Open Source: The Main Goal

A Customizable Tool that Uses a Standard Foundation

The Universal Tool:

The first feature of Open Source is that it is free to use and under public control. This prevents the programs from being held for ransom when it is widely adopted.

The end goal is to have an integrated system comprised of CAD, CAM, CNC control and ERP that freely interoperates on the same core data files. The data file format and the program source code will be public and readily extensible.

The four core components will create the standard kernel of the system. Each component can be modified and tailored to each users application. The modifications that make it back to the core components will of course depend on the project managers. Some of the modifications can reside as side options that can be installed by the user.

This will create a system similar to Linux. There are many variations: some are tailored for desktops, some for web or file serving, others yet for real time embedded control. At the kernel level they are compatible. In essence, it will not be a single tool for all applications and variations will arise that will compete with each other. As long as file compatibility and interoperability remain the top priority, the competition will create benefits industry wide.

The other goal is to have sustained corporate sponsorship of the project to keep the programmers and managers employed for as long as there is development and support required. My guess is that this means forever but if less development is required then less people will be employed. In other words, the institution can fold if it makes sense. After all it is the product that is important not the institution. If the institution is valuable, there will be many more creative endeavors to pursue if the manufacturing software world dries up.

The main benefits of this are:

  • Standardization: Interoperable CAD files so design companies and manufacturing companies can use the same data files without translations.
  • Streamlined design through manufacturing process: Data files can flow through CAD, CAM, CNC machine and ERP systems in a standard, error free manner.
  • Customization: Extensible programs so that each can be tailored to each customers needs if required.
  • Training Effectiveness: Skills acquired by people are transferable across companies and industries.
  • Cost effective infrastructure: The standard infrastructure can be used globally within an organization or across organizations. Even very small contractors can be economically integrated into big company systems.
  • Eliminate duplicated R & D: Multiple companies developing the same or very similar products can be eliminated.
  • Overhead reductions: Facilities, sales, distribution and support for multiple companies can be eliminated.
  • Human resource pay is equitable: Neither high nor low wage citizens get discriminated against.
  • Direct cost savings: Profits formerly paid to commercial companies are now cost savings to users.
  • Systems and data control: by eliminating commercial software licensing and having the source code, users protect their data from proprietary programs that become obsolete, unsupported or lost due to vendor bankruptcy or buy outs.
  • High Performance: In the stock configuration, most users can use the system like current mid-range CAD packages.
  • Exit Strategy: A non-profit organization is simple to dismantle if it is no longer needed or technology renders it obsolete.