Getting Started - Linux

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Download and Install the LDraw parts Library

Basic setup (applies to any Linux distribution or operating system - Recommended approach)

  • Download the latest complete.zip from LDraw.org download page.
  • Extract the complete.zip archive in the directory of your choice - your home directory is recommended for simplicity (~/ldraw/).

Updating your parts list

If, for any reason you have decided to alter the original parts directory (~/ldraw/parts.lst), Nathanel Titane has made a Linux native 'mklist.exe' equivalent: 'make-list'. The make-list utility operates exactly like its Windows counterpart, and generates a 'parts.lst' file that can be either sorted by part number or part description.

  • Download the utility here (right click: 'Save link as...')
  • Save the utility as 'make-list' to your LDraw parts library directory (~/ldraw/).
  • Run the utility in the terminal: chmod +x make-list && ./make-list and follow the prompts.

Note: If present, the previous version of the 'parts.lst' file will be backed up.

Package-based approach (not recommended, probably very outdated)

This applies to any Red Hat or Debian based Linux distribution, provided packages exist and are maintained:

APT-based systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint)(very outdated!):

On most Debian-based systems, run sudo apt-get ldraw-parts.

YUM-based systems (e.g. Fedora):

  • Download the parts library packaged by Eli Carter from the Retractile blog page.
  • Install ldraw_parts-creativecommons-201302-ec4.noarch.rpm using your preferred package manager or command package management tool (yum, rpm).

Notes:

  • These are very old and outdated packages!
  • This method will unpack the parts library under a more conventional system directory (/usr/share/ldraw) that is only modifiable via 'root' access.

Install an editor

LeoCad (recommended)

Leonardo Zide's LeoCAD is readily available for install for both Debian and Red Hat based distributions. You can install the editor by looking for and installing the leocad package using your preferred package manager or command package management tool.

  • Install LeoCAD:
    • APT-based systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint): sudo apt-get install leocad
    • YUM-based systems (e.g. Fedora): sudo yum-install leocad
  • Run LeoCad and point it to the LDraw parts library:
    • Go to View > Preferences... and set your library directory by either typing it in the field or browsing to it via '...'. Make sure to select the topmost directory (normally 'ldraw') that contains the 'parts' directory.

Alternatively, you may want to compile Leocad from source by cloning the subversion repository and issuing the make command. This option assumes you are familiar with compiling your own applications or have knowledge on how to do so.

Compiling guide:

  • Install the necessary compilation requirements and build dependencies which are, but are not limited to:
    • Subversion
    • The GNU GCC C++ compiler
    • QT4 and/or QT5 development packages
    • The ZLib data compression development package(s)
  • Terminal commands:

svn co http://svn.leocad.org/trunk leocad
cd leocad
qmake leocad.pro
make

Notes:

  • LeoCAD can use either a zip file or a regular folder as its parts library directory.
  • You can start Leocad with a different library setup using: $ leocad -l <library directory path>
  • LeoCAD also supports setting the library path as a system environment variable like so: $ set LEOCAD_LIB=<library directory path>
  • If you rather have the latest cutting edge development version of LeoCAD,feel free to build your own or download the latest stable pre-built package (now with fully functional MPD file support and other improvements) from the LeoCAD downloads page
  • LeoCAD supports redirection to the official LDraw parts library. If you have downloaded and/or set up the LDraw parts directory on your system, you can modify LeoCAD'S preferences to use your library directory as its parts database. To do so, navigate to View > Preferences and browse to the corresponding directory under the 'Custom parts library' field.

LDCad

  • Go to LDCad's download page
  • Select and download the latest generic archive of the LDCad editor.
  • Extract the archive in the directory of your choice - your home directory (or a subfolder of it) is recommended for simplicity.
  • Run LDCad, follow the prompts and point it to the LDraw parts library. Make sure to select the topmost directory (normally 'ldraw') that contains the 'parts' directory.

Note:
LDCad assumes you have GTK2 installed (just about any distro should have it). Make sure you have installed the required packages and libraries to avoid any issues.

LDGLite

LDglite is only available as a standalone 64bit binary for Linux. Compared to the other editors, it does pale in comparison to the amount of features present on the more modern ones. If for curiosity's sake you still want to install it, proceed as follows:

  • Download the LDGLite binary archive
  • Extract the archive in the directory of your choice - your home directory is recommended to avoid any file permission conflict or having to tamper with your system as 'root'.
  • Run LDGlite, right click on its background to get started.

Note:
Make sure that the binary is set as executable before attempting to run it: $ sudo chmod +x ldglite
This specific standalone requires libraries such as the dri accelerated opengl libraries, glut, glu, libpng and zlib to be installed. If, for whatever reason LDGlite fails to start by clicking on the binary, you may run it via a terminal and verify its output, like so: ./ldglite

MLCAD (Hybrid setup)

  • Install Wine via your distribution's package manager or application repository.
    • APT-based systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint): sudo apt-get install wine
    • YUM-based systems (e.g. Fedora): sudo yum-install wine
  • Download the MLCad archive.
  • Extract the MLCad_V3.40.zip archive in the directory of your choice - your home directory is recommended to avoid any file permission conflict or having to tamper with your system as 'root'.
    • Run MLCad by selecting MLCAD.exe and follow the usual prompts (LDraw parts library directory location and file type registration setup)
    • Select Wine as the default method to open an executable on your system and proceed with the previously mentioned steps.

Note:
MLCad runs exceptionally well (Platinum status on the Wine's AppDB scale) provided similar instructions are provided on the MLCad website.
Any encountered problem, whatever it may be, should be troubleshooted or reported to the Wine developers as they are responsible for maintaining Wine's underlying code base that makes running Windows executables on Linux distributions possible.

Related applications

LDView

LDView, by Travis Cobbs, is a real-time 3D viewer for displaying LDraw models using hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. It is an essential tool in the creation of a model as it can be used to view and debug, in real-time and with full 3D graphics capacity, the model currently being edited (using the auto-update polling preference). It can also generate snapshots of the displayed content or of specific selected views of the given model. LDView is native to the Linux platform and is readily available for install for both Debian and Red Hat based distributions.

  • Download the latest installer package from LDView's downloads page.
  • Install LDView by using your preferred package manager or command package management tool.

Note:
APT-based systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint): Your system may complain about either missing packages or unresolved dependencies. You may resolve these by running a "fix install" fix like so: $ sudo apt-get -f install
YUM-based systems (e.g. Fedora): LDView's Linux maintainer, Peter Bartfai, has an LDView repository set up using the OpenSuse build server system, from which you can get the latest LDView version, provided you add the yum repository information as follows:

$ sudo cat > /etc/yum.repos.d/ldview.repo << FILE
[ldview]
name=LDView Repository
baseurl=http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/pbartfai/Fedora_$(rpm -E %fedora)/
gpgkey=http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/pbartfai/Fedora_$(rpm -E %fedora)/repodata/repomd.xml.key
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0
FILE

Tip:
The variable "$(rpm -E %fedora)" refers to RPM's way (on the Fedora distribution) of finding the current version and attributing the proper number to the URL.
Note:
The OpenSuse build server team automatically generates the configurations for upcoming or newer versions of any supported Red Hat distribution, ONLY when those distribution versions are finalized, stable and made available to the public.

LPub

LPub is Kevin Clague's LDraw building instruction editor. This tool is extremely powerful as it enables the creation of highly detailed, professional looking instructions. It uses external rendering applications to generate the model's step thumbnails to be included in the document. Both LDView and LDGlite are supported.

The port was generated by Eli Carter in 2009 and has been updated (2014) to enable the compilation and packaging of the latest revision of the software for Linux based distributions.

You may install LPub as follows:

APT-based systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint):

  • Download the latest installer package from Nathanel Titane's latest LPub Github repository.
  • Install lpub-4.0.0.3-2.deb using your preferred package manager or command package management tool (e.g. sudo dpkg -i lpub-4.0.0.3-2.deb).

Note: Your system may complain about either missing packages or unresolved dependencies. You may resolve these by forcing an install fix like so: sudo apt-get -f install

YUM-based systems (e.g. Fedora):

  • Download the latest installer package from Eli Carter's blog page.
  • Install lpub4-4.0.0.14-20140514.ec3.x86_64.rpm using your preferred package manager or command package management tool (yum, rpm).

LDraw Linux Command Line Utilities (L2CU)

L2CU is a set of command line utilities developed By Nathanel Titane to enable bulk LDraw model file parsing, editing, exporting, conversion and upload (to Sketchfab.com) without the direct need to use an LDraw CAD editor (though it needs to be installed to enable certain application features). Amongst certain modification options, the user can have parts, colors and/or part's colors, for any ldr and/or mpd file modified to his/her choice, within a selected directory.

These tools are especially suited for bulk model file updates, upgrades or modifications: you can attend to deprecated or modified parts in an especially effective manner by:

  • replacing an old part entry by a newer one
  • replacing a specified color by a different one
  • replacing a specific part's color with a new color

Notes:

  • The use of these utilities assumes that the user has previously tested the part/color replacement option manually before parsing all files in bulk.
  • This application assumes that the model files to be edited abide by the LDraw ldr/mpd file specification.

To get the utilities, please visit the dedicated Github page: LDraw Utilities Github repository

Dive in

Learning how to use your new editor or understanding the LDraw file format may be a challenge, but with a little practice you will get the hang of it. Take a look at the tutorials on the wiki or on the main website for further help.

Help

Forums are also a great way to discuss techniques, issues or features of editors or applications used to create or edit your LDraw model files. If you require any further help with any of this content, please visit the LDraw.org Forums, sign up, and ask a large group of users for help.

Disclaimer

The author(s) of this Wiki hereby releases himself/themselfs of any responsibility consequent of the actions taken by any user inside or outside of the specified information and steps listed within this Wiki.