This week I have been a bit light on the blogging. The main reason for this is that I was away in Germany with work. A little show called EuroMold, it is the biggest CAD/CAM/CAE (and more engineering type stuff) show in Europe, so all the vendors are there demonstrating and giving away free stuff.
I saw the guys behind FreeSteel, who have put together their own set of algorithms (with the main one being Adaptive Clearing) which they own and licence to anyone who wants to use them for a very reasonable price. Julian has put his write-up of EuroMold on his blog.
What you tend to notice about the engineering software industry, is that noone seems to excel, and it is very insular. Companies don't talk to eachother, developers don't talk to eachother (even though there isn't a huge number of CAM developers in the world), there are no libraries out there that really help when it comes to developing CAM software when it comes down to the nitty gritty of machining.
What I noticed about the software on display at EuroMold, is it all looked mostly the same. The OpenGL rendering looked excellent on some packages but the rest of the user interface was poor in comparison. Also some tended to make the same mistakes in the user interface (as the default behaviour of code generators tends to leave some holes). Most demonstrations were done with the standard Windows theme so it all looked like the 1990s running on Windows 95... A bit of a pity since I have sent a couple of weeks tweaking DEPOCAM for Windows Vista, so it looks good on that platform.
With most of the applications, they are getting more and more functionality, and doing more and more in one place. This tends to make for cluttered applications.