Change of Eagle Ownership and Licences

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In case you are not aware, the Eagle product has changed hands again. Autodesk is now the new owner and... the product is now a subscription-based product. It must use a connect back to base link at least once every 14 days to check your eligibility for continued use.

 

The user community is understandably up in arms after their official representative stated a few months ago that they would not adopt the subscription model and now have. http://www.eevblog.com/forum/eag...

 

Looks like it is time to investigate KiCad or to stay with an old model without the internet linking.

 

edit. spelling

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

Last Edited: Mon. Jan 23, 2017 - 07:02 AM
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Noticed this yesterday(?) myself, was going to look for personal use license so I could use more than 2 layers and have no pcb size limitations...Well I'm sure not going to pay monthly/yearly, lifetime license or not for me.

valusoft wrote:
Looks like it is time to investigate KiCad

I started moving to that allready, I can see some QOL improvements over eagle aswell as losing some hair while trying to make other things work.

The fact that you can make schematic and only when moving to board area you choose component footprints is really nice in my opinion.

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Yes I see it can be a problem! well you can use your version 6.xx but bad way for Eagles!

Thierry Pottier

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And for those wondering about the pain of changing to KiCAD, Lachlan has created a conversion tool. I haven't tried it... yet.

 

https://github.com/lachlanA

 

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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It seems that Autodesk have handled it rather badly, going back on promises, and giving a "take it or leave it" choice. I guess from a bean-counters view, if a customer is not actually generating annual revenue then it is not a problem to lose them. Personally I think that is misguided, particularly as they seem to be addressing the "Maker" segment, but hey it's their business. They could have offered the option of subscription model, and if they can demonstrate there are advantages then people will move over. However I expect there is a VP Marketing who has made a rule "all products are subscription model only".

 

I guess Autodesk might not understand the special niche Eagle occupies in the hobby/small user market, I think Eagle is almost a de facto standard?

 

Lachlan's scripts are pretty good, it is worth carefully reading through the instructions. There are a few gotchas, of course it is user written not a "professional quality" tool. If you do have problems, Lachlan is happy to look at issues raised on the repository.

By chance I was just working on my own conversion tool, but it requires Eagle files stored in the XML format. I wonder how long Autodesk will support an open file format...

 

I think KiCad is quite usable, but it's a bit like early Linux - quite capable but has some rough edges. Takes a while to learn the kinks. A bonus is that all the files are plain text, although not particularly well documented.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob.

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Well hopefully DipTrace will. Not follow suit. I paid for a full license and I don't have to link to anything. Worth its weight in gold.

I like it better than Eagle, and since I can import eagle files I was able to convert my old stuff.

Feel bad for the Eagle users who paid for licenses and now that money apparently is wasted? Wow!

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Well, that pretty effectively eliminates EAGLE for me.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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I switched to KiCad back in 2013.  KiCad have come a long way since then.

 

There are a number of scripts that can convert eagle files to KiCad.  The main issue is the way the eda packages store the device footprints.  KiCad wants to store them in the cloud using version control.  Us ancient engineers that are older than dirt find this to be a bit dangerous.  Fortunately with a bit of work, the footprint libraries can be made to reside local to ones own hardware.  Most of the KiCad online supplied symbol and footprint libraries were distilled from Eagle, so there is some continuity.

 

Eagle still has one advantage. Sheer mass of online examples.  Last night I needed to look at a schematic for an Arduino shield.  For some reason the website only links the Eagle formatted files and did not include a pdf or png of the schematic.  So I had to connect a drive with an old copy of Eagle on it to view it.  There was not much point in converting the Eagle schematic as I only wanted to view it.

 

The other main difference between Eagle and KiCad is the way that the action (verbs) work between Eagle and KiCad.  Eagle was German in origin so the verb (action) comes last.  KiCad is french, so the verb is in a more logical position.   This makes KiCad more intuitive to those who are used to a more latin like grammar.   At least us native english speakers do not care where the verb is.  Although wrong you get makes one sound like yoda. 

 

KiCad development is mostly driven by the needs of CERN, so it favors a Linux machine.   Windows and OS X are supported to a lesser degree. 

 

I also still use the old expressPCB for quick and dirty lashup boards.   A few years back someone leaked the expressPCB format online.  So I wrote a translator to the KiCad format.  There is also a program called Copper Connection that reads ExpressPCB files and can generate gerbers.  Legend has it that this was created by the code developers who were laid off.  ExpressPCB now seems to be owned by Suncoast (It had been in some guys garage.)  Suncoast also has a quick turn program called pcbExpress.  I think they keep both of them as they cater to different markets.

 

ExpressPCB is a good entry level point for those who want something a bit more than Fritzing and are intimidated by DRC checks and uploading gerbers for a quote.  

 

And yes there are Fritzing to KiCad translators too.

 

 

 

 

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Will AS be next? (ducking and covering)

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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So the new Eagle CAD "subscription" is monthly at $15 ($180 per year), or yearly at $100 ($8.33 per month). But you only get 99 schematic sheets, 2 signal layers, and 160 cm² board area. I believe when I paid $70 for my non-commercial license when it was owned by Cadsoft (it was on-sale, so I think it was a $180 value), it was 99 schematics, 12 signal layers (or somewhere near that number), and 160 cm² board area. So it was $180 to OWN it and you got more signal layers... now for the same price to own it, paid once yearly, you get a lesser product.

 

I wonder if I can continue to use my personal license or if that somehow, magically gets debunked? I'll just never uninstall the product? Haha

 

Sounds like Autodesk to me.

My digital portfolio: www.jamisonjerving.com

My game company: www.polygonbyte.com

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I use expressPCB for most of my designs, they have a yearly engineer subscription ($99/yr) that will get you free gerbers for as many pcb's in a yr as you can make.

I've only used dip trace a few times, does any one know if it will do slots?  Will kiCad, and will it run on window 7?

 

 

Jim

 

 

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ki0bk wrote:
... , and will it (KiCad) run on window 7?
Yes

http://kicad-pcb.org/help/system-requirements/#_windows

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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It would be nice is someone or several someones listed  some of the strong and weak points for EAGLE alternatives.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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jporter wrote:
... , so it (KiCad) favors a Linux machine.
There's a snaps build of KiCad (iow a multi-Linux KiCad) :

http://kicad-pcb.org/download/snappy/

http://snapcraft.io/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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ka7ehk wrote:

It would be nice is someone or several someones listed  some of the strong and weak points for EAGLE alternatives.

 

Jim

 

I could give some opinions, from 2 day usage of kicad, before that I only used eagle for couple of years.

 

This is purely my opinions as hobbyist.

 

Kicad Pros.

  • No need to select footprint for component when doing schematic, you choose it when moving to board.
  • "Universal" footprints for components without tinkering with library's, I could just use capasitor footprint for resistor if wanted, this is handy since many components share same footprint.
  • No limitations on sheets/board size, I don't think layers are limited either.

 

Cons.

  • Wires not moving with the components, if you move component you are going to reconnect everything after(can group move stuff and then those stay connected), this also brings an issue if you rotate ie. Ssop-28 package by 180° it will connect everything automatically on wrong pins!!!
  • Schematic and board is not synchronized automatically, instead you need to manually so that after adding something(in some cases this could be good thougth)

 

Cant really say much more since I haven't used it for that long yet.

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Very useful. Anyone with DipTrace or other?

 

Thanks

Jim

 

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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jgmdesign wrote:
Feel bad for the Eagle users who paid for licenses and now that money apparently is wasted? Wow! Jim

 

That would be me!

 

I paid $995.00 for my license of Eagle schematic capture and PCB software - I did not purchase the auto-router, it was another $995.00.

 

I have been seriously flirting with KiCAD and Fritzing, though, neither of those products will output G-code directly.  Without a G-code extraction tool, I'm done!  Hiwire as a built-in G-code generator and Eagle has the after market offering called Gcode-PCB.  I have modified both to serve my particular needs/likes.

 

I have recently found out that there are now tools that will extract G-code from Gerber files.  Again, the issue with that these tools is that, the more advanced tools seem to be Windows based, leaving little for us Linux users.  That may change with time, though!

 

I do have to say that I like some of the features that Fritzing offers - like proto-boarding and the linking what is on the proto-board to the with schematic capture and PCB layout.  But it still needs refinement.  I like Fritzing well enough that I am considering making a contribution to their efforts.

 

KiCAD has enormous potential, as well...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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ka7ehk wrote:

Very useful. Anyone with DipTrace or other?

 

Thanks

Jim

 

As I noted earlier I have a full license which I purchased after taking the free version for a spin and finding that 300 pins is not a lot to work with.  So, I plucked whatever it was down and received the key for my machine to have unlimited amount of pins, etc....

 

One of the things I like is the 3D visualization of what your board can look like after you have done layout and routing.  Running the visualizer has helped me catch errors that could have been costly later on.

 

One of the things that made DipTrace very appealing to me was that for the price of the full license I get the Schematic capture, PCB layout, AND the Autorouter....Which I admit I do not use much anymore.  But once in a while for a simple design I will run it and make any changes I need to. wink

 

The GUI is not overly complicated, rather straightforward for the most part IMO.  Took a little getting used to, but I like not having a lot of drop down menus and such.

 

Now it does have a few quirks too.  Panelization is not as simple as I think it should be, but at the same time I am only getting started with the feature so I am probably doing something wrong.  Hopefully my question in the community will be answered soon.

 

The Support community is pretty good.  NO SPAM, replies to questions are not as fast as they are here, but I do not know how big their community base is compared to here so I cannot accurately, or honestly make a judgement call.

 

After taking a peek at the site it looks like they now offer a nice tiered licensing plan.  When I was in the market there were not as many options, bu tI do remember that if you need to increase your pin/layer count which means a new license, all you do is pay the difference to jump up....Meaning if you are using DipTrace Lite, and need to go up to Standard you just pay the difference between the two as you have already paid $145.00 for the Lite version, so to move up to the Standard  you would pay $250.00.  This is a nice way of not having to overspend based on your needs, and as your needs grow you can simply pay a small upgrade fee.

 

Hopefully DipTrace will keep this business model.  If not, I would hate the idea of having to learn another CAD package.....

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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ka7ehk wrote:
It would be nice is someone or several someones listed some of the strong and weak points for EAGLE alternatives.
This info is more quantitative than qualitative but at least it collates the names of most (all?) of the alternatives...

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co...

 

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This thread on Kicad forum is a good read if you are thinking of using Kicad.

 

https://forum.kicad.info/t/is-ki...

 

I had been looking for a CAD tool for my home use and my first board design was quite easy. I am sold on it. I have not used the 3D bits yet but intend to hook them up soon. 

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Cliff - Thanks for that link. Had not thought of looking there.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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KiCad really is gaining momentum.  I have been a longtime reader of the kicad-users mailing list.  Now I see why the traffic on the email list has dropped quite a bit.  The one failing I have with KiCad is the reliance on Bazzare code versioning and not github.  So the "official" email lists are based on some old sourceforge/egroups (I think taken over by yahoo!) lists.

 

Eagle still has usenet forums.   I rarely look at them although my email client has the option.

 

I was going to mention Altium designer in my above response, It did not seem to fit.   I had trouble getting clients to spring for an Altium license.  I did get the local rep to give me a 6 month trial on Altium.  We met at an atmel Qtouch seminar, and I wanted to play with the touch pad generator.  By the time I was starting to figure things out the trial was over.  If one does have the $$$$$ then I do think that is one of the better options, although from skimming the KiCad link and the Eagle usenet,  Altium has become too bloated.

 

Sometime I want to create a Qtouch generator for KiCad although capacitive touch seems to be fading away in favor of direct Iot interface through mobile devices ...

 

The 3D render was what sold me on KiCad back in 2012/2013.  It really make a difference to pre-visualize the board.   Especially when using a braindead tool like expressPCB.  I used to have a bad habit of putting via's through bottom traces.  It is also fun to go into my old legacy expressPCB designs and take them for a spin.  literally ...

 

-jP

 

jaydhall wrote:

This thread on Kicad forum is a good read if you are thinking of using Kicad.

 

https://forum.kicad.info/t/is-ki...

 

I had been looking for a CAD tool for my home use and my first board design was quite easy. I am sold on it. I have not used the 3D bits yet but intend to hook them up soon. 

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Jamison wrote:
year
Jamison wrote:

So the new Eagle CAD "subscription" is monthly at $15 ($180 per year), or yearly at $100 ($8.33 per month). But you only get 99 schematic sheets, 2 signal layers, and 160 cm² board area. I believe when I paid $70 for my non-commercial license when it was owned by Cadsoft (it was on-sale, so I think it was a $180 value), it was 99 schematics, 12 signal layers (or somewhere near that number), and 160 cm² board area. So it was $180 to OWN it and you got more signal layers... now for the same price to own it, paid once yearly, you get a lesser product.

 

I wonder if I can continue to use my personal license or if that somehow, magically gets debunked? I'll just never uninstall the product? Haha

 

Sounds like Autodesk to me.

 

I'm looking at the website now and prices for the Premium are $65/month or $500/year.  My employer bought my pro license which is current for 7.x, I wonder if that will work forever as long as I don't move to 8.x or newer.  And most of my work is on XP's off network, or Macs.  Since the company is use to paying monthly fees for AutoCad and Office, I could probably add Eagle without raising eyebrows.  {sigh}

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And just like that I get an email from AutoDesk

 

Hello Eagle user,

 
If you haven’t heard the good news by now, Autodesk EAGLE is available through our new EAGLE Subscription. No more having to find funds for the next upgrade. Here’s how it works:
1. Pay. Just a simple yearly subscription to get started.
2. Save. Get every new update at no extra cost.
3. Make. Create anything with the newest PCB design technologies.
We’re all really excited about the future of EAGLE and hope you can be a part of it. For staying with us over the years, here’s 50% off your first year of an EAGLE Subscription.
Just use Promotion Code: xxxxxx
At only $250 per year, a subscription works out at less than your daily cup of coffee and it’ll boost your productivity more than the caffeine will!
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"Less than a cup of coffee!" I'm in!
Did i just get sucked into the marketing spiel?

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Kartman wrote:
"Less than a cup of coffee!" I'm in! Did i just get sucked into the marketing spiel?

But that's only for the first year, then you approaching Starbuck prices. sad

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The real kicker (in the face) is that after the first year if you don't resubscribe you cannot open your own work files any longer. Blackmail I call it!

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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valusoft wrote:

The real kicker (in the face) is that after the first year if you don't resubscribe you cannot open your own work files any longer. Blackmail I call it!

 

 

Is there no longer a free viewer option? I don't use EAGLE for design, but I often look at designs from other people on the web. I guess a lot of people do.

Bob.

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valusoft wrote:

The real kicker (in the face) is that after the first year if you don't resubscribe you cannot open your own work files any longer. Blackmail I call it!

 

 

I call it... out of touch with the Eagle customer base.  The folks at AutoCAD seem to have the impression that Eagle users are on par with their well established AutoCAD customer base.  But isn't it true that, Eagle did so well because it was aimed at hobbyist - hence, the lower price point?  Rockwell International (Allen Bradley) did the exact same thing, when they purchased what they now call RSLogix.  A whole new PLC software cottage industry sprang up because Rockwell International charged outrageous prices for RXLogix.  Automation-Direct comes to mind.  The only thing that saved that RSLogix was a well established PLC user base surrounding the SLC500 and Control Logic PLC user base.

 

Why is it that whenever some little guy comes up with a really worth-while idea, the corporate gang always seems to destroy it's worth by raising the cost out of the grasp of the little guy?

 

I'm thinking that, if this isn't the death-nill for Eagle, at a minimum, these tactics will severely diminish the Eagle user base.

 

Maybe I'll just stick with my 35 year old copy of HiWire until the DB25 based security dongle either dies or there aren't any more computers surviving that incorporate a parallel printer port!  But then, there is alway that one Windows machine that will be needed to use HiWire.  There just doesn't seem to be any really elegant solutions.

 

This move seems to be genocide by means of corporate greed - that is what this is!

 

I'm thinking... I'm NOT in...

 

My recent move to Linux and, moving to KiCAD and Fritzing is looking more attractive, every day...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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I just received an answer to my question in the DipTrace forums that they have no intention of changing their licenseing policy...

I can at least breathe a sigh of relief that my investment is safe....... for however long that may be, Ha!

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Jim, I don't want to rain on your parade, and I sincerely hope I am wrong, but... that is exactly what the Autodesk flunky said a few months ago... he lied.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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One might ask why there is not an open-source EDA package equal or better than the paid alternatives as we have with many software tools? My answer would be that people who design pcbs, probably don't program, and those that program, probably don't design pcbs. So unless we get some highly skilled pcb designers that can also program, the open source tools will always lag. Maybe the change of status with Eagle might stoke the fires? I think KiCad is the premier open source package for this type of work, so maybe it needs some more input to make it better?

 

It's a pity with the Eagle subscription model that if you stop paying the $$, the program stops rather than being left at the last update version. I use some subscription based tools that work this way.

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valusoft wrote:

Jim, I don't want to rain on your parade, and I sincerely hope I am wrong, but... that is exactly what the Autodesk flunky said a few months ago... he lied.

 

Understood, and I can see your point.  At the same time DipTrace as far as I know does not have an enterprise level deployment like Eagle, Mentor, Altium and PADS does.  What I like about DipTrace is that it can do most everything that the other packages can do, but at a far more Palatable cost.  Sure it cannot do mixed signal analysis, but they are doing other types of analysis in teh latest release that I have not had the chance to play with....yet.

 

DipTrace is not big enough (purely my opinion) to want to take the financial chance of a subscription based system.  I use DipTrace, but not everyday so the idea of having to remember to make sure I phone home before I leave the house is a pain in the a$$.

 

Anyway, I shall see what happens.

 

Oh I forgot....HEY JIM WAGNER!!! DIPTRACE COMES IN A MAC VERSION TOO!!!! laugh

 

JIm

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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$250 a year!!!!

 

I pay around £67, aka $80, annually to keep my version of easy-PC up-to-date.

#1 This forum helps those that help themselves

#2 All grounds are not created equal

#3 How have you proved that your chip is running at xxMHz?

#4 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand." - Heater's ex-boss

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microcarl wrote:
I call it... out of touch with the Eagle customer base. The folks at AutoCAD seem to have the impression that Eagle users are on par with their well established AutoCAD customer base.
The thing is that if Eagle has "sold out" to Autocad there's a strong chance that's because they weren't making enough money out of it on their own so while it's a kick in the teeth for end users it could be the only way it was ever going to survive and actually make money.

 

It's a bit like Atmel/AVR and home hobbyists - that is not where they make their AVR money from (with the possible exception of 5,000,000+ Arduino!). They make the money when they sell 5m to Sony or 30m to Apple etc. So while there's an argument to say that you should keep the beginners on board because one day they'll grow up to be the guy buying 5m / 30m devices you can probably push that too far and miss revenue making opportunities. To a much lesser extent I guess Microchip's doubling of Atmel-ICE price from $50 to $100 is a little like the Eagle thing.

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I'm not sure that CadSoft were struggling financially, the two founders ran the company for 20 years before selling to Premier Farnell. I guess they were in the fifties and may have thought it was a good time to retire? I'm not sure why Farnell bought it, I'm unclear of their strategy.

It makes a lot more sense for Autodesk to own it, but when a company looks for an acquisition it's looking for something that's "good but fairly priced".

 

I don't know how much marketing research Autodesk have done, but may have seen that the "hobbyist" sales of EAGLE are so tiny it is something they can easily afford to lose. They have a subscription model which they believe is successful, so they will apply it to EAGLE regardless.

 

Of course, any verbal promises made by corporate spokespeople are worthless. The only thing that counts is a contract on paper - but even that has limits. Since software is a "property", it can be bought and sold, so it is always at the whim of future owners.

Bob.

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With Brexit crucifying the £ exchange rate, companies owned in the UK currently look like "bargains" to those outside right now. So perhaps that was actually the reason they stepped in at this time?

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Kartman wrote:
My answer would be that people who design pcbs, probably don't program, and those that program, probably don't design pcbs. So unless we get some highly skilled pcb designers that can also program, the open source tools will always lag.

 

It's possible for the skilled PCB designer to specify what needs to be done, and a skilled programmer to turn the spec into code. I would say that is how 99% of software is written, so I'm not sure where the idea that only people skilled in both application and coding can contribute comes from.

 

In many ways, it is clear that KiCad has suffered greatly from coding by people who may be great PCB designers, but not skilled *program designers*, even if they are good at hacking C++. The UX of KiCad is pretty awful, and so is the data model. To be fair, they are working with 20 year old code originally written as a student project for DOS, so it needs a lot of work just to get a decent foundation before improvements to the external interface can be made. Eagle has several full time developers, kiCad has none. With the best will in the world, it is a tough slog to create something that had all the features of a commercial CAD package like Eagle, when it is being done largely by volunteers in their spare time. It is actually remarkable how good KiCad is considering that.

Bob.

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clawson wrote:

With Brexit crucifying the £ exchange rate, companies owned in the UK currently look like "bargains" to those outside right now. So perhaps that was actually the reason they stepped in at this time?

 

Premier Farnell also recently changed hands, so new management may have decided that vertical integration was the wrong strategy, and wanted to get back to core business of shipping components. The main driver for recent acquisitions seems to be that some companies have stockpiles of cash, especially US ones, which needs to be spent somehow.

Bob.

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donotdespisethesnake wrote:
Of course, any verbal promises made by corporate spokespeople are worthless.

Agreed. but lemme roll up in my security blanket for a little while please? smiley

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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I've not been able to figure out from the Eagle web site - If you purchased (big money, like MicroCarl - mea culpa)  a previous version and do not "upgrade", is there anything preventing you from continuing to use that now "old" version?

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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As a long time EAGLE user, I recommend Easy EDA.  I made the move about 8 months ago due to EAGLE freeware restrictions on board size.  It's a cloud based product that makes its money by offering PCB production services; use of the PCB design software is free.  They allow download of Gerber files, so you have the freedom to send to any fab house if you want, but they're very competitive on price and quality so I usually just complete the fab with them.  Helpfully if you're coming from EAGLE, you can upload your EAGLE files to their system rather painlessly.  The learning curve for EASY EDA was much easier than learning EAGLE.  On the down side, it doesn't have the same level of advanced features available on EAGLE, nor quite the extensive library of parts, but it has everything I've needed so far.   

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donotdespisethesnake wrote:

Kartman wrote:
My answer would be that people who design pcbs, probably don't program, and those that program, probably don't design pcbs. So unless we get some highly skilled pcb designers that can also program, the open source tools will always lag.

 

It's possible for the skilled PCB designer to specify what needs to be done, and a skilled programmer to turn the spec into code. I would say that is how 99% of software is written, so I'm not sure where the idea that only people skilled in both application and coding can contribute comes from.

 

In many ways, it is clear that KiCad has suffered greatly from coding by people who may be great PCB designers, but not skilled *program designers*, even if they are good at hacking C++. The UX of KiCad is pretty awful, and so is the data model. To be fair, they are working with 20 year old code originally written as a student project for DOS, so it needs a lot of work just to get a decent foundation before improvements to the external interface can be made. Eagle has several full time developers, kiCad has none. With the best will in the world, it is a tough slog to create something that had all the features of a commercial CAD package like Eagle, when it is being done largely by volunteers in their spare time. It is actually remarkable how good KiCad is considering that.

 

I agree with you here, Bob. I write software simulators/training tools for large equipment (tractors, hay balers, chainsaws, etc.) that I know absolutely nothing of how to operate or adjust but yet I can still accomplish the programming. The detail is in the specification.

 

Back on topic... I hope Autodesk can add some worthwhile things to the product but I hate the price point. Especially for the the Premium model. However, I would assume both subscriptions would allow commercial use? I have not checked this yet, though. My previous purchase of Cadsoft's personal license did not allow commercial use.

 

It seems the "free" version of the product is still the same as it was when Cadsoft owned it.

 

As for the KiCad, I checked out a 20 minute YouTube video the other day on schematic design and board routing. I gotta say, I loved what I saw and I want to try this product. What I know I will miss is all of my components that I've designed footprints for in Eagle. But I hear that's less of an issue with KiCad because you select a footprint after you design the schematic? I don't know. I need to look into that. It sounds interesting.

My digital portfolio: www.jamisonjerving.com

My game company: www.polygonbyte.com

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valusoft wrote:

The real kicker (in the face) is that after the first year if you don't resubscribe you cannot open your own work files any longer. Blackmail I call it!

 

What? really? Any links ?

I'm not sure that held-to-ransom selling, is even legal in many countries ?

 

Most other subscriptions I know of stop short of ransoming data; still it is a next-step for an insular, greedy short sighted company.

 

Stockholders would be none too impressed by such short-sightedness.

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Jamison wrote:

As for the KiCad, I checked out a 20 minute YouTube video the other day on schematic design and board routing. I gotta say, I loved what I saw and I want to try this product.

KiCad has a very good Shove Router, and an open ASCII data base with good script access.

 

Jamison wrote:

What I know I will miss is all of my components that I've designed footprints for in Eagle. But I hear that's less of an issue with KiCad because you select a footprint after you design the schematic? I don't know. I need to look into that. It sounds interesting.

I think there are converters for Eagle, so you can convert your libraries.

 

I'd say there will be more demand for such converters.

From what I understand, some converters need to run in Eagle as scripts to operate.

That may need to change, and AutoDESK may quietly cripple Eagle to nobble such converters, as well as move to a closed database.

Still, existing Eagle copies will be ok but 'owners' of Auto-update may be exposed.

 

Such is the mindset of turf protection in the big EDA companies.

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Jamison wrote:
But I hear that's less of an issue with KiCad because you select a footprint after you design the schematic?

Yup, that's how it goes, in my opinion it's way better than in eagle where you select footprint while drawing schematic, which atleast in my case often did lead to the fact that I was forced to look at available components from farnell during drawing because when I plant the component on schematic I did limit myself to single case(footprint) or modifying the schematic over and over again, because I did found out there is better component for the job, but sadly with different footprint.

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ka7ehk wrote:

I've not been able to figure out from the Eagle web site - If you purchased (big money, like MicroCarl - mea culpa)  a previous version and do not "upgrade", is there anything preventing you from continuing to use that now "old" version?

 

Jim

I can still use my copy of Eagle 5 - on a Windows machine.  The Eagle 5 license is perpetual, as long as you have the original CD and license key.  But...  I only have one Windows machine left - every other machine has been moved over to Linux and I really want this last machine running Linux, but not until I have decent design & development tools running on Linux.  I had been considering shelling out that second $995.00 for the Linux version of Eagle.  But that won't happen now!

 

So the question is, do the new Eagle owners still offer a free evaluation version that allowed 100mm X 40mm board size?  In a lot of instances, PCB's are 100mm X 40mm, or less.  So the evaluation could still be a viable option for smaller projects.  Many times, I'll place several smaller (but different) board patterns on a single 4" X 6" PCB blank so as not to waste PCB board material.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Jamison wrote:
As for the KiCad, I checked out a 20 minute YouTube video the other day on schematic design and board routing. I gotta say, I loved what I saw and I want to try this product. What I know I will miss is all of my components that I've designed footprints for in Eagle. But I hear that's less of an issue with KiCad because you select a footprint after you design the schematic? I don't know. I need to look into that. It sounds interesting.

 

There is a ULP based converter which does a fair job, considering the quirks of Eagle and KiCad. KiCad can also read Eagle package libraries and brd files directly, with some limitations. I have tried this process a couple of times, and found the conversion rather messy, and also missing several things, both of which take a lot of cleaning up. For small projects, I found it easier to recreate the project from scratch.

 

I am working on a tool to do a one-stop conversion which should produce a cleaner and better output, but it will still be an "Eagle project in KiCad", so may not lay well with existing KiCad libraries. I am doing this tool for my own benefit, and Windows only, but it might be useful to other people. Certainly the process is fairly straightforward once you know the quirks in Eagle and Kicad.

Bob.

Last Edited: Thu. Jan 26, 2017 - 01:07 AM
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ka7ehk wrote:

I've not been able to figure out from the Eagle web site - If you purchased (big money, like MicroCarl - mea culpa)  a previous version and do not "upgrade", is there anything preventing you from continuing to use that now "old" version?

 

Jim

 

Certainly no legal method of prevention.  They can't change the licensing terms of past purchases, no matter how much they'd like to.

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They could simply stop supporting that version... following on from M$'s lead.

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Jamison wrote:
... What I know I will miss is all of my components that I've designed footprints for in Eagle. But I hear that's less of an issue with KiCad because you select a footprint after you design the schematic? I don't know.

Probably repeating what others have noted.

 

Eagle footprints can be imported directly to KiCad.  That is where the initial KiCad footprint libraries came from.

 

I wrote my own translation scripts in postscript (yes the printer/page layout language.)  KiCad uses python as it's internal scripting language. 

 

The main issues when scripting footprint conversions is layer mapping. Especially the keep out areas and zones. The other issue is text rotation (where postscript comes in handy as it can find and move rotation centers.) 

 

Most serious board designers vet their own footprints, so this is a minor annoyance.  The nice thing is that KiCad stores the files in a human readable format.  The old version was the same as windows *.ini  The more recent version simplified the same info in a more python like data tree.  While the file format docs are a bit dated they still are way better than the proprietary stuff.  Hand tweaking is quite trivial to move things from one layer to another.   The current versions read the old versions just fine.

 

There are also some really useful online tools that can build directly from png or other bi-level bmp formats.  Useful for creating logos and other text.

 

KiCad footprints can also link to stl type solid modeling files and documentation databases.  Useful when using the 3D solid model viewer on the board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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