Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

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onekk
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby onekk » Wed May 12, 2021 10:20 am

These are as usual very interesting discussion, but they lack of some considerations.

CAD is not a beginner task, as it seem to be easy to draw a model in fact it is not.

Is not Free as that is complicating things, it's the 3d modeling coupled with the "modeling engine" that is OCCT that came into play, rotation and translation could seem a simple things but when you are dealing with the maths behind it is not a task for faint of hearts.

Some improvements of the GUI would be very welcomed, but to simply duplicate another software is not a verily good idea, there is no a common standard for CAD as it is not widespread as saybword processors but the people who has seen the born of word-processing know that the "standards" are the result of many years of different philosophies and some religious wars.

Then MS will come to the play and now for some people the only existing word processor is that supplied by MS.

It is the better, the faster, the more easy to learn, I doubt it is, it is only the most widespread and taught in school.

Maybe is better to put together some "difficult tasks" and then one by one find a viable solution that speaking about big projects and then having too much work to be done to see only limit improvements.

Talking about "modern UI" is more taylored to mature software that want a "image refresh".

Some ideas:

See what is more difficult to learn and make tutorials, but not only practical tutorials, some theory is needed to show that the difficulties are not generated by the software but ascan example the fact that a 3d rotation is not so simple as same final position maybe could be achieved by different combinations of simple rotations do the operation is not easily "invertible" as a person with limited knowledge may think.

I've seen many people come here to criticize but has contributed nothing to freecad other than critics.

The Original poster at least has made some tutorials, that are in my opinion a more interesting contribution than critics alone.

Regards

Carlo D.
Last edited by onekk on Wed May 12, 2021 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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drmacro
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby drmacro » Wed May 12, 2021 3:27 pm

Some editorial comments... :ugeek:

With commercial software, there is a pretty clear distinction between user and owner/creator. And, commercial software has a well defined goal, that being to make a profit for the owners/stockholders. The later drives everything about the creation. For example, the goal is to get market share so there is profit. To gain market share you lock in the customer, keep them happy with new releases, and market the current product to new adopters (and lock them in). The "locking mechanism" is the customers investment in training, software licenses, experienced users, and database (as the database get larger, the less likely the customer is to make a jump to some other vendor...it is costly in training, software licenses, experienced users, and database conversion.

With FreeCAD, and most, if not all, FOSS software there is no stockholder to please. And, importantly, there is not a real clear distinction between user and creator (and ownership is a different thing all together here...).

Unfortunately there are always going to be people who just want to use the product. They have no background in development and since they just want it to work, they aren't interested in coding, documentation, etc. They just want to make models and do whatever they do with the models.
Since changes and new functionality comes from various people who are users and have their own ideas/needs and there is no guiding force (like a profit motive or an authoritative oversight) it can be sort of like herding cats with no herder. :lol:

FreeCAD has a boat load of documentation. But it is not really end user documentation. A good deal of it is not instructional in nature (it may be perceived as such, but it is not structured as a tutorial tool). Remember, an adjunct to the commercial software is the educational department that is considered a profit center...the courses are in depth user course that cost $$. (interestingly, the documentation department is considered a loss center... ;) )

Thus it takes a bit more investment, on a FreeCAD users part, to become proficient. Part of that proficiency includes learning more about the internal machinations of the software than some like. When coming from commercial software, it may also mean repeating things until the old muscle memories are forgotten and new are created. Some handle the paradigm shift better than others... :mrgreen:
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freedman
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby freedman » Wed May 12, 2021 7:19 pm

I hope we can all have a discussion about FreeCAD without thinking were being critical of it. I read and add opinions to posts like this to help me understand where development is headed. After all this open source, free software concept is kind of new. It's all about what users want to take the time to produce and see where it goes.

I always wanted FreeCAD to develop into an easy to use program that could move into our school systems. My asking for FreeCAD to look like other software is what any educator ( which I am not) would want, this way the student graduates to the real world with prior experience. I don't think the current GUI will support that but that's OK, this is my vision and if I so desire I can get there by building my own.

It obvious to me now that compiling my own version is really what I need to do. It's not fair to ask the group to see things my way. Maybe that could be a simpler response for folks that want a bunch of changes to the program. " Compile your own if you want it like that".

I do know there are developers working hard (right now) to help support what I want, they are working on the core which helps all of us. Thanks all.

drmacro, there's some funny stuff in your post. :)
Bance
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby Bance » Wed May 12, 2021 7:52 pm

freedman wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:19 pm After all this open source, free software concept is kind of new.
It's nearly 40years new :D
freedman wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:19 pm program that could move into our school systems.
FOSS has to overcome image problems before that will happen, it has to do with misplaced ideas of value in my opinion. :o
freedman wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:19 pm that compiling my own version is really what I need to do.
That won't help much unless you make some changes to the code on the way....

If you do make the changes you hint at, please do try to keep it open won't you?
chrisb
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby chrisb » Wed May 12, 2021 8:10 pm

freedman wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:19 pm My asking for FreeCAD to look like other software is what any educator ( which I am not) would want, this way the student graduates to the real world with prior experience.
I would indeed vote for a completely different goal when talking about education: I don't want students to learn how to smoothely push some fancy buttons (they can do this on their mobile phones). With more complicated things, I think they should really understand the problem, they should know about universal structural things. The gui is finally something minor, which can be learned.
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adrianinsaval
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby adrianinsaval » Wed May 12, 2021 8:11 pm

freedman wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:19 pm I always wanted FreeCAD to develop into an easy to use program that could move into our school systems. My asking for FreeCAD to look like other software is what any educator ( which I am not) would want, this way the student graduates to the real world with prior experience. I don't think the current GUI will support that but that's OK, this is my vision and if I so desire I can get there by building my own.
IMO having a similar GUI is not half as important as you think, there's much more about learning CAD than just learning where the buttons are and once you learn those other things, learning where the buttons are in a different software is trivial. Sure it's easier if they're all the same but it's not critical, and propietary softwares are different enough among them that making FreeCAD look like one of them is not going to actually solve the problem.
obelisk79
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby obelisk79 » Fri May 14, 2021 5:51 pm

adrianinsaval wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:11 pm IMO having a similar GUI is not half as important as you think, there's much more about learning CAD than just learning where the buttons are and once you learn those other things, learning where the buttons are in a different software is trivial.
Agree and disagree with this statement. There is a definite aspect of GUI design that lends itself to intuitive understanding and use of features that has an immediate impact on productivity. While that may not give a user a more intimate understanding of proper CAD principals, it still has a very important effect for end-users who just want to 'get stuff done'. Sometimes, that means a quick and dirty model without regard for proper or full geometric constraints, etc. Or decluttering your screen/ui so you can mentally focus on your work.

Like many, I've learned to work around FreeCAD's shortcomings (UI/UX) and appreciate it strengths (incredibly powerful features). But too often, the UI/UX discussion comes up, only to be dismissed as unimportant or of negligible priority. Sooner or later, FC will be so big, that turning back time to unify or improve the UI elements will be such a monumental task, that to correct it, would likely be a destructive process.

I'm not a programmer or I'd gladly create a fork and attempt to tackle this task. However you don't need to be a developer to observe a deficiency and propose solutions.

Just as an example of how poorly UI discussions/proposals are treated: the logo proposal topic and poll. Not a single core developer/program manager weighed in if there was any interest in changing the logo or not. Just silence, a few dozen proposals were submitted only to be completely ignored. People could have saved their efforts if there was no interest in a design change. While I don't mention this as a criticism, it is an example of the type of engagement (or lack thereof) that stifles enthusiasm and productive user <-> developer interaction.
chrisb
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby chrisb » Fri May 14, 2021 8:22 pm

obelisk79 wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 5:51 pm Just as an example of how poorly UI discussions/proposals are treated: the logo proposal topic and poll. Not a single core developer/program manager weighed in if there was any interest in changing the logo or not. Just silence, a few dozen proposals were submitted only to be completely ignored. People could have saved their efforts if there was no interest in a design change. While I don't mention this as a criticism, it is an example of the type of engagement (or lack thereof) that stifles enthusiasm and productive user <-> developer interaction.
You have probably noticed that there wasn't much response from the community either.
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obelisk79
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby obelisk79 » Fri May 14, 2021 11:47 pm

chrisb wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 8:22 pm You have probably noticed that there wasn't much response from the community either.
The 45 page thread referenced by the pinned poll tells a different story: https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=28941
chrisb
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Re: Philosophical thoughts (?) About FreeCAD.

Postby chrisb » Sat May 15, 2021 6:05 am

obelisk79 wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 11:47 pm
chrisb wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 8:22 pm You have probably noticed that there wasn't much response from the community either.
The 45 page thread referenced by the pinned poll tells a different story: https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=28941
So let's get more precise:
1) how many people does it take to talk about much response?
2) how many people have participated in the topic?
3) Who belongs to what you call a "core developer/program manager", just Yorik and Werner?
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