EEVblog #121 – gEDA Interview with DJ Delorie

I caught up with DJ Delorie at the Renesas Devcon 2010 event and he was kind enough to sit down for 10 minutes and chat about the Open Source gEDA package, of which he is one of the major developers. What is gEDA?, where did it come from?, and what relevance does it have to the Open Hardware initiative?

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  1. What was the answer to that last question?

      • So charging nothing in volume numbers is a business model ? I’m a bit skeptical on him not giving a straight answer.

        • People (you know, *other* people) do many things for free. Geocaching, playing chess or rising children. Writing your own programs and giving them away for free falls into this category.

          Then, if you use the program at your own work, support users, demo it at a conference, or get a job at RedHat you may actually earn some money on it.

          Geda is not my favorite tool (even if you limit the choice to free software) but kudos to developers for their work. They actually go ahead and change the world to a much larger extent than we, cubicle animals, will ever do.

  2. Too bad gEDA doesn’t run on windows OS.
    I was going to give it a go but… mehhh.

  3. @chris:

    There’s no reason why it couldn’t. The GTK APIs are available for Windows, so I’m sure that someone will port it over at some point.

    • [quote]Because the programs in the gEDA Suite target POSIX compliant operating systems, Microsoft Windows support is currently not a project goal. Nonetheless, some programs in the gEDA Suite have built-in hooks for Windows support, and those programs will build and run under Windows. However, binary executables for most of the gEDA Suite are not distributed by the gEDA Project.[/quote]

      From wiki

  4. I have been using gEDA since about 2004. When I go my current job they let me use it at work which was nice.

    The gEDA people made the user experiencing more like the Unix style (One function per tool). The point for gEDA is the same for Unix, extreme flexibility. You can change the way the tool chain runs and mix and match various parts of it. For example to simulate a circuit I don’t just have one spice engine like Multisim. I typically run my netlist threw both ng-spice and gnucap. To keep this level of flexibility I use a Makefile to call all the tools in the correct order automatically. It is that change in the way the project is managed that I think scares off the most users.

    Chris: there have been attempts to make a windows release in the past. I don’t know how well they worked. If you really want to give it a go I would recommend a trying out a livecd that has it.

  5. Didn’t someone on the list do a successful Cygwin build way back?… or is old age overtaking me?


  6. Haven’t tried it, but a workmate showed me this. Might be possible to set up a gEDA/linux VM on W7.

  7. I have downloaded kicad as this video said that one was for beginners to learn. Has anyone had success with kicad?

  8. Decided to give both a try. gEDA seems to run beautifully on Ubuntu 10.10 w/Virtualbox (think vmware, but free). (Using VB’s seamless mode makes it feel like a native app.) I seem to prefer it over Cygwin.

    Kicad was a cinch to install and get going, I hope to learn both.

  9. @Sean:

    I’ve made 3 smaller designs with KiCAD so far and I’m pretty pleased. Creating symbols/footprints is quite easy and it is much more integrated than gEDA. About two years ago gEDA gave me the creeps. The PCB editor itself is pretty good though, as well as gerbv. It is much more integrated and streamlined than gEDA right now. Except the fact that 3D mode crashes on my laptop (linux + intel graphics) and that currently you just can’t easily include thermal vias to footprints and pad shapes are limited, it is worth using it. KiCAD is definitely a good alternative to using Eagle, with it being open source and all.

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