MCAD Tech News #20718 Apr, 2007 By: Jeffrey Rowe
Thinking of open source hardware in the same way as open source software may be comparing apples and oranges.
I’m sure that by now most of our readers are familiar with the concept of open source software, and many may have had actual experience with it. From the beginning I’ve been intrigued by the idea of open source software. And, yes, there are a number of open source and free MCAD and ECAD tools out there.
As a refresher, open-source software is software whose source code is available under a license (or arrangement such as the public domain) that permits users to study, change and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form. It is usually developed in a public, collaborative manner, comparable to user-generated content.
Around 1998, the expression free software was replaced with open source software, a term that many believed to be less ambiguous and, they hoped, would make corporate software vendors feel more comfortable and less vulnerable. The term is most commonly applied to the source code of software that is made available to the general public with either relaxed or nonexistent intellectual property restrictions. The "open source" label came in response to Netscape's announcement of a source code release for Navigator. Netscape eventually licensed and released their code as open source under the name of Mozilla.
Time For Open Source Hardware?
For some time I’ve wondered: If open source describes the principles and methodologies used to promote open access to the design and production processes for various technologies, products and resources, could its basic principles be applied to hardware in a manner analogous to software? After all, the aim of open source anything is to let the product be more understandable, modifiable, copyable, reliable or accessible, while it is still marketable as a viable product for payment, so why not apply it to hardware? Although I’d had thoughts on this from the hardware side, I really hadn’t seen or heard much that echoed my sentiments -- that is, until last week.
By Bill Fane
When I first saw a prerelease version of Inventor 1, Autodesk emphasized that the product was Autodesk Inventor, not AutoCAD Inventor. In fact, a worthy competitor bragged that its parametric modeler was more compatible with AutoCAD than Inventor was. This matter of compatibility has changed with each successive release, as Inventor has become capable of importing AutoCAD geometry. Read more>>
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