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What is BRL‑CAD?

BRL-CAD is a powerful open source cross-platform solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, geometry libraries for application developers, and more than 30 years of active development.

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BRL‑CAD Release 7.24.0, Archer Alpha
After nearly an entire year's worth of intense collaborative effort, the 7.24.0 major release of BRL-CAD is now available for download! This is the alpha release unveiling of Archer/MGED, a preliminary interface update to BRL-CAD's graphical geometry editor. Some highlights include an integrated graphical tree view, a single window framework, drag and drop geometry editing, information panels, shortcut buttons, improved polygonal mesh and 2D sketch editing, level of detail wireframes, NURBS shaded display support, and much more. As alpha software, this new MGED prototype aims to provide functional feature parity with the antecedent MGED interface while introducing changes. Prior to upcoming beta testing where the emphasis is predominantly on stability and usability, this alpha status solicits feedback from the community on capability and features. This release also includes various improvements to BRL-CAD's ray tracing infrastructure including CPU thread affinity locking for faster performance, more consistent grazing hit behavior, expanded volume and surface area calculations, numerous bug fixes, and more robust NURBS evaluation. Following BRL-CAD's interface deprecation policy (see CHANGES file), the Jove text editor is no longer being bundled. Various converters including the STEP, Patch, and 3DM importers received robustness improvements.
History of BRL‑CAD
In 1979, the U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL) – now the United States Army Research Laboratory – expressed a need for tools that could assist with the computer simulation and engineering analysis of combat vehicle systems and environments. When no CAD package was found to be adequate for this purpose, BRL software developers – led by Mike Muuss – began assembling a suite of utilities capable of interactively displaying, editing, and interrogating geometric models. This suite became known as BRL-CAD. Development on BRL-CAD as a package subsequently began in 1983; the first public release was made in 1984. BRL-CAD became an open-source project on December, 2004. The BRL-CAD source code repository is believed to be the oldest public version-controlled codebase in the world that's still under active development, dating back to 1983-12-16 00:10:31 UTC.
Documenting Redux
BRL-CAD was selected to participate in the 2013 Google Summer of Code Doc Camp. A team of contributors got together in California, brainstormed, and wrote an entire book for BRL-CAD in just a few days. They created a guide for contributing to BRL-CAD. BRL-CAD doc team getting to work writing a book from scratch in less than three days Contrary to and perhaps because of longstanding efforts, people interested in improving BRL-CAD sometimes find themselves lost in a sea of information. In all, BRL-CAD has more than a million words of documentation across hundreds of manual pages, dozens of tutorials and examples, hundreds of wiki pages, dozens of technical papers, and other resources. There are literally thousands of features. It's a lot, created over decades of development. Over the course of a week in October, members from our community participated in something fresh. Something different. Unconference brainstorming stickies A team of individuals traveled from around the world to the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, to participate in a 2-part event: an unconference and a book sprint. Teams for GNOME, OpenMRS, and BRL-CAD arrived on the Google campus and talked at length about techniques, tools, formats, documenters, and more. By the end of the week, seven individuals from four different countries, three continents, and one oceanic island produced a book for BRL-CAD totaling more than 100 pages in length. As free open source software, one of BRL-CAD's greatest strengths is that anyone can get involved and directly contribute. You can make it better. This new book focuses on that aspect and introduces people to the project while providing detailed information for developers, writers, artists, and other potential contributors. Fresh air break with Allen Gunn of Aspiration and Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals This new effort kick-starts a campaign to dramatically improve BRL-CAD's documentation, starting with this new contributor's guide. This guide will be available on a website at a later date in electronic and printed form. Attending the camp provided an exciting opportunity to get a grasp on new techniques for documenting and sharing information about our software, hopefully in ways that help us grow our community. BRL-CAD's team included Sean Morrison, Eric Edwards, Cliff Yapp, Harmanpreet Singh, Check Nyah, Isaac Kamga, and Scott Nesbitt. Thank you to the Google Open Source Programs Office for their sponsorship, Allen Gunn of Aspiration for magnificently framing the event, and Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals for directing the production. For more information on this book or how to contribute to BRL-CAD, please join one of our mailing lists.
BRL‑CAD Logo Competition!
The BRL-CAD open source project is interested in a new logo so we're holding a competition for inspiring ideas from the community! You have the chance to win cold cash, make friends, and obtain world-wide notoriety.There are cash prizes for first, second, and third place selections plus an optional bonus. Winning selections will be announced by August 15th. Pen and paper work just fine. Scan it in and e-mail it. You're welcome to use any tools or software to design the logo. That said, you can double your prize amount IF (and only if) you design a selected logo only using BRL-CAD tools. See here for an example of what I mean. If you're going for the bonus, submit a ".g" geometry file in addition to any image file(s) you provide. In case you're wondering, shoving an image into a .g doesn't count! With our steep learning curve, though, it's definitely not for pansies nor recommended if you're a newbie. The bonus is just for the added awesome factor. The BRL-CAD "mascot" is a moose. Feel free to incorporate that into your design or come up with something more abstract. Other keywords relevant to our project domain are listed in this file.
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