marcin_ose wrote: ↑
Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:48 pm
I'd like to hear what others think is a critical missing link for why FreeCAD is not getting wider adoption. As far as I am concerned - it is a robust solution as is, but it does have plenty of quirks for which one has to learn work-arounds. Maybe focusing on determining and documenting one 'standard design method' which successfully avoids all the bugs - so that an average novice never runs into the bugs?
Hi Marcin, glad to see you're posting here as I've been following the OSE work for some time; you and the other OSE devs are putting FreeCAD to some very interesting uses.
It might be too early to be thinking about a sort of "golden path" for design to avoid bugs--in this metaphor we're still hacking roads out of the swamp and laying bricks for the "golden path" will just be lost in the mire. I think the best way forward for now is to try to attract users and developers to become contributors.
Also, I think, to answer your original question, the unsurprising answer of how to increase market share is, more or less, marketing. Showing off stuff the OSE project does with FreeCAD is good marketing. Having a well-maintained subreddit helps since that website has so much traffic. The same is true for Twitter. Things like Google Summer of Code can generate a lot of good buzz. (Promoted) collaboration with universities can do the same, and that can synergize with GSoC. Taking advantage of collaboration opportunities is a big one--besides GSoC, there's also Outreachy which we could be using to attract contributors. In the long-run, making it easier for people to give support to FreeCAD by making some sort of formal organization, e.g. through the Software Freedom Conservancy or Software in the Public Interest, would help as well. Just having the option for a non-profit write-off would, I'm sure, bring in money that could help fund development and accelerate things.
The post on Hacker News about the 0.17 release got a good amount of traffic and discussion. Things like Yorik's monthly blog posts help. The OpenStreetMap project has a weekly newsletter that is just a summary of things that have happened in all the different communication channels (http://www.weeklyosm.eu/
) It would be great if someone stepped up and started producing something like that which summarizes FreeCAD forum discussion, bug tracker news, important pull requests, cool user-submitted models, etc. I'm also planning on putting together a "Planet FreeCAD" so if more people started blogging about their FreeCAD projects, that would help too!
Good marketing means things like knowing the audience you're trying to sell to, and since FreeCAD is an open source project, our "clientele" can be attracted by aesthetic things like logos, slick landing pages, and well-produced videos or presentations, if they themselves have a marketing buzz around them (e.g. a new logo released to no fanfare wouldn't work.) Traditional CAD can get away with not caring about this because of market inertia and the fact that who they're selling to is fundamentally different.