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U.S. Army Research Lab Opens BRL-CAD Source

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the not-like-the-public-paid-for-it-or-anything dept.

Software 209

brlcad writes "After 20 years of active development under a proprietary government license agreement, the BRL-CAD solid modeling suite has just been released as Open Source software. BRL-CAD is one of the many legacies of the late Michael Muuss, author of ping. The package began on the PDP-11 and VAX 11/780--before the emergence of ANSI/ISO C language standards--and boasts one of the first parallel Ray tracers in existence. Today BRL-CAD has over 750,000 lines of source code. It incorporates both 3D modeling and rendering capabilities, and supports an API for user-developed geometric analysis applications. It continues to be developed and maintained by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and its partners. Various portions of the package are distributed under the GPL, LGPL, GFDL, and BSD licenses."

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209 comments

ur mom (1)

penis fish (671987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297982)

hai al.... ur mom plz!!!

Interesting... (1)

falloutgib (585732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297989)

This looks like a very advanced package. I wonder how it'll hold up to standards such a s POVRay? (pirst fsot?)

Re:Interesting... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298003)

pirst fsot?

what is that?

Re:Interesting... (1, Funny)

PseudoSchizo (847596) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298028)

Not as advanced as MY package, it's ribbed for EVERYTHING's pleasure.

Ben 'Jammin

Re:Interesting... (1)

PseudoSchizo (847596) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298711)

Heh, oh leave me alone. ;) Ben 'Jammin

Re:Interesting... (1)

Lindsay Lohan (847467) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298223)

This looks like a very advanced package
It sure does. It sure, does.

Not even in the same class... (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298888)

Think of a serious CAD package with things like Finite Element Analysis plugins. The rendering tool is just one of numerous plugins for this package.

Think somewhere in the class of Solidworks and ProE- the DoD uses this tool to run simulations of survivability on models of our armor and other people's.

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297990)

Blah

ATTENTION PARENT IS NOT A TROLL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298159)

Offtopic, but not a Troll. Please get it right.

Yes you know it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297996)

Frist post0r and you can't be beaten oh yeah. This is pretty cool opensource stuff though linux roxks yeah.

Ummm (-1, Flamebait)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298031)

As far as I know, BRL-CAD has been open source for quite some time now. It also has had an active developer community.

Ohhh, and the necessary, BOO USA!! You guys Suck!! How could you think of making some good Open Source CAD software!!! Booooo! your supposed to be a bunch of bastards trying to steal from the poor and give to the rich!!

Re:Ummm (4, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298222)

I don't think it was truly 'open', but you did get sources.

You had to register, and there were some restrictions from what i remember. But i admit its been 8+ years since i read it, so i could be totally wrong on that..

I registered, ( and used it ) back when you had to contact the FED's first.. They even gave out a complete set of printed manuals. Was pleasantly surprised when the box showed. I had not expected to get anything.. Scary when you get a call about an unexpected package from the DOD waiting for you at the office :)

One of the good examples of our tax dollars at work.

Re:Ummm (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298780)

Yes, prior to this you had to be faxed a contract, sign it, fax it back, hope the intended recipient accepts it. Then after they did whatever they did, they'd give you a key to the encrypted source files. I know because I was discussing doing this with someone on the project but realized it wasn't worth the hassle.
Regards,
Steve

Re:Ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298326)

Yeah, because either everything the US does is bad or everything is good? You seem to imply it.

Do us all a favor: Grow up and add a few more dimensions to your thinking.

Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298328)

> Ohhh, and the necessary, BOO USA!!

You mean like the "BOO CHINA!" calls everytime something positive comes from China?

Re:Ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298567)

It was only open to "friends" of the USA, though in practice almost anyone in the western world could get a copy, you just had snail-mail a request to the US army,they presumably checked you weren't totally evil (for values of evil equal to anti-US-military-industrial-complex), and gave you ftp access.

Not OSI-compliant open source until now though.

Wow ... (1)

apheXcoil (325913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298044)

That headline was way over my head.

In a world dominated by... (4, Insightful)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298046)

In a world dominated by things like UniGraphics, AutoCAD, and Pro/Engineer, it will be nice to have a professional-level CAD package available under a less-restrictive license...But I don't see it challenging the established niches of those previous packages for awhile. It's the "if it's cheap, it must not be good" mentality that really does apply to CAD software...

Re:In a world dominated by... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298053)

Hahah world dominated by AutoCAD, I laugh at you sir.

Re:In a world dominated by... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298061)

It's the "if it's cheap, it must not be good" mentality that really does apply to CAD software...

All it takes is one company to challenge that. If it saves them money it becomes a competitive advantage, and other companies will either jump on the bandwagon, develop something better, or die off.

Re:In a world dominated by... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298081)

You left out Solidworks.
I am looking forward to seeing what this can do.
If it can not export STL or IGES it is not going to catch on

Re:In a world dominated by... (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298117)

If this is the package I'm thinking of that my old customers at the Naval Research Lab used, it's handled IGES forever.. At least since the late 80's.

-jcr

Re:In a world dominated by... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298174)

Yup, looks like it does. Those and a few others: import and export [brlcad.org]

Re:In a world dominated by... (2, Informative)

justins (80659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298813)

This document:
http://brlcad.org/VolumeIV-Converting_G eometry.pdf

indicates that it can export to STL and IGES.

Re:In a world dominated by... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298123)

To paraphrase:
"In a world dominated by things like Microsoft and Apple, I don't see Linux challenging the established niches of those previous packages for a while."

Re:In a world dominated by... (4, Interesting)

UniverseIsADoughnut (170909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298135)

I see it can't export to pro/e so thats not very good.

Yeah, cheap CAD Doesn't tend to mean much, also you are only as good as your file support.

AutoCAD doesn't belong here, it's not a solid modeler, yeah they are trying to extend it, but thats just a level of evil on top of the already evil that is auto cad.

Solidworks is one you left out, and they did change things, they came out with a CAD program for 5 grand that was up there with Pro E, but they tossed a lot of features that most never need, and ditched multi-platform which tends to be overrated for something like this. And do to this and their sudden eating of PTCs market PTC cut the price on pro/e 2001 and wildfire to 5 grand. So things are changing some. 33 Grand for one seat of a CAD program has finally become a thing of the past.

Re:In a world dominated by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298588)

Maybe not on par w/ pro/e, and maybe not in your donut universe, but AutoCAD has done solid modeling for ages. Get your facts straight. I'm glad you were moderated insightful, though; because the sooner stupid moderators use up their mod points the better.

Re:In a world dominated by... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298626)

I see it can't export to pro/e so thats not very good.

From the overview:

- An assortment of geometric converters to convert to and/or from other geometry formats, including Euclid, ACAD, AutoCAD DXF, TANKILL, Wavefront OBJ, Pro/ENGINEER, JACK (the human factors model for doing workload/usability studies), Viewpoint Data Lab, NASTRAN, Digital Equipment's Object File Format (OFF), Virtual Reality Mark-up Language (VRML), Stereo Lithography (STL), Cyberware Digitizer data, and FASTGEN4.

Have an agenda or something?

Re:In a world dominated by... (1)

mduell (72367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298699)

33 Grand for one seat of a CAD program has finally become a thing of the past.

Looked at DS CATIA V5 pricing lately? :)

Re:In a world dominated by... (2, Informative)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298793)

This isn't just CAD! It's used for ballistic testing. i.e. A tank gets hit with a shell, how does the energy transfer throughout the tank and how can we design it better to not blow up.
Regards,
Steve

Same sets of tasks... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298983)

It's just that BRL-CAD's geared for high-speed events as well as low-speed events in it's FEA work.

SolidWorks and ProE might be able to deal with it barely since they do FEA and other stuff like BRL-CAD does...

Re:In a world dominated by... (2, Funny)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298235)

"It's the "if it's cheap, it must not be good" mentality that really does apply to CAD software..."

No problem. I'd be happy to sell this software for $3000 per copy.

Re:In a world dominated by... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298340)

No problem. I'd be happy to sell this software for $3000 per copy.

Does it come with a dongle?

Not really... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298938)

The DoD's been using this little package for some time as their modeling and engineering tool for the Ballistics Resarch Lab that is attached to the Aberdeen Proving Ground. This is the bunch tasked with improving our armored vehicles and improving our ammo to trash our opponents' vehcicles much more easily. BRL-CAD is the tool that they use to accomplish the modeling and simulation portions of this task.

It's on a par with SolidWorks and ProE and it's battle proven as it were. Like most Government projects of this nature, the Government is prohibited by law from making money off of it, so they've been allowing people to use it for free and provide their own plugins for it. Now, it's under various Open Source licenses instead of the one they'd used previously. Those in the defense industry know a LOT about this little program and if they're not using it, it's only because they couldn't mod the source code and it didn't do quite what they needed of it.

does it suport fea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298054)

by reading the docs which refer to analysing balistic impacts, i guess this system has some sort of finite element analysis package or at the least could be integrated with one. the is is a major gift to the emgineering community

OSX Screenshots (3, Interesting)

theoneknuckles (608389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298056)

Is it me or are the screenshots showing this puppy running on Mac OSX?

Re:OSX Screenshots (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298065)

Yep, it runs on OS X.

Re:OSX Screenshots (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298103)

Yep.

Apple's been inheriting SGI and Sun workstation customers at a pretty good clip over the last couple of years ;-)

-jcr

Re:OSX Screenshots (1)

ZonaldRumzfeld (826828) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298415)

Or it could just be someone running an OSX theme in KDE or Gnome! Suckers :P

Re:OSX Screenshots (1)

the pickle (261584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11299065)

It's running inside X11 on OS X.

But yes, it's running on OS X.

p

The army putting a foot on our side = good (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298063)

It's not really about the package in question. The important thing here is, if the US Army learns that GPLing their code can be beneficial for them, we can get a very powerful ally.

Besides, that piece of software was developed for your (and even a bit of my) money anyway...

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298090)

No mention of GPL, though portions of it borrowed from GPL. For those of us who've been writing DOD software for decades, it's always been available for public use (unless classified for some reason). This entire package now brings into view an interesting question. If the software was developed using public funds and is therefor in the public domain, how can the GPL still apply?

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298094)

The important thing here is, if the US Army learns that GPLing their code can be beneficial for them, we can get a very powerful ally.

Especially when it comes to "enforcing" the GPL.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (0, Flamebait)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298109)

I can see it now. This is just an excuse to raid everysingle CAD software producer with US Army Rangers and put them all out of business for violating the GPL. Thereby making BRL-CAD the only remaining CAD software in the world!

"Those Terrorists violated the GPL! We must purge them!"

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298101)

if the US Army learns that GPLing their code can be beneficial for them, we can get a very powerful ally.

The government isn't allowed to hold copyrights. How on earth did they manage to GPL this?

I agree with the GPL for most things, but I think it is inappropriate for publically funded software like this. At most, the LGPL should be used.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298130)

This is the army bud. National Security and whatnot.

The army can do a lot more then the government can.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298300)

The Army is a subset of the United States government.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (1)

glitch! (57276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298810)

This is the army bud. National Security and whatnot. The army can do a lot more then the government can.

If there is a form for it, anyway...

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (4, Funny)

aixou (756713) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298132)

I think it'd be better if the Air Force was on our side. Just call up someone high on the inside " We're gonna need an unmanned airstrike at 122.125 west 47.681 north. Yeah, it's Fallujah."

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298820)

" We're gonna need an unmanned airstrike at 122.125 west 47.681 north. Yeah, it's Fallujah."

Only if Fallujah is across Lake Washington from Seattle.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298233)

Vader: If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298265)

we can get a very powerful ally

Because, otherwise the US Army is not a very powerful ally? People can split all the hairs they want about what the army is called to do, but they do it at the behest of elected officials. As an institution, though, you'll never have a better "ally" than the US military.

What the comment really does is illustrate the cultural distance between the military and the techno/edu/info people of the world. There is no them-us dynamic here folks: them IS us, and a lot of those military IT people will find themselves applying for your job some day!

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (2, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298421)

"The important thing here is, if the US Army learns that GPLing their code can be beneficial for them, we can get a very powerful ally."

You're assuming that the community would accept such an ally. Consider the outcry you hear every time when this group of "father rapers" turns out to be using a piece of FOSS software. "We should modify the license to specifically ban the military from using our app!"

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (2, Funny)

justins (80659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298769)

Consider the outcry you hear every time when this group of "father rapers" turns out to be using a piece of FOSS software. "We should modify the license to specifically ban the military from using our app!"

Yeah, that's a really good point. I'm really sick of all the talk about "father rapers" in the open source community. It happens so often, it's pretty much all you read about. "Father rapers this," "father rapers that". It's almost as if there is nothing else people want to talk about.

Re:The army putting a foot on our side = good (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11299012)

And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things...
--Arlo Guthrie
"Alice's Restaurant"

3D Ping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298070)

spacemarine@mars spacemarine $ ping -c3 some.com

PING get.some.com (127.0.0.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from get.some.com (127.0.0.1): icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.056 ms
64 bytes from get.some.com (127.0.0.1): icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.028 ms
64 bytes from get.some.com (127.0.0.1): icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.050 ms

--- get.some.com ping statistics ---
3 BFG9000 rounds transmitted, 3 hits, 0% health loss, time 2005ms, 6 mofos fragged
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.028/0.044/0.056/0.014 ms

Got to love the military (1)

MPHellwig (847067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298072)

For there excellent and extensive documentation. Give's the project for the public a huge kickstart. But what happend to volume 1?

GPL and the Army (0, Troll)

OECD (639690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298078)

It continues to be developed and maintained by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and its partners.

I wonder how long that will last. Security, terrorists, blah blah blah.

Couldn't the Army take further develpment "private" without violating the GPL? (For those portions that are under the GPL.) My interpretation is that internal distribution wouldn't necessitate source distribution under the GPL, but then IANAL.

Re:GPL and the Army (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298125)

I (a Finn) got clearance for this about 10 years (or more) ago.

Novadays I fear how well I was "cleared" ... I was not that paranoid then, neither I needed to be.

Today I would not do try to get it.

yro, you have the right to remain silent? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298083)

that's about it, @leased as far as the felonious greed/fear/ego based walking dead softwar nazi execrable is .concerned. an armIE of won?

take heart, all is not lost.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators, using newclear power (this stuff is unbreakable, & wwworks on several (more than 3) dimensions) to improve extend yOUR communication abilities since/until forever. see you there?

Licensing (2, Interesting)

BossMC (696762) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298084)

Behold the versatility of the GPL, LGPL, GFDL, and BSD quadra-license! With the viral nature of the GPL, and the total anarchy of the BSDL, it will be unstoppable!

But really, how come licensing comes to this? Is it from the authors placing more value on different portions of the code, or is it a condition posed by contributors, or what? I am not even barely a lawyer, and all of my personal code is of such little value that charging money or placing much in the way of conditions would be criminal.

I kind of see multi-licensing as having a different insurance policy for each fender on your car.

Re:Licensing (1)

kneeless (837507) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298252)

I kind of see multi-licensing as having a different insurance policy for each fender on your car.
It's not like that at all. It's more like giving future developers an option to choose which license they want to use. Actually, that's exactly what it is. Wow, that was easy...

Re:Licensing (2, Interesting)

Heisenbug (122836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298447)

I kind of see multi-licensing as having a different insurance policy for each fender on your car.

With 20 years of active development, it's probably more like having different insurance policies for each vehicle in your car show.

Re:Licensing (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298548)

Different portions of the package are intended for use in different ways. It doesn't make much sense to license a work based on content, rather than on functionality, under the (L)GPL; this is the point of the GFDL. The software freedoms don't really make sense for the documentation.

The GPL and LGPL differ essentially on whether the thing as a whole is intended to be used by itself or plugged into arbitrary other programs. The BSD license is preferrable for things where the code encourages free standards, so the author would benefit from, say, AutoCAD copying it verbatim into their products (which would then be able to exchange files, perhaps).

It's more like having different insurance policies for your car and for your house. Some things are similar, but you're not worried about people stealing your house or the pipes in your car freezing. The differences in the intended use of the item lead to differences in what the owner wants.

Re:Licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11299109)

Different portions of the package are intended for use in different ways. It doesn't make much sense to license a work based on content, rather than on functionality, under the (L)GPL; this is the point of the GFDL. The software freedoms don't really make sense for the documentation.

Please, please, please don't continue to perpetuate that myth. Freedom is essential for documentation just as it is for code. Furthermore, consider that you might want to copy between the two. The GFDL is a colossal step backward for Freedom. For more information on why you *shouldn't* use the GFDL for documentation or anything else, see Nathaniel Nerode's "Why You Shouldn't Use the GNU FDL" [rr.com] , and Manoj Srivasta's draft position statement for Debian [debian.org] .

There is some hope, however: there is currently a Debian group engaged in private (to avoid public flamewars) discussions with a group from the Free Software Foundation, regarding the Freeness of the GFDL. Their initial goal is to remove all the issues with the GFDL other than Invariant Sections and Cover Texts, so that GFDLed documentation without Invariant Sections and Cover Texts will be unambiguously DFSG-Free, albeit GPL-incompatible.

/. sedition? (-1, Flamebait)

fiftyLou (472705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298092)


Anagram of the (acronymous) story title:
"USA BLO RS"

This post brought to you by the united aluminum workers of the world.

Played with it in 1988.. (4, Interesting)

freelunch (258011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298110)

Back in the day, I requested a copy around '88. The only format available then was 9 track tape. I think I had to send a real letter requesting it and explaining my intent (curiosity, mostly).

After waiting many weeks, I sent Michael Muuss an email flaming a little (very young and cocky) and asking "Hey, where's my tape!?". I ran across a print out of that email and his reply when I was moving a few years back. He explained that he had to make the tapes himself, etc.

With much pain, I translated the tape to a QIC cartridge and built it on our Sun gear (I was working at an imaging company). It was a large build.

Their 3D editor was pretty neat for the day and I did a little with the ray tracer. The package had, no kidding, a lot of heavy duty ballastic tools that I didn't care about.. That was about it.

But the print out of Muuss' email is a keeper.

Whew! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298120)

from the not-like-the-public-paid-for-it-or-anything dept.

For a second there, I though something that made the U.S. sound positive slipped through. Thanks, Timothy, for saving Slashdot that embarrassment!

Re:Whew! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298418)

By Tim's logic we should be able to walk into the closest fed building and grabs some stationary. Cause, we paid for it.

Re:Whew! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298529)

By Tim's logic we should be able to walk into the closest fed building and grabs some stationary. Cause, we paid for it.
I think you're confusing information with physical objects.

No (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298762)

The point is that we didn't pay for the government to create acad software package for us. We paid them to protect and serve us. In fufilling that mission, they found it neccisary to create a cad package. As long as they are using it to serve us, our money is being well spent. The government has no obligation to give it back to us. It it really is a good they could have marketed it and sold it. The proceeds could be used to pay for other items they need and reduce the need for taxpayer contributions. Everyone would benifit, not just those with a specialised need for cad software. Just as we didn't pay for stationary suppies for a federal court house. We paid for a federal judicary system and in that proccess of providing ( or attempting to proivde as some would say) justice they needed stationary. Great. Money well spent and we need not expect them to turn over any of it as it serves the purpose for which we fund the agency. I understand there are a lot of people on slashdot that would disagree with me on this point, but the fact that they produced easily replicable software instead of a disposible good doesn't really make that much of a differnce in this regards. The point as I see it still stands, we should never expect gifts from the government.

F/OSS officially supported by US gov't. (5, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298128)

Some of you may not realize this, but the Federal government supports F/OSS [gocc.gov] . Several state governments (I know Texas does for certain) have passed mandates and recommendations that encourage and/or require state agencies to consider F/OSS solutions over proprietary solutions.

Unfortunately, much of this information is squelched by the press, since the press has shown to be woefully ignorant of F/OSS concepts. I would imagine many state and Federal agencies routinely violate rules requiring them to review F/OSS software due to ignorance. I've identified several instances of such a failure in the community college district where I work: Purchases and bids for proprietary software are routinely approved, and when I ask for a list of F/OSS alternatives that were considered, I'm greeted with a blank stare.

The bottom line is that F/OSS has made inroads, but without oversight from the F/OSS community, many of these initiatives are simply ignored and routinely violated.

Re:F/OSS officially supported by US gov't. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298238)

You couldn't be more wrong. Several states and the federal government have long held that competitive bidding on contracts, including those to supply software, are the ideal in order to save tax payers money. If you've ever been involved with procurement, you'd know that most places have policies AGAINST single-source suppliers. ALL software developed using federal funds is public domain with the exception of those classified for national security reasons. This is not new and is not a result of the FOSS "revolution" (funny, how each generation thinks THEY invented the latest greatest), but rather, has been a long-standing policy. In the 70's and 80's you could send a letter to most any agency and ask for a copy of just about any particular program (you paid for copying and media).

The FOSS community has made shit for inroads (Unix and the like have been around for 40 years and they don't have a decent share of the desktop environment YET, maybe in another 40 years), but if it suits your ego to think so, go for it.

Might be the Contractors (2, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298260)

Not many contractors really want to sign up for those government contracts. Sure they have big numbers associated with them, but there is usually so much paperwork associated with them that no one wants to deal with it. The companies that are willing to sign up for those contracts are few and far between. Since the playing field is so limited, it doesn't take many Microsoft Whores to tilt the buying decisions in that direction for a lot of government contract work. The Government just assumes that for its money all solutions will be equal, and that's not really the case.

Re:F/OSS officially supported by US gov't. (3, Informative)

duffahtolla (535056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298414)

It's not just FOSS.

When I was in the 1973rd Com Group (AF), there was a mandate/reg that said any project which required a greater than 30% change in source code was to be redone in Ada.

The civilians in our shop where clueless with Ada and only passable with COBOL. When one of the ladies was sent back from Ada training due to her complete lack of programing skill, Ada was blacklisted by the department heads.

From then on all projects that required more than 30% change were divided into smaller projects so they would not be affected by the 30% rule.

Worse than that, when one of the Sgts converted a project into Ada on his own, he was reprimanded and his code deleted... So much for Government regulations.

When a change is mandated that will challenge the skill (or lack of it) of an established department, it will be resisted in any and all ways possible. Mereley asking them to consider it will do nothing.

A tactic similar to EEO is probably the only thing that will ever be effective. ie. 25% of office software shall be FOSS by 2007.

Armed forces and open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298129)

It sounds to me like the U.S. Army is starting to see the advantage of open source software. They do not have to trust any closed source software vendor and they get the benefit of a large community developing the software for free. The fact that end users benefit from this is just a side-effect. Think about it, closed source software and armed forces do not mix well together. I still remember that incident when a Microsoft Windows NT system aboard a U.S. Navy vessel was responsible for accidentally firing off a missile back in the 90's.

Re:Armed forces and open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298264)

Windows NT system aboard a U.S. Navy vessel was responsible for accidentally firing off a missile back in the 90's.

FUD, or cite a credible source.

Re:Armed forces and open source (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298309)

Did it fire a missile too?

I know it used to strand it self and have to be towed to port.

http://www.gcn.com/archives/gcn/1998/july13/cov2 .h tm

Compare and contrast (1)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298162)

Put this in perspective for me... how does it compare to SolidWorks? I found that super easy to use, but perhaps not as powerful as some other packages.

anyone familiar know if there's drawing/drafting (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298179)

Is there a preferred/traditional way to also make 2D drawings/paperspace views of the models with this system? Also, capabilities for multiuser environment? I come from AutoCAD/ProE/AutoTrol background

Archives? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298200)

Where's the repository of model files? I want to redesign the Navy's floating airport for civilian use in NYC.

CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (3, Informative)

ispel (266661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298220)

Check out the repository for this project hosted on SF [sourceforge.net] . Here's a link to the readme file history [sourceforge.net] (dates back to 17 years, 11 months ago!!!).

It is possible they have been using CVS all these years; CVS was publically released in 1896 [wikipedia.org] , though I believe they may have alternatively used RCS [wikipedia.org] and migrated to CVS somewhere down the line.

Re:CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298276)

I think you mean 1986....

Re:CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (1)

isecore (132059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298277)

CVS was publically released in 1896

Holy hell, was it designed for Babbages Difference Engine or what?

Actually, it was released in 1986.

Re:CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (1)

kneeless (837507) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298284)

CVS was publically released in 1896
Wow, that's amazing. No wonder OSS is so much better than the others, it's almost 100 years older!

Re:CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (5, Funny)

andreMA (643885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298357)

CVS was publically released in 1896
I hesitate to ask what it ran on...

Re:CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (1)

ispel (266661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298388)

Yep, it's a typo. I meant 1986.

Re:CVS repository goes back 17 years!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298624)

Wow, this is cool. Read the first version of the README, the distribution method is great (send a letter, if you are outside of the US, to the ambassador, specify tape size). Wow.

Tels

My head is about to explode! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298229)

US Army == Bad
OSS == Good

What to do! WHAT TO DO!!

Please tell me, a good slashbot, what to think about this.

Re:My head is about to explode! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11299083)

The moderators have answered: you're not to think about it at all.

What about OpenCascade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298279)

.. as in www.opencascade.org

KAD (1)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298298)

I'm not enough of a KDE programmer to know what it would take to port this. I would really like to see something like this in a standard linux distribution along side other great programs like mozilla, open office, GIMP. ETC. (or Koffice, Konqueror, etc.)

Open Source or Free? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298469)

Given that the licenses are the GPL, LGPL, GFDL, and BSD, wouldn't it be more appropriate for the summary to say that BRL-CAD had been released as Free, rather than Open Source Software? This is Slashdot, where people are expected to know the difference.

modifications (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298602)

How much of this is GPL/legal to modify? I'm wondering when we'll be seeing forks from this, and/or integration of the physics or something into other FOSS software?

fiTr5t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298715)

Where can one get a build of this for mac os x? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298920)

It seems silly for everyone to go through the hassle of compiling this every single time. Thanks.

Wow, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298923)

I tried to get my hands on this application about 3 years ago. It was available for free download, but it required a password to run that the army would only give you after filling out several long and annoying forms. It's not a bad (not a great) CAD program that's available for many platforms including OS X.

Unexpected and cool (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298925)

Hm. BRL-CAD is a really good package, and it's always been very near the "open source" section of my mind, although it wasn't truly open source.

For those people comparing it to POV or Blender, you're totally barking up the wrong tree. POV and Blender are focussed on making pretty pictures. BRL-CAD is about engineering modelling for things like unexpected EMP bombs next to your shiny new tank.

Powerful Software - hard to learn... (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298969)

I have BRLCAD installed here on a Sun workstation at home and I can tell you that it takes some getting used to as it's not very user friendly.

Like most powerful tools it's difficult to learn to use with effectiveness. That and the interface is more than a little clunky

I honestly prefer things like SolidWorks which while not as powerful is a hell of a lot easier to use.
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