The good old pioneering years have past and gave us mature numerical simulation packages to model physics. Universities and enthusiasts at the beginning helped craft the software and technology we see today. As these commercial options became evermore closed, new open source driven projects started to bloom some years ago.
The start might have been slow, with many limitations but each part of an integrated open source simulation environment was crafted.
These have evolved but tried to do a bit of everything, with the penalty of becoming too complex, since development priorities could not focus on all aspects: geometry, meshing, solving…
Today we start to see the end of the dark age and the beginning of a pungent evolution of these individual packages. Why?
A base software integrates all individual necessary components and therefore each development team focuses on it’s special functional area. This evolved new approach will drive ultimately an increased software usage which will motivate more development.
So who are these integrators?
The first one will launch in September 2017 which is Salome-Meca, it will feature a complete integrated package: geometry, meshing, solving more polished and simple to use. Salome Meca 2016 already allowed some easy usage but was very limited and to go beyond required more coding.
FreeCAD 0.17 is improving from a FEM package that was very incomplete to a very versatile package having fluid, structural and thermal capabilities. Allows now also contact definition.
These packages will continue to grow at an accelerated pace and 2017 will be the turning point! Comercial software will have to adapt to this new reality.