buildingSMART Forums

How open-source took over the world documentary by CNBC

For those interested, and for those who have experienced the growth of FOSS in other industries, this short 15-minute documentary by CNBC might help to share with those who have not yet heard much about OpenBIM. buildingSMART’s valuable work in developing an open data standard is a strong prerequisite towards allowing FOSS, transparency, and increased collaboration to foster in the AEC industry.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:


The way the IFC specification is published follows a standardisation process (ISO, CEN):

Any technical documentation made available by buildingSMART International Limited is the copyrighted work of buildingSMART International Limited and is owned by the buildingSMART International Limited. It may be photocopied, used in software development, or translated into another computer language without prior written consent from buildingSMART International Limited provided that full attribution is given. Prior written consent is required if changes are made to the technical specification.

This is very different from what is usually thought of as what Open Source means. E.g. licenses such as GPL, LGPL, MIT, … give you particular rights to use and adapt and release new libraries or tools but also obligations. Try not to confuse the two.

I do agree that multiple open source projects are supporting the buildingSMART standards and they can complement each other really well, but but the majority of work that is performed with BIM technologies is not based on Open Source technology and the biggest financial support within buildingSMART from software is from commercial software vendors, who are not publishing their technologies as Open Source. They don’t have to - I’m not judging this.

Notable exceptions are a.o. XBIM, IfcOpenShell and and your work on BlenderBIM. Yet, none of these projects has the financial means to be a buildingSMART member nor partake in the certification procedure. It would be interesting to see how the two worlds may strengthen each other more in the future.

We work on what we all want, we don’t need financial support because at the end our efforts will reduce costs and times in our projects and anyone who use our open source solutions

Also, what if we be even far ahead of commercial software vendors in technology?

BlenderBIM when Everything Nodes from Blender community finishes will become one of the most promising open source software in the industry

The world is going more and more focus on open source, so in the near future “commercial software” will loss its meaning and I think the majority of software vendors will change their business models to generate money

Even Autodesk has open source going on now.
IFC is not excessively present on the list and the install for Revit is a 2014 one.
A very commercial approach indeed.

This thread is not suggesting that buildingSMART’s work is open-source, or has to be. Merely an observation that there are many shared goals such as interoperability and collaboration, and that both the worlds of open data and free software support each other.

The financial restrictions placed on participation and certification is an issue that buildingSMART should consider - standards development and ecosystem development are two separate aspects, and may require different strategies for them to flourish.

@Hans_Lammerts: the majority of software on that list is existing open source software that Autodesk uses for its products and is required legally to note on that page. There are only a handful from that list that I think are actually Autodesk’s contributions, so I wouldn’t say that Autodesk has made any exemplary strides towards free software.