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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 21 2017, @11:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the slow-death-of-proprietary-software dept.

EAGLE, The Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor is an ECAD (electronic computer-aided design), proprietary software for creating printed circuit boards. Cadsoft, the company that created it, sold EAGLE to Autodesk in June.

Hackaday reports

Autodesk has announced that EAGLE is now only available for purchase as a subscription. [Previously], users purchased EAGLE once and [could use] the software indefinitely (often for years) before deciding to move to a new version with another one-time purchase. Now, they'll be paying Autodesk on a monthly or yearly basis.

Before Autodesk purchased EAGLE from Cadsoft, a Standard license would run you $69, paid once. [...] Standard will [now] cost $15/month or $100/year and gives similar functionality to the old Premium level, but with only 2 signal layers.

[...] The next level up was Premium, at $820, paid once. [...] If you [now] need more [than 2] layers or more than 160 [] of board space, you'll need the new Premium level, at $65/month or $500/year.
New Subscription Pricing Table for Eagle

[...] The [freeware] version still exists, but, for anyone using Eagle for commercial purposes (from Tindie sellers to engineering firms), this is a big change. Even if you agree with the new pricing, a subscription model means you never actually own the software. This model will require licensing software that needs to phone home periodically and can be killed remotely. If you need to look back at a design a few years from now, you better hope that your subscription is valid, that Autodesk is still running the license server, and that you have an active internet connection.

The page has well over 100 comments, with many saying the equivalent of "Goodbye, EAGLE; Hello, KiCAD".
KiCAD is gratis and libre, cross-platform, has been adopted as a software development project by nerds at CERN, and has seen marked improvement in recent years.

CERN is Getting Serious About Development of the KiCAD App for Designing Printed Circuits
Scripts Make the (Proprietary) Cadsoft EAGLE-to-(FOSS) KiCAD Transition Easier

Some time back, anubi and I conversed about how EAGLE has been DRM'd for quite a long while.

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Saturday January 21 2017, @01:33PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 21 2017, @01:33PM (#456955) Journal

    Out of curiosity, vs. Eagle, is Kicad...

    (a) Barely suitable as a replacement,

    (b) Somewhat suitable as a replacement but some things don't work/can't really be done,

    (c) A good replacement, albeit with a different workflow,


    (d) A pretty much drop-in replacement?

    The Free Software Foundation has as a stated goal, to be able to do your computing with libre software, and as such, this answer matters as to whether that's possible in this case. Four days ago they sent members an e-mail about their high-priority projects [] list. If the answer is (a) or (b), then some feedback to them about support for this project becoming higher in priority might be in order.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday January 21 2017, @01:53PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 21 2017, @01:53PM (#456964)

    B, C, and D are the same answer for the same people in the same situation depending on grouchy level.

    So I'd take the answer B/C/D.

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday January 21 2017, @07:50PM

      by HiThere (866) on Saturday January 21 2017, @07:50PM (#457071) Journal

      No. They're the answer to the same question for different people with different usage needs. But the grouchiness level does also matter.

      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21 2017, @10:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21 2017, @10:09PM (#457116)

    It's not that simple a comparison because the free version of EAGLE has a size and layer count limitation; KiCAD is unlimited from the get-go. KiCAD is primitive compared to $$$$ suites, but perfectly functional; I don't think EAGLE is particularly advanced by comparison.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21 2017, @11:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21 2017, @11:09PM (#457135)

      the [freeware] version of EAGLE has a size and layer count limitation

      ...and, if you squint real hard at my attempt at a summary, you'll notice that the new equivalent of the old $69 version has been dropped to 2 copper layers (same as the freeware version).

      I didn't mention it in the summary and no one else has brought it up yet either but there is another FOSS ECAD called gEDA [] (GPL'd Electronics Design Automation) which started as an Amiga app and is popular with a significant segment of PCB guys.
      It has been described as not especially noob-friendly but extremely powerful in the hands of a seasoned user.

      -- OriginalOwner_ []

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23 2017, @12:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23 2017, @12:10AM (#457482)

    > Out of curiosity, vs. Eagle, is Kicad...

    I find (a). KiCAD is pretty good. I used it a while back on a large(ish) hobby board. It took some getting used to.

    The newer versions have come leaps and bounds. I still don't like how it manages/edits component libraries, but that's a mostly one-off cost on each project.

    KiCAD feels familiar to the workflow that I like (I came from Protel99 and the places I was working stuck with it for a very long time because it was so good - it just got out of your way and let you work). It's too bad some of its keyboard shortcuts are chorded (shift-P, for example) and require me to take my right hand off the mouse for common actions. I don't do enough in KiCAD to have started working out whether they can be changed.

    Switch to it. Dump the malware that Eagle has just become. That, or just don't upgrade your old perpetual licensed version if it's doing everything you need. You'll be happy enough. The only problem I have with KiCAD is that a lot of places (E14, SparkFun, Adafruit, Arduino, RPi, etc) still have Eagle files available on their sites. Not a deal breaker, but it is an extra step to getting things done when I needed to convert something. The conversion somehow feels risky and requires a lot of manual checking.