viable
qcad replacement when it is removed in a few months. At that point
qcad will probably become a transitional packaging depending on
librecad, barring any objections.

There is also a KDE4 port that is semi-active if someone is interested in it:


[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=604595
[2] http://sites.google.com/site/qcadfree/
[3] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=605914
[4] http://git.debian.org/?p=debian-science/packages/librecad.git
[5] https://launchpad.net/~showard314/+archive/librecad
[6] http://www.mechmate.com/

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