CadStd (pronounced Cad Standard), was created by John Apperson beginning in the 1980's. The author was motivated to produce an inexpensive CAD program because the CAD systems at the time were extremely expensive.
Early experimental versions of the software ran on a 2Mhz, Z80 CPM system with 64K of RAM driving a Tektronix 4002A graphics terminal. The software was ported to DOS and ran on early IBM PC's. Eventually the software was updated to support the latest version of Microsoft Windows.
In September 1987 it was advertised as "Cadalyst" in Byte Magazine. After it was discovered that there was a magazine by that name the name was changed to CAD-STD and later to CadStd. The company name "Computer Graphics Research" was also eventually changed to "Apperson & Daughters".
By 1998 CadStd had been ported to Windows 95 and versions 1 through 2.03b were available free of charge. Due to the public interest and requests for improvements, CadStd was split into CadStd Lite (the free version), and CadStd Pro (the inexpensive version).
In Feburary 2002 CadStd was nominated for the Orchid Parade in Byte magazine.
In October 2004 CadStd Pro was reviewed in Smart Computing Magazine with several other 3D CAD programs. Even though CadStd Pro is not a 3D application, it has the ability to project 2D views into 3D isometric projections.
By 2009, CadStd Pro had about a dozen more features than CadStd Lite. PDF, Postscript and SVG export was included in CadStd Lite but with a non-commercial use watermark. CadStd Lite shares the same code base as CadStd Pro and benefits from minor enhancements and bug fixes.
The author estimates that there have been well over 1 million downloads of CadStd Lite not counting downloads from third party sites. As of May 16, 2009 the third party site download.cnet.com shows 318,613 downloads of CadStd Lite version 3.7.0 alone.
Photo of Tektronix 4002A courtesy
Computer Museum, University of Amsterdam
Advertisement in September 1987 issue of Byte Magazine
CadStd running in DOS
CadStd running in Microsoft Windows XP