FreeCAD – Solve 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 an easy issue that I found and solved on the latest Debian distribution.

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 had 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.

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

What’s AppImage? For Windows user it is really similar to what was called “portable” version of an application.

If you want to run FreeCAD on its AppImage version:

  1. Download the AppImage package from FreeCADweb.ORG
  2. Make the package executable (chmod +x FreeCAD.AppImage)
  3. Run the package (./FreeCAD.AppImage)

Solution 2 – Clean APT cache

I discovered that the problem is probably caused by some damaged file in the default repository that are currently updated but still damaged in the Linux distribution package. So I tried to clean the package manager cache and reinstall the software. I worked on two different machine for me.

How to clean your APT cache?

  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

Now install FreeCAD:

  1. Run the command sudo apt-get install freecad

Details

Publication date12/10/2020
SoftwareFreeCAD0.18
EnvironmentLinuxDebian GNU 10 (Buster)
Architecture64bit

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