Why We Need A Linux SketchUp Version

This is why there should be a Linux SketchUp version.

Approximate Number of Internet users: 3,300,000,000 (3.3 Billion) (1).

Desktop OS Market Share (2)
Windows: 91.39%
Mac: 6.99%
Linux: 1.62%

Internet Users (math)
Windows: 3,015,870,000
Mac: 230,670,000
Linux: 53,460,000

Asia makes up 48.1% of Internet users (1). Asia is also developing it’s own public operating system (Based on Linux) with two versions to look like Mac or Windows (saw that on the news).

Linux has increased from 1.34% in January 2015, to 1.62% in November 2015 (2). And also, both windows and mac market share have dropped since January (2)!

When you take all devices into account, including Android devices (Linux Kernel), we see the percentage of Linux based devices jump to 29% (available on Wikipedia)! Also, android is continuing to increase, from 47% of the mobile market share in January, to 57% in November (available on marketshare.hitslink. com)! Trimble could also make SketchUp available on Android! Another sales market!

Conversion wise, since DirectX is proprietary, Mac uses OpenGL graphics as does Linux. I am aware it is not a simple bait and switch to transfer it over to Linux from Mac, but it shouldn’t take a vast amount of resources to finishing the gap over to Linux.

I saw a discussion on here that talked about the financial incentive for Trimble to create a Linux version. Let’s make a couple assumptions. Let’s assume since the the percentage of Linux users that will install and use SketchUp will be about one in ten (10%, I think this would be low). I’m not familiar with plug in sales rates for SketchUp, but lets assume one in ten people buy plug ins. Final assumption (again, unfamiliar with sales amounts or rates) let’s say the average amount each individual spends is only $10. Now let’s do math.

S = SketchUp Users
L = Linux Users
P = Users Who By Trimble Products

53,460,000 L * (0.1 S/L) * (0.1 P/S) * ($10/P) = $5,346,000

Considering the quickly growing population of Linux users and Linux based products, eventually there is going to be a severe need for a Linux SketchUp version. Some schools have already adopted Linux systems, especially in third world countries. There is already a high demand for the version as shown by how much people are requesting. The number of Linux users also continues to increase (+21% this year, reference 2). The quickly growing Linux population is why Trimble needs to develop a Linux version.

(1) World Internet Users Statistics and 2022 World Population Stats
(2) Operating system market share

Note: I originally had 7 references, but the forums only allows two hyperlinks. These two should cover most.

I’m not a financial adviser, so please don’t sue me.


LMAO . . Well I do believe there are more of us than the 1.62 % the help area of Ubuntu gets tons of e-mails for things to fix or work arounds I have switched over about 6 people my self to using Linux ( Ubuntu ) as it just works better and is faster then Windows the filing system make the aformentioned O/S that it is not funny . . But they are trying to make it do things better MAYBE . . And there was a major gob of e-mail going around about NOT UPGRADING to windows 10 for security reasons and information collected and sent on to who ever . . !
I am using Sketchup Make because the thing I got in Ubuntu free is like using a 18 wheeler to deliver a feather called “Blender” AND it has Major learning curve to it !

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You are absolutely right about Blender, there is a huge learning curve to it. Even the most comprehensive tutoring series that I’ve come across (by Neal Hirsig http://www.gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html) is really cluttered and lengthy. I’m writing my own tutorial series for Blender to make learning much easier and more concise, with the hopes of release early/mid 2016.

But it’s actually unfair to compare SketchUp and Blender. SketchUp is a CAD software with the target audience of engineers, architects, makers, and builders. It’s a left brain software. Blender is a right brain software. Blender is a mesh modeling and animation software with a target toward artists, modelers, animators, video editors, and special affects. There is very little in Blender in terms of units and dimension control. Neal Hirsig said in one of his course lessons (which are free) something along the lines of “if it looks right, than it is right” as a way to describe Blender’s differentiation from a CAD software. Yes there is dimension control, but it is not a core tool.

One thing I didn’t mention in my previous post was there are plenty of browser and cloud based CAD that work fantastic on Linux! These are great alternatives to using SketchUp with Wine. I’ve found 4 that are really good and have recently started advertising toward Linux users, but I didn’t mention it as it didn’t seem pertaining to the overall argument I was trying to make.

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Can’t run Sketchup in Wine. . to big and so it is run in Win 7-1 ( inside of Virtual Box ) Will go looking for them ( cad programs for Linux in the cloud ) . . Yeah I know it is different from Sketchup but it was what was suggested on a page for doing the 3D stuff in . . And I did some starting things and found it was a MONSTER of a program to use . . Going by O’Learys barn to get to the front door ! . . WOW after 7 and still no sun rise according to weather will be raising at 07;28 am

You can run SketchUp with Wine and you can get more information at http://wiki.winehq.org/Sketchup and https://www.brighthub.com/internet/google/articles/118016/. There is also a Linux program called PlayOnLinux which utilizes Wine to run a lot virtually all Windows applications without the need for Virtual Box.

The problem with this setup is that there are plenty of bugs while navigating 3D space. SketchUp also crashes a lot. I only tried it for a few hours, but it crashed about half a dozen times, at unpredictable times as it usually happened (again) while navigating or saving.

Our workarounds fit back into the need for a stable native Linux Version. Currently, not everyone is tech savvy enough for either the Wine or Virtual box workarounds to get SketchUp running.

Regarding browser based CAD, the good ones I’ve found are ShapeSmith(.net), TinkerCAD(.com), HoneyComb3D(.com), and OnShape(.com). The problem with these is they’re more technical based than SketchUp which is much easier to learn and use.

I forgot to mention earlier, I fully agree the percentage of Linux users is much higher than 1.62% due to many users have both Linux for main use and Windows for other applications that haven’t been released on Linux yet. But the programs list not for Linux is getting shorter and shorter every year. Take a look at Valve (one of the biggest gaming companies out there) with their release of their own Linux based Operating System, and now converting and releasing most games on Linux too! HP and Epson are also providing drivers for their printers and scanners! A lot of large companies are providing support to Linux, and this again ties into the argument.

I got it to install also but not the same as the Virtual Box way of running it . . It is why I push the Virtual Box for running big programs . . I found a gob of cloud 3D drafting which will export to a xxx.stl fil which the Slic3r can cut up for the 3D printer to use in Repetier-Host . . Works good . . Oh yeah got to keep COLD DRAFTS from hitting the printer bed or it will rip the part loose and ruin your day and the part haha was most of the way done and opened the door and it was like 45 out side . . oh well ! Live and Learn . .

@CardTheEngineer, I am a long time linux user and although I would salute the initiative and personally enjoy a linux native version of SketchUp, I’m not sure about the assumptions made in this post :smile:

TLDR version:

If it’s that easy and there’s such a market for it, I trust Trimble to make it happen. My personal opinion/feeling: it won’t because it would require a big developement effort from the (capable, yes but small) dev team and the market might not be that great for it.


In 2012, at the moment Trimble bought SketchUp from Google, this article reported a base of 2 million active users of SketchUp with somewhere between one third to one half of them running the Pro version. Let’s be super generous and say it was the solid half (1 million) and that it has grown 5x since (Woah! that’s growth!).

Forgetting mobile OSes from the reported 3.3 billion internet users and breaking it down into only three OS category to do the math is also probably wrong but let’s say it’s right:

So out of 3 billion of Windows users + 230 millions of Mac OS users, 10 million (0.3%) are active, ongoing SketchUp Make users and 5 million (0.15%) are SketchUp Pro users.

I don’t believe it’s fair to say 1 in 10 (10%) of linux users will become SketchUp users, let alone paying users.

Applying the very generous ratios above, the market for Pro license on Linux would be 80190 users. The temptation is strong to assume that all those licenses would be new users (@ 700$US a pop) but it would also be wrong as I’m sure some of them would be actual Windows SU users simply activating their Pro license (on 100$US yearly maintenance) on Linux instead of Windows.

Even with a Craftman license (half the price of the Pro license), as suggested in this post, I’m not sure we would ever come close to 10%.

The Maker movement is great but without Pro licences sales, there is no such thing as a market. At the end of the day it is the Pro licenses that brings water to the mill…


Although I am no developer myself, thinking that since a Mac OS (based on BSD) version exist, a Linux version “shouldn’t be too hard to achieve” is probably underestimating the developement work it would involve to get to a stable, solid linux version that is not a customer service’s nightmare to support. Even if they share OpenGL for viewport operations, I am under the impression that low-level code cannot just simply be reused without substantial adaptation/modifications.


Android make use of the linux kernel indeed but once again, it is my understanding that it’s a completely different animal and developement for one differs substantially from the other. There is a 10$ SketchUp Viewer for Android already. Are we going to see an Android port of SketchUp before a Linux Desktop one? Who knows. Personally, I’m not sure I’d use it. Would extensions just work? Hum I doubt it. Would there be any rendering plugins? Distributed V-Ray rendering on your tablet and phone, anyone? I can already feel the heat in my pocket! :smile:


SketchUp is not the only software on my Windows partition. Dual-booting with a SSD in a matter of seconds nowadays so it’s not so annoying to go back and forth anymore.

Would it be nice to have SketchUp on Linux? Sure. I’ll be first in line. Is there a severe need for it? I don’t know if I’d say that.

As much as I’d love to see SketchUp on Linux, I will be pleasantly surprised if it ever happens.

And if it does happens, I do hope the Linux community supports it financially and do hope this time I won’t hear the usual stream of complaints over the choice of distro (Debian vs RedHat vs Suse vs …), toolkit (GTK vs QT vs TclTK vs…), dependencies (who uses XYZlib anymore?!) or [insert your favorite polarized debate here]… :wink:


Making a Linux program run on Android is extremely easy, but making a mobile-optimized Android app should be a challenge. BSD, the OS hiding within OSX, is also Unix based, but that doesn’t really matter because sketchup is built in Ruby, a “cross-platform high-level scripting language,” which should be primarily the same across desktop operating systems.

Although developing SketchUp as a proper Android app in the easiest way from a Linux program would require a sloppy mix of Java, in addition to Ruby, the language SketchUp is currently built on, but Linux programs can be run in a Linux chroot environment in android with little to no modification of the base system, and at near native speeds. I use a chroot environment to run Wings3D on my phone and tablet, and in combination with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard I can do some serious work. My girlfriend uses an adapter which splits her phones charging port (most phones are now equipped with USB-OTG which allows data and power to flow both ways) into multiple usb ports and an HDMI port, and her phone is perfectly capable of serious modeling in Wings3D. In addition to the previous methods which are admittedly more advanced than the average user, I watched a video of a recent Motorola expo, where they had a module for the moto z (moto mods, allow you to extend the functionality of the phone), which they connected to their monitor and a keyboard and mouse and had a Linux desktop. The world is moving towards the realm of phones which double as your computer. I feel like having desktop apps with support for mobile operating systems would be a smart move for developers like Trimble. I’m sure that if they made an app which made a chroot environment to run the Linux port it would be of practical use.

Ruby != Low-Level
Since SketchUp is written primarily in Ruby, and since Ruby is a high level scripting language, almost all of the code should be the same, and there is very little [quote=“denisroy, post:7, topic:18693”]low-level code[/quote] that would need to be ported. The only thing I can see that would make it really difficult to port would be the installer, but due to the fact that the package manager usually handles that in linux there wouldn’t be much ‘development’ there. However, I have to note that although it is known that SketchUp is primarily written in ruby, I doubt the entire program is developed in the language, but even so, it helps that the majority of that program is cross-platform. this link shows how many small ruby apps get ported Ruby OS porting

Wherever did you get that wrong idea? SketchUp provides an extension API via Ruby (much as other programs embed Python or javascript or lisp), but the program itself is not written in Ruby! It is written in C++ and/or C. Unfortunately, starting from that false premise just about everything else you conclude is also false.


I see, so this makes the section on an OSX based port incorrect, but the Android part is still valid and tested, assuming they made a Linux Port.

And that is the key step in all the requests for a Linux port: the SketchUp GUI is currently implemented for Windows and for Mac, both of which are proprietary and incompatible with the native GUI libraries on Linux or Android. Porting the GUI to a third library would not be a simple or inexpensive task.

But see the my.sketchup project, currently in public beta, for a browser-based implementation that Trimble is working on as one means to become less OS-dependent.


The my.sketchup project is preparing to the imminent death of the personal computer. The computing will be performed by servers in data centres, and the devices people carry will be mere terminals. I don’t think this is what the Linux people have in mind, but this kind of virtualization is already happening with other applications too. The big question is who will run the infrastructure - the current application developers, internet service providers or the users?



First there was the Unix Mainframe.

Then came the personal computer.

Now back to the beginning with the cloud and Software as a Service (fancy new name for mainframe storage/computing)

And since everything in this world is part of a cycle, I guess we can safely predict an eventual return to some kind of personal computing device when people grow tired of monthly subscriptions and realize the computing power available at the tip of their thumbs.

Nowadays, our devices (portable or not) are just idle beasts.

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I hope they do. After all, a huge part of the present Linux paradigm is still inherited from the Unix golden era years in the 70’s.

As a su 2016 user under Linux it would be great if there was a Linux version to overcome all the issues that Wine creates