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

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Title: SLIGHTLY OT: Open-Source Building Systems Engineering Solution
CORRECTION: I had described Intellicad as being "open-source software." Actually it's not as it turns out. Intellicad is a "technology consortium" that licenses its technology to "consortium members" who then implement the technology in their own commercial applications. In effect, Intellicad is a "hybrid cross" between Open Source and closed source software development.
 
As far as the end-user is concerned it is (or can be) a good deal. I bought Cadopia's "Intellicad" product a couple of years back for about $180 and found it to be pretty slick--although not quite ready for prime-time, IMO.
 
No, we'll have to look elsewhere for our DWG-compatible CAD engine--or maybe we find a CAD engine that is TRULY "open source" (http://www.opencascade.org/) or at least nominally so (http://www.ribbonsoft.com/qcad_doc_faq.html; be sure to scroll down near the bottom for the explanation. FWIW, QCAD looks like an exciting product for PEANUTS. However, it is 2D only).
 
The more I think about this the more I'm seeing my life's work ahead of me. Gil Brock yesterday wrote a post addressed to me (http://www.euken.net/group/seaint/mailarchive/2005b/msg01965.html) indicating that I had been "complaining" about wanting freebies.
 
While I think I effectively rebutted his main premise, I have to admit that he is on the right track: I DO complain about the cost of the software tools we use. I'm no Richard Stallman (http://www.fsf.org/) but I do support the idea of open-source software (and more specifically, open-source STANDARDS). We ought not have to pay any more for the tools we need to do our jobs than we do for technical manuals--well, strike that, given my ire towards ACI, but you get the idea).
 
I would like to make this an avocation. I need help. I need folks who can meet from time to time online, and we need to put together a Project Roadmap for what we want and what we'd like it to do. Initially I'd like to concentrate on Architectural and Structural, but I would also like to eventually include the other building design disciplines. I would like to ultimately--within five to eight years, say--have a product analogous to Intergraph's PDS (http://ppm.intergraph.com/pds/) or Autodesk's Revit (http://images.autodesk.com/gost/files/Revit_for_AutoCAD_Users0.pdf) for building systems, then perhaps extend it to include parallel industries such as industrial, petrochemical, etc.

Big dreams, huh? Well, I'm getting bored, folks. I'd like to put something like this together then "retire" and spend my time running around doing training for it. I'm not getting rich designing house foundations, that's for sure.
 
(Sorry, don't mean to burden you folks with personal junk but my struggle with illness has reached a point where something's got to give. Change can sometimes be good).
 
Time to learn C/C++. Time was, this would have been impossible just because of the tools needed. No longer. The Gnu 4.0x compiler set just came out (http://directory.fsf.org/devel/compilers/gcc.html) and by all accounts it is awesome. All the "flavors" work together--for example, their "g95" project (http://directory.fsf.org/devel/compilers/g95.html) is a mature implementation of the Fortran 95 standard. That means you can dust off old Fortran code and include it as a module or library in your overall software scheme. Think of the fun you can have with that!
 
Okay, my meds are running away with me. I'd LOVE to hear some feedback on this subject, though.
 
And if there are any volunteers--especially you young shavers who come out of school already KNOWING how to do C/C++ coding with graphical interfaces, etc.--let me know.

We could set up a Sourceforge site easily enough (http://sourceforge.net/index.php) and get going on it post-haste.
 
(Oh, and don't look to me for "project leadership". I stink at that; I love to concoct the ideas then take my little piece of the puzzle off to my cave to do my bit. We need a project manager!)
 
So far, total silence on this subject. Any ideas? Dennis?


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