What does the lack of an industry wide standard for component footprints have to do with Altium? They are but one EDA vendor and there are certainly orders of magnitude more component manufacturers than EDA vendors. The "problems and unfriendliness" are prevalent and unique to each EDA vendor's tool set. Having an interoperable library standard cannot be done in a vacuum, and I don't think Altium can take the lead. They would need to form a consortium of EDA vendors and I think they don't want to play ball together. (It would be nice if the top 4 or 5 could join to develop this XML or whatever based standard.)
I also don't think a parts vendor could/would do it. What's in it for them? Why should they throw the resources at it? They will sell their parts regardless...if people need those parts for a certain functionality. If you're thinking "yeah that may be true for single sourced parts, but what about multi sources parts?" then I would say those are nearly commodity items anyway and there's no money in time spent making industry standard libraries for them.
It probably needs to be some organization like the IEEE.
Or users - there is nothing to say that a bunch of committed and competent users couldn't form the consortium and start the definition process. What would be required is users using all sorts of different CAE programs getting together to start the process.
There would potentially be copyright issues with someone taking the Altium libs and converting them to a open exchange format, but users ought to be able to export their own libs into a standard form.
I am sure that many of the DAE systems provide sufficient programable access to write appropriate add-ons to allow users to write the add-ons. If you had enough add-ons and users using the system the industry would eventually follow and have to work together to make it work.
What would be required?
1) Ability to store Sch symbol, including pin attributes, text (including justifications, fonts etc), pin swap data ...
2) Ability to store PCB footprint, including ...?
3) Sim data - probably a number of formats would be required, SPICE, EESoft, SABRE and others
4) Sig Int data
5) 3D data
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