Solve FreeCAD startup issue on Debian 10

I started designing objects using FreeCAD during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy. I’ll talk more in details about my experience with this software, but for the moment I’ll stay focused on a easy issue that I found and solved on the latest Debian distribution.

Issue description

From a clean Debian installation, a FreeCAD version can be installed using system Software Manager.

After installing FreeCAD you’ll be able to start it only once, then the FreeCAD icon will disappear from system launcher and even called from terminal it wont start.

I hade to delete the system version of the software a couple of times before understanding that I didn’t had any possibility to solve the problem.

Environment

In order to bettere specify where the probelm occur:

  • Linux distribution: Debian/GNU
  • Debian version: 10 – Buster
  • Architecture: 64bit

On my previous setup (Debian 8) everything was working fine.

Solutions

At the first, the quickest solution was to follow suggestions reported on the official WebSite FreeCADweb.ORG. Following those instructions I downloaded the AppImage version of FreeCAD and started using it. (See Solution 1 for details)

On the AppImage solution I had some issues like starting the software from the launcher, choosing a location for the package and some other questions related to this solution.

So at the end I decided to search for another solution, I reinstalled the software using the system Software Manager but the issue wasn’t solved. so I grepped the whole system for FreeCAD configuration around the system and I discovered something interesting. (See Solution 2 for details)

Solution 1 – AppImage (not suggested)

Procedure:

  1. Download the AppImage package from FreeCADweb.ORG
  2. Make the package executable
  3. Run the package

As AppImage mainteniers declare on their website “As a user, I want to download an application from the original author, and run it on my Linux desktop system just like I would do with a Windows or Mac application.” There are still some differences from MacOS and MS that make this AppImage solution not usefull sometimes.

Solution 2 – Clean APT cache

Procedure:

  1. Open terminal
  2. Go to /var/cache/apt/archives/
  3. List all files containing FreeCAD word in the name using the following command:
    ls | grep freecad
  4. Delete all files related to FreeCAD that you’ll find inside the folder
  5. Run from the terminal the command sudo apt-get update
  6. Run the command sudo apt-get install freecad

This second procedure solved this issue on two different system that I own.

Conclusion

I hope that you will find my quick suggestion helpful, fell free to ask me more by using the contact form on the Constacts section.