Author Topic: Free Altium is Coming  (Read 262120 times)

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Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #100 on: September 15, 2014, 07:00:19 am »
Well, Altium Designer is written in Delphi, so porting to Linux would be a challenge no matter how clean the code is.

Delphi does support Mac OSX, right?

Looks like they took a wrong turn sometime in the past.  ;-)
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Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #101 on: September 15, 2014, 07:03:13 am »
[But the support & testing issues alone mean it just isn't worth catering for minority platforms with a specialist tool like this.

I think they are now trying to make it a non specialist tool.
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Offline ludzinc

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #102 on: September 15, 2014, 07:31:38 am »

I doubt that the Maker community will embrace a Windows only product.  Think of vendors like Sparkfun, Adafruit and Arduino which release Eagle design files for their products. It's unlikely that they will exclude non Windows customers.


I doubt that the majority of makers out there really care if its windows only or not.

The majority probably use windows, and Eagle is as popular as it as as its free, albeit limited.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #103 on: September 15, 2014, 07:38:03 am »
Well, Altium Designer is written in Delphi, so porting to Linux would be a challenge no matter how clean the code is.

Delphi does support Mac OSX, right?

Looks like they took a wrong turn sometime in the past.  ;-)
Linux has a very long way to go before it will be useful as a desktop in any way.  There a thousands of reasons it is barely even supportable in the wild. 

I won't argue that specific configurations aren't supportable, because specific configurations are configurable.  Thing is, there are no two Linux desktop machines that are both in use and of a standard software configuration.  Everyone has a favorite window manager, uses a new kernel, needs to update GCC or libpng or whatever else needs maintenance this week.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #104 on: September 15, 2014, 07:48:50 am »
@Rigby: not true. I'm using Linux for development work almost daily. Xilinx ISE, Firefox, Eclipse, Adobe PDF reader, etc all run fine 'out of the box'.

@Mikeselectricstuff: Cross platform frameworks don't add bloat. They provide an extremely thin layer on top of the underlying OS API. I have developed quite a few pieces of software which run on both Windows and (embedded) Linux and they work with the same speed on both platforms.

@Zapta: Delphi is crappy to begin with. I wouldn't consider it for any serious project (unfortunately I learned that by experience). Delphi looks simple in the beginning but using it for larger project is very hard work. The main problem is that Pascal is too rigid and that Borland tried to work around that. So yes, at some point someone took a wrong turn at Altium.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #105 on: September 15, 2014, 07:53:24 am »
[But the support & testing issues alone mean it just isn't worth catering for minority platforms with a specialist tool like this.

I think they are now trying to make it a non specialist tool.
PCB layout is always going to be a niche specialist field. Maybe slightly less so in recent years but we're not going to get a TV show featuring celebrities trying to make PCBs any time soon.. ;D
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Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #106 on: September 15, 2014, 08:00:11 am »
PCB layout is always going to be a niche specialist field. Maybe slightly less so in recent years but we're not going to get a TV show featuring celebrities trying to make PCBs any time soon.. ;D

That's an idea, PCB Wars, Iron PCB Designer and Britain Got PCB Talent on TV.  ;-)
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Offline jmole

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #107 on: September 15, 2014, 08:08:17 am »
@Mikeselectricstuff: Cross platform frameworks don't add bloat. They provide an extremely thin layer on top of the underlying OS API. I have developed quite a few pieces of software which run on both Windows and (embedded) Linux and they work with the same speed on both platforms.

If not bloat, then call it cruft. It doesn't "feel" like a native app 99% of the time. There are rare examples where this isn't the case (LabVIEW, perhaps), but for a program like Altium I can't imagine them doing a good job of it. This could be because of all the other cruftiness built up throughout the years.

Like, why does the gerber viewer feel like it was designed in 1992?
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #108 on: September 15, 2014, 08:13:25 am »
Linux has a very long way to go before it will be useful as a desktop in any way.  There a thousands of reasons it is barely even supportable in the wild. 

I won't argue that specific configurations aren't supportable, because specific configurations are configurable.  Thing is, there are no two Linux desktop machines that are both in use and of a standard software configuration.  Everyone has a favorite window manager, uses a new kernel, needs to update GCC or libpng or whatever else needs maintenance this week.

Linux works great for me. That's my main work tool, a Linux box with a 30" monitor, heavy gcc user.  I used DOS and Windows professionally in the past but am not looking back. Linux is easier and more intuitive for me.  For notebook I use a 11" Macbook Air, great hardware, smooth UI and native Unix shell.

YMMV.
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Offline zapta

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #109 on: September 15, 2014, 08:18:35 am »
If not bloat, then call it cruft. It doesn't "feel" like a native app 99% of the time. ...

It's a matter of design. I have used programs like Eclipse, Chrome and Libre Office and Arduino on all three platforms and they feel smooth.
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Offline Cside

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #110 on: September 15, 2014, 08:25:20 am »
Quote
Linux has a very long way to go before it will be useful as a desktop in any way.  There a thousands of reasons it is barely even supportable in the wild...

Except it is the most wildly used server platform in the world. Not to mention the variants like android.
The reason why linux is not popullar as a desktop tool has absolutely nothing to do with its stability or performance.
 

Offline Tac Eht Xilef

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #111 on: September 15, 2014, 11:16:55 am »
PCB layout is always going to be a niche specialist field. Maybe slightly less so in recent years but we're not going to get a TV show featuring celebrities trying to make PCBs any time soon.. ;D

That's an idea, PCB Wars, Iron PCB Designer and Britain Got PCB Talent on TV.  ;-)

Y'know, I for one would watch The Great British Route-off...
 

Offline timb

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #112 on: September 15, 2014, 01:12:13 pm »

Well, Altium Designer is written in Delphi, so porting to Linux would be a challenge no matter how clean the code is.

The latest version of Delphi supports cross-compiling for OS X, Android, iOS and (soon) Linux.

DipTrace is written in Delphi and have just moved over to the new tools. The next release will include a native OS X build! (The Delphi Cross Compiler supports native UI Widgets on each platform, so no need for something like QT, which *does* make an app feel "non-native" or out of place.)

DipTrace's current OS X support has come from WINE. Yes, that's right, they literally ship the software in a WINE bottle.

The first time I tried DipTrace I almost dismissed it completely because of this. However, I pushed on and...it worked great! Everything was super fast and "just worked" including 3D support, printing and mapping of Windows-specific folders to the Mac equivalents (My Documents to ~/Documents).

So this tells me the DipTrace guys are good programmers who stick to published APIs and don't resort to low level hacks and shortcuts. (Otherwise the software wouldn't work with the Windows API set provided by WINE.)


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Offline Zad

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #113 on: September 15, 2014, 01:22:22 pm »
I suspect the number of people who can code well in Delphi is around 0.1% of the number of people who can code well in Fortran, Algol and ADA. It doesn't exactly have a bright future, and isn't a great career investment for software engineers. If they haven't already (and it sounds like they have) then eventually they are going to have to transition to a more sustainable architecture. Now would be a good time, with the potential release of a cut-down product which can be built on.

The $42,000 question to Altium: How do we get to beta test it?

Offline DerekG

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #114 on: September 15, 2014, 02:07:36 pm »
this tells me the DipTrace guys are good programmers

I would agree. They have come a long way in just this past 18 months.

Their headquarters is in the Ukraine, as are some of Altium's quality programmers (who are now trying to get out to the USA due to the war).
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #115 on: September 15, 2014, 02:54:16 pm »
Have had another talk and demo with Altium
Some answers to some questions:

- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud. Yes, that sucks. But it is most certainly a PC based program, nothing web based. The whole idea behind this is to encourage and share projects and libraries online. There will be lots of community power in the program to do this I can't talk about quite yet. Suffice it to say that the community is the cornerstone of the entire concept of the tool. If you are after a standalone PCB program to use in your own little offline world, this isn't going to be for you.
They clearly want to take on Eagle and the likes of Upverter in one hit.
It might be usable off-line, but the initial version won't be, you have to save files online.

- Free version will have restrictions in total board area (not fixed like Eagle!), nets, layers, and components. The big attraction is you'll be able to rent extra capability easily for a period of time to get a project done, for a reasonably small amount. Kinda like an app model. And if you finish your project early you'll be able to get a credit back and use toward another feature, useful if your projects requirements change all the time.

- Differences from AD will revolve around design productivity. So it won't have the likes of push'n'shove, multi-channel, and other things in AD that save you time.

- YES, the free version can be used for commercial projects.

- YES it will have 3D, and most other PCB/Schematic/Library creation features you are used to in AD.

- NO, it's not limited to single sheet, only those restrictions mentioned above.

- NO, they are not restricting you to PCB house or whatever. YES you are free to export and download your gerbers as per usual.

- YES, file and library compatibility with AD will remain.

- NO, it will not include the libraries that Altium offer in AD subscription, but will be seeded with a whole bunch of components. Once again, can't talk too much about this yet.

- An Eagle importer will be available (no export) first up, with others to likely follow based on what people ask for most.

- AD will import these projects, but not vice-versa. So you can use this and then step up to AD, but not go backwards.

- Hot keys will likely be different to AD, as will the GUI and menu system, but actual appearance and functionality overall is pretty close to AD. Many dialog boxes I saw in the demo are practically identical

- YES, there will be BOM export similar to how AD works now.

- YES, it will have the AD spice simulation engine (no improvements, but maybe a bit easier?)

- NO, no Linux support , Windows only. It requires substantial effort to port and support other OS's.

- YES, projects created in paid for versions can be viewed in the free version.

- The free version will have a limit on how many projects you can keep "private". You can pay for more private projects. Once again the emphasis is on encouraging open projects and sharing with the community. Yes you'll be able to work on your project privately until it's released though.
 
- Still party written in Delphi, with lots of C# and C++, and yes, obviously shares lots of code with AD.

- YES they will have training videos.

Bare in mind that the program will be entering beta testing next week, and many of these could change in the release based on responses. It will be very much driven by community beta testing feedback.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 03:14:10 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #116 on: September 15, 2014, 02:55:08 pm »
The $42,000 question to Altium: How do we get to beta test it?

They will have limited early sign-up, just ask. Website with signup coming very shortly.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #117 on: September 15, 2014, 02:56:27 pm »
YES, Altium will be showing the new program at their booth at the World Maker Faire this weekend in NY.
Possibly some official announcement before that.
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #118 on: September 15, 2014, 03:02:19 pm »
- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud.
ok now... "free altium" is now make sense.
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Offline Pedram

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #119 on: September 15, 2014, 03:03:09 pm »
No library and no local saving ??? that sucks
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #120 on: September 15, 2014, 03:07:34 pm »
No library and no local saving ??? that sucks

No local saving indeed sucks.
But there will be library parts, just not what you are used to if you have a full AD subscription.
The idea is that the community will build libraries and everyone will use libraries online in a much more sharing way than how AD currently does it. Once again, there will be some powerful things in this area I can't talk much about yet.
The whole point of it is that it's stupid having everyone making their own library part when it's already been done and used in the community.
Many people ignore the AD libraries anyway and always create their own parts.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 03:10:40 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #121 on: September 15, 2014, 03:15:01 pm »
- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud.

I suppose I could warm up to this eventually, but for that to happen this will have to be miracle software in every other way. Suddenly, I've stopped looking forward to it. :(
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Offline alimirjamali

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #122 on: September 15, 2014, 03:16:09 pm »
- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud.
Looking forward to hear news of leaked naked PCB designs 8)

Digikey should buy Altium. They can boost selling parts from their own PCB software! Or maybe in few years, Altium shrinks and OSHPark grows, so Laen could buy it.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2014, 12:43:11 am by alimirjamali »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #123 on: September 15, 2014, 03:19:48 pm »
I suppose I could warm up to this eventually, but for that to happen this will have to be miracle software in every other way. Suddenly, I've stopped looking forward to it. :(

Yeah, I'm pretty bummed. But then I realise I use gmail and google docs  :palm:
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Free Altium is Coming
« Reply #124 on: September 15, 2014, 03:22:42 pm »
So do I, but not for important things containing many hours of work.

I am terrified of the idea of losing my stuff if they discontinue it. I think for me to adopt it, they'd need to include a legally binding promise to make it all local if they ever end it or go under...

I am also terrified of losing control of my stuff if they change their policies but keep it running.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 03:26:29 pm by c4757p »
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