Apologies in advance on the length! I'm in awe at the amount of incorrect misinformation attributed to BRL-CAD, but this is very educational as it is an outsider CAx group perspective. Thanks to everyone that responded thus far. As jreinhardt noted, this is interesting albeit somewhat off-topic to the offer in hand. That said, here's some points I cannot resist responding:
jriegel wrote:There are obvious things, like STEPcode, where it make sense to collaborate. But other then this? What do you have in mind?
STEPcode is more than enough in my opinion, but any shared import or export linkage would be a win. Anything we could turn into a common library is a possibility (e.g., 3D PDF, 2D geometry lib, GD&T lib, GCode lib, etc). Ideally, something that can be licensed as openly and future-proof as possible (e.g., bsd/mit/apache2).
This thought of an "Umbrella project" is very interesting. I think such a bundling and coordinating the CAx efforts in FOSS is a worthwhile task on its own. But it would need a different name. I don't think I want to see FreeCAD subsumed under BRL-CAD
. To be honest, excuse my bluntness, I don't see BRL-CAD going anywhere. Script based CSG modeling was abandoned by the industry 20 years ago, and trying to teach a 30 year old code base new tricks is a hopeless task. Your supported system list reads like a museum inventory and I'm sure the US military complex have abandoned BRL-CAD a long time ago.
The bluntness is appreciated, if incorrect.
Our docs and site are very dated and we're too busy writing code to promote everything we do as well as we should. BRL-CAD has more than 10 years of full-time effort getting invested every year. In perspective, this is about as much invested as there is in Blender. We just have historically sucked at marketing, usability.
The offer is only under BRL-CAD as an umbrella organization, but you would solicit and review your own students. If that's a non-starter, then we can stop. I'm working on establishing an open source foundation but that won't be in place for this year.
keithsloan52 wrote:First impressions was that it did not look easy to use and would probably have a step learning curve. To me it looked very dated, but of course I could be wrong on all these initial reactions.
Our learning curve is legendary, something we're actively working on improving in a big way but all behind the scenes. We make Emacs look easy. However, even today we do FAR more than our tutorials indicate and much more than CSG. Just like NX, we're evolving into something quite different from where we came from. This talks about our priorities: http://brlcad.org/BRL-CAD_Priorities.png
jriegel wrote:BRL-CAD itself is a CSG modeler, which has the very special problem to support STEP. Cause STEP is BRep driven - as all modern modelers. So BRL-CAD has a very special problem there.
Not true. AP214 and AP242 have full support for CSG, but we still convert to Brep as needed and focus on AP203 (thanks to GSoC and other funded efforts). We have a STEP AP203 importer beta working now. We're in the middle of implementing an exporter, scheduled to be completed by the end of summer.
We spend thousands obtaining the ISO spec documents and helped establish the STEPcode effort as it's own project after several years working on it because of the importance of the format and relative scarcity of STEP specification details amongst open source devs.
jriegel wrote:Im already in the process of incorporating portions of STEPcode into the Import module.
This is great to hear.
jriegel wrote:I tried to find some models done in BRL-CAD, with very little luck. There are pictures of tanks and deep space probes, some STEP imported stuff, but not much else. Also tried to find tutorial in YouTube, again no luck. Only a nice promotion video.....
Most of the best showcase material on BRL-CAD cannot be publicly shared. I can say that there is a full model of nearly every military asset (foreign and domestic) that has been fielded in the last 50 years (i.e., hundreds of exceptionally detailed down-to-the-nut-bolt-and-wire models). BRL-CAD is actively used by a number of governments. It's the best in the world in a few critical areas. Gladly share more over a glass of Scotch (or beer/wine if that's your thing).
jreinhardt wrote:1) I do not know whether I can allocate the resources necessary to mentor a student properly. Does anybody know how much time mentoring takes?
2) I do not know anything about BRL-CAD. So probably it would be good to have someone from BRL-CAD who is able to answer BRL-CAD questions.
Excellent questions. 1> I generally ask mentors expect a commitment of 8 hours a week, 1 day a week, or about an hour a day to respond to e-mails, review activity, ask questions, etc. That's amortized. In actuality, there are rockstar students that require very little time and others that require double. 2> A student allocated would be working on FreeCAD, not BRL-CAD, but we do have a hoard of mentors to field questions if needed for some collaborative design point.
yorik wrote:Sean, if you are still reading the thread, I'm also interested in the rest of your post, about collaboration. I'd like to know more about what you have in mind, how you see possible convergence points between the 2 projects. Thanks for the offer anyway!
Thanks! It's been useful to see this discussion evolve, and I did lest my defensiveness of BRL-CAD would have taken the discussion further off-topic prematurely. I know there's quite a chasm between our communities (and I'm sure mutual misunderstanding), which is the point for reaching out to see if we can at least start a dialog. If not this year, perhaps next year under a foundation.
jmaustpc wrote:Is there something that BRL-CAD can do that FreeCAD can't, or that it can do better? If so perhaps that is a good place to start to look and see if there is some mutually beneficial way we could work together?
I don't think I'm familiar enough with FreeCAD to answer that with due justice, but our strengths are in conversion formats, geometry representation (there's not much we cannot represent implicit or explicit, NURBS, meshes, volumetric, etc), and geometric analysis (e.g., ray tracing for analysis and other CAE purposes). Conversion seems obvious. Modularizing your use of OpenCASCADE so we could explore putting BRL-CAD under your hood in the future also comes to mind, but I realize that may be heresy to this crowd.
In all, thanks again for all the responses. The general gist I'm hearing is that there are some possibilities but far from a consensus of merit for participating this year. Is that a fair characterization? If so, that's fine and it's perhaps something to keep in mind for us to work towards next for year.