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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: 1) by tftp on Sunday January 22 2017, @12:26AM

    by tftp (806) on Sunday January 22 2017, @12:26AM (#457174) Homepage

    Proprietary software sucks--and, like so many things in the post-Reagan era, it's getting WORSE.

    You need to keep in mind that businesses are not trying for the best possible outcome. They need solution that works here and now. PADS does offer a subscription for updates, and we have them (we have several seats.) As new versions come out we migrate. This is not difficult -- can't say about any and all commercial products, but this one is pretty stable. The cost of subscription is part of our overhead expenses, just as the rent and the utilities. The only thing that matters for a business is the difference between profit and expenses!

    With regard to quality, most commercial products are far better than most free products. This is simply because commercial ISVs can hire the people to do the grunt work - something that F/OSS people cannot do, and very few volunteer to spend several years of their lives to develop a single-use algorithm for a very special industrial application. The case of Eagle is a good illustration here - Cadsoft kept the minimal version of the product free and charged some small money (under $100?) for a full build. This is not enough to hire enough programmers to do all that a modern PCB CAD package ought to do. This is not enough to get rid of the arcane GUI and rebuild it into something usable (see Altium - it's their specialty.) And here is the result - they are stuck with the old software and no money in the end. I'd rather take the expensive s/w that keeps developing and stays around as opposed to entry-level package that gets obsoleted and the company goes belly up, leaving me where? As they say, the devil that you know is always better - especially the devil that shares your own (business's) values and understands your needs.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22 2017, @02:58AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22 2017, @02:58AM (#457231)

    That assumes, once again, that

    1) the product isn't discontinued instead.
    2) what is offered is compatible with the old stuff.
    3) the "improved" stuff isn't an unusable steaming pile.

    ...and, with corporations putting time bombs in the software|requiring an internet connection|whatever, your option to use the old version of "your" proprietary software is disappearing.

    commercial ISVs can hire the people to do the grunt work

    A major aspect of FOSS development is a guy "scratching an itch".
    Once he's contented with his effort, he stops.
    (Ken Starks, who had his dodgy larynx removed, ran into this with a text-to-speech app.) []

    If there is no developer who thinks that -your- itch is worthy of being addressed, what you gonna do?

    It's clear to me that the bounty system on bugs|new features should be used much more.
    Is there a shortcoming in your FOSS software that really grinds your gears?
    I'll bet you're not the only one that it irritates.

    Every FOSS project should have a Bounty Page on the project's site.
    It should be dirt-simple to organize funding for a fix.
    Kickstarter has been a thing for quite a white now; the notion is widely known.

    ...and the whole Bounty paradigm should be played up more by FOSS advocates.
    Y'all feel free to use my Bounty Page notion in your advocacy.

    -- OriginalOwner_ []

    • (Score: 1) by tftp on Sunday January 22 2017, @05:35AM

      by tftp (806) on Sunday January 22 2017, @05:35AM (#457266) Homepage

      The "bounty" is a prototype of a full-blown commercial enterprise.

      The "bounty" approach also suffers from the tragedy of commons. If the product is going to be free, nobody wants to pay for its development. Everyone prefers to sit back and wait until someone else pays, or until the developers get around to fix the problem on their own accord. As an example, there is no direct, drop-in F/OSS replacement of Quicken/Quickbooks. The GUI is not hard... what is hard is to sign agreements with 100s of banks to use their online account access system. How easy, do you think, it is for a F/OSS developer to get a bank's API? What kind of demands would a bank place on the ISV's code that can reach into bank's databases and fetch/post transactions? Sometimes you just need to be a corporation to sign binding agreements - and then to live up to them. To produce tax reports for millions of people and then be responsible for their accuracy.

      There definitely are a few companies that hire workers to do F/OSS development. But there are too few of them, and their business model is based on services; the product is a loss leader, the enticement, the vehicle for a larger deal. But even then people often are displeased with the direction of the company... RH is kind of a thing in itself; Mozilla became a SJW nest and is going who knows where (I don't use their products anymore); Ubuntu produced Unity...

      Overall, I understand your main concern: if you don't have access to the code you cannot be sure that you can run the thing. And those concerns are not without merit - see Win8/Win10 for example, poor, unusable things. But that can be dealt with commercially, on the same basis that new Linux distributions (Mint) spring up when the parent codebase (Ubuntu) veers off. The only difference is money, and it is not a key factor for a business. Quality is, reliability, fitness for the duty. Not too many F/OSS projects qualify here. You can compare SublimeEdit and Atom, for example... the former is good to go; the latter doesn't even run anymore on one of my computers.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22 2017, @08:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22 2017, @08:17AM (#457284)

        You're showing your Reactionary streak.

        That phrase is an invention of The Bourgeoisie.
        For the hundreds of years when Feudalism was in decline and The Commons were actually common, that phrase didn't exist.
        It is Reactionary propaganda that arose after the Enclosure Acts, which privatized land ownership of that which had, up to that point, been freely accessible by all.

        I find it sad that every kid hasn't heard the story of Stone Soup. []
        Everyone contributes a small amount and everybody gets a nice meal.

        I have already mentioned Kickstarter, which has repeatedly demonstrated that the concept works.

        The "bounty" is a prototype of a full-blown commercial enterprise.

        As already stated, your Reactionary streak is showing.
        This is people collectively using what they have (small amounts of money) to achieve a common goal.
        It's "commercial" in the same way that a community chest is. /sarc

        Sometimes you just need to be a corporation

        That's just about enough of your Reactionary swill.

        money [...] is not a key factor for a business

        Now, you've doubled back and are arguing with your original point.
        That's comical.

        There are lots of folks here who do not share your worship of megacorporations.
        I'm one.

        -- OriginalOwner_ []