Greg Ward wrote
I am not a dictator ...
Ave, Greg! Why not take the chance and be one , this is no shame, others do it, too. ( remember that you live in the worlds most powerful dictatorship, Mr. Bush didn't win the elections but still somehow manoeuvered himself into the Oral - sorry, different story - Oval Office )
just some thoughts on it-
1) There has to be one - or a very small group - who sets the guidelines, otherwise things will fall apart sooner or later. But this can make it difficult for volunteers. I compare it with my artwork, I never got really big payment, but I only did what I wanted, so it was OK with me. But if I shall fulfill someone else's ideas just for free, hmm, well, that's close to slavery. Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln who forbade this?
2) The engineering/design firms mentioned make lots of bucks with their consulting projects (Jack, Rob's Boss or the guys from Arup probably will correct me here on the 'lots'...) but don't need to pay a cent for the software. This is NOT meant to blame anyone. Its the other way, generally businessmen are straightforward and realistic, so they might even prefer paying some acceptable price for a guaranteed stable version including support instead of anything free, but 'experimental', sometimes working and sometimes not. (OK, maybe I'm too optimistic ...) But I'm a realist, too. See point 1 ...
3) LBNL has losened its grip, the software is now open source, it doesn't sound as if they are willing to spend much time on it anymore. But to assure if any of the possible new developments eligible for integration doesn't taint the program and drags the name into the dirt is a tedious job and needs a considerable amount of time, too. Currently it seems that poor Greg has to do it for free, (so he's a dictator and a volunteer in one person)
This are only some organisatorial side-topics. There's of course more to say, but I think I better not open another can of worms and discuss different ideas and possible strategies concerning the addon and its integration itself (separate/connected to the core, etc., etc.). There's only one solution available right now anyway.