BTW I hope I'm not being too negative. I'd suggest to try your idea in python. But just wait till jriegel is back.
Not at all, all of these are realistic concerns. Especially the community aspect part, which would require all of the things you mention. However, the reason programs such as solidworks will continually be better than an open source project is because of their enourmous libraries -- companies actually create models of their own parts
so that solid-works users can use them. The only way to rival this that I can see is to have an "intelligent" community library.
You are certainly right though. Focusing on the main system (the actual modeling) is very, very important; which is why it was my intent to work out these kinks (largely) on my own while you guys focused on the program itself. Then when I have a working plugin, I will submit it.
Integrating the GUI directly into Free-cad would also be a bit time consuming and currently I think we have priorities to concentrate on the core mechanical CAD features at the moment and getting ready for 0.12 release. One thing that could maybe be done in the short term is create a default free-cad library that has essential parts library included .
I'm thinking that the library won't be integrated directly into the ui (i.e. not a toolbar), but will instead be a separate qt window. The only integration will be a right-click menu to "add selection to library." Looking at the structure and source from other Mods, this looks like it won't be too difficult.
At first the library will just be a way to store objects or wrappers you created. If you want to change an object, you will have to bring it to an empty workbench, edit it, and then commit the revision to your personal library. Then you could delete the old one. The idea is that it will add a lot of functionality with as little complication as possible. Just an interface to store shapes and wrappers outside of individual projects.
A quick question, does anyone know how to run python scripts from within FreeCAD? Interactive interpreters are cool, but sometimes I want to run a script. I've tried to use the macro editor but I can't even get "hello world" to work on it.