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Ubuntu for Engineers

Here's a list of available programs for Engineers or Engineering students that are available for Ubuntu (or linux in general). Not all of them are in the official repositories, not all of them are free and open, but they can be used on a daily basis to improve the workflow of any Engineer.

Mathematical analysis

Matlab and Mathematica are the de facto industry standards in numerical and symbolic analysis respectively, both proprietary and non-free. Though there are many great alternatives to both of them, listed below. More info...

  • Mathematica - Non-free high-level computational software program used in scientific, engineering, and mathematical fields and other areas of technical computing. It uses symbolic analysis.

  • Matlab - Non-free high-level language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming. It's used for getting solutions in a fast way, with a broad online support.

  • Octave - GNU Octave is a FOSS high-level interpreted language, primarily intended for numerical computations of linear and nonlinear problems. Downlaod GNU Octave in the Ubuntu Software Center.

  • Sage - A free open-source mathematics software system licensed under the GPL. It combines the power of many existing open-source packages into a common Python-based interface.

  • Scilab - An open source, cross-platform numerical computational package and a high-level, numerically oriented programming language. It can be used for signal processing, statistical analysis, image enhancement, fluid dynamics simulations, numerical optimization, and modeling, simulation of explicit and implicit dynamical systems and (if the corresponding toolbox is installed) symbolic manipulations. Download Scilab in the Ubuntu Software Center.

A list with more alternatives can be found here.

Finite element analysis

  • Elmer - Elmer is an open source computational tool for multi-physics problems. It has been developed by CSC in collaboration with Finnish universities, research laboratories and industry. Download Elmer in the Ubuntu Software Center.

The finite element method (FEM) is a numerical technique for finding approximate solutions to partial differential equations (PDE) and their systems, as well as (less often) integral equations. More info...

  • Gmsh - An automatic 3D finite element grid generator with a built-in CAD engine and FEM post-processor. Download Gmsh in the Ubuntu Software Center.

  • Netgen - Netgen is a multi-platform automatic mesh generation tool written in C++ capable of generating meshes in two and three dimensions. Netgen has FEM-ngolve CFD-ngflow extensions. Download Netgen in the Ubuntu Software Center.

  • NX - NX (formerly Unigraphics) is a commercial CAD/CAM/CAE suite used in automotive, aeronautics and product design industries. It includes Design, engineering analysis (static, dynamic, electro-magnetic, thermal, using the Finite Element Method, and fluid using the finite volume method) and manufacturing. See more information in wikipedia.

  • OOFem - A free finite element code with object oriented architecture for solving mechanical, transport and fluid mechanics problems. The aim of this project is to provide efficient and robust tool for FEM computations as well as to offer highly modular and extensible environment for development.

  • Salome - A Open Source software suite including Pre-/Post processing Tools: 3D-CAD, Mesher, FEM-Software

Fluid mechanics

Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics that studies fluids and the forces on them. Fluid mechanics can be divided into fluid statics, fluid kinematics and fluid dynamics. More info...

  • GHydraulics - It's a Quantum GIS plugin that allows to export water supply networks for analysis in EPANET. It also contains a function to calculate economic diameters based on given flowrates. The functions are accessible from the Quantum GIS plugin menu and toolbars. Download QGIS in the Ubuntu Software Center.

  • Fluent - Modelling of flow, turbulence, heat transfer, and reactions for industrial application. You will need to contact them to get it, but as seen here, they have Linux support.

  • OpenFOAM - A free, open source CFD software package to solve anything from complex fluid flows involving chemical reactions, turbulence and heat transfer, to solid dynamics and electromagnetics. You can check these examples of simulation around a cylinder and around a car.

  • SU2 - A free and open source suite of tools for analysis and shape design using gradient-based optimization. Includes CFD solver for both flow equations (compressible, incompressible, turbulence models, plasma) and adjoint equations on unstructured meshes. Also included are tools for mesh deformation, sliding mesh interfaces, and domain decomposition for parallel simulations. See the full list of tools for more details and the user tutorials for examples with instructions.

  • XFoil - A program to design and/or calculate airfoils. See this forum thread on how to install it. Download XFoil in the Ubuntu Software Center.


Electronics deals with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies. More info...


Computer-aided design (CAD), is the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. CAD software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing. More info...

  • ARCAD - A commercial Computer Aided Design application for architects.

  • ARES Commander Edition - A commercial, feature-packed CAD application for engineers and architects. Free trial available. It has AutoCAD 2010 native file support.

  • Bricscad - A commercial, feature-packed CAD application for engineers and architects. Free trial available. It has AutoCAD 2010 native file support.

  • BRL-CAD - A Open Source 3D-CAD program. It is a Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) solid modeling system with over 20 years development and production use by the U.S. military.

  • CollabCAD - 3D and 2D commercial mechanical engineering CAD/CAM based on open source software . Freeware-Version available.

  • CyCAS - A commercial Computer Aided Design application for architects. There is a public version available.

  • DraftSight - A free 2D CAD application based on ARES, for engineers and architects. E-mail registration required after 30 days trial. It has AutoCAD 2010 native file support.

  • FreeCAD http://packages.ubuntu.com/freecad - Modern Open Source 3D-Solid CAD. FreeCAD will aim directly to mechanical engineering, product design and related features (like Catia, and Solid-Works). Early state of Development. Development releases available through a PPA, check the official site for details.

  • gCAD3D - A 3D-surface-CAD/CAM. Program is freeware.

  • Graphiteone - 3D and 2D commercial mechanical engineering CAD. Version 3.0: With Parasolid-Kernel from Siemens PLM, Evaluation licence for one month available.

  • LibreCAD http://packages.ubuntu.com/librecad - A 2D CAD application. Highly active fork of QCad, ported to Qt4. Available in the Universe repositories starting with Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

  • MEDUSA - 2D/3D commercial mechanical engineering CAD. Free for personal use only.

  • QCad http://packages.ubuntu.com/qcad - A 2D-Computer Aided Design application similar AutoCAD.

  • Varicad - Modern 3D and 2D commercial mechanical engineering CAD. Cheap CATIA, Pro/E - LIGHT. Trial version for one month available.

  • Varkon http://packages.ubuntu.com/varkon - Open Source 3D- (parametric) and 2D-Development platform for a CAD program. It is available in the universe repositories.

  • Webersys - 3D and 2D commercial mechanical engineering CAD/CAM. Trial version for one month available.

                                                                Reference: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuEngineering