Welcome to the Onshape forum! Ask questions and join in the discussions about everything Onshape.

First time visiting? Here are some places to start:
  1. Looking for a certain topic? Check out the categories filter or use Search (upper right).
  2. Need support? Ask a question to our Community Support category.
  3. Please submit support tickets for bugs but you can request improvements in the Product Feedback category.
  4. Be respectful, on topic and if you see a problem, Flag it.

If you would like to contact our Community Manager personally, feel free to send a private message or an email.

Onshape with Linux

I've been a fan of Linux (ArchLinux distro) for almost a year now. It all started when I bought a Windows 8 laptop. Oh, Windows...

The problem I have is that every program I use except SW will run on Linux. Now my laptop has 2 hard drives so I can have the best of both worlds.

Fast forward to today, Onshape to the rescue! Before I say more, I'm not going to fanboy and pretend Onshape has already replaced SW. We all know SW has 20+ years of continuous development over the short lifetime of Onshape. I also use SW simulation occasionally but I hear FEA is best done on dedicated FEA software. Regardless, I figured it was time I try testing Onshape's capabilities.

Below I've listed a number of setups that I used to test Onshape across platforms, across browsers, and against SW. In this test I recorded upload time, translation time, and open file time. I've included screenshots to help show visual quality of the CAD. Onshape's visual quality never changed amount the browsers or platforms.

The same laptop will be used for both Windows and Linux. My Windows OS and SW are installed on a SSD with one of the fastest read/write times available and my Linux is installed on an average HDD. One last thing to note, I attempted to log in at the main screen with internet explorer but I got an error. I don't like that browser anyways so I didn't try to fix it.

Two .STEP files were used. The first file was a motorcycle which has a lot of curvature geometry. The second file was a crane with a vast number of simple geometries. The crane has 9352 parts so I had to check "flatten" when uploading to onshape. Otherwise, Onshape took longer than 4 minutes to open and I refused to wait for it to resolve this ridiculous assembly. Therefore, I also used the "flatten" option for the motorcycle as well. This means all assembly references in Onshape were destroyed so I won't speculate on how well Onshape keeps its references. Maybe later I'll look into this aspect.

Crane || Onshape --- Upload time (62.5MB) = 90 [sec]
Crane || Onshape --- Translation time = 720 [sec] (12 minutes)
Crane || SolidWorks 2012 x64 --- Translation time = 470 [sec] (7 minutes, 50 sec)
Motorcycle || Onshape --- Upload time (44.4MB) = 61 [sec]
Motorcycle || Onshape --- Translation time = 114 [sec]
Motorcycle || SolidWorks 2012 x64 --- Translation time = 114 [sec]

Motorcycle || Linux || Chromium --- Open file time = 13 [sec]
Motorcycle || Linux || Firefox --- Open file time = 16 [sec]
Motorcycle || Windows 7 || Chrome --- Open file time = 14 [sec]
Motorcycle || Windows 7 || Firefox --- Open file time = 19 [sec]
Motorcycle || Windows 7 || Solidworks 2012 x64 --- Open file time = 10 [sec]
Crane || Linux || Chromium --- Open file time = 67 [sec]
Crane || Linux || Firefox --- Open file time = 75 [sec]
Crane || Windows 7 || Chrome --- Open file time = 64 [sec]
Crane || Windows 7 || Firefox --- Open file time = 87 [sec]
Crane || Windows 7 || Solidworks 2012 x64 --- Open file time = 43 [sec]

  • Linux was verified to work with Onshape.
  • ArchLinux's lightweight OS appears to give a slight but nearly insignificant performance increase over Windows 7 when using Onshape.
  • Firefox is slower than Chrome/Chromium (obviously).
  • Onshape's limitation is unreachable by 99% of all users. Onshape can handle 10,000 parts, but it's not recommended. At this size assembly, I recommend using a local installation of your current CAD package.
  • Performance between local install of SW and Onshape is negligible with small parts and assemblies. The performance drop only becomes SLIGHTLY noticable when an assembly starts reaching about 100 parts as you can see with the stats on the motorcycle model.
  • Onshape assemblies are BEAUTIFUL! The automatic colors are great for discerning parts from each other. I can hardly tell what the SW models look like and their coloring tool is bugged from personal experience.
Let me know what you think. I'll come up with other types of software tests as updates roll out.


  • jon_hirschtickjon_hirschtick Onshape Employees Posts: 89
    Thank you Aaron for the thoughtful testing. Very interesting and of course encouraging for us!
  • lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,786
    Rock the penguin! I am also a huge Linux fan and appreciate the logging of your test results.
    Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.
  • michael_lesliemichael_leslie Member, Mentor Posts: 21 ✭✭
    Thanks Aaron,

    Its useful to confirm the difference between FireFox and Chromium. I'm also running on Linux, on an older machine it kills Windows - but I haven't got any data to back that up.

  • Aaron_Easton_NickovichAaron_Easton_Nickovich Member Posts: 21 ✭✭
    Thanks guys, and you are welcome.
    My windows is on a SSD and my Linux on a HDD yet Linux still maintains a small speed increase for most everything I do.
  • mauricio_barreramauricio_barrera Member Posts: 1
    Thanks Aaron.

    I just came upon this post and I hope I'm lucky enough you are still there. The question is not about Onshape proper, but to the fact that you have, as I do, Windows OS on a SSD and linux (Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in my case) on the HDD. The only way I managed having them both in my computer was that anytime I want to switch between OS to work on, I must press F1 when I turn on the thing, change the "starting device order" (SDD or HDD), and then re-start. It has worked fine so far...but I wonder if that's the same in your case, or if that's somehow harmful to the machine in the long run. Thanks a lot!

  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 2,716 PRO
    Have you tried configuring a boot loader like grub or lilo? 
This discussion has been closed.