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README

FreeCAD
=======

FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler for CAD, MCAD,
CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but
also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering
specialties. It is 100% Open Source (LGPL2+ license) and extremely modular, allowing
for very advanced extension and customization.

FreeCAD is based on OpenCasCade, a powerful geometry kernel, features an Open Inventor-compliant
3D scene representation model provided by the Coin 3D library, and a broad Python API.
The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX, BSD and
Linux platforms.

Home page:                             http://www.freecadweb.org
Documentation wiki:                    http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki
Forum:                                 http://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/free-cad/
Bug tracker:                           http://sourceforge.net/apps/mantisbt/free-cad/
Git repository:                        http://sourceforge.net/p/free-cad/code/ci/master/tree/

Installing
==========

Precompiled (installable) packages are usually available to you from several sources and are
described on the FreeCAD download page: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=Download

Compiling
=========

Compiling FreeCAD requires to install several heavyweight libraries and their development
files such as OpenCasCADe, Coin and Qt, listed in the pages below. Once this is done,
FreeCAD can be simply compiled with cMake. On windows, these libraries are bundled and
offeredby the FreeCAD team in a convenience package, on Linux they are usually found
in your distribution's repositories and on Mac OSX and other platforms you will usually
need to compile them yourself.

Note that autotools build system can still be used but will be obsoleted soon.

The pages below contain up-to-date build instructions:

For Linux:   http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=CompileOnUnix
For windows: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=CompileOnWindows
For Mac OSX: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=CompileOnMac

In this folder you will also find additional README files, specific for each platform.

Usage
=====

The FreeCAD documentation wiki contains sections for each category of users, and a manual,
which is a compilation of the most useful articles of the wiki:

For users: General FreeCAD usage: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=User_hub
For power-users: Python scripting: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=Power_users_hub
For developers: C++ FreeCAD development: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=Developer_hub

The FreeCAD manual: http://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/index.php?title=Online_Help_Toc