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SLIGHTLY OT: Open-Source Building Systems Engineering Solution

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Title: SLIGHTLY OT: Open-Source Building Systems Engineering Solution

Our brief discussion of Autodesk Revit got me to thinking.

In general, open-source software development has swept in to challenge even the giants of the software industry. Linux ( and OpenOffice ( have attained a presence to the extent that Microsoft has paid flacks on duty 24/7 just to officially denigrate them (N.B. MS is quite uncomfortable with the fact that their typical solution to such a threat--buying them out--isn't available in this instance).

Why not challenge Autodesk in this arena as well? I see no reason why an open-source counterpart to Revit including all its components could not be created, and no reason why it would not evince some interest in the A/E industry.

Some of the pieces are already in place. The open-source Intellicad ( project has been ongoing for some time now. They not only have a mature CAD engine that uses open standards and reads/writes DWG natively, but they also are developing ArchT, which seems analogous to Revit (or at least, Architectural Desktop, since I'm not very clear as to exactly what Revit contains) as far as the architectural office components are concerned.

It seems that if an open-source addition were made in terms of a counterpart to Revit Structural, you'd have a pretty good thing going.

I'd love to be part of such an endeavor. Is anyone else interested?

(FWIW, there are open-source matrix structural analysis engines already available, such as OpenFEM (, FELYX (, and Aladdin ( All its going to take is some coordination and some elbow grease to get such open-source code as this working together with, e.g., the Intellicad engine, ArchT and some other widgets and you begin to have the makings of a real going concern.

Do you begin to see the power of Open Source? Do you see why Microsoft seems to spend so much time spreading FUD about Linux, et al?

Do you see how the cost of such a mammoth project is essentially mitigated by "donated labor" leading to open (and acknowledged) standards and a large community of users?

We could have our "Revit Structural" (or as I still fondly remember, "RAND/MICAS"/MICASPLUS) if enough of us decide to put together all this available code (and at least some of us know anything at all about C/C++--count me out on that one, fellers).

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