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NASA Open Sources Aircraft Design Software

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the build-a-plane dept.

NASA 116

First time accepted submitter sabre86 writes "At the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Nashville, NASA engineers unveiled the newly open sourced OpenVSP, software that allows users to construct full aircraft models from simple parameters such as wing span and fuselage length, under the NASA Open Source Agreement. Says the website, 'OpenVSP allows the user to create a 3D model of an aircraft defined by common engineering parameters. This model can be processed into formats suitable for engineering analysis.'"

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116 comments

Strangely (1)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706454)

There doesn't seem to be a Linux port at the moment?

Re:Strangely (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706482)

There doesn't seem to be a Linux port at the moment?

The link you're looking for is

http://www.openvsp.org/zips/OpenVSP_2.0_community_src.zip [openvsp.org]

They do not distribute a pre-compiled packaged linux version. Download source, compile, install locally, or wait for the inevitable Debian package to be created (assuming its "open source" license is DFSG free, I have not bothered to analyze it in detail)

Re:Strangely (3, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707120)

I've just read the license; it all looks pretty standard to me. It's got a requirement for source code distribution alongside binary distributions; it doesn't appear to require that modifications are licensed under the same license (but see below); there's a patent waiver; and there's a number of non-binding clauses that shouldn't be there at all. It's all pretty muddy and unclear.

The only suspicious bit is that there's a requirement that modified versions of the software are labelled as such in a changelog, and that modifiers must be identifiable. This may violate the Debian Dissident Test [wikipedia.org] . However, it doesn't define what 'identifiable' means. It may be possible to argue that a pseudonym would do. You'd have to ask someone who actually knows.

Re:Strangely (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707346)

That wouldn't violate the dissident test, because you only have to be identifiable to downstream people that are (in the transitive closure of) people that you choose to distribute to.

Re:Strangely (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707606)

That's not the point of the dissident test -- imagine you're subject to an oppressive lord. You see a change you could make and distribute to allow others to use this software in a way the "lord" doesn't care for, but the people do.

If you choose to distribute this, you don't want to get caught, so you must send out patches without your real name on it. You still want to give it to your neighbors, though, so you've got a problem.

I've not looked at it's DFSG-freeness, but that bit sounds like it violates the dissident test.

Re:Strangely (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707662)

Check what the test says again. If you can make changes and distribute them just to the people, not to the lord, then it's fine.

Re:Strangely (3, Informative)

Ranguvar (1924024) | more than 2 years ago | (#38708114)

I looked it up. The NASA Open Source Agreement 1.3 is OSI certified, but the FSF deems it non-free.
Since NASA World Wind is in Debian's nonfree repository, I assume that would be where this will go too.

"The NASA Open Source Agreement, version 1.3, is not a free software
license because it includes a provision requiring changes to be your
“original creation”. Free software development depends on combining
code from third parties, and the NASA license doesn't permit this."

http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2011/04/msg00075.html [debian.org]

Re:Strangely (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38708556)

Yes, you're right --- I did read that bit, but didn't realise what it meant.

Sigh. Shame, really. I wonder if there's any way someone could talk sense into them?

Re:Strangely (1)

Ranguvar (1924024) | more than 2 years ago | (#38709908)

Talk sense into them?

I'm not sure about this particular case, but the FSF/SFLC and Debian Legal have a lot of experience with this sort of thing.
IANAL, and I can't find a well-versed contention to their opinion, so I trust them to make the right call.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying they're arbiters of truth and untruth, just that they're quite reasonable people from what I can tell (and therefore are unlikely to need sense talked into them, no offense).

99% built (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38711258)

What's wrong with this place? Plenty of posts below the above raving about licences and nothing apart from the post above about building it.
Anyone else get stuck on building "ScriptMgr" in "vsp" and did you find a way around it?

Re:Strangely (-1)

lm2s (2432822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706486)

Well that's awkward...

Re:Strangely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706498)

What Linux port? From the README found at https://github.com/OpenVSP/OpenVSP:

BUILD INSTRUCTIONS

    -Linux / Mac OS X ...

Oh no (0)

jcreus (2547928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706458)

Bazillions of Slashdotters will begin posting their submissions. Each one with an enormous ego "Mine is better!".

Re:Oh no (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706508)

Well mine was better [painolympics.info] .

sexy buttloving (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706466)

I love rimming and being rimmed. The last time I was rimmed was playing TuxRacer. Smeared in my crack was a mixture of peanut butter and poop which my labrador loves. His eager tongue teased my cheeks, sneaked into my pucker before rubbing rhythmically against my tender skin. My cock is leaking from the memory as I write this here. Today we're going to rub salsa and doritos against my anus for the Giants/Packers game. If the Packers win, I'm gonna be plowed like Christmas snow but if the Giants win there's a strong possiblity of being reported to the ASPCA for the most intimate form of animal abuse known to mankind.

Re:sexy buttloving (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706886)

What is rimming? Is that those big shiny things that people put on their cars? It would only make sense if you were racing your car. Additionally, why would you put peanut butter and poop in the crack of your driveway? It is cute that the dog licks the cheeks on your face, though. My friend's dog does that and it's really cute.

Wait, WHAT?! You sick, sick fuck!

Re:sexy buttloving (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707522)

TuxRacer is still the pinacle of linux gaming.

Autocad and jpp blueprints (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706472)

If anyone is interested Nasa is hosting them here [painolympics.info] .

Pretty cool stuff! I plan to import them into Maya and post them on my website myself.

Re:Autocad and jpp blueprints (0)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706898)

ummmm.. bad on me.. undo!

MakerBot compatible? (3, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706522)

Is the output Makerbot compatible? I want to use this to design a next generation super jumbo for my Makerbot!

Re:MakerBot compatible? (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706606)

It outputs to rhino, and rhino outputs (with some effort relating to units conversion, or so I hear) to makerbot, so yeah, you could make a model of a X-1 or X-15 or similar rocket powered plane, make a cylindrical cavity in the model for a little estes model rocket engine, and you'd almost be flying, except for the little problem that it might model aerodynamically, but the center of gravity is pretty much ignored, you you're going to have to figure that part out.

Re:MakerBot compatible? (5, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706962)

Wait, are you telling me we can download planes now? Sweet!

Yes, RIAA, I totally would download a plane.

Re:MakerBot compatible? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707364)

I haven't checked but if thingverse doesn't already have planes and lawn darts I'd be surprised.

Now a copyrighted patented trademarked plane is where it gets messy. Maybe some Anime / Transformers thing, sure.

Would you fly in it? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707946)

Wait, are you telling me we can download planes now? Sweet! Yes, RIAA, I totally would download a plane.

But would you fly in it? :-)

Re:MakerBot compatible? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38708480)

Great. Just great. More flakes on a plane.

I'm gettin goddamned tired of these goddamned flakes on a plane...

Re:MakerBot compatible? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38709124)

What about stuffing the physical model with the guts from a cheap RC aircraft?

Of course they open source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706532)

When you are on welfare, you need all the help you can get. Much like the rest of the U.S.A. Kinda hard to pay your engineers with food stamps....LOL!

License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706558)

Isn't anything released by NASA necessarily public domain?

Re:License? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706806)

I asked them that once, but they still wouldn't give me a space shuttle.

Re:License? (1)

Darfeld (1147131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38711762)

The ability to put say... a nuclear warhead in orbit, interestingly, isn't considered lightly by governments, and I can't think of one who would give that kind of technology to public domain. (thought you might argue that it'll soon be irrelevant, if it's not yet the case, with private space programs and previously underdeveloped country developing their own space technology.)

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that NASA business is to put nuclear warhead in orbit, I'm just saying they build things that can do that. I'll just not speculate on that.

Paper (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706566)

All I can get from the website/wiki is thats its a tool that processes things, which is kind of vague.

I found this paper via google:

http://www.mae.virginia.edu/meclab/images/AIAA%20Paper%20--%20VSP.pdf [virginia.edu]

Not a goatse link, honest.

If you remember the microsoft flightsimulators of the 80s/90s you could list specs and it would make you a plane, like make me a plane with a 50 foot wingspan and then you would attempt to fly it. This is pretty much the same idea for spec'ing a plane but instead of simulating flying it, it dumps out a file containing the model that you can do "whatever" with. Something like clippy for aerospace cad "so you seem to be trying to make a twin engine turboprop, would you like a wizard to help with that?".

Re:Paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706762)

Mod parent up.
Great info in that paper.

Now I know how much it weighs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706602)

It is open source though.

None of my parameters work :/ (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706662)

I tried, big, fast, pretty...

Re:None of my parameters work :/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706698)

I tried, big, fast, pretty...

... and it drew me an A380!

Re:None of my parameters work :/ (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707116)

I tried, big, fast, pretty...

... and it drew me an A380!

That's because you didn't include safe.

Foamies Anyone? (5, Interesting)

alphacharliezero (2469428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706700)

As someone who is into foam-built RC aircraft I am excited by the possibilities of this software. Electronics not included, a plane costs me about $10 to build. While I've built enough planes that I can just 'wing it' (See what I did there?), It would be fun to use this software to design RC planes...

Re:Foamies Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707422)

Yes I did see what you did there. Now would you please go out behind the barn?

more useful output (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706764)

Is it easy to convert to Lego Digital Designer format?

Give away, give it away now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706838)

I'm sure Iran will find this very helpful for designing their drones.

Re:Give away, give it away now... (4, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707100)

Or they could just buy a copy of X-Plane for $79. Don't laugh, it's fscking phenomenal. Uses parametric airfoil designs and lots more. I'd be willing to bet some serious coin that the X-Plane designer is way better than OpenVSP; certainly X-Plane is going to be much more mature, it's been around forever.

Not affiliated, just a VERY impressed user.

Re:Give away, give it away now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708332)

Meh, X-Plane isn't that great. It flies quite weird compared to a real plane and seems to be very glitchy with the plane sometimes jumping all over the place. It just feel "off" all the time and sometimes diverts into completely bizarre unrealistic states.

I mean yeah, you could use it to learn the basics of flying a plane, eg. the controls, mapping, etc. The actual physical flying dynamics are far different than the real thing though. MS Flight Sim is actually way better in that regard. Although it too can be weird because each plane has its dynamics designed into it so the quality depends completely on the designer of plane.

Re:Give away, give it away now... (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38708710)

I was talking about the X-Plane designer, not just the flight sim itself. The designer allows you to enter airfoil shape, engine thrusts, weights, etc. You almost have to be an aeronautical engineer to properly design a plane from the ground up. It's that sophisticated. Meanwhile, the actual flight sim behavior is based upon the entered airfoil designs and airflow calculations, so when you're flying in X-Plane you're basically flying in a software wind-tunnel (plus random weather settings).

Upside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38711772)

X-Plane now has the ability to use lessons learned by the opensourcing of OpenVSP to improve itself.

rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706842)

I say we use the opportunity to entirely redesign all planes, small and large, with a focus on some method to save lives in the event of mechanical/electronic failure, damage, or other cause of a plane crash.

Fighter pilots at least get the option of an ejection seat, so why have we dragged our heels in the dirt for so long by not finding a way for passengers of jumbo jets to survive catastrophe? As for small planes, I've seen parachutes for the plane itself, but I don't think that ever went anywhere or if it was even all that practical.

So, why don't we get NASA or DARPA or whoever to offer a prize for re-thinking aircraft design to save lives? We need to push past the stagnation in this area of technology and press Boeing and others to move forward.

Move forward with what? (0)

alphacharliezero (2469428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706930)

Dude, no offense but passenger planes are already extremely safe. Your lifetime odds of dying in an auto wreck are around 200 times greater than your chances of dying in a plane crash.

And what do you suggest anyway? Perhaps we can ALL get ejection seats! In an emergency the ENTIRE CEILING of the passenger cabin will blow off. Then row by row we can all watch our fellow passengers shoot into the air as the explosive bolts in their chairs go off. Or perhaps they can just hand you a chute and open the door if things go South?

The truth of it is that in most any scenario where the plane is going to crash, there is not going to be a realistic way to exit the aircraft in mid-air. For that reason I'll say-

NO THANKS.

Re:Move forward with what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707098)

So all you saw was "ejection seats" and decided that was impractical (which it probably is) and that was all you needed to decide that the ENTIRE concept of seeking a design to save lives during an emergency (NOT NECESSARILY EJECTION SEATS) was a lost cause. That's some great scientific thinking there. You're really pushing the envelope of thought and innovation aren't you. /s

The idea here, mr. or mrs. closed minded, is to challenge ourselves to FIND a way, ANY way, that works, DURING an emergency. I already knew that our EXISTING designs were made very safe in a PREVENTIVE measure, but that was NEVER MY POINT. Maybe you should enroll in a course for reading comprehension.

Re:Move forward with what? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38708020)

The best way is not to allow the emergency to happen in the first place. Every other way you might attempt to recover from a catastrophic failure in flight isn't going to work as well as just not having to deal with the problem in the first place.

Re:Move forward with what? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38709740)

There is nothing that will protect against most emergencies. Wind shear and controlled flight into terrain are still common causes (as a relative percentage of incidents, not absolute terms), and there's almost no conceived protection that would allow greatly increased survival. Most injuries are caused on the ground. Greater cost/weight in seats/seatbelts (5-point harnesses and rigid seats) and you'll save more injuries than just about anything else. Have the seatbelts indicate to the crew the status of the belt (connected or not) and then forced belt usage will be easier. I agree he focused on an almost irrelevant point, but you just said "I wish someone could think up something better" when you can't even conceive of a single example of something that could possibly help. You were silly, stupid, and set yourself up for such ridicule. Your only suggestion is something you know is not practical for commercial planes (though rather than ejection seats, ejection pods of blocks of 16 or so seats with separate emergency chutes and structure might help with a slow catastrophic destruction of the plane, but most fatal crashes are either explosive high up, or striking the ground at high speed, and chutes will do little to help with any of that. You'd need structure. By the time you've surrounded the passengers in that much structure, you'll need to leave it on the ground, and by the time you are done, you are designing a train. All the people you think should be working on it already have, and there's nothing that can be done.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707020)

If you can find a way to add a passenger ejection system or aircraft parachute system to a large civil aircraft, anything 737 size or larger or arguments sake, which doesn't add an uneconomical amount of weight to an aircrafts design, then go for it.

The parachute system is fitted to quite a few light aircraft and microlights, but the application is limited because of the amount of weight it adds due to strengthening required to withstand the deployment forces (no point in having the parachute if it's deployment breaks the plane in half).

The major issue in plane design is weight - it dictates economics, and itself is dictated by design requirements, load bearing requirements and safety requirements (among other things). Too much weight and trip costs rise too much, passenger yields go down and the plane is uneconomical to use.

Also note that it's unusual for a fighter pilot to come out of an ejection without injuries directly caused by he ejection - compressed spines, broken limbs etc are the norm rather than the exception.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707096)

Coming soon to you on an easyjet/ryanair flight near you.

Passenger Ejection Capsule £500.00 per sector

Then 5 pages on and in exceedingly small print
Check this box to opt out of the PAssenger Ejection Capsule

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707376)

You seem to be unfamiliar with Ryanair's prices. That is £50,000.00 + credit card charge + VAT per sector.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707536)

Coming soon to you on an easyjet/ryanair flight near you.

Passenger Ejection Capsule £500.00 per sector

Last time I flew business class I was pretty much in a little 'capsule' by myself. It probably could be turned into an ejection seat if they wanted to.

The problem is that it would add a significant amount of weight and the risk of losing a plane because of a fault in the ejection system is probably higher than the chance of saving lives when it's used. In particular, ejecting from an airliner at 30,000 feet over mid-Atlantic isn't likely to help much unless your capsule can become a heated lifeboat after it lands.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707426)

Fighter pilots may suffer injury, but at least they have a better chance of living than passengers of a jumbo jet.

Really, though, at this point I'm almost sorry I mentioned ejection seats, as that's the first thing people seem to be latching onto and responding to and forgetting to think of OTHER possibilities.

Anyway, I'm fully aware that it's a difficult issue, and of the economics involved, such as weight. That was all fairly obvious to me, so I didn't think it was worth mentioning. I just want to see work on something, ANYTHING, that could feasibly advance aircraft design to save lives during the event of a plane going down.

Just to brainstorm a bit, putting aside ejecting people upward out of the plane, what other methods could be used to get people out to where a parachute could be deployed?

  - dropping people downward, out of the bottom of the plane (like a bomb from a ww2 bomber)?

  - or perhaps out the back like military transports drop troops, cargo, and even vehicles?

  - or maybe we don't eject the passengers, but drop the airplane itself away from them (splitting the shell and pushing it outward away from the passengers), which I suppose, if at all feasible, might only work with small planes (drop the outer framework away, then deploy parachute from inner passenger cage framework, or whatever).

- and if none of those ideas work with existing plane designs, can we change the designs entirely to make them work?

- is there an entirely different way of considering the problem?

would any of these ideas be feasible? hell I don't know. possibly not. but that's not what's important. what's important is that we keep thinking, keep brainstorming, keep seeking a way, and not giving up.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707864)

Fighter pilots may suffer injury, but at least they have a better chance of living than passengers of a jumbo jet.

You do realize that even with ejection seats, just flying a fighter plane is far more dangerous than flying in a jumbo jet?

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707094)

"Fighter pilots at least get the option of an ejection seat, so why have we dragged our heels in the dirt for so long by not finding a way for passengers of jumbo jets to survive catastrophe? "

Crash-proof planes do not fly.

"As for small planes, I've seen parachutes for the plane itself, but I don't think that ever went anywhere or if it was even all that practical."

All Ultralight pilots I know have one.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707284)

"Crash-proof planes do not fly."

Obviously.... which is why I said "in the event of". We know it WILL happen, so focus on ways to deal with it DURING the emergency, instead of only taking preventive measures (which obviously are just as important).

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (4, Interesting)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707878)

What do you think that the airplane designers are doing? The aircraft industry is incredibly safety conscious. That's one of the reasons that everything is so expensive. The whole plane parachute is used on Cirrus airplanes and has saved some lives. Seats have been designed to protect people in impacts up to 26Gs. You can get seatbelts with airbags installed.

Every aircraft accident (at least in the U.S.) is investigated. The goal is to find out what caused the accident and how to prevent it. NASA has a program called ASRS which encourages pilots to report anything that might impact safety.

Please do a little research and see what is being done before accusing people of dragging their heels in the dirt.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708328)

The biggest killer in large multi passenger aircraft crashes is fire. Perhaps introducing the concept of "tug" and "glider" to commercial aviation could solve that problem. A towing module/aircraft with fuel and engines pulling a separate passenger cabin section that could be released in an emergency to land on its own. Sounds kinda dumb just saying it but it does solve the problem of moving the passengers away from the fuel.

Or maybe putting all or most of the fuel in external drop tanks which could be conformal to the underside of the fuselage.

Re:rethink plane designs for safety in emergencies (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710034)

Hahaha! fighter seat ejection is done with explosive charges, usually works (when it doesn't kill or horribly maim, which it sometimes does) for a man in his 20s in top shape but would kill at least a quarter of civilian passengers. You're going to have a jumbo jet with hundreds of charges in the passenger cabin, what could possibly go wrong....let's see, terrorists would thank you for obviating the need to smuggle bombs, malfunction of system could crash the plane, there's more but I'm laughing too much....

Seriously NASA, what were you thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38706904)

Now the terrorists can design their own aircrafts, well done.

Re:Seriously NASA, what were you thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707932)

You're funny...

Not free, but open source (3, Informative)

Digana (1018720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38706912)

Why does NASA, a government agency, claim copyright on software?

And why does NASA release software under a non-free license [gnu.org] ?

It's not that hard. Use an existing license. Stop inventing your own licenses that conflict with truly free collaboration.

Re:Not free, but open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707210)

Why does NASA, a government agency, claim copyright on software?

Why not?

And why does NASA release software under a non-free license [gnu.org] ?

Because it's better.

It's not that hard. Use an existing license. Stop inventing your own licenses that conflict with truly free collaboration.

You mean locked down freedom hating licenses like GPLv3?

GNU complaint seems somewhat bogus? (3, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707658)

And why does NASA release software under a non-free license?

GNU's specific complaint: "The NASA Open Source Agreement, version 1.3, is not a free software license because it includes a provision requiring changes to be your “original creation”. Free software development depends on combining code from third parties, and the NASA license doesn't permit this."

NASA's actual terms: "Each Contributor represents that that its Modification is believed to be Contributor's original creation and does not violate any existing agreements, regulations, statutes or rules, and further that Contributor has sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this Agreement."

The GNU complaint seems somewhat bogus. By claiming to be the creator, i.e. the copyright holder, and providing the mandatory change logs there is an audit history. NASA has a clear paper trail and a clear assignment of the right to use, modify and distribute from the copyright holder. The Linux kernel being locked into GPL v2 seems to suggest that NASA has thought this through more than the GNU folks did, or perhaps learned from the mistakes of the GNU folks.

Re:GNU complaint seems somewhat bogus? (1)

Digana (1018720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707684)

The problem is that the wording in the NASA license insists that the work must be your "original creation". You seem to not address the problem of how this wording seems to not allow you to grab someone else's code and combine it with NASA's to create a new work.

Re:GNU complaint seems somewhat bogus? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707764)

The problem is that the wording in the NASA license insists that the work must be your "original creation". You seem to not address the problem of how this wording seems to not allow you to grab someone else's code and combine it with NASA's to create a new work.

On the contrary, the following quote from my post precisely addresses grabbing someone else's code:
"NASA has a clear paper trail and a clear assignment of the right to use, modify and distribute from the copyright holder."

By ensuring the contributor is the copyright holder various problems and unintended consequences can be avoided.

Re:GNU complaint seems somewhat bogus? (1)

Digana (1018720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707788)

I don't get it. You agree then that this license forbids me from grabbing someone else's free code, mixing it with NASA's, because it's not my original creation, but someone else's? How are you extrapolating from "your original work" to "paper trail"?

Only the copyright holder can agree to license (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707912)

The NASA terms require the contributor to identify themselves as the creator, i.e. the copyright holder, and to also submit a change log. This statement and the log are the paper trail. Note that the NASA terms also define the rights to use, modify and redistribute. If you just grab someone else's code you are a licensee not a copyright holder and do not have the authority to agree with NASA's terms. Only the copyright holder can agree to NASA's terms.

Re:Only the copyright holder can agree to license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708046)

Only the copyright holder can agree to NASA's terms.

Which is precisely the FSF's complaint. I don't need the copyright owners permission to use GPL software, but I do need it if I want to use GPL software combined with NASA software.

Re:Only the copyright holder can agree to license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708310)

Only the copyright holder can agree to NASA's terms.

Which is precisely the FSF's complaint. I don't need the copyright owners permission to use GPL software, but I do need it if I want to use GPL software combined with NASA software.

The FSF's complaint is somewhat bogus because they live under the exact same limitation as NASA. NASA is merely being up front about this matter of fact. If you are not the copyright holder of a piece of source code you may not have the authority to submit it to NASA or a GPL based project.

If you have source code that is licensed under terms incompatible with the GPL you may not submit that code to a GPL based project unless you are the copyright holder.

GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded projects? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707738)

Why does NASA, a government agency, claim copyright on software?

And why does NASA release software under a non-free license [gnu.org] ?

It's not that hard. Use an existing license. Stop inventing your own licenses that conflict with truly free collaboration.

Use an existing license. Stop inventing your own licenses that conflict with truly free collaboration.

The issue is that a license like the GPL is discriminatory to certain business models, namely those that keep source code changes private. The problem is that such discriminatory terms are inappropriate in a taxpayer funded project. Taxpayers who chose to make derived works and keep the changes private should be allowed to do so.

If you fund a project yourself you have every right to make that project GPL based. However if you seek taxpayer funding you have to be fair and accommodating to all taxpayers, even those you disagree with.

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

Digana (1018720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707758)

Huh, the GPL doesn't forbid you from keeping changes private. It forbids you from distributing changes without source. If you don't distribute, there is no problem.

Furtheremore, Whatever, GPL isn't the only free license. Use a BSD-style license or any other license without copyleft.

I still don't understand how an agency of the US government can claim copyright, though. Usually what happens is that the government subcontracts to individuals and are then bound by the copyright claims of those individuals. How is NASA getting away with this?

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707830)

The issue is that a license like the GPL is discriminatory to certain business models, namely those that keep source code changes private.

Huh, the GPL doesn't forbid you from keeping changes private. It forbids you from distributing changes without source. If you don't distribute, there is no problem.

And there is no business model so your point is not on topic. ;-)

Furtheremore, Whatever, GPL isn't the only free license. Use a BSD-style license or any other license without copyleft.

Agreed.

I still don't understand how an agency of the US government can claim copyright, though. Usually what happens is that the government subcontracts to individuals and are then bound by the copyright claims of those individuals. How is NASA getting away with this?

The contracts established between NASA and the individuals or subcontractors could include some sort of "work for hire" type clause where copyright is assigned to NASA? Much like the Regents of the University of California held the copyright on all the code written by professors and students back in the day.

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

Digana (1018720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707876)

The issue is that a license like the GPL is discriminatory to certain business models, namely those that keep source code changes private.

Huh, the GPL doesn't forbid you from keeping changes private. It forbids you from distributing changes without source. If you don't distribute, there is no problem.

And there is no business model so your point is not on topic. ;-)

Sure there is. It's part of many organisations' business models. To take one heavy-handed example, Google. They grab Linux-based source code, create their own internal distribution [wikipedia.org] , and use it to power internal development and massive servers that are turning in a pretty penny.

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707930)

... It's part of many organisations' business models ...

But not the business models I was referring to. I wrote "certain business models", not "all business models".

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38709316)

And there is no business model so your point is not on topic. ;-)

You might want to ask the woman next to you for her signature.... I think you're way out on a limb there and Shirley Maclaine's signature might be the only benefit.

Google, IBM, eBay, BBC, etc, etc - a very long list of small enterprises who make money on the back of GPL (greater and lesser version) that you've probably never heard of, and can be excused for not being able to research.

Here's another obscure one that some taco cowboy rode into retirement. [slashcode.com] . You were probably a big authority in primary school - but we've all got this internet thing now, you can check stuff with it.

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710120)

Google, IBM, eBay, BBC, etc, etc - a very long list of small enterprises who make money on the back of GPL (greater and lesser version) that you've probably never heard of, and can be excused for not being able to research.

Actually the problem is that you have missed the context of this discussion. Since we are discussing software that is being *distributed*, in-house undistributed software is an irrelevant tangent. Whatever Google is doing in-house is irrelevant to the issues that NASA faces in distributing this software.

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707842)

I've always wanted to know how NASA can say that I can't come in each time I try to walk into their hallway, I mean, how can an american agency own a building?

Re:GPL not appropriate for taxpayer funded project (1)

RegularFry (137639) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707942)

You may find this enlightening:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_status_of_work_by_the_U.S._government

NASA's license does the same... (Sec. 3. A. 2) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708506)

"If Recipient distributes or redistributes the Subject Software in
any form other than source code, Recipient must also make the
source code freely available, and must provide with each copy of
the Subject Software information on how to obtain the source code
in a reasonable manner on or through a medium customarily used for
software exchange."
Sounds copyleft to me.

Re:NASA's license does the same... (Sec. 3. A. 2) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38710166)

"If Recipient distributes or redistributes the Subject Software in
any form other than source code, Recipient must also make the
source code freely available, and must provide with each copy of
the Subject Software information on how to obtain the source code
in a reasonable manner on or through a medium customarily used for
software exchange."
Sounds copyleft to me.

Not in the FSF sense. It seems that derived works may have more latitude.

"I. A Recipient may create a Larger Work by combining Subject Software
with separate software not governed by the terms of this agreement and
distribute the Larger Work as a single product. In such case, the
Recipient must make sure Subject Software, or portions thereof,
included in the Larger Work is subject to this Agreement."

Are we sure we want everyone to have this? (1)

pcwhalen (230935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707194)

I understand the GPL issues, but I am uncomfortable giving this to the North Korean government for starters.

Public disclosure isn't always best for the public. Just saying.

STFU (2, Informative)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38707660)

Making a 3D skin model and making a real jet are two totally different things. Not to mention the academic information behind this can be openly found and used; I doubt they are adding much theory that isn't already known.

Re:STFU (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710248)

You can say that about any CAD software or any finite element package but you can't get all of those for free either. Take it at face value instead of being upset that it doesn't cuddle you at night.

Read the license! (For what it's worth...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708602)

It explicitly specifies that export restrictions remain in place .

Of course, if it's available, if someone in North Korea wanted it, it's not clear that they would bother following trivial details like the license agreement.
But then, it wouldn't be much harder (hypothetically) to get a binary gratis distribution--or hack into NASA.

Besides that, it sounds like it doesn't really offer you a full "aeronautical engineer on your desktop". That might be something to worry about--if it were more than common knowledge in the art, and more than any other readily available solutions, etc.

Re:Are we sure we want everyone to have this? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710266)

Could not agree more. China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, etc. will make use of this.

Re:Are we sure we want everyone to have this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38710828)

This is absurd. The manufacturing and engineering involved in making a jet aircraft far eclipse what is available in this tool. Most of the cost, complexity, and commensurate combat effectiveness in a modern fighter aircraft are derived from it's electronic systems- ECM/ESM, radar, flight control system, etc... This tool offers just a tiny fraction of what actually goes into aircraft design- like 2% maybe.

And besides, this tool is very simple compared to a real CAD package that would normally be used. And I doubt North Korea would have any trouble getting CAD software.

There's absolutely nothing secret about this tool either- a dedicated undergrad aerospace engineering student (or a group of them) could probably throw something together like this.

NASA has more brains&balls than GPU vendors? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707218)

LOL. If NASA can open source this--why wont the gpu vendors give us their docs!?!

Just sayin'....

Re:NASA has more brains&balls than GPU vendors (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710258)

Because China will implement replacements for it.

This is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707272)

I just made a F-330 from stargate with oversized engines. It'll use the lucas gate and do the kessel run in under 7 parsecs

pluls 2, Tr0ll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38707750)

the top. Or were, Our cause. GaDy

User-surly build (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38708242)

I've been trying the build for a while. Its a bit user-surly. The documentation for Linux is this: "There are no pre-compiled Linux binaries produced at this time. In order to run OpenVSP on Linux, you must compile it yourself."
And thats it. Nothing in any readme anywhere else. You need to get fltk (an easy build), opennurbs (I think an easy build), and then you need to get cmake and then attempt somehow to build it (documentation is quite scarce on where to put what, etc.). I've seen a lot of builds that require a lot, but at least they give you hints or pointers on what to do. Here, they chuck some source code at you. If its even runnable, can be made to work in this environment, whatever, is your issue.

Generating a Physical Model? (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38709090)

Can the 3D data models this SW generates be fed into a machine that cranks out a physical model? With RC aircraft becoming so cheap, it might be cool to use the SW to design a craft that can be rendered in matter, then outfitted with the RC parts. Maybe some RC derbies could use standardized mechanics in different bodies, competing purely on the body design.

Re:Generating a Physical Model? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38710268)

i've used this program, and no it cannot link into SolidWorks.

The short version is there are CAD guys, mesh guys, and analysis guys. The analysis guys want to be able to quickly change their model (e.g. wingspan) without having to go back to the CAD or the mesh guys. VSP (Vehicle Sketch Pad) is for the preliminary aircraft design analysis guys that need to change major parameters of their vehicle. The more things that they can change, the less they'll rule out options that are just hard to analyze.

VSP can also export a mesh, but the quality of it is good enough for an aerodynamic analysis and a good enough structural analysis for the level of accuracy that they're going for. This program is designed for laying things out without having to fight CAD. For the analysis guys, who arent good at CAD, all the problems they have come from bad CAD (e.g. sliver surfaces, gaps, poor CAD reading/writing support), so the less they have to deal with it the better.

di34 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38709536)

Series of debate5 Are t4ere? Let's recruitment, but

Some are happy (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710252)

China, in particular.

Re:Some are happy (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38710854)

China, in particular.

And humanity in general.

Re:Some are happy (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38711664)

Humanity will NOT benefit for it. Chinese gov. will. And they will deny any fruits from this to Humanity.
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