I have seen quite some improvements from FreeCAD version 0.16 to 0.17 in the FEM module. I think freeCAD 0.17 main focus was integration of many already available tools: Gmsh, NetGen, Calculi... already present in version 0.16 but badly integrated. Hopefully in the future Elmer. Also the solution environment has improved. It is really a great step.
Take a look here for a small round trip on a few things that are new...
http://numerica.pt/2017/08/15/freecad-0 ... p-forward/
The FEM team is doing a superb work.
A year ago I would say that open source simulation would never fly. When I tried the 0.17 version I noticed the progress was very big. Contacts, fluids, .... it's still not official but they are on the right track to start to attract users that will push more development aboard...
I start to believe in what I read in this post: http://numerica.pt/2017/08/23/and-the-race-begins/
Maybe after all there is a chance for the open source software to battle agains proprietary solutions it will take time but it will get there... And in the end we will all benefit.