Author Topic: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?  (Read 21426 times)

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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2016, 06:23:41 am »
KiCad isn't much use on your resume, if that's important to you.
Though any significant amount of PCB design experience will be - PCB layout skills & experience is about much more than knowing a particular package.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2016, 06:31:58 am »
KiCad isn't much use on your resume, if that's important to you.
Though any significant amount of PCB design experience will be - PCB layout skills & experience is about much more than knowing a particular package.

Very true - of most aspects of engineering.

Knowledge of which button to press has a half life of about 5 years. Knowledge of what you need to achieve when you press buttons lasts a career.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Karel

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2016, 07:59:32 am »
Quote
Some EDA companies don’t like to give up their numbers at all.  They know the game, and they don’t want to play - or they have only one product, so they can’t play the revenue shell game with their competitors.  In those cases, the analysts make an educated guess based on publicly available information.  Sometimes, that educated guess is wrong.

In the case of Zuken, that is exactly what happened.  For a long period of time, analysts were ranking them #3 in the PCB market based on an educated guess of revenue partitioning from perpetual licenses, term licenses, support, and services.  Zuken saw their own numbers, smelled something rotten, made an appeal, and won.  Just like that - they jumped to #2 in PCB.  This obviously was not a welcome development for Cadence, who then fell to #3.  It was also not the best of news for Mentor Graphics, who suddenly had a smaller #1 number than before the “adjustment”.

http://www.eejournal.com/archives/articles/20110517_board/

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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2016, 08:38:46 am »
KiCad isn't much use on your resume, if that's important to you.
Though any significant amount of PCB design experience will be - PCB layout skills & experience is about much more than knowing a particular package.

Yes, of course. But a lot of HR and recruitment droids don't know that.
Heck, even a lot of hiring engineering managers don't know that.
Have the wrong package on your resume and you may not even get your foot through the door.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 08:55:08 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2016, 08:43:03 am »
Which PCB package experience the industry demand also depends highly upon what country you are in.
In Australia it's almost 100% Altium. Same for China (although no one there buys it).
US, I'm less sure, but Altium has a big presence.
In the OP's India, I have no idea at all.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2016, 08:47:36 am »
From a 2014 investor presentation:
http://www.altium.com.au/resources/investor-announcement/introducing-altium-goldman-sachs-conference-20-may-2015.pdf


Again, it's based on Revenue, not number of seats and popularity.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2016, 09:43:17 am »
Let's say that 2008 6.9% PCB market share is low and give 10% growth of the industry, that $75.5M market in 2014 should be around $133.75M, let's be generous and round it up to a cool $150M market.

Altium at 10% will mean they made $15M revenue on PCB and their reported revenue in 2014 was USD $70M (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altium), so does that mean they make $55M on their FPGA effort?

If that is the case, I guess it wasn't a bad move after all.

Then again, since 2008 a lot has happened so the market might have exploded lately.

Good business for at least Gary Smith selling the figures back to the Vendors :)

Btw in the US Cadence had a strong presence in US Universities specially on high end research, because of their other analysis tools that plug into Allegro. (Thermal, Structural, etc)
So probably mostly use for Research and Development and probably Military as well.
I think Mentor has a stronger presence in Automotive, but that's a guess. But seems they do have a big workforce in India, so it might be prevalent in there as well.

But as for total revenue of companies that do PCB software, it seems Cadence is still on top:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_Design_Systems
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentor_Graphics

Synopsys is bigger yet, but they don't do PCBs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synopsys

 

Online blueskull

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2016, 09:55:34 am »
So my suggestion, get a cracked copy, ...

Maybe not in yours, but in most western countries this is considered illegal.

AFAIK no one will come to your place and check your computer if you do not use it to make money.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2016, 11:34:27 am »
Let's say that 2008 6.9% PCB market share is low and give 10% growth of the industry, that $75.5M market in 2014 should be around $133.75M, let's be generous and round it up to a cool $150M market.
Altium at 10% will mean they made $15M revenue on PCB and their reported revenue in 2014 was USD $70M (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altium), so does that mean they make $55M on their FPGA effort?

Altium do not sell FPGA tools. They sell PCB tools and Tasking compilers. PCB is >80% of their revenue.
Altium always knew that is they sold FPGA tools separately that no one would buy them, and their entire FPGA dream would come crashing down. So they bumbled FPGA with PCB. IN fact they made PCB "optional extra" at one point!
Your numbers are way off.


 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2016, 12:07:25 pm »
Not my numbers, Wikipedia has Altium listed with $75.5M revenue in 2014 which by your slide is half of that at $37.5M
Then Gary Smith that prepared that other slide put altium at 10% meaning the market value for the whole industry in 2014 was $375M.
Gary Smith on that report I linked mentioned that the PCB market share increased by 6.9% back in 2010
https://www.garysmitheda.com/2011/01/2011-complete-market-trends-executive-summary-eda-grows-again/
and that the total PCB market share was $75.5M in 2008.
https://www.garysmitheda.com/2009/01/mentor-buys-valor/

That means in 6 years it has grown 496.69% or pretty much quintupled. Or a yearly growth rate of 30.62% which is way higher than the growth he reported in 2008.

Maybe it has grown that much at a way faster rate since 2010, or that Gary Smith doesn't have all the data needed to figure it out, but it's a living for him.

Oh well, statistics are usually pretty wrong, but might be useful indicators for the people making the decisions, or to keep the board happy.


 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2016, 12:20:35 pm »
Something doesn't add up on your slide:

Code: [Select]
Product Revenue                  2014    2013    Change
Altium Designer Licence         25,301  23,469      8%
Altium Designer Subscriptions   33,586  27,541     22%
TASKING Licences                 3,628   2,546     43%
TASKING Maintenance              3,273   2,824     16%
Other                            5,324   5,674     (6%)
Total Revenue                   71,112  62,054     15%
Source, page 4 2014 Annual Financial Report:
http://www.altium.com/resources/investor-announcement/pdf/altium-annualreport_2014.pdf
Edit: Report is in Thousands USD


« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 01:07:33 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2016, 09:51:15 pm »
Not my numbers, Wikipedia has Altium listed with $75.5M revenue in 2014 which by your slide is half of that at $37.5M
Then Gary Smith that prepared that other slide put altium at 10% meaning the market value for the whole industry in 2014 was $375M.

Maybe it's half yearly?
Altium did indeed make $76M in sales in 2014
http://www.altium.com/resources/investor-announcement/pdf/altium-annualreport_2014.pdf
I worked at Altium for 4 years, and the market figures were well known for being a big mess.
Altium is in a more solid market position in seats than that 10% would dictate.

And what's this X2 and Atina product stuff?
http://www.altium.com/resources/investor-announcement/altium_-_ubs_conference.pdf
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2016, 10:02:41 pm »
Not my numbers, Wikipedia has Altium listed with $75.5M revenue in 2014 which by your slide is half of that at $37.5M

Here is a better chart:

http://www.altium.com/resources/investor-announcement/pdf/altium-limited-investor-presentation-aug-2014.pdf
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2016, 10:18:56 pm »
Altium is in a more solid market position in seats than that 10% would dictate.
Not for the GHz aspect and that's where it's going, they better shape up.

And what's this X2 and Atina product stuff?
http://www.altium.com/resources/investor-announcement/altium_-_ubs_conference.pdf

Maybe that's where X2 and Atina fits

Interesting they do have a slide where it states the market share being at USD $700M, maybe it was more but around that. Where the analyst  Gary Smith was mentioning it was USD $75.5M  in 2008.

In any event, if you look at the annual reports for Mentor and Cadence, they do dominate the US and Europe, Zuken is established in Japan (maybe other parts of Asia), and apparently where the OP lives, Mentor is ahead.

So it pays to look at the job requirements for your particular country, but Kicad is way under the NI noise. In any event it doesn't really matter, it's just learning a new tool.

The problem with Kicad was that they use very strange terminology and I don't know if that did change, but with that base you'll struggle to use mainstream tools because terminology will confuse you.

 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2016, 06:43:04 am »
KiCad isn't much use on your resume, if that's important to you.
Though any significant amount of PCB design experience will be - PCB layout skills & experience is about much more than knowing a particular package.

Yes, of course. But a lot of HR and recruitment droids don't know that.
Heck, even a lot of hiring engineering managers don't know that.
Have the wrong package on your resume and you may not even get your foot through the door.

True of many aspects of engineering, unfortunately.

The way around it is, unfortunately, to have a little experience in N-1 tools plus a lot of experience in 1. You can then either put all N on your CV or just the one that is relevant to a specific job. That should be sufficient to get you an interview, and that's the sole purpose of a CV. During the interview you can be completely honest with any technical people you bump into.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2016, 06:50:30 am »
Orcad PCB Designer is the exact same binary as Allegro, just feature restricted by a licence key. The old Orcad layout tool is dead.

It still puzzles me that Altium is the professional tool that gets all the discussion on the forum, while the Mentor and Cadence products are barely mentioned at all. It's especially odd given that Orcad is relatively affordable.
I agree. The price I got quoted to upgrade my ancient Orcad Capture/Layout to Allegro is extremely reasonable including a 2 day training for Allegro!
I have used Altium before but found it a very obfustigated piece of software to use. I even needed the manual to just start a new project! I never had that problem when I started to use Orcad Capture/Layout! I'm not quite sure whether Altium is really used a lot in the higher end market. Many example diagrams and libraries for parts I download are in Orcad formats.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 06:58:00 am by nctnico »
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Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2016, 07:35:02 am »
So i think the question here has changed from "Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?" to "Does it make sense to learn Kicad/Altium now that Orcad/Allegro is so cheap?"
To which i would say, probably not.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2016, 08:07:01 am »
So i think the question here has changed from "Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?" to "Does it make sense to learn Kicad/Altium now that Orcad/Allegro is so cheap?"
To which i would say, probably not.

I can see in many big company's designs, they use Allegro/SPB. I do not see Altium often in huge designs by big companies.
On the other hand, Altium designs are usually seen in small to medium-large designs made by small companies or studios.

But this does not mean Altium is useless. IMHO, Altium is more ergonomic, and allows more abusing than the strict rules of some other packages, such as Eagle.
Probably I'm biased, because I've been using cracked Altium/Protel for over a decade since I was 12, and I spent ~$8k on its license just 1 year ago.
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Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2016, 07:39:08 pm »
I can see in many big company's designs, they use Allegro/SPB. I do not see Altium often in huge designs by big companies.
On the other hand, Altium designs are usually seen in small to medium-large designs made by small companies or studios.

But this does not mean Altium is useless. IMHO, Altium is more ergonomic, and allows more abusing than the strict rules of some other packages, such as Eagle.
Probably I'm biased, because I've been using cracked Altium/Protel for over a decade since I was 12, and I spent ~$8k on its license just 1 year ago.

Don't get me wrong, i have an active altium sub - it's good enough for me to pay for it, but if i didn't have everything tied up in it i'd change in a heartbeat.
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2016, 07:57:01 pm »
Don't get me wrong, i have an active altium sub - it's good enough for me to pay for it, but if i didn't have everything tied up in it i'd change in a heartbeat.

Well, on the other hand, I chose to terminate my subscription, even my local sale rep gave me $1000 quote.
It is a nice tool, but I do no use any of their new features since AD6.9, plus the latest xsignals.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2016, 02:09:17 am »
Still I feel that I should look into Kicad's current state more closely before shelling out the cash for a commercial package. My biggest worry regarding Kicad is that the component management is not there. Orcad Capture CIS saves me a lot of recurring hassle with assigning footprints and offers creating a 100% correct bill-of-materials with one click. Ofcourse all this depends on an up-to-date component database which links footprints, symbols, part numbers and suppliers together but that is easy to do.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 02:11:42 am by nctnico »
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2016, 02:42:59 am »
X2 and Atina are high-end layout tools Altium is working on. During the last Roadshow they talked about it.
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Offline easyw

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #47 on: January 20, 2016, 09:44:33 am »
Hi,

I am just getting started with Kicad, and wondering whther it worth learning Altium? Since Kicad is free, has lots of tutorials, and also a lot of new features, does it really make sense to learn Altium? What is it that Altium has which you find really interesting?
kicad is improving a lot and many open source hw projects are moving to it :)
if you just have a look at:
http://greatscottgadgets.com/hackrf/
http://numato.cc/saturn-another-attempt-make-open-source-spartan-6-fpga-board-ddr-sdram/
http://inversepath.com/usbarmory
http://virtualsense.it/
some RF boards at
https://myriadrf.org/projects/
and you can find also a I would say 'more than quite complex' board at
https://olimex.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/a64-olinuxino-update-2/

so I consider kicad a very good tool also for production chain...
big latest improvements are differential pair routing and trace length matching, to do high speed pcbs, and moreover you can export your board and parts to MCAD using http://sourceforge.net/projects/kicadstepup/ for a better enclosure design

still there are some stuff to improve (e.g. RF support and eeschema for pin swapping and bom)
but there is a lot of work in progress...
probably we will see kicad becoming more popular day by day :)
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2016, 06:30:03 am »
I'm not worried about be able to do complex designs in Kicad or any CAD package. The big question is: how much time does it take?!
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Offline timofonic

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Re: Does it make sense to learn Altium now that Kicad is so good?
« Reply #49 on: June 07, 2016, 11:33:35 am »
Any update about KiCad versus big ones?

I wonder what EDA users and developers would think of:


- Find an ethical and robust financing and workforce getting way: A foundation in Germany?
* Crowd funding for difficult /boring tasks.
(extremely massive source code makeover to C++14 or even a newer standard? Powerful autorouters library based on C-PCB?).
* Participate in stuff like Google Summer of Code, coding for women, coding for racial minorities or developing economies, etc.
- Make UI & UX better and more consistent.
* More powerful schematic tool. Easier to use, features, automated schematic - pcb (forward annotation?) link like in Eagle.
- Integrating symbols and footprints into project files, just like in Eagle and others (Altium Designer?).
- Features similar to OrCAD Capture CIS.
- Extreme improvement of scripting support.
- A lot better Gerber viewer plus add IPC1541 (I don't remember the name) support. CNC and pick & place support?
- Full MCAD integration with complete STEP support.
- collaborative capabilities line many other EDA software and easy to use for anyone: Is Git feasible? What about RTCE and some "teaching mode"?
- Full i18n website, centralize community forums and mailing lists with development team members knowing at least English and another language.
- Interperoperability with other software: Altium Designer, Cadence Allegro / OrCAD, Mentor stuff, NI stuff, Cadsoft Eagle...
- simulation integration, maybe by linking it to QUCS.

A question:
- Is WxWidgets still a viable option for the future? What about QT?
- would raise OpenGL usage to 4.3+ provide any benefits?
- What about using BGFX instead OpenGL?
 


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