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When engineers start a new project, they must use many separate programs to design, analyze, and create the production drawings. These separate programs are most likely from different vendors using non-compatible data formats. The translation process between all these data formats can take many non-productive hours. In addition, any changes to the design often affect many separate drawings and software programs that must be changed independently

GtkCAD is a new program that attempts to solve many of these problems by integrating these many individual programs into a program suite with a single user interface and a common data format.

GtkCAD's modular design allows the user to load plug-in modules at runtime to add the functionality needed for the task at hand. The modular design also allows the user to customize GtkCAD to suit their particular needs at any given time. For example the hydrostatics program, used by naval architects, may not be very useful to civil engineers. This potential cost savings feature allows a customer to custom-build a system based upon their needs.

Linux is a true multi-user Operating System, and GtkCAD is designed to take advantage of this by allowing multiple engineers to use a single binary copy of the program simultaneously. The use of shared libraries lowers the memory footprint by allowing multiple users of the program to share a single copy of the library, and also saves time during software upgrades. The use of a SQL database also allows controlled access of the data by several engineers simultaneously, remotely if necessary.

GtkCAD is being developed using the Open Source development model. With this model groups of diverse software developers work on a common software project, often volunteering their time. Anybody is allowed to contribute to the project. In return, the software is freely distributed to the end user with little restrictions on its use, modification, or redistribution.

GtkCAD aims at developing a modular, full featured, modern CAD/CAE/CAM system for GNU/Linux. It will take advantage of parallel processing as appropiate.

GtkCAD is free software licenced under the Free Software Foundations's GPL. It will only depend on the free software libraries Gtk+, Mesa 3D, and the PostgreSQL Database

GtkCAD is being written because there are currently no CAD systems that have been developed for the LINUX operating system that meets the needs of the naval architecture community. This software is an attempt to fill those needs.

GtkCAD is being written in C using GTK+ and OpenGL libraries. C was chosen because it is the most familiar language to myself and most *NIX programmers, and due to the volume of the available code base. Gtk+ and OpenGL were chosen to ease the burden of GUI development. GtkCAD strives to be desktop independent.


13 October 04 - Registered Copyright for GtkCAD

Contact H. James Parker at developer at parkersailing dot com