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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:32 pm 
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You can't buy Photoshop anymore because it and other Adobe applications have moved to its Creative Cloud rental platform. Likewise, the PCB design tool EAGLE is now rental-only, $100 per year for Standard (2 layers, 160 cm^2) or $500 per year for Premium.

Time for an exodus to KiCAD yet?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:53 pm 
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For once I am happy that some program became less useful. Maybe we'll see less autorouter messes now lol

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:58 pm 
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There should be something here that helps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compariso ... A_software

Instead of photoshop, I'm using Gimp.

For PCB CAD, I'm still using an old DOS version of Easy-PC Pro from Number One Systems in England, for both hobby and work. It was only $375 nearly 23 years ago, but I like it because it is so flexible it lets me do almost anything I want, including a lot of things the programmers probably didn't think of. (The advent of Gerber 274X helped with this, because it used to be a pain to explain the merge files to the board houses when all we had was 274D and had to write things up in clear detail in the manufacturing instructions.) I always make my own custom land patterns because I can get better density that way than what comes standard, and we have not had any resulting production problems. I have the book "SMT High Density Design & DFM" by James C. Blankenhorn, put out by SMT Plus, Inc.. It cost something like $300 but it is poorly written and their idea of high density is not very dense compared to what we've been doing. I don't use an autorouter. They're convenient, but never as intelligent as a human. At my last place of work, we had OrCAD, and the autorouter was really idiotic.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:04 pm 
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Unfortunately(?), the free subset of Eagle is unchanged, so you're still going to get autorouter messes from that.

It's just all the freemium parts that are now rental instead of permanent licenses.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:53 pm 
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Not really about Eagle, but...
I ranted about Photoshop on some forum, about a year or
two ago...

For me, they just 'jumped the shark'.

Two major reasons.
- There is really no innovation any more. I was using a version of Photoshop from 10 years ago, and it's only downside was a lack of animating gifs tools
- there are dozens of free softwares that do a nearly identical job

The only problem you get, is, it's a pain to open a Photoshop file .psd in GIMP. There is a website that can convert the file to a GIMP file.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:10 pm 
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dougeff wrote:
I was using a version of Photoshop from 10 years ago, and it's only downside was a lack of animating gifs tools

It looks like you haven't needed many of Photoshop's features. I couldn't find anything remotely close to its nondestructive editing features (these are the #1 reason I absolutely can't switch to GIMP), which have improved a lot in the last 10 years. It can also do basic video editing and 3D rendering, among a shitload of other useful features that not everyone uses.

It's very silly to claim that the ability to create animated GIFs is the only addition Photoshop received in 10 years. Maybe it's the only one you needed, and that probably means you're severely underusing Photoshop, and could indeed get by with cheaper/free tools.

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The only problem you get, is, it's a pain to open a Photoshop file .psd in GIMP. There is a website that can convert the file to a GIMP file.

You might even get to see the image when you do this, but you lose most of the editable content. If the file contains anything that uses the nondestructive features, all you'll get is the final rasterized effect.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:11 pm 
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"severely underusing Photoshop"

I use it as a photo editing / pixel editing tool. I could probably get by with just Pyxel and Aseprite at this point.

I'm not about to add a 3d rendered scene to an NES game, so...whatever.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:44 pm 
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dougeff wrote:
I'm not about to add a 3d rendered scene to an NES game, so...whatever.

That's exactly my point... you don't NEED Photoshop in the first place, so it's not surprising that you didn't notice the shitload of features that have nothing to do with what you're using it for. :wink:

I do use Photoshop for sprite work sometimes, mostly because of layers and animation, but I don't think it's the best tool for this.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:01 am 
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Is Photoshop's 3D modeller any good compared to a dedicated program like, say, Blender? Like is it something you'd actually want to 3D model with, or is it just like for quick/simple stuff if you've already got photoshop open?

Personally I use Gimp on a daily basis for pixel art, which I think it's actually pretty well suited to once you get through the learning curve. I use Aseprite if I need something animated, but otherwise I prefer Gimp. (Aseprite is great at animation, but Gimp has more/better drawing tools in general.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:52 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
Is Photoshop's 3D modeller any good compared to a dedicated program like, say, Blender? Like is it something you'd actually want to 3D model with, or is it just like for quick/simple stuff if you've already got photoshop open?

Nah, it sucks, you can only model really simple stuff, last time I checked. You're normally supposed create the models elsewhere and import them into Photoshop.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:37 am 
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tepples wrote:
You can't buy Photoshop anymore because it and other Adobe applications have moved to its Creative Cloud rental platform. Likewise, the PCB design tool EAGLE is now rental-only, $100 per year for Standard (2 layers, 160 cm^2) or $500 per year for Premium.

Time for an exodus to KiCAD yet?

Yep. Especially considering it comes with other advantages of GNU in addition to the free price - you can keep older versions if you want, use the program in non x86 platforms, and, at least theoretically, modify the program (even though chances we'll be able to do any significant or useful changes is very low).

As for Photoshop, I never used that program ever so I can't comment.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:10 am 
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This is the same model Autodesk is using for every other product in their portfolio. While perhaps offensive to "us", it has to be a well thought out business model, or Autodesk is doomed as a brand of industry standard industrial design software for a variety of specialized fields. Have your pick. The way I look at it, they're not terribly desperate to keep me and you as users of Eagle. 10 years ago, the main selling point of Eagle was that it had a free version, so beginners and hobbyists could use it. Under Autodesk, the main selling point will likely be very different. While they offered CAD software in almost every category, they did not offer any EE CAD solution. The natural way to rectify this was through an acquisition, rather than designing something from scratch. The point of Eagle is no longer to lure in new users with a free version, but to offer a full range of software. What I would expect their next move to be, after giving the Eagle GUI a well deserved remake, is integration with their other CAD software. Have your electronics engineer design a board, and then let the product designer seamlessly open that in (eg) Inventor and design a housing for the product, with a full 3D model of the board. The EE and product design engineer can swap files back and forth with no effort. That will be the selling point for Eagle in a corporate environment.

You can think what you want about the rental model of software, but from Autodesk's perspective, it's probably a necessary evil. They probably realized that a user sticking with a 5 year old version, makes them as much money as a pirate: none. Whether you like it or not, developers need money to stick around, and thus the company needs a strategy to keep a steady revenue stream. Instead of paying a ridiculous one-time price tag, you'll pay a modest sum every month. Their target audience, corporations making money using their software, should have no problem with this model. Small businesses who for the most part don't need the "big" package, can rent it for a couple of months for a single project, without long term commitment. Autodesk can simplify their software development by pretty much guaranteeing that everyone is using the same version, which will simplify bug tracking and customer support. You may not like it, but it is what it is.

Despite your principled objection to renting software, Eagle will both survive and thrive under Autodesk's rule.

The one and only minor quibble (outside of principled objections) I would have with their pricing model is that neither the free nor the standard version supports more than 2 layers. OSHPark and many other prototype PCB services support 4 layer boards effortlessly. Even with the previous pricing model, a cheap version supported 6 layer designs. 4 layer should imo be considered the new standard for any reasonably complex board using BGA chips.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:48 pm 
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I've never understood why Eagle is so popular with it's limitations on the free edition. Maybe it's just because the component footprint library is better with Eagle. But honestly I rarely like provided footprints once I realized making my own footprints wasn't that hard, I much prefer to make my own footprints. Relying on provided footprints is just asking for parts to not fit on the board once it arrives.

The first PCB I ever drafted was using eagle, as it came with recommendations from everywhere online and school colleagues. But once I realized I would be forever limited by the size/layers I couldn't stomach the idea of continuing to use Eagle. Second PCB I ever drafted was with DesignSpark and I haven't looked back since. Sure it's not perfect and I wish there were more keyboard shortcuts, but it's simple and I can typically figure out how to do things on my own or with the help section instead of google.

Occasionally I still have to fire up Eagle to reference something and immediately want to shoot myself. Seriously why are do you have 100 some layers for a 2 layer PCB. Copper, silk, documentation, outline, and maybe mask, that's all you're generating, that's all I need! Why can't I easily change the line size of this silk screen? Why can't I just select the damn thing on the screen and move/delete/whatever it by clicking on it! Everything is so unbelievably unintuitive it's maddening.

If you've been using Eagle forever and it's your jam, sure I feel your pain. But the fact the free version was so limited should have been a warning sign to you when you choose to make it your jam. If you're learning a software that's not free you have to be prepared for when the creator decides on a different business model.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:30 pm 
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Eagle seems to have been one of the early ones to the CAD field, and apparently a pretty good one, too.

In the 1980's I was laying out boards by hand, 4x actual size, and taping (remember Bishop Graphics?) on films, and then we had to drive those to the graphics-arts place to have them reduced to actual size, and then drive the resulting films to the board house. When someone said the next big thing was doing the board on the computer and mailing a floppy disc, it seemed incredible. (That was even before sending the files via BBS, let alone emailing.)

So when the boss gave us the go-ahead to start shopping for CAD, we gathered lots of info and demos. Not having any experience at all with CAD, it was hard to choose one, so we finally went with OrCAD, thinking that since they had been into CAD longer than most of the others, they should be the most refined and have the bugs out. Boy were we wrong. We spent $3000 (back when that was a lot more money that it is today), and it had more bugs than an ant hill! The engineering manager asked me to write up a list to get OrCAD to fix them. The list was many, many pages long. OrCAD sent us frequent updates, and often we received replacement discs two days in a row. They'd fix one bug and introduce two more. We got some literature saying they were re-writing it and they had a couple of top-notch software experts writing some huge number of lines per day. I thought, "Yeah, I've seen what happens when they do that. It's not good."

When I moved to a new startup company in 1992, we first had the board layout work done outside. That was a disaster. We decided to get our own CAD. There was absolutely no temptation at all to take bootleg copies of OrCAD. I shopped around again, and gathered a lot of demo floppies. (There were BBSs and mostly text-based online services, but they were mostly not part of the world-wide web yet.) One of those demos was Eagle. They said emphatically that this one will not crash. Well, the demo itself crashed on me! I seem to remember I mostly liked it until that point.

After all the evaluations, I gave the boss my preference which was Maxi-PC at about $2500 IIRC, and my next choice, which was a close second, above many others that were more expensive, was Easy-PC Pro from Number One Systems in England, at $375. Our company was strapped for cash, so they got me Easy-PC Pro rather than Maxi-PC. Initially it had a lot of bugs, but I and one other intensive user in the U.S. keep notifying them off all the problems and as much as we could tell about what made the problems show up, and Number One Systems was very responsive and good about fixing them all. They even called me on the phone several times, from about 5,000 miles away (back when long-distance calling was more of a major deal). After they got the bugs out, they were trying to add more features to get more sales, but I think it became harder to use, so I quit taking the updates in about 1995 or '96.

Although I have done up to 12 layers and 500 parts on a board, I never filled the memory in my original '286 with 1MB of RAM. The CAD would do boards up to 32" square and 16 distinct layers including silkscreens (ie, 14 copper). There was no limit on holes, components, or traces, as long as it all fit in memory. You could also do blind and buried vias. It sounds like the free version of Eagle couldn't approach that.

The modern Gerber format is RS-274X. The older CADs put out 274D; but it's pretty easy to convert once you know how it works and form your templates, and then you can do special things in the copper layers that previously used to require writing very exacting manufacturing instructions for the board house, in the readme.txt file, about how to merge combinations of files in positive and negative, and hoping they wouldn't mess it up. 274X nearly eliminates the possibility that the board house will mess it up. I do use gerbv free gerber-viewer software to check my work before sending the files to a board house.

I don't use any component footprints from the supplied libraries. I make all my own, and I have my own libraries. Why? To get better density.

A few board houses supply their own free CAD. I don't recommend using these, because you'll have to learn a new one for each board house you use, and if you decide to get the same board made somewhere else later, you have to lay it out again, since there's no way to convert the file types. Just use a normal board house that uses industry-standard gerber and excellon files.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:29 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
Occasionally I still have to fire up Eagle to reference something and immediately want to shoot myself. Seriously why are do you have 100 some layers for a 2 layer PCB. Copper, silk, documentation, outline, and maybe mask, that's all you're generating, that's all I need! Why can't I easily change the line size of this silk screen? Why can't I just select the damn thing on the screen and move/delete/whatever it by clicking on it! Everything is so unbelievably unintuitive it's maddening.
This sounds very much like the discussion about Photoshop vs alternatives discussion above. Yes, those extra features may seem redundant if you never use them. The reason for all those layers is organization and semantics.

What if all the values for your resistors are cluttering your screen and you just want to see the names? Turn off the values. Or vice versa.
What if you want to see only your drills and outline so you can take a screenshot and compare it to some other part? Disable everything except those two.
Want to stop yourself from accidentally moving a part on the top layer? Disable the tOrigins layer and the little crosshairs for moving a part disappears and likewise you can't move those parts. Sounds silly and can be extremely confusing the first time it happens, but useful.
Hell, don't like the airwires between unrouted copper? Disable'em. That's layer 19.
The stop, restrict and keepout layers are meant for automatic rule checking, but also have nice side effects in the gerber output. The stop layer can be used to do cutout in the solder mask (the lacquer layer that covers most of the PCB that is often green.) The restrict layer on the other hand makes a cutout in copper planes. If nothing else, this can be used for artistic effect, ie writing something in copper cutouts behind the solder mask.

It's a powerful tool, but also has a learning curve.

But I wonder, what exactly is it that you want to move freely? The point of having a component is that you get a footprint with a known layout. If you have a footprint for, say, a DB25 connector with 25 solder connections and two holes for attaching the connector with a screw on either side of the board, what do you expect to do exactly? If you can just move anything willy-nilly, it's extremely easy to shoot your self in the foot. Move the screw hole by accident and forget it about and voilà, the hole doesn't line up when you order the board. Move an individual solder land for a component, and now the component won't match. Move the solder mask stop rectangle for an individual pad, and now the cutout for that pad mismatches the solder land, so the component can't be soldered. it would be insanity to be in that edit mode all the time and have to walk on eggshells to not accidentally move something you don't want to. This is not Adobe Illustrator. If you DO want to edit the component layout, you can still do that right way, through the component library. And you also have the smash function which breaks loose specifically the name and value for a component, which you might actually reasonably want to move.

But if you don't need or want the extra functions, then maybe Eagle indeed isn't the tool for you. And indeed, I'm glad that you found something that works for you.

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