Open source / Open Standard CAD development?

Mats Eriksson datorfixarn at
Wed Mar 5 22:36:25 CET 2008

Hi guys,

My first post here :)

I am seeing the OpenMoko project as the first serious project to develop
hardware in "bazaar-style" fashion. A personal dream would like to build
a "OpenCar" in "bazaar-style" fashion in the future.

The reason why I joined list is that I found the CAD files of the
Neo1973 at the site. It is great that these files are 
available, even if they are in a proprietary data format (the ProE, not 
the STEP one), and very likely developed using a proprietary CAD 

Personally, I have a software development company, in which I have
been developing tailored software for my clients, mostly with open
source technologies, and sometimes with, at least well known, closed
source techs like .NET . Therefore, it was a shockening moment when I
during 2007 did a consultancy project for an industrial company
producing water taps. It meant going back at least ten years in time, 
back into proprietary hell! Proprietary systems (including proprietary
interfaces between systems) and proprietary data. CAD was done with
proprietary software, often with more than one CAD system, resulting in
incompatible, binary-only data.

So my questions for the OpenMoko community are:

* Does there exist any "usable" open source CAD systems? (Is perhaps 
Open CASCAE a viable semi-open option?)

* Is it possible to use a human readable format for CAD data? (Is 
perhaps STEP enough for development, or just a format for interchange 
between different CAD applications?)

And the most important question:

* Is the OpenMoko community interested in  using open source tools 
(possibly together with a human readable format) for developing 
"non-software" parts?

Best regards
Mats Eriksson

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