This paper is a survey of the current state of the art of open source software for yacht design applications.
Yacht design and design tools we use have undergone numerous transformations in recent decades, the most notable being the introduction of the personal computer. Since the advent of the PC, yacht designers have been forced to create their own programs from scratch or choosing from relatively few off-the-shelf programs. Commercial software has been characterized by high expense, closed systems, and limited interoperability between applications that are difficult to fully customize or use in a collaborative manner. A lot of sneaker-netting and custom conversion code is often required. For the last several years, users in many industries have been given a new option of joining the “open source movement,” where software and the underlying code is made available for users to download, modify, improve and again make available to others. With open source, the isolated approach to custom software development can be replaced with a broad base of core capability that can be extended and shared with the larger community. Industry players collaborate on the essential elements of tools for our profession - as the saying goes, "A rising tide will lift all boats." There is still plenty of room for individuals or companies to differentiate themselves by how they use the tools and by their niche areas of expertise or experience, but the return on investing in an 'open source' set of common tools is potentially greater than its cost. In doing so, software tools are developed and improved in a collaborative manner, resulting in shorter development time and applications that are more powerful, robust and interoperable for all users. Although working in a closed environment may feel safe and secure to private actors, the lack of adequate peer review and external contribution leads to situation specific myopia. In this paper, we will survey available open source tools both general and yacht design specific that can be used, present some suggestions on integrating them into the design process and explore how the industry can improve these tools in the future.