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IF Project Outcome

The Open Toolchain Foundation

A new organization to improve Open Source engineering toolchains

In the context of the INTERFACER Project arose the idea for the Open Toolchain Foundation. It can be seen in the light of the Fab City Initiative that challenges cities to produce everything they consume by 2054. These projects are all about exchanging data globally to produce goods locally, so think of CAD designs, assembly manuals, user manuals, settings for machines, in short all the documentation that is required to produce goods locally.

Unfortunately, we recognize that the software tools to reach the above goal have various problems: proprietary tools have high licensing fees or various restrictions, the terms of these tools may change any time, whereas open source tools are fragmented, some features lack quality, or a consistent user experience or intercompatibility. So we draw inspiration from the open source tools that are available to software developers (compilers, editors, libraries) and aim to create a similar ecosystem of tools for engineering and manufacturing targeting the whole toolchain that is required to manufacture goods.

In short, the Open Toolchain Foundation aims to democratize engineering, making it available to anyone who wants to design, exchange designs, or manufacture products. The Open Toolchain Foundation is initiated by members of Fab City Hamburg, HIWW, and Open Source Ecology Germany.

Pieter Hijma from HIWW Kicking-off the Open Toolchain Foundation

At the end of July it was finally time for the first event of the Open Toolchain Foundation (#OTFN)! The kick-off was a complete success, the hybrid event with hand-picked international experts left all participants with a common vision, concrete starting points and of course a lot of drive.

This not only built a first network of multipliers, but also confirmed that there is a huge need for improved open source toolchains for engineering. From the community came a wide range of tasks for the new Foundation, from an improved CAD kernel to simplified technical documentation and interoperability to improved user guidance and feature implementations in existing software tools.

One major takeaway from developers was the need for good code review and preparation of new features to be implemented that exist as merge request from members of the communities. It will need funds, tool analysis and monitoring and interaction of existing software communities.

Feel free to check out our website and to contact us or to join us in supporting our goals!

Kick-Off event in July 2022

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