Author Topic: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?  (Read 7703 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« on: July 09, 2018, 10:05:59 am »
I've heard from a reliable source that Altium have, from day one, deliberately added a "random sleep" routine into Circuit Maker in order to make it deliberately unproductive.

This apparently has lead to all sorts of "bugs" like random stuff on the screen, things vanishing when placing etc, mostly in the schematic editor, slow use etc.
People have been reporting this stuff for years as bugs, but it seems it's a side effect of a deliberate action in the code to make the product unproductive.

I've also heard that the newly acquired Upverter team are aware of this (Circuit Maker is going to become "Upverter Desktop") and they are not happy, trying to get it removed.

I can understand not wanting the free Circuit Maker to compete with Altium Designer, but surely this has to be the worst and most stupid way to go about it?

Discuss!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 10:39:10 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline jmw

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 10:31:48 am »
They've already said in their literature that Circuit Studio can become unusably slow with larger designs, with no explanations of why, so this totally makes sense.

I don't understand why CS/CM exists and why Altium doesn't just offer a non-commercial license for Designer in lieu for the same price. Other professional software makers have figured out how to do this, and they aren't sitting on the steps of the bankruptcy court for it. I remember Mathematica and Maple, two of the big computer algebra/visualization software packages, used to sell for >$3k a seat, with no breaks. Now you can get a full-featured personal license for either for around $300. Autodesk Fusion, a pretty damn good MCAD program if you can hold your nose about the cloud storage part ... completely free if you're making less than $100k revenue/year off it. It's like some companies have figured our it's much better to grow your user base with explorers and advocates knowing some of those people will form teams and buy multiple seats when the time comes.
 

Offline Dubbie

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 10:33:32 am »
I wonder if it would be possible to patch the executable to remove the sleep command. That would be a fun project!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 10:37:06 am »
They've already said in their literature that Circuit Studio can become unusably slow with larger designs, with no explanations of why, so this totally makes sense.

Is there a reference for that literature?
 

Offline jmw

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 10:40:21 am »
"While there are no 'hard limits' per se, the software has been engineered to make it impractical for use with large designs. To this end, the PCB Editor will start to exibit performance degradation when editing designs containing 5000 pads, becoming virtually unusable with designs containing 50,000 pads. Degradation itself takes the form of progressive slow-down in PCB editing functions (such as routing, placing components, polygon pours, etc)."

(emphasis mine)
http://documentation.circuitstudio.com/display/CSTU/CircuitStudio+-+((System+Requirements))
 
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Offline Carl_Smith

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 10:49:27 am »
I completely fail to understand the logic behind purposely crippling the lower end product with the idea that it will push people to use the higher end product as their designs get bigger.   For me, watching the usability going downhill would reflect negatively on the company as a whole and my opinion of their abilities to write usable software, and I would likely look elsewhere when the time came to upgrade.

Offline Mr.B

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 11:00:05 am »
...the PCB Editor will start to exibit performance degradation when editing designs containing 5000 pads, becoming virtually unusable with designs containing 50,000 pads...

Code: [Select]
if ((time.secs % 3) == 0) delayMicroseconds(padCount * ((rand() % 20) + 1));
 >:D
Time is the overseer of all things.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 11:00:32 am »
Same here, if the lower end product runs poorly, I would assume the high end product is even more complex and just as poorly designed. It's fine if a cheaper product is missing features found in higher cost versions but it should not be more buggy or sluggish.

Makes me glad I've been able to move more and more toward open source tools.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 11:02:36 am »
I've heard from a reliable source that Altium have, from day one, deliberately added a "random sleep" routine into Circuit Maker in order to make it deliberately unproductive.

Another reason to "Dislike Altium the company".

They do these sneaky things (a bit like Apple slowing down their iPhones if they have an older version of iOS on them) & all it does is piss off the very people they need to keep for their own future survival.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline DerekG

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 11:04:28 am »
Makes me glad I've been able to move more and more toward open source tools.

Me too. Moved over to DipTrace for most of my designs some 4 years ago. Very happy I did.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline exit_failure

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 11:04:58 am »
I don't see why they ever wanted to do it that way. It just makes their own software look like crap and may even drive away potential buyers of their higher end software.
Why not simply put clearly visible restrictions on the complexity of the projects you create in the software (like companies used to do with shareware)? I'm sure people would understand, especially from a company that makes their money by selling said type of software. Or am I missing something here?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 11:42:02 am by exit_failure »
 

Offline JS

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 11:52:06 am »
Isn't enogh differentiation all the extra advanced tools as controles impedance traces, signal integrity check, etc.?

JS

If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline TERRA Operative

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 12:01:31 pm »
I don't see why they ever wanted to do it that way. It just makes their own software look like crap and may even drive away potential buyers of their higher end software.
Why not simply put clearly visible restrictions on the complexity of the projects you create in the software (like companies used to do with shareware)? I'm sure people would understand, especially from a company that makes their money by selling said type of software. Or am I missing something here?

This is what Diptrace does. I was using the lowest tier no-profit version. One day I hit the cap and pow, they got my money for more functionality (more pin allocation).

One happy customer here. I knew exactly what I was getting and was happy to pay for more of a good thing.
Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are unobtainable, and three parts which are still under development.

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Offline julianhigginson

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 12:28:38 pm »
It seems like *deliberately* making the code lock itself out for periods of time is a reliable way to make it look like you develop awful software.  And that's an impression that users are going to carry across anything you ever release.

But hey, it's Altium Circuitmaker, so I wouldn't be surprised. The complete existence of that product is a giant WTF.

The reality we live in, is that pretty much anybody who wants a copy of full AD has one..  You don't even have to search them out - I see people posting cracks onto various Altium related facebook groups!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 03:52:20 pm »
"While there are no 'hard limits' per se, the software has been engineered to make it impractical for use with large designs. To this end, the PCB Editor will start to exibit performance degradation when editing designs containing 5000 pads, becoming virtually unusable with designs containing 50,000 pads. Degradation itself takes the form of progressive slow-down in PCB editing functions (such as routing, placing components, polygon pours, etc)."

(emphasis mine)
http://documentation.circuitstudio.com/display/CSTU/CircuitStudio+-+((System+Requirements))

Wow, thanks.
 

Offline MasterTech

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2018, 03:56:49 pm »
They are playing with fire, Circuit Maker is not the only free software.

Last week I installed Kicad 5.0 for the first time, in a couple or hours I got used to the shortcuts, configured colors and fonts easily and libraries are plentiful. So bye bye altium from now on.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2018, 05:59:40 pm »
They are playing with fire, Circuit Maker is not the only free software.

That's why it's completely retarded idea.
They make no money from the free CircuitMaker, it's only purpose is to  get people 'hooked" and potentially buy the higher end software.
If the free software appears buggy and hard to use, they will go elsewhere  :palm:
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2018, 10:16:28 pm »
wow, lots of assumed opinions without knowing the ins and outs.
If the company explicitly mentions this in their literature there might be lots of other explanations.

It only raises questions for me, is the codebase for their products the same, eg is it just a question of some configuration items that differentiate the two.
If not it could wel be that they use other technology for their cheaper product, if they use something like Java for it we all know from for instance from IDEs like Eclipse what that can do when the codesize grows.

So IMO if anyone has a direct channel to Altium it would be more interesting to ask them the question what the cause is why the software will become extremely slow then to judge and convict without any concrete information.
BTW I don't use Altium, have no connections so just an unbiased opinion.
 

Offline tsman

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2018, 11:04:55 pm »
Hmm. I was considering buying CS to play about with but I guess not! The posts about it in the CS forum here aren't encouraging either. Back to KiCad...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 12:05:52 am »
So IMO if anyone has a direct channel to Altium it would be more interesting to ask them the question what the cause is why the software will become extremely slow then to judge and convict without any concrete information.

I have a good source I trust  ;D
 

Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 12:46:29 am »
Hmm. I was considering buying CS to play about with but I guess not! The posts about it in the CS forum here aren't encouraging either. Back to KiCad...

I'm not sure exactly what has put you off but CS works well for me. I will never get to the 50K pad limit where CS apparently becomes unusable, even 5000 pads is a substantial design. CS does have limitations but it is a case of 'horses for courses' and in it's market segment its a strong contender. There is a free trial of course, I encourage you to try it.

That said, the way KiCad is going its probably going to dominate the lower end of PCB design in years to come  8)
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2018, 01:11:59 am »
So IMO if anyone has a direct channel to Altium it would be more interesting to ask them the question what the cause is why the software will become extremely slow then to judge and convict without any concrete information.

I have a good source I trust  ;D
And what does (s)he say about this ? Or did I read over it ?  :-//
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2018, 01:13:45 am »
So IMO if anyone has a direct channel to Altium it would be more interesting to ask them the question what the cause is why the software will become extremely slow then to judge and convict without any concrete information.

I have a good source I trust  ;D
And what does (s)he say about this ? Or did I read over it ?  :-//

It's in my first post.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2018, 01:17:16 am »
Oh my I have entirely misread this topic and its title.
I read "BUSTED" as in the Mythbusters "busted" such that the hypothesis was that Altium was crippling CM and that it was not true.  :)
But it is true...... sad very sad  :(
 

Offline Gibson486

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Re: BUSTED: Altium deliberately crippling Circuit Maker?
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2018, 11:13:09 pm »
I don't know...maybe they should concentrate on fixing actual bugs in their paid software instead of creating bugs in there free one. AD18 feels so dam rushed and lots of it seems like an afterthought.
 


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