Before I begin this wall of text... a huge thank you to the amazing work you guys are doing! It is incredibly valuable to the industry!
G'day all! A quick intro - my name is Dion Moult and I've used free software for a long time. After hacking on FreeCAD I'm now developing the BlenderBIM Add-on (https://blenderbim.org) along with IfcOpenShell, where I've recently proposed to join the OpenCAx GSoC group :) I was trained as an architect and currently work in the architecture / engineering / construction industry
A few Blender, FreeCAD, and OpenBIM community folks along with myself recognised that the free software available for the architecture / engineering / construction industry did not have a community that provided support and promotion across applications. Each software had their own forums, wiki, and so on. Given that our industry is very cross disciplinary, and many of our tools have to work together to integrate using open data formats and open data standards, a group of us collectively started https://OSArch.org/ - something like OpenCAx but for users, not developers. Hopefully it can also be a melting pot to help create connections and synergies between the free software efforts in this highly proprietary industry.
We have been slowly working on this since Feb 2020. To date, we have provided a forums for people to meet / discuss. There are over 700 registered members. We have a wiki, where we are providing documentation and tutorials about how to use free software, and how to use more open data standards from people switching from proprietary software. My favourite page is the Free Software directory, where LibreCAD is listed: https://wiki.osarch.org/index.php?title=AEC_Free_Software_directory . We also have recently launched a main site to act as a news publisher at osarch.org, and an events calendar at osarch.org/events/ . We run a monthly meetup (one is happening later today!) where we do a show and tell about free software for AEC (which includes CAD, BIM, building physics, etc). Many OSArch members are also developers of various Blender utilities that relate to AEC, FreeCAD, and cover a range of disciplines, from architecture, MEP, structural, construction, and facility management. Some of these developer connections have resulting in increased code sharing, which is awesome!
Some of the OSArch community use LibreCAD, and some have been introduced to LibreCAD from OSArch. However, LibreCAD is mentioned, but rarely discussed further in OSArch. I would love to know how OSArch can help support LibreCAD, and how we can help increase LibreCAD's exposure, hopefully attracting new testers, power users, and (fingers crossed!) developers. Here are a few ideas:
- We can help publish news articles about LibreCAD, whenever a release is made or GSoC milestone, etc. This may help improve user visibility about LibreCAD activity (which I think may be a concern).
- We can help publish any events about LibreCAD, if there are any, on our events page, to increase exposure.
- We can help link to the most appropriate new user resources on our wiki, so that those who discover LibreCAD from OSArch can be pointed to the right new user documentation, tutorials (video and written), etc. I am unfortunately not an extensive LibreCAD user myself, so I am unable to judge which resources are better.
- Maybe someone here might be interested in presenting LibreCAD at an OSArch monthly meetup?
- I noticed LibreCAD didn't have a donation channel currently. Any way we can help with that? We are working on a "donation directory" to help users discover how to best support developers and what channels are available.
Thoughts? Also, please feel free to join the OSArch site and say hi :)
Many thanks Moult for your appreciative words.
I've browsed on OSArch sites for a while now and I think I understand the need and right to exist for your community. And I also see, that LibreCAD can somehow carry weight in it.
It is correct, that each software has its own community, but I think they all have their eligibility. For our LibreCAD community I think I can say, that there are many members, who will not have any relation with OSArch. So ideally we find somebody in the OSArch/LibreCAD cut set, who understand both concerns and takes responsibility to connect and manage common interests.
If someone feels addressed, don't hesitate to jump in.
Concerning your ideas, you can of course publish posts and events about LibreCAD. It is also appreciated, when you direct your community members to LibreCAD resources.
When in doubt, you can ask here for support or join our Zulip chat, where most direct communication happens meanwhile.
And of course you can still reach me on IRC.
The donation topic was often discussed in private and has various aspects to consider.
Currently we can still cover our expenses for a while and there is a plan B when the assets run short.
Cheers :) You are absolutely right - there is a small overlap between the two communities... OSArch is simply the casual congregation of a small subset of users of various tools, one of which is LibreCAD, who are applying it in a specific & currently highly proprietary industry.
Where is the best place to keep track of LibreCAD news and events that OSArch can help watch for things that are relevant to AEC to publisize further? Should we watch the LibreCAD 3 commit log? I assume the blog is also a good place to keep track? If there isn't a good place to keep watch, and if you guys do have something coming up, it would be awesome if you could help tell us about it - there is a contact form on the OSArch site.
In the meantime, I have subscribed to this forum and will be lurking :) Thanks for the tip about Zulip chat! I have joined and will lurk there too!
I will also try to write some articles related to LibreCAD as it relates to AEC, and will likely post here or in the chat for help :)
As always, keep up the great work! I'm incredibly pleased to see that these forums are active!
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