Freeware is commonly used by a wide range of people in a professional and personal capacity. However, structural engineers are more often found to be distrusting of free structural engineering software. With a range of freeware options available, is it time to start trusting this solution?
The computing world has a wide range of myths associated with it. Since the 1990s one of the most common claims that have been made is that the Mac and Linux systems are considered to be immune to malware and viruses; a complete myth that is very obviously not true, but based on the notion that these systems are more challenging for virus developers in the 1990s.
Similar to this, there have been a range of misconceptions circulated about freeware that have historically dissuaded structural engineers from putting complete trust in the software when using it for their projects. This doubt and suspicion has remained even with the increase of free and open-source programs that have been made available by trusted developers and suppliers over the course of the past few years.
One example of widely integrated freeware is Dropbox, used by a wide audience in order to place and store important documents in the cloud. Many Structural engineers also use this freeware service and this creates a contradiction for a range of businesses in this industry. Misconceptions around freeware is that the free structural analysis and design software lacks the quality assurance of paid for equivalents and that there will be a slower rate of roll out updates for new design regulations. However, these feelings to the outdated notion that freeware is developed by a single person as opposed to trained specialists, reputable companies and start-ups.
With computing misconceptions still lingering from a misunderstanding of a historical situation, it is vital that Structural engineering companies understand and discover that freeware offering the same level of quality assurances and support as purchased software, and with the abundance of freeware available, now is a great time for engineers to trust professionally.