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EDA => Altium Designer => Topic started by: ludzinc on August 27, 2014, 07:55:23 am

Title: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on August 27, 2014, 07:55:23 am
So after this post:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/sequentially-numbered-multi-channel-design/msg502524/#msg502524 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/sequentially-numbered-multi-channel-design/msg502524/#msg502524)

.. and catching up with the Amp Hour today, it got me thinking:

What features do you think Altium should not include in their free version?

What deal breakers are there for you to *not* want to try their free version?

I'll start:

Not Needed:

o  Rooms
o  Auto Router
o  Templates and Wizards

Deal Breaker

o  No 3D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 27, 2014, 07:58:56 am
It's got 3D.
In fact, its supposed to have most stuff you are used to.
The idea is not to limit the actual functionality.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Ribster on August 27, 2014, 09:34:54 am
Not Needed:

Rooms

That one i find quite usefull actually..
When you are laying out a driverboard with x outputs, you only have to draw one.
I never use autorouter, but i don't like to do things twice..
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on August 27, 2014, 11:53:53 am
i feel something is terribly wrong. did you miss the word "trial" or "30 days evaluation"?, or simply Altium is closing down?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: charlespax on August 27, 2014, 01:04:39 pm
i feel something is terribly wrong. did you miss the word "trial" or "30 days evaluation"?, or simply Altium is closing down?
Now talking about the evaluation. Dave mentioned (https://twitter.com/eevblog/status/499035676814225408) Altium is releasing a free version. Light on details right now.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on August 27, 2014, 02:22:46 pm
It's got 3D.
In fact, its supposed to have most stuff you are used to.
The idea is not to limit the actual functionality.

So maybe Altium will lock the ability to export gerbers to a maximum size & maybe this version will have a different file format that will be limited in some way unless you part with more $$.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on August 27, 2014, 02:33:42 pm
What features do you think Altium should not include in their free version?

What deal breakers are there for you to *not* want to try their free version?

I'll start:

Not Needed:

o  Rooms
o  Auto Router
o  Templates and Wizards

Deal Breaker

o  No 3D

I actually think that not including the auto-placer & auto-router would be a deal breaker for me.

Hell, DipTrace does a great job of doing both of these complex tasks if you spend a few minutes to set them up properly.

The Altium auto-placer works very well, but the auto-router doesn't do as good a job as using Electra professional with DipTrace.

Even the standard DipTrace autorouter does a reasonable job. Even after spending some time cleaning the tracks up, it is still MUCH faster than routing complex boards manually.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on August 27, 2014, 03:04:47 pm
I hope they exclude the fpga/Embedded stuff, together with the C compiler.  Simulation can go, its cumbersome anyway. Keep all functions in schematic/PCB. 3D is a must.
I would be perfectly fine if they would limit it to 6 layers or number of components to some 2-3000. And no vault. Maybe even the Gerber editor could go, it is FUBAR anyway, if they would keep (and improve) the viewing.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on August 27, 2014, 07:32:54 pm
Windows only? No love here. :--

Will be interesting to see if the Maker vendors such as Sparkfun and Adafruit will standardize on a Windows only program.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: 8086 on August 27, 2014, 07:38:32 pm
So it has features. But now I'm starting to worry about how they've crippled it to make people want to upgrade...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: marshallh on August 27, 2014, 10:10:04 pm
I predict it will be limited enough that it won't be a "must-use" for most folks. There will still be enough reasons to ditch it and use full DXP.

And the open sores crowd will continue using kicad/eagle because it's cross platform.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on August 27, 2014, 10:54:50 pm
Make the full version free without caveat. Those who want to support it can and will. Those who cannot afford will do so latet add their business grows. Those who are just hobbies shouldn't have to pay and those who are psychopathic were always going to pirate it anyway.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on August 28, 2014, 01:19:10 am
Free for non-commercial use I'd guess. Maybe a 4 signal/2 power layer limit. Limiting size and connections is kind of dumb.


Sent from my iPhone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 01:23:36 am
maybe this version will have a different file format that will be limited in some way unless you part with more $$.

Of course it will be limited in some way, and of course you have to part with $$ to get more.
Altium are a commercial PCB tool developer, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make money.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 01:24:09 am
Free for non-commercial use I'd guess.

Nope!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 01:25:53 am
And the open sores crowd will continue using kicad/eagle because it's cross platform.

No, that will have little to do with why people will continue to use them. People stick with programs because they are invested in them.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 01:27:25 am
I hope they exclude the fpga/Embedded stuff, together with the C compiler.

Your wish may be granted there.
This will be a PCB/schematic focused tool, as Altium have publicly promised the focus of the company will be on.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on August 28, 2014, 01:27:56 am

Free for non-commercial use I'd guess.

Nope!

Huh. From the details you're giving, I can say for certainty that this is either going to be an industry game changer or a completely mismanaged flop.


Sent from my iPhone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: snoopy on August 28, 2014, 01:28:41 am
I hope they exclude the fpga/Embedded stuff, together with the C compiler.  Simulation can go, its cumbersome anyway. Keep all functions in schematic/PCB. 3D is a must.
I would be perfectly fine if they would limit it to 6 layers or number of components to some 2-3000. And no vault. Maybe even the Gerber editor could go, it is FUBAR anyway, if they would keep (and improve) the viewing.

Yes keep all of the schematic and pcb stuff as it is and get rid of the FPGA/C-compiler stuff that nobody ever uses ;)

cheers
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 01:30:33 am
Huh. From the details you're giving, I can say for certainty that this is either going to be an industry game changer or a completely mismanaged flop.

Yep, I was excited by what I heard and saw.
Like I've said, there were few things that made me think they are headed in the wrong direction here.
Doesn't mean they can't completely screw it up in true Altium tradition though  ;D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on August 28, 2014, 01:40:07 am
I hope they exclude the fpga/Embedded stuff, together with the C compiler.

Fully agree.

Another take could be that the cut down version will only export an encrypted file that is then sent to board shops who team up with Altium. These board shops then add on a margin to each job which is paid to Altium for the decryption tool.

So the design software is free but you pay more for your pcbs.

This concept is not new:

http://www.sunstone.com/pcb-products/pcb123 (http://www.sunstone.com/pcb-products/pcb123)

http://www.fabstream.com/how-much-it-costs.php (http://www.fabstream.com/how-much-it-costs.php)

Altium would then promote these "Board Shop Partners" within this software package. You could send your design away to (say) 4 specified vendors for quoting. All this can be built into the software so that it is simply "Click for Quote".

This could/would be a good model for Altium & I suspect this is the track they are going down with this new version.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on August 28, 2014, 01:43:53 am
maybe this version will have a different file format that will be limited in some way unless you part with more $$.

Of course it will be limited in some way, and of course you have to part with $$ to get more.
Altium are a commercial PCB tool developer, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make money.

Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on August 28, 2014, 02:05:25 am
No, that will have little to do with why people will continue to use them. People stick with programs because they are invested in them.

I would give it a try if it would run natively on my Mac OSX.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 02:07:54 am
Another take could be that the cut down version will only export an encrypted file that is then sent to board shops who team up with Altium. These board shops then add on a margin to each job which is paid to Altium for the decryption tool.

Nope, that's not the direction they are headed.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 02:11:38 am
Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, the fact is Altium is a publicly listed company, and they do have a legal fiduciary responsibility as a public company to make a profit for their shareholders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary)
Many people forget this.
If they were a charity, they would be registered as a charity, not a public company.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on August 28, 2014, 02:25:17 am
Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, the fact is Altium is a publicly listed company, and they do have a legal fiduciary responsibility as a public company to make a profit for their shareholders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary)
Many people forget this.
If they were a charity, they would be registered as a charity, not a public company.

The problem is law and the institutionalized drive to increase profit, as if profit is the only measure of a companies success.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on August 28, 2014, 02:40:13 am
The problem is law and the institutionalized drive to increase profit, as if profit is the only measure of a companies success.

Sure.
But at the end of the day, that's how publicly listed companies work. They decide to list the company, people buy shares and in return expect (and the law demands the company do it's best to provide) a financial return. And if the company directors do not do enough to ensure that returns happens, they can get sued for corporate negligence etc.
If that wasn't the case then why would anyone invest in a public company?
If you don't want to play that game, don't take your company public, or don't buy products from a publicly listed company.

Of course, there are ways to be a nice company and still make a profit, they aren't mutually exclusive.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on August 28, 2014, 02:48:13 am
The problem is law and the institutionalized drive to increase profit, as if profit is the only measure of a companies success.

Altium should contribute their fair share to the engineering and maker community

:)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on August 28, 2014, 03:08:18 am
Quote
If that wasn't the case then why would anyone invest in a public company?
If you don't want to play that game, don't take your company public, or don't buy products from a publicly listed company.

Of course, there are ways to be a nice company and still make a profit, they aren't mutually exclusive.


There are other reasons to invest in companies, For instance an environmentally conscious individual may invest in a new green-technology company for its positive effect on the environment.
A mother who lost a child to leukemia may invest in a company that has radical preventative / inhibitive treatment for cancers.

social responsibility and fiscal performance are not mutually exclusive but when they are, the law forces the choice on the director.
Anticipating socialist-communist critisism, I am neither. I do strongly believe that using financial performance as the sole metric for success is hugely detrimental to society and not sustainable.

 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: djacobow on August 28, 2014, 03:40:45 am
Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, the fact is Altium is a publicly listed company, and they do have a legal fiduciary responsibility as a public company to make a profit for their shareholders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary)
Many people forget this.
If they were a charity, they would be registered as a charity, not a public company.

Well, to be absolutely precise, fiduciary responsibility requires that they try to make money for the investors, not that that they succeed. And most investors in companies understand that management has pretty wide latitude to pursue that according to how they think is best, at least until the board punts them all. It's true that sometimes shareholders sue their management, but it's not super common, and I think success is even less common. The whole world of corporate governance, management v. investor is very interesting, but in my opinion, these days it is management that has the upper hand.

That said, it is theoretically possible that a company could radically change their business in order to make more money. They might give away one product to make demand for another product. That's a bet that management could take, and the cost could be dear in the short term and but maybe work out in the long, maybe not. I can't think of successful examples of this pivot, but I'm sure there are some.

I don't know much about Altium's business, but they would not be the first company with a best-in-class product with high-end pricing realizing that they are getting more dollars from a smaller and smaller segment of the market. Management could be thinking long-term for a way out of that trap, but investors won't "get it." In such cases, it is the investors who can't see past the end of the quarter, who might be getting in the way of their own profit. Or it could be that management is wrong and their idea is bad. (Also, investors own interests are not homogeneous. Some are day traders, in and out of Altium between 9am and 5pm. Others have been holding the stock for years. They want management to do different things, for sure.)

Anyway, outcomes are only known post-hoc, but a court is not going to judge management on their post-hoc record, only on the quality of their thinking based on the available information at the time the decisions were made.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on August 28, 2014, 04:41:30 am
There are other reasons to invest in companies, For instance an environmentally conscious individual may invest in a new green-technology company for its positive effect on the environment.

This is not an investment, this is charity.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on August 28, 2014, 05:31:59 am

Quote
This is not an investment, this is charity.

A rose by any other name..
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on August 30, 2014, 12:39:03 am
I will have a exhibit at Maker Faire in NYC....  A Little birdie told me Altium be there as well with something to show....  ????
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on August 31, 2014, 08:11:14 pm
Hi all,

You know......for me this whole Altium free thing is exciting!, but not because I may use their software............but actually I'm excited for the whole community that Dave's voice (amongst others) has been heard, deliberated and then actioned.

Kudos all round.............

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: CesarEscudero on September 02, 2014, 04:46:55 pm
 :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 02, 2014, 05:18:07 pm
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 02, 2014, 05:21:13 pm
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

Some of us would consider that "better".
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 02, 2014, 05:29:03 pm
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

They can do both.  And, with the added feedback of the hobbyist community, maybe they'll feel impetus to actually make a few changes they wouldn't have otherwise made.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 02, 2014, 09:40:41 pm
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

They can do both.  And, with the added feedback of the hobbyist community, maybe they'll feel impetus to actually make a few changes they wouldn't have otherwise made.
No, no, no. If you can grab 80% of the people with 20% effort, you should do that. Windows is well above 90% market share, and all engineering productivity tool is on windows.
Not to mention that their code is based on windows libraries. If they would change to something else, that would lead to only one thing: BUGs. All current customer of theirs are fine with windows and would be pretty upset that bugs were introduced. And Linux GUI is ugly. Any change from the current look and feel of the program is a big change. Even if they would change one button/menu I would be upset, or my (burned into my brain) hotkeys wouldnt work anymore. Just think about it: Some people spend more time with this program than with their wifes (which I dont have one).
Although optional ribbon would be welcomed.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 02, 2014, 11:31:33 pm
So are you advocating that they do nothing other than add a ribbon?  You seem to think that any change will irreversibly ruin things.  Am I reading wrong?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Ribster on September 03, 2014, 01:01:51 pm
Isn't cross platform directly supported by java?
It seems a bit odd that you need to reprogram everything for each platform.
I'd say: switch to a programming language that has cross platform support if you want to do this.
That way there is no overhead concerning programming resources.
If they do not want to implement cross platform, then just stay where they are.

Since they need to rewrite the whole program to go cross platform, that seems unlikely.
On the other hand, since the free version will be a new program as dave said, it could be possible that they made it cross platform..
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: SL4P on September 03, 2014, 11:34:17 pm
Huh. From the details you're giving, I can say for certainty that this is either going to be an industry game changer or a completely mismanaged flop.
Yep, I was excited by what I heard and saw.
Like I've said, there were few things that made me think they are headed in the wrong direction here.
Doesn't mean they can't completely screw it up in true Altium tradition though  ;D
Doing this right is critical to market acceptance and growth.
This is exactly the right way to draw in new users that later become professional users.

Allow virtually unlimited use as a 'what I need' schematic/footprint/PCB tool for hobbyist/hackers - which allows them to become comfortable & productive in a non-competitive/threatening environment.   Sure there should be some high-spec limitations that exclude corporate users - but no small or part-time shop is ever going to buy a full licence anyway... they may as well use Altium 'basic' to give exposure and legitimacy to the 'standard'.

When these novice users leave home/college and become professional users - the path to upgrade is usually obvious - and generates corporate / professional sales - upgrades.  Lifetime Altium advocates and customers if it's played right.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 04, 2014, 02:40:10 am
:-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+  :-+
Thumbs Up! for Altium, this was previously discussed but making Altium multi platform will be much better for the maker community.
I disagree - any effort catering for minority platforms is effort that could be put into making the tools better.

Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 04, 2014, 03:41:23 am
Software products inevitably reach a stage where the owners add more functionality and bug fixes, but the usability (and buggyness) gets worse. 90% of the features are not used by typical users, but all the extra "features" get in the way of what you want to do. I can see an argument for encouraging Altium to spend their resources on other things, if it means they stop screwing up the core product.

If Altium Free is a ground-up new design, without any of they marketing wank-word functions, then it may well be a better (cleaner, simpler) product. I imagine the way it works will be familiar, simply because of the shared experience base. If it is Java based, then you can expect to see it decompiled and deobfuscated quite quickly. If anyone is familiar with Minecraft, a simple 3D Lego-like game that was comprehensively hacked very quickly, with the result that many users started developing functionality that the designer never thought of. Quality is variable, but the good stuff gets picked up and worked on, copied, and bundled into compilations. the result is a product that is still selling strongly, with a huge user base.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 04, 2014, 04:29:09 am
90% of the features are not used by typical users, but all the extra "features" get in the way of what you want to do.
I fully agree. This is one of the reasons that DipTrace & Proteus have become very productive alternatives for many users.
Quote
If Altium Free is a ground-up new design, without any of the marketing wank-word functions, then it may well be a better (cleaner, simpler) product.
I agree, but I doubt it will happen. Altium lost its way in the mid 1990's & I doubt they have suddenly seen the light in 2014.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 04, 2014, 01:17:37 pm
Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.

To a point... You can't put 1,000 people on a single feature and expect anything to get done, so there's some boundary between 2 and 1,000 where there is no gain to putting more man-hours into the project.  In my experience, the number is very small, say around 8 on the high side.  So if you have 10 developers on staff, and you have 8 working on a single feature, putting two more on there isn't going to help much, if at all, and will likely slow everyone else down.  There are a lot of open source projects that can easily prove this.  Infighting and politics bog down just about any project when everyone has their hands in things.

The odd super team here or there will be the exception to that, of course.  Those super teams are VERY much an exception to the rule.

Even in projects with a very strong structure, where people don't clobber each other's work, the bottleneck will become the project management.  The project leader/manager in those types of teams will need to have the vision and the clarity to drive the thing forward, and there will be a point where adding additional labor won't speed him up at all.

So, no, I disagree.  You can't just unilaterally toss more effort into something to get it done faster.  At some point, adding more resources necessarily slows things down.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 04, 2014, 09:01:55 pm
Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.

To a point... You can't put 1,000 people on a single feature and expect anything to get done, so there's some boundary between 2 and 1,000 where there is no gain to putting more man-hours into the project.  In my experience, the number is very small, say around 8 on the high side.  So if you have 10 developers on staff, and you have 8 working on a single feature, putting two more on there isn't going to help much, if at all, and will likely slow everyone else down.  There are a lot of open source projects that can easily prove this.  Infighting and politics bog down just about any project when everyone has their hands in things.

The odd super team here or there will be the exception to that, of course.  Those super teams are VERY much an exception to the rule.

Even in projects with a very strong structure, where people don't clobber each other's work, the bottleneck will become the project management.  The project leader/manager in those types of teams will need to have the vision and the clarity to drive the thing forward, and there will be a point where adding additional labor won't speed him up at all.

So, no, I disagree.  You can't just unilaterally toss more effort into something to get it done faster.  At some point, adding more resources necessarily slows things down.

I was about to post this exact same thing! Anyone who says different clearly hasn’t worked in the software industry or isn’t a programmer. Adding labor requires a very skilled manager who can chop a feature into many sub-blocks and then co-ordinate it all. In my experience, a manager of average skill can handle about 8 people at once, just like you said.

Porting to other OS’s might actually make the product better, as it generally requires you to produce clean, well maintain code that doesn’t use OS-specific hacks.

Porting could be as simple as assigning one coder the task that he works on only part of the time.

Or they could go the route of DipTrace and stick it in a WINE bottle. (Though I *really* hope they don’t do this…)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: hikariuk on September 04, 2014, 10:05:04 pm
maybe this version will have a different file format that will be limited in some way unless you part with more $$.

Of course it will be limited in some way, and of course you have to part with $$ to get more.
Altium are a commercial PCB tool developer, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make money.

Mustn't upset the precious shareholders.

Well, no.  You mustn't.  If you trade your shares that's a legal responsibility you take on - you have a duty to your investors.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: hikariuk on September 04, 2014, 10:07:50 pm

Quote
This is not an investment, this is charity.

A rose by any other name..

The legal responsibility for a charity is slightly different (at least in the UK).  A charity is legally required to use its funds and holdings in the best way possible to further its charitable aims (which often means disposing of things they were gifted, because that's what makes the most sense).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 07, 2014, 01:09:34 am
I'm wondering when this free version is due. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Spikee on September 07, 2014, 12:36:30 pm
I'm wondering when this free version is due.
Maybe at electronica 2014 in november?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 07, 2014, 05:41:07 pm
Every effort catering for a feature that I don't is effort that could be put into making the features that I use better.

Cross platform is just another feature. Some use it, some not.

To a point... You can't put 1,000 people on a single feature and expect anything to get done, ...

Where did this adding 1000 people thing came from?

My point was that every user prefers investment in features they use and non investments in features they don't use.

Cross platform is just anohter feature and is important for me because I will use it.  It's a matter of feature prioritization.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 07, 2014, 08:25:18 pm
The 1000 people thing is to show, via exaggeration, that there IS a number where adding additional people to a project creates a negative effect, rather than positive.

If I had said 3 people would make things worse, anyone with a brain would have argued that. 

If you imagine 1000 people working on a single feature, the point that adding more workers to a project does not necessarily produce benefit is clear. 

That's all.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 09, 2014, 03:28:40 pm
I'm wondering when this free version is due.

https://makerfaire.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/mf14ny_program_lores.pdf

See the last Page.  They are a sponsor.   
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 09, 2014, 03:56:43 pm


Virtually all of the Altium functionality is executed behind the scene via a hierarchy of objects that can be easily instantiated in the application code    It is actually quite easy to write custom Altium plugins/extensions using the platform.

They would be absolutely insane to not use the existing infrastructure.  The new tool will probably just be a simpler GUI in front of the existing code base.   

The goal of a design tool is to get work done,  not make a political statement.   It just needs to work on one platform well.   I wouldn't put it past Altium to make a decision to throw away money at a cross platform version but it would be very, very dumb.





Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 12:40:34 am
The goal of a design tool is to get work done,  not make a political statement.   It just needs to work on one platform well.   I wouldn't put it past Altium to make a decision to throw away money at a cross platform version but it would be very, very dumb.

They have told me that it will be Windows only. They don't have the need (and maybe resources) to compile for another platform yet, they said it's a lot of work.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 12:41:11 am
I'm getting another demo early next week.
Anything you want me to specifically ask them?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 12:42:55 am
I'm wondering when this free version is due.
https://makerfaire.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/mf14ny_program_lores.pdf
See the last Page.  They are a sponsor.   

For those thinking about going, I'd recommend seeking out the Altium booth...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 13, 2014, 12:53:42 am
I'm getting another demo early next week.
Anything you want me to specifically ask them?
# PCB layers?
# components?
Max PCB size?
File interchangeability/compatibility to existing Altium versions? (sch & pcb)
Compatibility with existing Altium libraries?
BOM?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 13, 2014, 01:22:24 am
Compatibility with existing Altium libraries?
BOM?

And what libraries are included, existing from corporate database or ???, and are they any better (the public AD09 libraries are crap for the most part, goofy outlines and no mechanical layers or 3D -- any of that improved)?

Supplier linking, different at all?  PCB mfg shortcuts as others have inquired about?

Simulation -- present?  Improved?

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 13, 2014, 01:25:00 am
Off the top of my head:

What are the constraints in Altium Free?
Why use your product instead of Eagle or KiCad?
Is it all-new code, or does it contain source from Altium's mainstream product?
Will Altium be publishing "hooks" to allow third party innovators (which their users inherently are) to add functionality?
Are files stored locally (i.e. on the user's own machine) or in the "cloud"?
If locally: Is the file format public?
If not locally: Why should we trust you not to walk away from this, or sell off the product to another company, leaving our designs lost or at potential of intellectual property theft?
Will users be able to create and share content (component libraries etc) outside of any Altium "sandbox"?
Presumably Gerbers can be generated locally, unless you are locked into specific board houses?
Will the user be able to create commercial (i.e. professional paid-for) designs?
If this product is of good enough quality, why would users ever spend money on a paid Altium product?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 01:41:58 am
Will the user be able to create commercial (i.e. professional paid-for) designs?

Yes, the free version can be used for commercial use.

Quote
If this product is of good enough quality, why would users ever spend money on a paid Altium product?

You pay for better functionality in this one too. It's not just free and then $10K for Altium Designer.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 13, 2014, 01:43:13 am
I'm getting another demo early next week.

Dave, with all the cr*p you have dealt out to Altium in recent times, I'm surprised they are even talking to you.

Perhaps they are actually sending you a copy of Cadence in the hope you will move over & leave them alone.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 01:44:31 am
Dave, with all the cr*p you have dealt out to Altium in recent times, I'm surprised they are even talking to you.

I like to think it's constructive criticism  ;D
But yeah, I was very surprised too.
I'm still banned from their forum...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 13, 2014, 01:52:30 am
I like to think it's constructive criticism  ;D

I would agree that it has. Altium (especially under previous CEO & founder Nick Martin) were/are bloody minded about so many things.

They actually needed someone to stand up publicly in the early 2000's to give them a good kick in the right direction.

Quote
But yeah, I was very surprised too.
I'm still banned from their forum...

No loss. Altium does not take criticism well. It's just that they know you get more visitor numbers to your blog everyday than they do. It's called "power of the people".
Title: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 13, 2014, 01:55:46 am
The goal of a design tool is to get work done,  not make a political statement.   It just needs to work on one platform well.   I wouldn't put it past Altium to make a decision to throw away money at a cross platform version but it would be very, very dumb.

They have told me that it will be Windows only. They don't have the need (and maybe resources) to compile for another platform yet, they said it's a lot of work.

It's not "a lot of work" if you write clean, well commented code that follows standards.

If this were a new program written from scratch, you'd think that would be the case. So this tells me it's most likely heavily based on their legacy code.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 13, 2014, 02:00:28 am

Will the user be able to create commercial (i.e. professional paid-for) designs?

Yes, the free version can be used for commercial use.

Quote
If this product is of good enough quality, why would users ever spend money on a paid Altium product?

You pay for better functionality in this one too. It's not just free and then $10K for Altium Designer.

Will this be replacing Altium Designer in the future perhaps?

They could have one basic free program and then you pick the features you need ala carte. Don't need Simulator? Don't pay for it.

Though I can see them fucking it up and charging $$$ to unlock shit like exporting Gerbers or 3D functionality... (http://img.timb.us/emoticon/ughh.gif)


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 13, 2014, 02:52:08 am
Here is a sensitive question, and one that you may not want to ask, or may want to explicitly state has come from a forum member:

Background: Many users will be coming not from a background of professional use, or even from being an electronics student, but rather from the Arduino community. They might know something about electronics in very general terms, but probably won't know anything about designing PCBs. In order to "bootstrap" the product and gain market penetration, there will need to be at least some training, which will then encourage keen YouTube content providers to make more material.

Question: What sort of training materials will be available? (If they have videos locked down on their site and not public on YouTube then you know the leopard hasn't actually changed it's spots.)

Question (Marketing man's delight): In light of the information that the product is a ladder of products (presumably like Eagle), what are the different features, limitations, and costs?

Question: Many users will be radio amateurs (hams) to whom RF is important. Does the product have impedance control (design) tools?

Question: Will you be working with PCB houses and perhaps component suppliers to provide a value added product? (As an aside this would be a good ongoing revenue generator for Altium, if the partners feed back a percentage of the fees, as is often the case with loyalty schemes.)

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Psi on September 13, 2014, 03:47:52 am
It's not "a lot of work" if you write clean, well commented code that follows standards.

If this were a new program written from scratch, you'd think that would be the case. So this tells me it's most likely heavily based on their legacy code.

Altium used to be all Delphi code but i believe they have moved most, if not all, to another C based platform. So it has been re-written, or at least ported, relativity recently.

Ironically, since they did that, the new versions of Delphi have added good cross platform support for windows, mac-os, android and IOS. And Linux is in the pipeline.

However, Alium Designer running on your Phone is probably not that useful :P
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 13, 2014, 05:44:14 am
But yeah, I was very surprised too.

You have audience and they are smart to recognize it. 

They get free (I assume) buzz for their new product launch and you get an early look at it. It's a win/win.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 07:22:23 am
They get free (I assume) buzz for their new product launch and you get an early look at it. It's a win/win.

Yeah, they aren't entirely dumb. They said they knew I'd review it anyway, and that my video made them stop release and reconsider what they were doing. So they wanted my reaction before they announcement it this time. I guess using me as kind of a community barometer.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 13, 2014, 08:03:47 am
I'm getting another demo early next week.
Anything you want me to specifically ask them?

What's the release date?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 08:13:59 am
What's the release date?

"By the end of the year".
They want to go into beta testing first with a new bunch of target market beta testers, not their existing pro user beta testers.
Within the next week they will be talking publicly about it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mrpackethead on September 13, 2014, 08:53:22 am
Believe it when we see it.   I'll be grumpy though if "free" pretty much is what i needed, and i have just forked out to buy several seats.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 13, 2014, 09:00:11 am
I will assume that the free version is not for commercial applications, so if you had to add several seats you are probably a commercial entity therefore you don't want to use the cheap stuff because the bottom line rides on it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 09:34:27 am
I will assume that the free version is not for commercial applications

No. I've said that the free version allows commercial use.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 09:36:03 am
Believe it when we see it.

Well I've seen it and it's real, but yeah, it's ain't real until it's released.
They will comment publicly on it by end of this coming week.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 13, 2014, 10:14:20 am
We haven't heard about the charging model yet, but a question that comes to mind, bearing in mind the target market.
If I have upgraded to a paid version, for whatever reason....

If I give someone a file created with the paid version, with they be able to load it with the free version, and at the very least make cosmetic edits and output gerbers?
 
If not, there needs to be some way that paid users can create files that free users can load and use to the extent allowed by the free version.

Maybe even a "run in free mode" option to allow testing without having to install multiple versions.
 
Ditto for parts created with a paid version.

Another question - what are they planning in the way of importers/exporters to other formats?
Will it be sufficiently open/documented for people to write their own converters to/from their format?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: alimirjamali on September 13, 2014, 07:12:53 pm
I'm getting another demo early next week.
Anything you want me to specifically ask them?
Two more question the others did not ask (or maybe they did?).

Is the free version limited to only one Schematic sheet (like EAGLE Light)? ::)

How long they are going to support/update it? I know, I know it is going to be free (No payment), yet users will spend their time designing projects using their precious eyes :o. Both time/health are money (see your own tweet to understand my concern (https://twitter.com/eevblog/status/495813239695896577)).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 13, 2014, 08:19:42 pm
I guess using me as kind of a community barometer.

And also an influencer. People listen to what you say.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 13, 2014, 08:56:03 pm
Dave, will it be a "limited time free license" and the user must buy some permanent license on expiry?
Maybe an increased range of packages to that now available?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 13, 2014, 09:22:19 pm
what are they planning in the way of importers/exporters to other formats?

As with most lower cost software, it would be usual to have some importers but few (if any) exporters.

Quote
Will it be sufficiently open/documented for people to write their own converters to/from their format?

I doubt it, in fact perhaps Altium are going to provide the low cost version for free but then charge you each time you want to generate gerbers (or native Altium files that can be used for production). This would be innovative (which Dave says it is) & would allow the hobbyist who makes only a couple of boards a year to use quality software at a low cost.

In fact, perhaps once you have finished your design, you log in to the Altium server, get your credit card out & Altium then converts the encrypted production file into gerbers/Altium production files. Maybe that cost will depend on the number of pads or the board size or perhaps the number of layers.

In fact the more I think about it (having read Dave's earlier hints), the more I think this is the way Altium is likely headed.

No worrying about 3rd party board shops paying to decrypt files & truly is a "user pay" service.

Encryption keys would be different for everyone making cracks much more difficult (a bit like PGP where 2 keys are required - one from you & one from Altium).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 13, 2014, 09:43:35 pm
what are they planning in the way of importers/exporters to other formats?

As with most lower cost software, it would be usual to have some importers but few (if any) exporters.
They are apparently targetting Eagle - if they don't have an Eagle importer they will fail.
Quote
Will it be sufficiently open/documented for people to write their own converters to/from their format?
Quote

I doubt it, in fact perhaps Altium are going to provide the low cost version for free but then charge you each time you want to generate gerbers
In fact, perhaps once you have finished your design, you log in to the Altium server, get your credit card out & Altium then converts the encrypted production file into gerbers/Altium production files. Maybe that cost will depend on the number of pads or the board size or perhaps the number of layers.
That would kill it stone dead at birth Anything like that and it is simply not a free package.
 Relying on their server to be working to be able to finish your work is completely unacceptable, free or not.

I'm sure Dave would have called them out already if this had been the case


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on September 13, 2014, 09:47:39 pm
They should open source everything and accept donations only.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 13, 2014, 10:53:47 pm
They should open source everything and accept donations only.

Hey I have work for you, but I will only pay you out of a paypal public donation fund, not from my pocket!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 13, 2014, 10:59:20 pm
Dave, will it be a "limited time free license" and the user must buy some permanent license on expiry?

No, the free version is free forever if your design requirements fit it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on September 13, 2014, 11:00:12 pm
Quote
Hey I have work for you, but I will only pay you out of a paypal public donation fund, not from my pocket!

I have a better idea. How about I build a system that will help you achieve your goal. If you think its worth me maintaining this system you can help by donating.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 01:38:39 am
Why speculating? We will know by the time they will make it available. And then they will adapt it based on market response.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 14, 2014, 07:09:34 am
I doubt it, in fact perhaps Altium are going to provide the low cost version for free but then charge you each time you want to generate gerbers (or native Altium files that can be used for production). This would be innovative (which Dave says it is) & would allow the hobbyist who makes only a couple of boards a year to use quality software at a low cost.

No, that is not how it works. You pay for extra design capabilities, just like Eagle etc.

Quote
In fact the more I think about it (having read Dave's earlier hints), the more I think this is the way Altium is likely headed.

Not at all.
It's not nearly as complicated or sinister as you might think.
Need more than the free version offers, hand over some money, easy as that.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 14, 2014, 07:10:27 am
Why speculating? We will know by the time they will make it available. And then they will adapt it based on market response.

Yes, it's quite likely that the final released product will change based on beta testing feedback.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: peter.mitchell on September 14, 2014, 08:22:42 am
They should open source everything and accept donations only.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3uPZiMmCYI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3uPZiMmCYI)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 14, 2014, 08:27:02 am
Quote
Hey I have work for you, but I will only pay you out of a paypal public donation fund, not from my pocket!

I have a better idea. How about I build a system that will help you achieve your goal. If you think its worth me maintaining this system you can help by donating.

No worries mate, I can do that myself, you just do the grunt work I tell you to do, donations will pay for your efforts while I'll keep the IP. But I promise I'll keep it open source as long as I can sell commercial use and it's mine.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on September 14, 2014, 09:10:33 am
Quote
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3uPZiMmCYI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3uPZiMmCYI)

You are right. Nothing good has ever come out of open source.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on September 14, 2014, 10:00:31 am
Quote
You just don't get open source, it's the property of the original coder, the rest of the coding is free work for him.
Now, who is stupid?

First of all you should stipulate which open-source licence you are referring to. There are many.
In the context of what I wrote above it was not mentioned but obviously implied that the code was in the public domain.
This is now off topic.

As for altium, a free version is a step in the right direction.
A sensible pricing strategy would be another step in the right direction.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 14, 2014, 12:04:10 pm

Quote
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3uPZiMmCYI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3uPZiMmCYI)

You are right. Nothing good has ever come out of open sores.

Fixed that for you.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on September 14, 2014, 12:12:46 pm
Quote
Should have learnt how to change settings on my Smartphone

FTFY.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 14, 2014, 01:25:31 pm
No, that is not how it works. You pay for extra design capabilities, just like Eagle etc.

Well at least we know that Altium won't be able to charge more than $1000 for their autorouter.

The Electra autorouter add-on to Diptrace does a better job than Altium's autorouter.

http://konekt.com/c5/index.php/buy/ (http://konekt.com/c5/index.php/buy/)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 04:02:38 pm
They have told me that it will be Windows only. They don't have the need (and maybe resources) to compile for another platform yet, they said it's a lot of work.

It's not "a lot of work" if you write clean, well commented code that follows standards.

If this were a new program written from scratch, you'd think that would be the case. So this tells me it's most likely heavily based on their legacy code.

Sent from my Smartphone

+1

A new design could be implemented for example using QT or a similar abstraction and even if the first release is windows only, Linux and Mac can be added later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Software_that_uses_Qt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Software_that_uses_Qt)

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.

Dave is Altium/Windows centric and he released the design of his OSH uCurrent in Windows only Altium format, but this is not the norm.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 14, 2014, 07:55:56 pm
Well, Altium Designer is written in Delphi, so porting to Linux would be a challenge no matter how clean the code is.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 14, 2014, 08:06:47 pm

A new design could be implemented for example using QT or a similar abstraction and even if the first release is windows only, Linux and Mac can be added later.

The problem is abstraction layers add bloat and slowness, and tend to be designed to hos general-purpose applications.
For something specialised like PCB layout, where responsive and accurate screen graphics are essential, more layers are bound to make things worse.
But the support & testing issues alone mean it just isn't worth catering for minority platforms with a specialist tool like this.
 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 09:00:19 pm
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.  ;-)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 09:03:13 pm
[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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 14, 2014, 09:31:38 pm

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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 14, 2014, 09:38:03 pm
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nctnico on September 14, 2014, 09:48:50 pm
@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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 14, 2014, 09:53:24 pm
[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
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 10:00:11 pm
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.  ;-)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: jmole on September 14, 2014, 10:08:17 pm
@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?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 10:13:25 pm
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 14, 2014, 10:18:35 pm
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Cside on September 14, 2014, 10:25:20 pm
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Tac Eht Xilef on September 15, 2014, 01:16:55 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...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 15, 2014, 03:12:13 am

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.)


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 15, 2014, 03:22:22 am
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?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 15, 2014, 04:07:36 am
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).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 04:54:16 am
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 04:55:08 am
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 04:56:27 am
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on September 15, 2014, 05:02:19 am
- 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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Pedram on September 15, 2014, 05:03:09 am
No library and no local saving ??? that sucks
(http://cdn.alltheragefaces.com/img/faces/png/neutral-pirate-poker-face.png)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 05:07:34 am
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 15, 2014, 05:15:01 am
- 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. :(
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: alimirjamali on September 15, 2014, 05:16:09 am
- 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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 05:19:48 am
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:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 15, 2014, 05:22:42 am
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.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 15, 2014, 05:29:17 am
The need to use the could leaves a nasty taste, but I think I could get used to it.  I do occasionally work on boards while commuting (planes) with no internets so that is an issue. 

Hmm, how long until someone spoofs their cloud server (a cloud at 192.168.0.1 would be very handy!)?

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

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


Questions to answer once the Beta goes live - not limited sheet, not multichannel, but can you nest sheets, or are you limited to a flat design?

To not be able import AD into this tool is disappointing, but I can see their need to protect the Altium side of the business.  But can you manually copy / paste from an AD window into the new tool? 

I'd love my current projects to be bought over, and if a simple import won't cut it I'd be happy to do it via manual copy / paste.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Pedram on September 15, 2014, 05:31:08 am
the one thing Altium is famous for,  is changing their mind.

Altium designer with cloud save only ? No thanks.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 05:31:23 am
I suspect most people just switched off at that point. The community manages to share projects just fine and still manages to allow people to have local copies. I don't want to look for my files in the cloud on a day when there is a clear blue sky.

I told Altium that the program will live or die by acceptance of this restriction.
I guess they won't know until they try it...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 05:33:13 am
Questions to answer once the Beta goes live - not limited sheet, not multichannel, but can you nest sheets, or are you limited to a flat design?

Nested. Pretty sure I saw that in the design examples they showed.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 15, 2014, 05:33:36 am
Uhuh. The cloud-only is a product killer, if totally predictable.

I'm guessing that all libraries that people upload will become property of Altium, and an asset similar to the Thingiverse of Makerbot. Altium isn't exactly a massive and stable international conglomerate, so there's no guarantee that your product will still be there next year, next month, or even tomorrow. Having seen how quickly these things can disappear when friends lost images on a "free" photo site, I wouldn't bet the company on such a risk. I also don't want the arse of renting a bit more board space at 3am on the night before a product design is due.

At least when you have stuff on Google Docs, you have the opportunity of downloading them to local storage if you should want.

I give it a week at most before hackers enable local saving, unlock the limits and stop the software phoning home. 48 hours is more usual for software with advanced protection.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 05:39:34 am
I am suspicious of why they want the project files stored only in the cloud. What's in it for them? I'm not interested in listening to the marketing spin.

It's a combination of protecting their AD user base, but I gather mostly because they really do want the whole concept of community to take off with this product.
You'll see once it's made public I'm sure.

Quote
What is in it for Altium?

Altium want to make money. Extra features will be rented, there is no concept of buying and owning this product. So if you have to connect to the server to enable your license then you might as well store your files there too I guess?
But yeah, it sucks.

But like I said, this could change based on community feedback/anger/non-acceptance.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: leppie on September 15, 2014, 05:41:28 am
I suspect most people just switched off at that point. The community manages to share projects just fine and still manages to allow people to have local copies. I don't want to look for my files in the cloud on a day when there is a clear blue sky.

I told Altium that the program will live or die by acceptance of this restriction.
I guess they won't know until they try it...

Another SimCity debacle coming up :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 05:41:48 am
I also don't want the arse of renting a bit more board space at 3am on the night before a product design is due.

To me that's a really good aspect of this, being able to rent the extra feature to get a project done. You can't do that with Eagle or others.

Quote
I give it a week at most before hackers enable local saving, unlock the limits and stop the software phoning home.

Yep, probably.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 15, 2014, 06:03:48 am
- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud.

Dave, does 'cloud' means Altium servers only with no cost-free data libration?  If so, this is not a 'cloud', it a proprietary lock in by an evil company.

Compare with http://dataliberation.org (http://dataliberation.org)

You should call them on that, even if they are schmoozing you.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 15, 2014, 06:10:19 am
Yeah, I'm pretty bummed. But then I realise I use gmail and google docs  :palm:

Both products allow you to get your data to your computer in a useable format (which I do often)  Will Altium allow that?

http://dataliberation.org (http://dataliberation.org)



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ElektroQuark on September 15, 2014, 06:13:00 am
Cloud based is a show stopper for me too. Bye bye, Altium Free!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 15, 2014, 06:19:55 am
I'm guessing that all libraries that people upload will become property of Altium

And your files if you don't continue to pay the "File retention fee" year after year.

I am suspicious of why they want the project files stored only in the cloud. What's in it for them?

So they can charge you for storing them year after year.

One year you decide not to pay & the next year you go looking for your 2 year old design to find it's not the cloud your looking at, but a puff of smoke instead.

I thought a lot of the cr*p had been cleaned out the closet when Nick Martin was given the boot. Obviously not.

Three words for you Altium.

Dumb, dumb & dummer.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 06:31:20 am
Dave, does 'cloud' means Altium servers only with no cost-free data libration?  If so, this is not a 'cloud', it a proprietary lock in by an evil company.

Of course it means Altium servers (or more precisely Amazon S3 and RackSpace et.al)

Quote
Compare with http://dataliberation.org (http://dataliberation.org)
You should call them on that, even if they are schmoozing you.

I said it sucks, and that the product will likely live or die based on this restriction. What more do you want me to say?
It also sucks that you can't export and take your data elsewhere, but I doubt Altium are alone here? That's the choice you make when you chose Altium. It's not like the current AD product lets you export and move over to Eagle for example.
This is not Google Docs, where you can export easily into text or whatever it's a complicated CAD program with all it's element storage idiosyncrasies.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 06:34:29 am
And your files if you don't continue to pay the "File retention fee" year after year.

What good are your Altium files if you don't chose to use Altium any more?
I'm sure you can chose to shut down your account and delete the files, I doubt they "become the property of Altium"

Quote
So they can charge you for storing them year after year.

For the free version, no, it doesn't cost you anything.
And even for the paid versions it does not cost you anything to store your files. You only pay if you chose to use the package again to edit them at a later date.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 06:37:39 am
Both products allow you to get your data to your computer in a useable format (which I do often)  Will Altium allow that?

It does not export to other packages, no. But then again, neither does AD mostly. Want to move from AD to Eagle or KiCAD or DIPtrace, or...? Altium won't help you with that:
http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ADOH/Importing+and+Exporting+Design+Files (http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ADOH/Importing+and+Exporting+Design+Files)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 15, 2014, 06:41:04 am
Guys, server side data storage is the way of the future. As internet speeds increase, especially wireless, we'll get to a point where all data is stored on server farms. Our entire OS's won't even be local anymore.

Assimilate.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Pedram on September 15, 2014, 06:49:05 am
Guys, server side data storage is the way of the future. As internet speeds increase, especially wireless, we'll get to a point where all data is stored on server farms. Our entire OS's won't even be local anymore.

Assimilate.


Sent from my Smartphone

Yes. As long as they don't restrict you to it and use it as a leverage to buy their software.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on September 15, 2014, 06:51:51 am
Hi all,

Am not a fan of cloud based stuff. However, I might still give it a go.......however, it does depend on how easy it is to use and what restrictions it has on my workflow and ability to do things. I.E. In Eagle I quite often duplicate a project to back it up, or to create a new rev (not for production but to test routing scenarios etc).

The cloud had better be extremely seemless.

In the meantime I'm off to drop a line to CadSoft.......they should see this thread now......might push them to increase their own dev team......  :)

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 15, 2014, 06:52:54 am
Ya know... totally makes sense, actually.

Consider.

Eagle importer.  You can bring your existing stuff in.

Of course they wouldn't export Eagle, that'd be silly.  But Eagle could import Altium.

Oh, but wait, remember that file save thing?

So where are you going to get the files to import?

That's what they're after -- you can go in, but not back out!

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: 8086 on September 15, 2014, 06:54:11 am
Cloud saving only?

Aaaaaand it's dead. What on earth are they smoking? Hours of work, and no local save? No thanks mate.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 15, 2014, 06:58:04 am
I.E. In Eagle I quite often duplicate a project to back it up, or to create a new rev (not for production but to test routing scenarios etc).

Use git or any other version control system.  That's what they good for.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 15, 2014, 07:02:44 am

Guys, server side data storage is the way of the future. As internet speeds increase, especially wireless, we'll get to a point where all data is stored on server farms. Our entire OS's won't even be local anymore.

Assimilate.


Sent from my Smartphone

Yes. As long as they don't restrict you to it and use it as a leverage to buy their software.

The software is free. You're not buying anything.

Furthermore, in 10 years when "Windows XP2: Cloud Boogaloo" comes out, all the software that runs on it will be hosted on Microsoft's Azure platform. No data or software will be stored on your platform.

This is the future.

That said the future isn't quite here yet... What Altium is doing is adopting the Upverter model, only with Windows software instead of a WebApp. To me, that's stupid as shit. At least with a WebApp it's cross platform. (And Upverter allows you to export a local copy of their open file format.)

It's like they saw Upverter's public/private repository scheme and thought, "That's the ticket! Let's do that only half-assed and with dumb, arbitrary restrictions."

If they're going to have cloud-only saving then they need the ability to export a project. Even if it's just an XML or JSON file of all the net lists and coordinates. We can easily make converters for that.

If they don't do that they're completely off track and the product will fail.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 15, 2014, 07:43:09 am
I was looking forward to trying Altium but if there is no local backup/save, sorry. That's just not usable, not even for toy projects.

I am not doing big designs, but even a simple board is hours of work. And if I lose internet connection or the program crashes just before uploading the thing to the cloud, I'm screwed. Hours of lost work.

I could live with the other restrictions (hey, it is "free"!), even though the limited amount of "private" projects will likely make it very unappealing to anyone building anything for sale. Those people will likely rather stay with Eagle/Diptrace/Kicad/whatever. However, the lack of local saves makes it a non-starter for anyone who has ever made a PCB with more than 3 parts.

What were these guys thinking?  :palm:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 15, 2014, 07:48:37 am
I'm still banned from their forum...
One might think for the publicity gained here this might change?  >:D

Oh well, we should have known better...there is no such thing as a free lunch.  :--
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sca on September 15, 2014, 07:51:05 am
Another down vote for cloud storage.

Any idea if allowing local storage will be a paid option?

Similarly is push-and-shove likely to be a paid option?

Thanks,

sca

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 08:05:33 am
Any idea if allowing local storage will be a paid option?
Similarly is push-and-shove likely to be a paid option?

Nope and nope. Not at this stage anyway.
But as I said, they seem very willing the change this based on beta feedback/rage.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mr.B on September 15, 2014, 08:28:05 am
I am a hobbyist user of Eagle. Designed and delivered loads of PCBs.
Yes, I am restricted to two layers, 80mm... etc...
BUT... I am a hobbyist, and the 80mm restriction also adds a unique challenge with some projects.
If Altium want to secure the Eagle user market, they are going to have to do better.
From a personal perspective I will not put anything in the cloud that I have spent many Sunday afternoons working on.
I simply don't trust the cloud service providers... Here today, gone tomorrow.
At the moment I would be more inclined to purchase a "non-free" license from Eagle than invest time in Altium.
My 10c worth...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Psi on September 15, 2014, 08:32:09 am
It might not be too bad if you can pay a few $ to get a local copy.

That way you can make PCBs and get boards produced all you want, rev1-6 etc..
Once your happy with the design and maybe want to take the project to the next level you could pay some money and get the file local.


Anyone know if you can import a gerber file into full AD and use it to generate PCB copper?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: MattiStef on September 15, 2014, 08:33:53 am
As an alternative to other free ECAD software i see no problem with any of this, its free.
Im wondering though if it will be possibe to cooperate on a board with other users. Or if you could get feedack or see how your desing has been changed by other users? F.ex. you work on a board with a fellow student, it is public as working. A couple weeks later you could see someone used your design but upgraded to an arm, changed to 12v supply or made it smaller.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Psi on September 15, 2014, 08:37:38 am
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.

Delphi has 0.7% market share, or it did when i last looked at the stats last year. (It used to have a lot more)

It may claw some more back in the years to come, some of the new multi-platform stuff they are doing is really innovative.  If they can get linux support added it will be a good option for getting native multiplatform software on all the platforms out there with a consistent UI experience.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 08:42:28 am
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.
Fail. If I can't work because my internet connection or their server is down that is completely unacceptable.
What happens if you've spent hours on a design & suddenly can't save it? Is there a way to deal with this situation?
Any paid version would absolutely have to allow standalone use or they won't get any significant sales.
Quote
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's a difference between encouraging and forcing.
Quote

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.
Which presupposes enough community to be useful.
Quote

 So it won't have the likes of push'n'shove,
Fail - this is an essential feature in any modern PCB software.
Quote
- YES, the free version can be used for commercial projects.
But who is going to risk doing a commercial project on something dependent on their server and them not abandoning it some time in the future?
Quote
- 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.
 
How can they stop people using multiple accounts to get round this?

Unless they provide some way to make it useable standalone it will be a dead duck. I can't see that they have a chance in hell of making any significant inroads into the market. Maybe if they;d done it a few years ago, but I think it's too little, too late.



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 09:08:09 am
Any idea if allowing local storage will be a paid option?
Similarly is push-and-shove likely to be a paid option?

Nope and nope. Not at this stage anyway.
But as I said, they seem very willing the change this based on beta feedback/rage.
Although probably acceptable for a free tool, unless you can pay a reasonable amount to remove this restriction, they will fail to get people to commit to a paid version, which has to be their ultimate goal to make it worthwhile.
 
Even for  free version, it is essential that data is not lost if the connection or server fails - there absolutely has to be a way of locally saving something, even if it needs a subsequent login before, say, you can export gerbers.
 
It is inevitable that this functionality will get hacked at some point.
Unless they offer people a legitimate way to upgrade, they just won't make any money.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 15, 2014, 09:25:36 am
Link to mikeselectricstuff's Altium Free POLL:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-free-version/msg513318/#msg513318 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-free-version/msg513318/#msg513318)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 15, 2014, 09:29:46 am

As an alternative to other free ECAD software i see no problem with any of this, its free.
Im wondering though if it will be possibe to cooperate on a board with other users. Or if you could get feedack or see how your desing has been changed by other users? F.ex. you work on a board with a fellow student, it is public as working. A couple weeks later you could see someone used your design but upgraded to an arm, changed to 12v supply or made it smaller.

This is another point I forgot to make with the comparison to Upverter.

That's one huge feature of Upverter that I really love: Collaboration. It makes working with another designer halfway across the world so, so easy.

For public designs, you can mark it as "feedback wanted" and it'll go into a special list where people can critique it (much like what happens here on the forums) with additional ability to add annotations and markup.

These are reason I put up with Upverter being a WebApp. It has it's place, for sure. But at the end of the day, I still use DipTrace 75% of the time.

Altium needs to decide if it wants to be a WebApp or a PC Program. You can't have it both ways.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 15, 2014, 09:30:47 am
"Windows XP2: Cloud Boogaloo"

 :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 15, 2014, 10:18:08 am
But who is going to risk doing a commercial project on something dependent on their server and them not abandoning it some time in the future?

Didn't Dave say that there would be a method to allow full-fat Altium users to import this lite stuff?
If so, then laundering projects for a fiver a go would seem sensible, for people who want an archive copy.

It looks to me as if Altium have quite neatly split the market, between toy customers who don't mind the risk of downtime, and people on a deadline with data security requirements, who'll just stick with the proper version. There's not a lot of overlap.

That said, when Altium's license server stopped playing a year or two back, I was livid...

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 10:23:52 am
That said, when Altium's license server stopped playing a year or two back, I was livid...
A problem is that all the people who come up with these web-based concepts are used to having reliable, fast internet connections, and don't think about the implications for people who don't.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 15, 2014, 10:34:18 am
More than a little loaded, yes... :P

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 10:40:12 am
Link to mikeselectricstuff's Altium Free POLL:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-free-version/msg513318/#msg513318 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-free-version/msg513318/#msg513318)

Quote
Yes - I consider reliance on the net and their server to be an acceptable risk

Doesn't this poll option mean all other options have an implicit inference that the cloud risk is unacceptable? Or am I biased and therefore missing something?
The whole issue is about risk of not being able to use it, or losing data.
If you could guarantee that you will never be unable to talk to their server, now or any time in the future than it's a complete non-issue, however there will always be a risk that you won't be able to phone home, so the acceptability of this model boils down to how acceptable you consider this risk to be, and whether the benefits of this package outweigh it.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: _Sin on September 15, 2014, 11:18:49 am
I find it interesting that there's already a definite trend in the poll towards people not being interested at all, and almost no-one who would pay a small amount to have a non-cloud option.

People really have high expectations for "free" these days.

Altium's (apparent) model is strange though. Already there is unease at the idea of people subscribing to software (see the fuss over Adobe's recent moves), and now we're being asked (essentially) to subscribe to our own *data*. There are lots of cloud based applications and data storage options, but I can't think of too many which don't actually allow you to get the data back out again.

It just feels like someone high up had a brain fart and they've run with it without really thinking it through.

Especially if the target market are hobbyist types, many of whom may not be designing stuff sat at a desk with a good internet connection, but might be doing stuff in spare time on a laptop wherever they happen to be, and often either with poor or non-existent internet connection. It would rule it out for me - not through choice, it just simply wouldn't work.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on September 15, 2014, 11:19:25 am
Fail. If I can't work because my internet connection or their server is down that is completely unacceptable.
What happens if you've spent hours on a design & suddenly can't save it? Is there a way to deal with this situation?
Any paid version would absolutely have to allow standalone use or they won't get any significant sales.

Maybe they'll adopt a system whereby that in the event of the Net going down mid session then the software would save to cache which would allow you to close down the software/PC, and then when you bring it back up again it reconciliates with the server to save. Thats gotta be minumum functionality..........

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 15, 2014, 11:27:28 am
Want to move from AD to Eagle or KiCAD or DIPtrace, or...? Altium won't help you with that:

No worries. I regularly move AD files across to DipTrace by using the PCAD Export Filter. Works very well. Sometimes there is just a few minutes spent to clean up the component overlay(s).

I was looking forward to trying Altium but if there is no local backup/save, sorry. That's just not usable, not even for toy projects.

I fully agree.

Quote
people will likely rather stay with Eagle/Diptrace/Kicad/whatever.

Fully agree again.

Quote
What were these guys thinking?  :palm:

No, the question should be: What were these guys smoking?

If Altium want to secure the Eagle user market, they are going to have to do better.

Fully agree. A whole lot better.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 11:40:36 am
Once your happy with the design and maybe want to take the project to the next level you could pay some money and get the file local.

That would work.

My solution if I had to compromise on this would be to allows local saving and have the ability to work off-line doing the PCB, but when you want to finish the project ad generate the files you have to log into the system.
Schematic and libraries can stay online if needed, as with their back-end you'll want to do this anyway (as you'll see come release), and then when ready to lay out the board, go into off-line routing mode for a week while you finish your board.

That way Altium could compromise on allowing local saving to keep everyone happy, but then still satisfy their goal of having everything online to do the community stuff.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 11:46:48 am
What about parts ? Can you create & keep parts locally or do you also need to do this online?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 11:48:09 am
Im wondering though if it will be possibe to cooperate on a board with other users. Or if you could get feedack or see how your desing has been changed by other users?

Actually co-operative design like Altium tried with AD that allows working on the same file at the same time, I'm not entirely sure. But there are some powerful community features to enable you to get feedback on your design as you describe.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 11:49:54 am
Fail. If I can't work because my internet connection or their server is down that is completely unacceptable.
What happens if you've spent hours on a design & suddenly can't save it? Is there a way to deal with this situation?

Yes, don't be dumb and not save  :P
They are also talking about maybe a live background save feature like Google uses, but that is not in there yet.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 11:52:26 am
But who is going to risk doing a commercial project on something dependent on their server and them not abandoning it some time in the future?

Plenty of commercial users already do that with AD's online license server.
Someone noted on here they were pretty miffed when the server went down.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 11:55:31 am
That's one huge feature of Upverter that I really love: Collaboration. It makes working with another designer halfway across the world so, so easy.

They are aiming to make it much better than upverter in that respect.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 15, 2014, 11:58:12 am
Fail. If I can't work because my internet connection or their server is down that is completely unacceptable.
What happens if you've spent hours on a design & suddenly can't save it? Is there a way to deal with this situation?
Any paid version would absolutely have to allow standalone use or they won't get any significant sales.

Maybe they'll adopt a system whereby that in the event of the Net going down mid session then the software would save to cache which would allow you to close down the software/PC, and then when you bring it back up again it reconciliates with the server to save. Thats gotta be minumum functionality..........

Ian.

Interesting implications though...

- If they save it locally, it'll be like downloading a video stream: it shows up in your internet cache (or at least, this was true at one time), so you're already downloading it to file, the user just doesn't interact with the file normally.  But it's merely a matter of making a copy before the cache clears.

- If they save it locally, but it's encrypted... who owns it?  I expect most legal jurisdictions would consider that file yours, because it represents your labor.  In which case, encrypting it might even be illegal, because that would be ransomware: they're holding that file's contents from its rightful owner!

- And if it is locally encrypted, how much interest will there be in making backups?  Will it be as simple as copying the file?  Will it be desirable to open that file as well -- in short, circumventing the encryption?  (Depending on their security, it may be easy or hard.  The key may also be updated from time to time, which depends on how often people want to keep cracking it.)  This is generally illegal, but if the file contains user data... is it?

- And if people go to such length as to crack the encryption (if present), is that security representative of much more of Altium's infrastructure?  In other words, is putting that restriction out there, in a massively available program, going to compromise the security of Altium in general?

It seems likely that, to avoid all this crap, they'd simply have it saved online only.  Less vulnerability for them, and more control.  Bad news for users like Mike.

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 12:02:38 pm
I find it interesting that there's already a definite trend in the poll towards people not being interested at all, and almost no-one who would pay a small amount to have a non-cloud option.
People really have high expectations for "free" these days.

Yep, I agree.
I think if there was a paid option to save and work locally then I think few people would generally have a issue with it. I know I wouldn't, as I'd be looking at some kind of paid version anyway. So this would just be another one of the optional extras I would buy.
They actually already have this in place begging to be used with their app payment model and the ability to trade off features back and forth and get credit on things you aren't using right now.
e.g. don't need off-line work right now, but need 8 layers for a month no problem, just shift your options around.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 12:06:20 pm
What about parts ? Can you create & keep parts locally or do you also need to do this online?

Parts are online, it's part of their big community and tie-in with other data suppliers as you'll see when released.
Not sure if you can save them locally or export though. They said there was library compatibility with AD.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 15, 2014, 12:27:11 pm
[PUsh and Shove]


I will be at MakerFaire with an Exhibit (come and see the MonkeyJam).      I plan on visiting the booth.

I will beat Ben Jordan into submission at the Faire until they have this enabled.    This is a critical feature.  Programs such that don't do this are some primitive....    The router is such a big deal as it is a large part of your one's work.

Without push shove and multi-trace routine (it is really nice to grab 10 signals at once...),   the router turns into the crap that Diptrace, Eagle and KiCad have.

2 other features that are a must have:

1.)   All of the "Find Similar Object" and Global Replace,  SMART PASTE features.   These are killer productivity features....

2.)  The PCB design rules engine.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GK on September 15, 2014, 12:33:47 pm
All this forced sharing and community based crap reminds me of the frightening public dunny at the beach at Warnambool. I was camped out that way, on the "shipwreck coast" for one night, it was my only option besides the bushes (not very private on New Years Eve) and I have never seen anything like it. This public dunny had two intimately positioned toilet bowls per cubicle. The bowls were closely spaced at 90 degrees to each other, so that you could knock knees, hold hands or just gaze into the eyes of your dunny-buddy for the moment. I mean, what kind of sick f$%$ came up with that idea? It was almost 11 years ago now, but just thinking about that dunny still gives me the heebeegeeebies - conceivably more so than had I bumped into and subsequently escaped the clutches of a Cyberman or a Dalek that night.

It sounds to me like these are the kind of toilets that they would have installed at Altium headquarters. As a matter of fact, that is probably where they brainstorm most of their best ideas. And to think that some cranky stuck-in-the-mud's are still resisting the move to open office spaces! Being forced on every level to share your shit with and experience everyone else's - clearly, this is the way of the future.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 15, 2014, 01:00:31 pm
Quote
Parts are online, it's part of their big community and tie-in with other data suppliers as you'll see when released.


I hope they have a a part feedback system.    I make all my own parts as I am paranoid about using anything that I haven't verified.  I have been burned too many times but people who don't check their parts!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 01:08:46 pm
This is a critical feature.  Programs such that don't do this are some primitive....    The router is such a big deal as it is a large part of your one's work.

Funny how I survived just fine as a professional PCB layout designer for more than decade without a push'n'shove router.
Many PCB designers I know refuse to use it because they "don't want no stinking software moving my traces for me!" ;D

Quote
Without push shove and multi-trace routine (it is really nice to grab 10 signals at once...),   the router turns into the crap that Diptrace, Eagle and KiCad have.

And last I checked they have pretty decent markets, markets that Altium want to get into.
It would be really nice if it had it, but I wouldn't say it's so essential people won't use it because it's missing.

Quote
2.)  The PCB design rules engine.

It's there. Not quite everything you get in AD, but all the usual stuff.
e.g. it won't do 3D clearance checking.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GK on September 15, 2014, 01:13:09 pm
Nothing is uglier than a schematic full of generic big-block I.C. symbols sporting a gazillion unused pins in less than ideal positions and subsequently wired together like spaghetti. For this reason I always generate my own neat schematic parts library for each schematic document anyway, and in the time that it would take to seek out and properly check the pin-out of a library part produced by someone else I could just as easily draw my own.

Library sharing is just another big smelly load of "lets all hold hands and feel nice" BS. Period.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sca on September 15, 2014, 01:20:42 pm

It looks to me as if Altium have quite neatly split the market, between toy customers who don't mind the risk of downtime, and people on a deadline with data security requirements, who'll just stick with the proper version. There's not a lot of overlap.


There is at least some overlap though - the paid versions of the likes of Eagle, DipTrace, Proteus are in there.

I work as a consultant full time, PCB layout is an important part of what I do, but it's an infrequent activity, much more time spent writing code for the stuff on the boards. As such, I'm quite happy to justify £1k - £1.5k on a paid version of (eg) Altium, if it offers signficant improvement. £6 - £7k is a completely different matter. I don't *think* I'm alone.

sca
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 15, 2014, 02:27:58 pm
Quote
Funny how I survived just fine as a professional PCB layout designer for more than decade without a push'n'shove router.
Many PCB designers I know refuse to use it because they "don't want no stinking software moving my traces for me!"

I think it is a question of efficiency.   Having real time DRC just makes things so much faster.   Not only is the routing faster but clean up as well.      I just completed a  design with a high speed memory interface.    The push-shove differential router was really nice.   Sure you can screw with 200 traces manually to fix DRC errors, but I personally have more better uses of my time. 

At this point it is like arguing that coding without an editor that has syntax highlighting or shitting in an outhouse.   When I grew up we had one.    It is really nice that I have now have toilet and don't have to clean the stall.   It's call progress!

I personally don't mind the cloud stuff.    If you are "open sourcing" it,   you really shouldn't care about "protecting IP".   

As far as cloud based storage.   I have gotten used to Google docs,   MBED and dropbox.    It generally means that I have many backups.   Amazon AWS is many orders of magnitude more reliable at holding files than any kitchen table computer a Maker will use.

The reality is that 90% really like having pervasive access to files from any machine.,   It is the 10% that bitch the loudest.

The biggest beef I will have is that of version control.   I like to have a project repository with everything in it.  (Source, documentation, etc).     It is easy to life cycle manage something now with SVN.    If Altium's stuff is in the cloud,  that may make things a bit more difficult.

All it all, it is hard to complain about "free".   I will gladly use it (and pay for some extra features).    I just hope they don't neuter too much of the good stuff about Altium.



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DJohn on September 15, 2014, 03:44:17 pm
I find it interesting that there's already a definite trend in the poll towards people not being interested at all, and almost no-one who would pay a small amount to have a non-cloud option.

If there was an affordable version with local saves, modest limitations, and a basic library, then I'd be interested.  I'd have a look at the free one to see what it's like, and if it's worth upgrading.  If I liked it, I'd be happy to give them some money.  That's what I did with Eagle.

But if the gap is between free cloud-only saves and the full version (I'm assuming that if I have to ask the price, I can't afford it), I'm not going to bother.  Eagle can be irritating at times, but Altium will have to give me a much better reason to switch than this.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 15, 2014, 04:03:18 pm
I both agree with and disagree with nearly everything here.

Is online only bad?  Yes.  No.  Is it bad in that I can't take my files with me?  Yes.  Is it bad in that now I don't have to worry about keeping them backed up and available on other computers?  No.

I don't understand the vitriol.  If you don't like it, DON'T USE IT.  You're not being forced into anything, including online storage of yer bits.  If you don't want your non-physical 1s and 0s stored in the cloud, then don't use the tool.  It's fuckin' simple.

I'll be giving it a try.  I have Eagle Professional at work, which I hate.  I have OrCad at work, which isn't too bad.  I have a bunch of Mentor Graphics stuff which isn't too bad.  I don't have Altium.  I'll try it and if I like it I'll use it.  Online-only doesn't mean anything to me at all.

What matters to me is the EULA.  If Altium claim ownership of everything I do then, well, Altium can go screw themselves because that is something -- pretty much the only thing -- that I don't tolerate in EULAs.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 15, 2014, 04:19:35 pm
I don't understand the vitriol.
and yet....
Quote
  If you don't like it, DON'T USE IT.  You're not being forced into anything, including online storage of yer bits.  If you don't want your non-physical 1s and 0s stored in the cloud, then don't use the tool.  It's fuckin' simple.

If only the internet had more people like this... Oh wait
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 15, 2014, 04:40:04 pm
I don't understand the vitriol.  If you don't like it, DON'T USE IT.  You're not being forced into anything, including online storage of yer bits.  If you don't want your non-physical 1s and 0s stored in the cloud, then don't use the tool.  It's fuckin' simple.

I don't understand the vitriol.  If you don't like the opinions here, DON'T READ THEM. It's that simple.  ;-)

Seriously, negative feedback is just as valid as positive feedback. Censoring feedback to 'it's great' only misses the point.

The issue is not the cloud, many of us use github, google docs, gmail, dropbox and the likes. The issue is the locked cloud with a pay-to-get-your-own-data model. Hopefully Altium will listen and adapt. Eagle did it recently with the retreat from that new licensing scheme.

Altium, read this http://dataliberation.org (http://dataliberation.org)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 04:47:08 pm

Seriously, negative feedback is just as valid as positive feedback.
Actually negative feedback is potentially more useful, as it is highlighting things that need fixing to make things better
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 15, 2014, 05:24:24 pm
The biggest beef I will have is that of version control.   I like to have a project repository with everything in it.  (Source, documentation, etc).     It is easy to life cycle manage something now with SVN.    If Altium's stuff is in the cloud,  that may make things a bit more difficult.

THIS.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 15, 2014, 05:35:10 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.

So, then, what about those of us who will take a symbol and footprint from a "community" library, vet it, add a company part number and other fields to the symbol, and then add the component to a company library?

Does this free Altium even allow the creation and use of a company library?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on September 15, 2014, 06:18:01 pm
I am suspicious of why they want the project files stored only in the cloud. What's in it for them? What is in it for Altium?
still living in the cloud? let me tell you a summary from what i gathered in this forum about altium the company... directive #1: protecting shareholders' investment... that means probably you'll need to buy full $5K license in order to resurrect your project file in local space drive. or worst as other have said, you'll need to pay "bug fix" or "maintenance" fee anually in order to continue to enjoy access to your many hours of effort of project file. no free lunch man, no free lunch. do you think they can afford to store gazzillions of hobbiest project files in their cloud for free for eternal life? i dont think so. this is a "trap for young players" ;)

Guys, server side data storage is the way of the future....anymore.
Assimilate.
you are absolutely right, assimilate and being reborn again as a monkey

wait... is that really usefull? the my post? no? just ignore/skip it please.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: hikariuk on September 15, 2014, 06:38:06 pm
They should open source everything and accept donations only.

And if that brought in as much money as their current business model did they might consider it.  It won't.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 15, 2014, 07:28:19 pm
Whole lot of opinion here from folks that don't know what the tool is called, what its full functionality is, or what the terms or functionality of the online whatever will be.

Maybe it'll be awesome. Maybe it'll be a catalyst that kick starts some better development in kicad or eagle or your favorite tool.  Who knows?  Until we get our hands on it we are all just talking out of our asses.

It just shows how completely unsatisfiable we are as a community.  No one will ever make us happy as a whole, except that old software on that old platform that isn't made or sold anymore.  The one that got away.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rutger on September 15, 2014, 08:00:23 pm
Heck, I just started to use Kicad, which is pretty decent. allows local saves and does everything I need.

Why do we need another free tool?  I have no problem with cloud based program, they usually save every change you make so you won't loose a thing.
Just look at google docs, you never have to save them. As long as they implement it right you shouldn't loose any changes.

You can't say that about other software, if you forget to save or you have a power failure... all your changes are gone.

They should allow local saves of the schematic and board layout (these should stay private), but all the libraries you create should be cloud based so people can re-use them.
For the libraries they need to create a strict naming convention, we don't want 100's of duplicates of the same part.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 15, 2014, 09:07:22 pm
I find it interesting that there's already a definite trend in the poll towards people not being interested at all, and almost no-one who would pay a small amount to have a non-cloud option.

People really have high expectations for "free" these days.

Paying for things like larger boards, autorouter, additional layers, etc. - fair enough. Not everyone needs that and it allows lowering the cost. And who needs that feature can buy it. No problem with that model.

However, being actually able to reliably save your work is such a basic feature that nobody sane would even think about removing it, unless it is meant to be a practically unusable, limited demo. And re willing to pay for that - that's like getting a "free" car, but hey, you have to actually pay $10k for getting the engine if you want to drive elsewhere than in your garage. Is it having high expectations that the product is actually fit for its intended purpose? That it is "free" is really irrelevant there.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 10:05:35 pm
I think it is a question of efficiency.   Having real time DRC just makes things so much faster.   Not only is the routing faster but clean up as well.      I just completed a  design with a high speed memory interface.    The push-shove differential router was really nice.   Sure you can screw with 200 traces manually to fix DRC errors, but I personally have more better uses of my time. 
At this point it is like arguing that coding without an editor that has syntax highlighting or shitting in an outhouse.   When I grew up we had one.    It is really nice that I have now have toilet and don't have to clean the stall.   It's call progress!

You'll get no argument from me.
I'm just saying that Altium are differentiating the low end package by removing some design efficiency tools you take for granted in the full AD package.
And that is Altium's big problem, they have an existing $70M in sales to protect, they are a one-product company.
If the low end package is as efficient to use as the full package then there is no differentiator and many professionals won't have an incentive to upgrade.
People will survive just fine without push'n'shove in the low end package.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 15, 2014, 10:08:43 pm
Yes, but I might as well keep using DipTrace. If I'm going to use another package, I need a compelling reason to do so. PushNShove is one of those things.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 15, 2014, 10:15:32 pm
Maybe it'll be awesome. Maybe it'll be a catalyst that kick starts some better development in kicad or eagle or your favorite tool.  Who knows?  Until we get our hands on it we are all just talking out of our asses.

That's the thing. This will be an early beta test program and things will change as result of community feedback. In fact it's practically alpha testing.
Half the stuff wasn't finished or decisions made when I saw it yesterday and it's 5 days out from showing it at Maker Faire.
I get the very clear impression that Altium do want to do this right, and they genuinely want people to tell them what they want. But if everyone goes in and just says "I hate this and that", I refuse to use it, or whatever, then it's not going to go anywhere.

Atlium did stop and re-think their whole direction based on my video and the community response to that. And they will almost certainly be willing to do so again with the product once it's in beta. If you want to shape this tool, join the beta program and provide feedback.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 15, 2014, 10:57:16 pm
I suspect Maker Fair could be a bit of a culture shock for them....
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Chris_PL on September 16, 2014, 12:12:58 am
And re willing to pay for that - that's like getting a "free" car, but hey, you have to actually pay $10k for getting the engine if you want to drive elsewhere than in your garage. Is it having high expectations that the product is actually fit for its intended purpose? That it is "free" is really irrelevant there.
I'd say "drive elsewhere than in our garage". Anyway, no local storage - a complete show stopper to me, I'll stick with KiCad though it's a PITA sometimes.

And, allowing commercial use and then forcing me to store all project files (even if it's a dime a dozen thing in terms of profits) only in Altium's exclusive cloud? Oh, come on…
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 16, 2014, 12:28:49 am
Altium did stop and re-think their whole direction based on my video and the community response to that. And they will almost certainly be willing to do so again with the product once it's in beta. If you want to shape this tool, join the beta program and provide feedback.
So as the video was nearly 12 months ago, best we do not hold our breaths while waiting for a finalized version.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-527-altium-entry-level-pcb-tool-rant/msg297282/#msg297282 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-527-altium-entry-level-pcb-tool-rant/msg297282/#msg297282)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 16, 2014, 12:50:52 am
Maybe it'll be awesome. Maybe it'll be a catalyst that kick starts some better development in kicad or eagle or your favorite tool.  Who knows?  Until we get our hands on it we are all just talking out of our asses.

We got some information and we process and react to it in good faith. I don't see anything wrong.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 16, 2014, 01:27:26 am
Quote
I get the very clear impression that Altium do want to do this right, and they genuinely want people to tell them what they want. But if everyone goes in and just says "I hate this and that", I refuse to use it, or whatever, then it's not going to go anywhere.

Atlium did stop and re-think their whole direction based on my video and the community response to that. And they will almost certainly be willing to do so again with the product once it's in beta. If you want to shape this tool, join the beta program and provide feedback.


I for one will one will hope to try to make it better.   More free/low cost tools makes for a better ecosystem.     I use Altium at my day job,   have a copy for my "side" business and will plan on purchasing the hobby version.         

I just hope the 10% who want to bitch for the sake of bitching don't ruin it for everyone.     If they are honestly trying, I feel that people should be constructive.       After all look at KiCad,  it is free and it's developers simply don't care about what people think.

The day I got shot down for having the audacity for suggesting a release strategy that ensures file level compatibility across versions,  I got "What your too stupid to compile sources yourself and then writing custom programs to translate between versions?"    That pretty much told me everything I needed to know about that effort!

I truly hope this works out as it will be better everybody,  even you don't want use it.   Choice is a good thing and forces the players to produce a better product.



   
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 16, 2014, 01:30:35 am
Quote
People will survive just fine without push'n'shove in the low end package.


I understand your point.    I know I been really spoiled by it!

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 16, 2014, 01:45:37 am
but this will alienate Defence, Banking, Medical, and all other industries that need to restrict access to their data.

Fully agree. Many in these industries did not renew their Altium licences once Altium moved their HQ to China.

Quote
If Microsoft force this onto end users

I wonder what the break up of sales is for:

A/ Microsoft's Office package that runs forever and

B/ Microsoft Office 365 which just runs for a year at a time (you need to pay again for another year's access).

It would also be interesting to know what percentage of Altium's customers continue to pay for annual maintenance. I no longer do as I don't consider it good value. This decision is probably tainted as I don't like Altium the Company.

I never used the Altium forum & have a copy of the publicly available Altium 10 Frozen Library, making my own library parts when needed (which is quick & easy).

Using micros these days, most boards I design are under 200 components & production costs are minimised if I can stick to 2 layers. I've found DipTrace to be a very productive tool & prefer it it many ways (but not all) to Altium.

Proteus is pretty nice too.

With Altium's cloud saving I think they will have a very hard time convincing Eagle users to move over, particularly when Eagle users already get the autorouter (for small boards) for US$69/$169. I doubt Altium will supply their's for much under US$1K.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 16, 2014, 01:56:51 am
I'm both for and against the open community libraries.

It's great to have a starting reference, and lord knows I've grabbed an open source project to get a 'known working' footprint or two.

*but*

If I'm milling my board, I add extra length to pads to enable easier soldering.

If I'm reflowing, smaller pads, and wave soldering (yes, people still do this - my old boss has a wave soldering machine in his workshop!) has it's own requirements again.

One size fits all footprints will not work - and I feel sorry for the noobs who use a library that's great for reflow and find they can't hand solder their new boards....
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bud on September 16, 2014, 02:22:42 am
...
What matters to me is the EULA.  If Altium claim ownership of everything I do

It does not matter EULA or not, you lose control over your data, it is not yours if it is on the cloud, many people are going to learn this hard way.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GK on September 16, 2014, 02:46:29 am
Quote from: EEVblog link=topic=35663.msg513676#msg513676
You'll get no argument from me.
I'm just saying that Altium are differentiating the low end package by removing some design efficiency tools you take for granted in the full AD package.
And that is Altium's big problem, they have an existing $70M in sales to protect, they are a one-product company.
If the low end package is as efficient to use as the full package then there is no differentiator and many professionals won't have an incentive to upgrade.
People will survive just fine without push'n'shove in the low end package.


Altium isn’t a charitable institution, they are seeking a way to both milk some bucks from the lower rungs of the EDA ladder and increase their company and product exposure. Every potential hobbyist or “maker” that winds up using their “free” software to “share” an identifiably Altium-produced schematic or PCB layout with the on-line “community” is effectively an advertising agent to this end. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure that this reality is the impetus behind the whole sharing and restrictive cloud storage nonsense.

Altium Designer is a powerful package that generally is not bought by hobbyists or “makers” for laying out their typical PCB’s of a few square inches with limited net lists. Putting reasonable restrictions on these aspects alone would be sufficient to protect their professional market share whilst keeping 99% of those hobbyists happy.

However, a cloud-only storage restriction is just going to make the package on offer a non-consideration for a large number of people, particularly semi-professionals who are the ones most likely to occasionally take advantage of the facility for renting expanded features for a limited duration of time. Seriously, saying that the package can be used unrestricted for commercial purposes but disallowing local storage is just a joke.

I guess it’s up to Altium to ultimately decide which aspect is going to potentially reap the greatest long-term dividend, and subsequently which group of users they wish to alienate the least, and that is fair enough and entirely their right. Thought for as long as they persist with the cloud only storage concept, I reserve the right to say that is just crap and not for me.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: etzz on September 16, 2014, 02:47:38 am
My 2cents,

Altium already has so much to work on with their current product, but in standard Altium fashion, they go chase the "next big thing".   This time its some odd-ball online free-bee.

At least they are always consistent (consistently disappointing).  Honestly, I think Altium is one of the luckiest companies I know of.  If they had not hit a home run with their product and timing in the late 90's, I think they would have gone out of business long ago.
Eric
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 16, 2014, 02:58:06 am
Quote
People will survive just fine without push'n'shove in the low end package.


I understand your point.    I know I been really spoiled by it!

This is what I miss the most in Eagle. Altium could have a clear advantage here.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 16, 2014, 03:05:31 am
Altium Designer is a powerful package that generally is not bought by hobbyists or “makers” for laying out their typical PCB’s of a few square inches with limited net lists. Putting reasonable restrictions on these aspects alone would be sufficient to protect their professional market share whilst keeping 99% of those hobbyists happy.

I agree, that is entirely adequate and what everyone was expected.
Also limiting the "productivity" stuff in AD is a good step too most would be quite happy with.

Quote
However, a cloud-only storage restriction is just going to make the package on offer a non-consideration for a large number of people, particularly semi-professionals who are the ones most likely to occasionally take advantage of the facility for renting expanded features for a limited duration of time. Seriously, saying that the package can be used unrestricted for commercial purposes but disallowing local storage is just a joke.
Also agreed, they have failed here. And it only has downsides, it was not a sensible decision from almost any view point when logically thought through and with a knowledge of the industry. There are ways to have the best of both worlds here and I hope they realise that.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 16, 2014, 04:31:30 am
Altium Designer is a powerful package that generally is not bought by hobbyists or “makers” for laying out their typical PCB’s of a few square inches with limited net lists. Putting reasonable restrictions on these aspects alone would be sufficient to protect their professional market share whilst keeping 99% of those hobbyists happy.

I agree, that is entirely adequate and what everyone was expected.
Also limiting the "productivity" stuff in AD is a good step too most would be quite happy with.

Quote
However, a cloud-only storage restriction is just going to make the package on offer a non-consideration for a large number of people, particularly semi-professionals who are the ones most likely to occasionally take advantage of the facility for renting expanded features for a limited duration of time. Seriously, saying that the package can be used unrestricted for commercial purposes but disallowing local storage is just a joke.
Also agreed, they have failed here. And it only has downsides, it was not a sensible decision from almost any view point when logically thought through and with a knowledge of the industry. There are ways to have the best of both worlds here and I hope they realise that.

So with your intimate relationship with Altium  ;), and your extensive knowledge of AD, how would you advise them to proceed?
Minimum functionality required? Additional for a fee?
Ditch the Cloud? Local storage option for a fee?
Libraries available online at extra cost? Permanent or temporary? Logged in access only?

Belt us out your "wish list" Dave.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 16, 2014, 05:39:46 am
Belt us out your "wish list" Dave.

Go back to look at video #527 it might answer some questions.
A year has passed and how many hundred posts ?
Also some up to date information from Altium through Dave.

And all that might not have influenced Dave's thinking?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 16, 2014, 05:59:07 am
So with your intimate relationship with Altium  ;), and your extensive knowledge of AD, how would you advise them to proceed?
Minimum functionality required? Additional for a fee?
Ditch the Cloud? Local storage option for a fee?
Libraries available online at extra cost? Permanent or temporary? Logged in access only?
Belt us out your "wish list" Dave.

I certainly understand their desire to protect their one and only product and it's $70M income.
But clearly the odds of this being a success without off-line mode operation and local saving are very low. So obviously this needs to change otherwise the company is just going to piss away money and resources that can be better spent on AD.

So they must allow both of these things, either outright, or via a paid option.
But I think that to gain traction, not only for the program, but more importantly for the community ecosystem they need behind it, it's very important that the free version works offline and saves locally, otherwise a huge percentage simply will refuse to try it.

So my advice is to allow local saving and work off-line outright for all versions, and figure out a way to protect their high end product.
Good news is that they have already figured out that way and it's present in the product already - restrict the productivity of the low end software.
That is good solution and will work. And then you have the
And because it's a separate program, they don't have to worry about people hacking the extra productivity features, because they simply don't exist in the low cost software.

To me it's a total no brainer. If you want to play and win in this space (which I think this product can) then they have to take that leap of faith that allowing off-line mode is not going to erode the AD user base. And it won't to any huge degree. It will to some degree, but that is manageable, and likely calculable. And you pick up the limitless potential on the low end side.

The product as it stands might eek out a bit of the market, but their aim to dominate it, and I think it's clear this limitation will all but stop that dead.

And no, don't ditch the cloud, that's a good option for those who want it. And I also like the look of the community features and supplier library integration they are going to have in this. I'd definitely keep all that.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 16, 2014, 06:30:32 am
Atlium did stop and re-think their whole direction based on my video and the community response to that. And they will almost certainly be willing to do so again with the product once it's in beta. If you want to shape this tool, join the beta program and provide feedback.

Anywhere to register for the beta?

Cloud based would be nice, since you can contintue your project from other locations without bringing your computer.
Cloud should also be easy to implement with built in versioncontrol so users don't need to figure out git or similar.
Shared libraries, if verified for bad part design, would be nice, if implemented correctly, should'nt be an issue to cache those locally for fast access?
Sharing designs, what about just give OSH or Seeed your projectlink, and they take it directly?, that would be nice.

I think this could be an good tool, if done properly.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ElektroQuark on September 16, 2014, 06:50:56 am
Quote from: neslekkim on Today at 05:30:32 PM (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=35663.msg513884#msg513884)

Anywhere to register for the beta?



Not yet. CLICK! (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg513195/#msg513195)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 16, 2014, 07:37:37 am
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.

Quote from: neslekkim on Today at 05:30:32 PM (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=35663.msg513884#msg513884)

Anywhere to register for the beta?



Not yet. CLICK! (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg513195/#msg513195)

Just ask it says there.. I asked... Here..  :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 16, 2014, 07:42:33 am
To me it's a total no brainer. If you want to play and win in this space (which I think this product can) then they have to take that leap of faith that allowing off-line mode is not going to erode the AD user base. And it won't to any huge degree. It will to some degree, but that is manageable, and likely calculable. And you pick up the limitless potential on the low end side.
Given they have been pushing this cloud integration crap with AD for some time, is it possible protecting AD is not the main reason for having to use their servers?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 16, 2014, 08:39:54 am
If I'm milling my board, I add extra length to pads to enable easier soldering.

If I'm reflowing, smaller pads, and wave soldering (yes, people still do this - my old boss has a wave soldering machine in his workshop!) has it's own requirements again.

One size fits all footprints will not work - and I feel sorry for the noobs who use a library that's great for reflow and find they can't hand solder their new boards....
Who said anything about one size fits all footprints? No reason you can't have multiple versions, and be able to alter pad styles on an existing footprint without creating a new part

A problem I can see with "community" libraries is quality & consistency, even things like naming conventions. But conversely you can't really impose standards or any review process as you will restrict what people can do.
Probably the best you can do is have a means by which users can rate library items. 
For example can I create a PCB footprint without bothering to create and map it to a corresponding schematic symbol because it's a simple quick 1-off job?
If I'm only using 30 pins on a 100 pin FPGA, why bother taking time to put all 100 pins on the schematic symbol.
Someone mentioned the issue of schematic symbols with pins in the right place, but I'd hope that it would be possible to move pins around on an existing symbol without creating a new one

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 16, 2014, 08:56:59 am
If I'm milling my board, I add extra length to pads to enable easier soldering.

If I'm reflowing, smaller pads, and wave soldering (yes, people still do this - my old boss has a wave soldering machine in his workshop!) has it's own requirements again.

One size fits all footprints will not work - and I feel sorry for the noobs who use a library that's great for reflow and find they can't hand solder their new boards....
Who said anything about one size fits all footprints? No reason you can't have multiple versions, and be able to alter pad styles on an existing footprint without creating a new part

A problem I can see with "community" libraries is quality & consistency, even things like naming conventions. But conversely you can't really impose standards or any review process as you will restrict what people can do.
Probably the best you can do is have a means by which users can rate library items. 
For example can I create a PCB footprint without bothering to create and map it to a corresponding schematic symbol because it's a simple quick 1-off job?
If I'm only using 30 pins on a 100 pin FPGA, why bother taking time to put all 100 pins on the schematic symbol.
Someone mentioned the issue of schematic symbols with pins in the right place, but I'd hope that it would be possible to move pins around on an existing symbol without creating a new one

+1
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GK on September 16, 2014, 10:07:42 am
I use AD13 at work and Protel 99SE at home. Sure you can modify the pads of a PCB component when laying out a board, but unless you rename the modified footprint and save it to the library, the next time you click "update PCB footprint(s)" when making other changes in the library, you'll loose the modifications made on the board. Have been caught out by that one a couple of times now. It's easy to forget such changes made when revisiting an old design. The other danger is that if you generate a unique library for a specific PCB layout which features a modified component, you will then have two separate libraries, each with a different version of the one footprint, but both having the same name. You then run the risk some time in the future of inadvertently applying that modified footprint to all currently opened PCB layouts. The only way to avoid these issues is to build and maintain your own library containing multiple versions of the same footprint.

I've never liked the way Protel and now Altium handles both schematic components and PCB footprint libraries. The inability to comprehensively modify schematic symbols on the open sheet has always been a pain. Consider a basic IC symbol which is just a rectangle with pins around the perimeter. I'd like to be able to select which pins I'd like hidden and which I'd like visible. I'd also like the ability to move the pins around the perimeter of the rectangle to any suitable position and also the ability to resize the rectangle to suit. This is essentially what I do through the symbol editor/generator, as components can't be edited on the schematic sheet, but I have to maintain a separate schematic library for each project containing each variation of the customized component(s).
However with all of this the same danger as per the PCB footprint management crops up. If I ever have more than one project open it's possible to apply/substitute any variant of a schematic symbol to every similarly named instance of that part in every currently opened schematic, as the software does not associate schematic library files to the schematic pages that they were generated from, but applies them universally.
     


 

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Agent86 on September 16, 2014, 11:33:57 am
If they had not hit a home run with their product and timing in the late 90's, I think they would have gone out of business long ago.
That's probably true of a great many companies.

*cough*Apple*cough*

LOL!

And in other news, it looks like Cadsoft (EAGLE) is looking for a new Sales Manager for the Americas...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 16, 2014, 11:46:02 am
I've never liked the way Protel and now Altium handles both schematic components and PCB footprint libraries. The inability to comprehensively modify schematic symbols on the open sheet has always been a pain.

+1 (& probably +20,000)

In the early days of Protel, you could actually modify a footprint in your design (from an existing one), select it (by simply drawing a rectangle box around it) & then save it back to the library with a new name.

I believe that quite a few things in Protel/Altium have gone backwards over the past 10 years.

Now, don't get me on the database system that first came out with Protel 98/99. Pure cr*p I reckon.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 16, 2014, 10:13:30 pm
Dave, do you know if will money be the only way to unlock features (e.g. downloading my design files) or will they also have a contribution based privileges scheme (e.g. having sufficient contribution or recognition by other users)?.

BTW, I find it interesting that they want to build a maker 'community' but restrict it to Windows users only. Definitely not a good start. ;-)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on September 16, 2014, 10:26:04 pm
Someone mentioned the issue of schematic symbols with pins in the right place, but I'd hope that it would be possible to move pins around on an existing symbol without creating a new one
if they can;t be moved i won't even use it. i HATE integrated circuits that are drawn as a rectangle with the pins in sequence order. it makes wiring a mess.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 16, 2014, 11:56:49 pm
I find it interesting that they want to build a maker 'community' but restrict it to Windows users only. Definitely not a good start. ;-)

Makers don't give a hoot about the OS they're using.  Being a "Maker" has NOTHING to do with one's choice of operating system.  Nothing at all.  It has to do with making things...

THIS!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 17, 2014, 12:39:00 am
I find it interesting that they want to build a maker 'community' but restrict it to Windows users only. Definitely not a good start. ;-)

Makers don't give a hoot about the OS they're using.  Being a "Maker" has NOTHING to do with one's choice of operating system.  Nothing at all.  It has to do with making things...

Yes, if you define "maker" as "one who makes". Not so much if you define it as one of the group of people who call themselves "Makers". They act as a community and tend to have certain cultural preferences.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 17, 2014, 01:26:07 am
You guys are so out of touch. Go to a MakerFaire and look at the number of people with MacBooks vs PCs.

Macs are also becoming super popular in high school through college.

Just because you live in a little Windows bubble, don't assume everyone else does too. It's not 1999 anymore.

I've never really thought about it in this way as I'm a Windows user myself, but you are correct.

My daughter went to a private school in Australia. Every year there was a "computing fee" which meant they got an new Macbook every 2nd year. Apparently this is occurring in many/most private schools in Australia. Apple have done some super special deals with them. Just before departing year 12, Apple offered an extra 15% off their already cheap/special/school prices. This applied across their entire range to all the kids. My daughter picked up a new Macbook Air which she now users at university (alongside most of her other friends who are also using Macs).

I bought her an Android phone. She said "why would I want one of those?. I'll save up & buy an iPhone so I can synchronise everything with my laptop."

My wife runs everything Mac. She said it just works & "I can sync everything across my iPad, Macbook laptop, iPhone & my big iMac."

I'm sort of feeling left out. I bought a brand new (much faster) i7 Samsung laptop almost 2 years ago but I'm still using my 6 year old i5 Toshiba laptop as it is just so much work to reinstall all the Windows programs on the new one.

Perhaps someone knows of some great software where I can clone the Windows 7 drive in the Toshiba & run everything under Windows 8 on the Samsung?

Altium do need to carefully look at this issue before it's too late.

Remember that Motorola used to give out many of their tools cheaply/free for programming micros to the universities in the 70's & 80's. They stopped doing that in the 90's .............. & where is Motorola/On Semi these days in the micro field? Obliveon, or very close to it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 02:26:33 am
Makers don't give a hoot about the OS they're using.  Being a "Maker" has NOTHING to do with one's choice of operating system.  Nothing at all.  It has to do with making things...

Professionals will get whatever machine their mission critical app requires. For non professional it's just another app that doesn't justify OS change. Different mindset.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 17, 2014, 02:50:32 am
Professionals will get whatever machine their mission critical app requires.

Yes, and AD caters for these users on a professional basis already (ie Windows platform).

Quote
For non professional it's just another app that doesn't justify OS change. Different mindset.

Quite correct. And this is the market that Altium is now targeting - the hacker/maker/hobbyist market.

These users will always consider pcb design software firstly on the basis of "Does it run on my existing operating system?"

As we know, Altium are very slow learners. It may be that Altium wakes up to this in (say) 5 years time.

DipTrace announced a couple of months ago that they will be taking their software out of the WINE bottle & supporting it natively in the next release. Looks like they have their eyes open.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: etzz on September 17, 2014, 02:58:00 am
Heres an idea, just take the regular old AD 14 and limit the layers, pin count, etc etc.  Just like everyone else does!  You dont have to re-invent the wheel, you dont have to take the electronics design community by storm.  People will use it just because it works, is a fair price, and is in a very compelling industry price niche.  This is exactly what has made them their millions so far.

No new program to support and get all the bugs out of.  No new feature set to constantly change.  The developers can all work on the same code set and keep getting the bugs out.

Altium has been jumping through hoops to try to get everyone on their overpriced subscription.  Half the new features are all online crap that nobody wants.  I get it, it makes for nice recurring revenue.  If you want recurring revenue, make support and upgrades reasonable, and people will all pile on the bandwagon.  No need to shake up the design community with something new.
RANT STILL ON
Eric
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 04:50:00 am


Makers don't give a hoot about the OS they're using.  Being a "Maker" has NOTHING to do with one's choice of operating system.  Nothing at all.  It has to do with making things...

Professionals will get whatever machine their mission critical app requires. For non professional it's just another app that doesn't justify OS change. Different mindset.

And none of them use Linux.

Altium supports Windows, maybe Mac.  Expanding that for a freemium version won't happen.  They're trying to extract money from YOU; they aren't going to blow it supporting a platform their premium tools don't support.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 05:17:41 am
Altium supports Windows, maybe Mac.  Expanding that for a freemium version won't happen.  They're trying to extract money from YOU; they aren't going to blow it supporting a platform their premium tools don't support.

Their competition sports Linux but Altium can do whatever they want.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 17, 2014, 05:23:16 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 05:27:54 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.

Text is barely visible on my screen.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Richard Crowley on September 17, 2014, 05:37:19 am
Apparently still in "closed beta".  By signing up you can "express your interest".
Presumably that gets you added to the mailing list to be notified when they are ready.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 05:37:53 am
Good for Eagle and Kicad.  I don't think anyone will get them confused with Altium.  They ALL run on Windows, and that alone is reason enough to run Windows to me.

Altium are trying to provide a gateway to their higher cost, higher functionality software by removing a single large barrier to entry and converting it into many much less intense "hurdles" to entry.  They want to provide a smooth upgrade path for those that slowly grow to require the high end functionality, and they want to capture the hobbyist market in the hope that a small percentage will upgrade all the way.

They would be foolish to support an operating system at the low end of their product line thst they cannot smoothly convert to a full-package customer at the high end.

I don't like Linux on the desktop.  It has a VERY long way to go.  Look at what can be done administratively on windows with group policy and the like.  Nothing like this exists on Linux.  I would tend to classify disagreement with that into ignorance of Windows capabilities.

If there are lawyers representing an employer, and the employees are a potential source of liability for the employer, those employees will almost unilaterally be running Windows because of the capabilities the OS provides in terms of control, auditing, and discovery, double so for third party software that is available.

Hobbyists can run whatever they like.  Be happy, I say.  Don't expect your favorite enterprise software vendors to pay much attention to you, though.  99%+ of their customer base in enterprise is on Windows; that's where they're gonna focus their efforts.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 05:39:13 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.
Done. Thank you!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 17, 2014, 05:44:56 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.
Done. Thank you!

Same here, and same Thank you!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 17, 2014, 06:02:25 am
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.

I would agree.

Now a history lesson for those who are newer to the industry.

Protel licences MicroCode Engineering in the USA to further develop their AutoTrax code for their own purposes (actually in the early 1990's).

Altium (Protel changed its name) reckons MicroCode have done such a fantastic job that in 1998 they buy MicroCode lock, stock & barrel.

Altium sell MicroCode's PCB design software (called CircuitMaker 2000 & CircuitMaker 2000 Pro) for a couple of years (for AUD$1000 to $1500) before canning it.

Altium figures it made a mistake & is now attempting to resurrect it.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-designer-new-pricing-model-and-high-end-low-end-tool-in-development/msg405586/#msg405586 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-designer-new-pricing-model-and-high-end-low-end-tool-in-development/msg405586/#msg405586)

Altium is continuously lost & so goes around in circles (remember - the HQ move from Australia to the USA, then back to Australia, then to China, now back to the USA).

Altium just never thinks anything through. Just like their acquisition of Morfik. A complete waste of shareholders money.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on September 17, 2014, 06:22:21 am
Hi all,

Been out of it for a day or so....so may have missed something.......So is that background image on the beta site the new app?

I played with it a bit in ACDSEE so could view it better.

Ian.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 17, 2014, 08:38:47 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.

Registered, thanks!! :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: _Sin on September 17, 2014, 09:01:02 am
Hi all,

Been out of it for a day or so....so may have missed something.......So is that background image on the beta site the new app?

I played with it a bit in ACDSEE so could view it better.

Ian.

If it is, they're editing a local file in it :)

I've signed up to try to get on the beta. I'm certainly not ruling it out until I see how the thing works in practice, but as noted before my home internet is crap and I do a lot of work on the move with no connection - so we'll see.

I will have to stick Windows on my laptop though as I'm one of these evil/ignorant/whatever OSX users.

Personally I'd welcome something that was *mostly* cloud based, in the sense that I could fire up an editor on a choice of machines and have access to my projects, I'm only concerned about it not working without a connection, and not being able to have a local back-up/export option.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 17, 2014, 09:01:18 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.

Thanks for the heads up Dave - I too have registered!

Is it sad that I'm actually excited about this?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 17, 2014, 09:09:27 am
Hi all,

Been out of it for a day or so....so may have missed something.......So is that background image on the beta site the new app?

I played with it a bit in ACDSEE so could view it better.

Ian.

If it is, it looks good. 

Okay, new tool, new things to learn but Altium, PLEASE keep P T and * as shortcuts for routing!!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: kwallen on September 17, 2014, 09:26:18 am
Quote
Free to start, and extendable through purchased enhancements, so you can expand the software as your designs become more complex and challenging.

That's a bit ominous, can only assume they mean that it will be heavily gimped and the "enhancements" will add back crucial features that you actually need to make the software useful.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 17, 2014, 09:41:38 am

And none of them use Linux.

Really? There are tons of desktop Linux users around, especially among the electronics hobbyists. You would be surprised how many of those shiny Macs actually sport a Linux distribution on them.

Never mind all that Raspberry Pi crowd (granted, those likely aren't going to run Altium on them).

J.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 17, 2014, 10:03:40 am
Hi all,

Been out of it for a day or so....so may have missed something.......So is that background image on the beta site the new app?

I played with it a bit in ACDSEE so could view it better.

Ian.

If it is, it looks good. 

Okay, new tool, new things to learn but Altium, PLEASE keep P T and * as shortcuts for routing!!

There is a screenshot here also: http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/circuitmaker-community-03-09-14 (http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/circuitmaker-community-03-09-14)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 17, 2014, 10:07:06 am
Been out of it for a day or so....so may have missed something.......So is that background image on the beta site the new app?

Yes, that's the new GUI.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 17, 2014, 10:25:23 am
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.
This looks like what we asked for. I'm still holding the word "incredible" back.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 17, 2014, 11:16:30 am
Now that the cat is out of the bag, no harm in showing a few more screen shots
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 17, 2014, 11:58:26 am
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 17, 2014, 12:23:02 pm
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....

So?, it's a good way of grouping functionality
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 17, 2014, 12:40:37 pm

Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....

Being on the "Ribbon Hate" bandwagon is *sooo* 2007.

Things I've learned from this thread: People dislike things that are different. People hate change. The Hivemind is real. People put way too much energy into bitching about things that don't affect them.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 17, 2014, 12:42:19 pm
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....
So?, it's a good way of grouping functionality

Agreed. What's the problem? I like it.
Is this like a Comic Sans hatred thing?  :D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janekm on September 17, 2014, 01:01:46 pm
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....

That's actually a HUGE improvement over the usual Altium interface.
Pop quizz, in the menus called "Place", "Design", "Tools", where would you expect to find:
(I'm sure anyone who hasn't used Altium for 20 years or so has to search for them every time...)

I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far, the interface improvements and collaboration tools actually look like notable improvements on the Altium core. Looks like they'll be at Maker Faire so we should get more details soon  :)

BTW everyone, please don't turn this into a debate about the security merits or otherwise of Windows, that's totally irrelevant to the discussion, please make a new thread if you want to have a pissing match about that! Some of us are actually excited about a potentially less shit PCB design software being released!  :rant:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 17, 2014, 01:06:46 pm
Agreed. What's the problem? I like it (the ribbon menu).

Yes, I like it too. Windows overtook DOS mainly because "a picture describes a 1000 words."

Altium have worked hard at simplifying their menu system to make it easier & faster for the newcomer.

10 out of 10 for this effort.

I have always liked the menu system in Iliya Kovac's AutoTRAX - just that the software is full of bugs & does not work well.

But take a look. The ribbon bar is similar:

http://www.kov.com/Slides/UI/images/3.jpg (http://www.kov.com/Slides/UI/images/3.jpg)

Maybe Altium has now employed Iliya Kovac  :D

I'm suspecting the keyboard shortcuts are however no longer supported.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 01:21:01 pm
I like the ribbon, also.

Writing software that uses a ribbon virtually necessitates thinking about your menus in a new way that promotes better organization.  I am fully behind any effort to find a better ways to design good user-software interaction.  That's a two-way interaction, and the ribbon is a great step forward; rows and rows of 16x16 toolbar buttons is a shining example of an unscalable UI.

I'm excited about this new tool.  I can't wait to get the nag email from my employer asking me what the software package is used for and if it's needed.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rory on September 17, 2014, 01:32:29 pm
If a prospective employer requires Altium experience in their job qualification, will this be sufficient to qualify, or is it too different to use as a learning tool?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 01:42:34 pm
Depends on the position's requirement(s) and the software you have experience in.

This software isn't released yet so it will be hard to say just how like or unlike Altium Designer it is overall.

In my experience, specific tool experience isn't very important.  Anyone can learn a tool.  The more useful trait is just plain passion.  PCB tool experience in general is also very valuable.  So, if you want a job that requires Altium Designer experience, this will probably get you closer.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 17, 2014, 01:59:01 pm
Considering that a large proportion of the skill in making good PCBs is placement, a lot of experience in using any PCB package is more valuable that knowing a particular one extremely well, at least in the longer term that employers should be looking for.
You can teach/learn a package fairly easily. Designing good PCBs is mostly down to experience
 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 02:05:09 pm
Hey that's what I was trying to say.  Well put.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rory on September 17, 2014, 02:08:38 pm
Depends on the position's requirement(s) and the software you have experience in.

This software isn't released yet so it will be hard to say just how like or unlike Altium Designer it is overall.

In my experience, specific tool experience isn't very important.  Anyone can learn a tool.  The more useful trait is just plain passion.  PCB tool experience in general is also very valuable.  So, if you want a job that requires Altium Designer experience, this will probably get you closer.

Since Dave has had his hands on the new gee-whiz, it will be interesting to get his take on this. 

Not a newbie, I started with Easytrax, then Autotrax in DOS, until Protel got expensive. Then about 15 years ago on the advice of a mentor, moved to Mental Automation tools which have been adequate for our needs (not to mention the great parts library he had built up by the time I started on it...)

It will be difficult enough going through the learning curve for the new software but if it's not a good platform to migrate to Altium Designer, what's the point in using it if the proficiency gained doesn't apply to the rest of Altium's products? 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 02:13:06 pm
Sigh.  Name the security concerns.  We aren't allowed Linux or Mac because of security concerns. 

That's your opinion and you are entitled to it, but there are other opinions. At work we used to support all three systems  but now windows is discouraged for security reasons and I fully trust our security, they are world class experts.

Saying that anybody that disagrees with you must be ignorant is counter productive for the discussion.

My point here it's not that everybody should drop windows but that it's funny that Altium builds a 'community' for windows users only.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GeoffS on September 17, 2014, 02:23:21 pm
As this is a thread about Altium, posts arguing the 'best' operating system have been deleted.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 17, 2014, 02:36:12 pm
I really like the comments/collaboration features.   


Looks great!@
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ChrisGammell on September 17, 2014, 02:51:15 pm
New version looks like the previous Altium Designer (looking at Dave's screenshot), which is a great piece of software. I will definitely be checking this out.

You can hear me laughing at Dave talking about the "cloud" feature starting about 28 minutes here: http://www.theamphour.com/216-last-minute-decisions-obdurate-onepercenter-obstacles (http://www.theamphour.com/216-last-minute-decisions-obdurate-onepercenter-obstacles)

And finally, I actually won't be leaving KiCad because I'm used to it and there are no restrictions. I see it getting better in  the next few years (though it has a ton of problems now as well). If people get sick of the cloud, check out KiCad.info (http://kicad.info)  :D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 17, 2014, 02:52:37 pm
If people get sick of the cloud, check out KiCad.info (http://kicad.info)  :D

-1, Flamebait  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: msr on September 17, 2014, 02:55:40 pm
Where can I see the features and limitations of this CircuitMaker?
And why Altium seems to not advertise it on their website?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ChrisGammell on September 17, 2014, 02:56:55 pm
How could I resist? This whole subject just tickles me. Watching the handwringing over all these features :) I shan't message the K word in this thread again
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 03:04:51 pm
Where can I see the features and limitations of this CircuitMaker?
And why Altium seems to not advertise it on their website?
It isn't released yet and is in a closed beta.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 03:11:32 pm
For those who didn't believe I was telling the truth  ;D
http://circuitmaker.com (http://circuitmaker.com)
Yes, they have resurrected the old name Circuit Maker which I think is a most excellent choice.
You can sign up on that site.

'Maker', this is an indication of their target market, as opposed to let's say 'Pro'.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 03:13:03 pm
How could I resist? This whole subject just tickles me. Watching the handwringing over all these features :) I shan't message the K word in this thread again
Mention it all you like.

I reserve judgment on the Altium tool until I've used it.  I've used Altium Designer, though, and it's pretty great. 

I've used Kicad and I'm not sure how anyone can tolerate it.  No one would tolerate the problems that software has if they paid even $1 for it.

The good thing about that it is that anyone using it is going to see impressive improvements in an already useful (to them) tool in the near future.  There's a lot to be said for that.  Kicad could be the most consistently up-to-date EDA software package, soon.

If anything I would like to see more development attention paid to Kicad.  I REALLY hope that CERN can keep up their momentum.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 03:29:21 pm
And finally, I actually won't be leaving KiCad because I'm used to it and there are no restrictions. I see it getting better in  the next few years (though it has a ton of problems now as well). If people get sick of the cloud, check out KiCad.info (http://kicad.info)  :D

Kicad and the other CM competitors do support the cloud, it's call github.  ;-)

https://github.com/zapta/power-monitors/commit/cbf68082d77411b56746d49a4da8005c6a9a07c6 (https://github.com/zapta/power-monitors/commit/cbf68082d77411b56746d49a4da8005c6a9a07c6)

What Altrium brings is a better collaboration because the system understands the semantic of the design files.  This is an old practice in other file types (software source code, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc) but not sure if it was done for EDA files. Other aspects that may be useful are workflows (you submit your change, it goes through review/fix/approval, and then you merge it in) and versioning.

The cloud thing is very good if done right and with no artificial restrictions. For example your Kicad forums  https://forum.kicad.info/ (https://forum.kicad.info/)  and Amp Hour repository http://www.theamphour.com/ (http://www.theamphour.com/) are on the cloud and support all three platforms  ;-)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: marshallh on September 17, 2014, 03:44:02 pm
Looks like the same old DXP with a Ribbon UI bolted on.

It can read proper Altium files as shown by the imx6 Rex sample design. So the files it saves are also in teh same format. Maybe they're encrypted/only save to cloud.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 03:46:31 pm



Kicad and the other CM competitors do support the cloud, it's call github.  ;-)

https://github.com/zapta/power-monitors/commit/cbf68082d77411b56746d49a4da8005c6a9a07c6 (https://github.com/zapta/power-monitors/commit/cbf68082d77411b56746d49a4da8005c6a9a07c6)

That's an interesting point.  If they require cloud homed files because of the context-aware sharing, that's fine.  If they require cloud storage and they don't have context-aware sharing and reuse, it is likely because they want to own the files you create.  This would be a Very Uncool Move, IMHO, and would preclude me from using the tool in any capacity.

We'll see how it pans out.  I'm hopeful.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 03:58:55 pm
That's an interesting point.  If they require cloud homed files because of the context-aware sharing, that's fine.  If they require cloud storage and they don't have context-aware sharing and reuse, it is likely because they want to own the files you create.  This would be a Very Uncool Move, IMHO, and would preclude me from using the tool in any capacity.

We'll see how it pans out.  I'm hopeful.

If I understood Dave correclty the current plans use the jail model. You can drive to jail to visit your files (assuming your car is from an approved manufacturer) but need to pay bail to get them out.

;-)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on September 17, 2014, 03:59:54 pm
its orange :)  ( i hinted at this over  year ago. )

so it looks like altium Designer pre-flex design but with a ribbon bar bolted on.
does it have keyboard shortcuts ? ( i hate ribbon bar and menu click-o-dromes for cad layout. often used functions should be able to be invoked form menus , for newbies, as well as keyboard shortcuts for advanced users.

i gotta get me hands on the beta for that thing !
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Spikee on September 17, 2014, 04:17:54 pm
I have AD14.3.9 but i must say that the circuitmaker package looks pretty sweet. I want to play around with it...
I currently have some open source projects on github that use altium designer. With this new altium program those files will be accessible to more poeple  ;D .
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 17, 2014, 04:34:54 pm
With this new altium program those files will be accessible to more poeple  ;D .

This matters to me, too. While it won't satisfy the 'all the tools must be open' brigade, if it lets me easily release, and others easily reuse, work, I'll be a happy chap.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 17, 2014, 04:43:47 pm
BTW, check your junk mail folder.

Not an important e-mail, just stating that it's in close beta but it puts you in the queue for potential close beta testers.

Anyways, check your junk mail folder if you did sign up.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 04:50:01 pm
That's an interesting point.  If they require cloud homed files because of the context-aware sharing, that's fine.  If they require cloud storage and they don't have context-aware sharing and reuse, it is likely because they want to own the files you create.  This would be a Very Uncool Move, IMHO, and would preclude me from using the tool in any capacity.

We'll see how it pans out.  I'm hopeful.

If I understood Dave correclty the current plans use the jail model. You can drive to jail to visit your files (assuming your car is from an approved manufacturer) but need to pay bail to get them out.

;-)
Nice.  I can live with that.  The site's legal area claims now ownership of design files, but I am not sure the app's legalese is represented there, yet.
its orange :)  ( i hinted at this over  year ago. )

so it looks like altium Designer pre-flex design but with a ribbon bar bolted on.
does it have keyboard shortcuts ? ( i hate ribbon bar and menu click-o-dromes for cad layout. often used functions should be able to be invoked form menus , for newbies, as well as keyboard shortcuts for advanced users.

i gotta get me hands on the beta for that thing !
Done right, the ribbon requires no mouse usage.  If you have access to an MS Office install, just press and release the ALT key while, say, Excel has focus.  Lots of things light up.  Push one of the keys that are shown and navigate the ribbon that way.  It becomes very quick to do things if it's just an ALT, X, Y, Z away.  Mouse will almost always be slower, especially so once you move those key sequences to muscle memory.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 04:51:40 pm
With this new altium program those files will be accessible to more poeple  ;D .

This matters to me, too. While it won't satisfy the 'all the tools must be open' brigade, if it lets me easily release, and others easily reuse, work, I'll be a happy chap.
Don't think you'll be able to host your stuff in Github.  The files are jailed by default.  I don't think a get out of jail card has been revealed, yet.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Spikee on September 17, 2014, 04:57:20 pm
With this new altium program those files will be accessible to more poeple  ;D .

This matters to me, too. While it won't satisfy the 'all the tools must be open' brigade, if it lets me easily release, and others easily reuse, work, I'll be a happy chap.
Don't think you'll be able to host your stuff in Github.  The files are jailed by default.  I don't think a get out of jail card has been revealed, yet.

Then i will just provide the Circuitmaker link =)

BTW, check your junk mail folder.

Not an important e-mail, just stating that it's in close beta but it puts you in the queue for potential close beta testers.

Anyways, check your junk mail folder if you did sign up.

Signed up to the beta, but i also contacted them via email if i could have access to the pre-pre-beta.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 17, 2014, 05:02:46 pm
Don't think you'll be able to host your stuff in Github.  The files are jailed by default.  I don't think a get out of jail card has been revealed, yet.

Huh? I can host what I like on github... It might or might not be with Altium's blessing, but if people can import it into circuitmaker, I'm happy. If I can import back from circuitmaker without pain, so much the better.
If you mean I can't host my open stuff in circuitmakerworld, or whatever it ends up being called, then I don't mind - if real Altium stuff exports cleanly to circuitmaker, than either I, or someone else, will post it.)

(If paid-for Altium has productivity enhancements that mean I can (continue to) knock out open and closed designs quickly and reliably, I'll not be using circuitmaker when I've got paid licenses here)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 05:10:40 pm
I mean, as far as I know now, you won't be able to get access to the files in order to upload them to Github.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 17, 2014, 05:14:42 pm
its orange :)  ( i hinted at this over  year ago. )

so it looks like altium Designer pre-flex design but with a ribbon bar bolted on.
does it have keyboard shortcuts ? ( i hate ribbon bar and menu click-o-dromes for cad layout. often used functions should be able to be invoked form menus , for newbies, as well as keyboard shortcuts for advanced users.

i gotta get me hands on the beta for that thing !
Good question. They used to underline the shortcuts, and I don't see that here.
Most of the shortcut stuff is in my head and I can do it in a second but it takes like a minute to find it in the menus.
It would be a killer feature, if it could open and edit files from other EDA packages.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Spikee on September 17, 2014, 05:15:15 pm
I mean, as far as I know now, you won't be able to get access to the files in order to upload them to Github.

it does not matter because those people don't have an altium license. Thus providing a link to Circuit maker would be enough.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 06:28:44 pm


Good question. They used to underline the shortcuts, and I don't see that here.
Most of the shortcut stuff is in my head and I can do it in a second but it takes like a minute to find it in the menus.
It would be a killer feature, if it could open and edit files from other EDA packages.

Usually, a press and release of the ALT key will get you going on ribbon keyboard shortcuts.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: hikariuk on September 17, 2014, 06:42:15 pm
...
What matters to me is the EULA.  If Altium claim ownership of everything I do

It does not matter EULA or not, you lose control over your data, it is not yours if it is on the cloud, many people are going to learn this hard way.

Not being able to save to my local system is an instant turn-off for me, to the point that I won't use something that only provides "cloud" storage as an option.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 17, 2014, 07:15:52 pm
Then i will just provide the Circuitmaker link =)

Will it support versioning like github?
Title: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: nixfu on September 17, 2014, 07:30:09 pm
Looks like what Dave has been talking about is arriving.


http://circuitmaker.com/#why_circuitmaker (http://circuitmaker.com/#why_circuitmaker)
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: SirNick on September 17, 2014, 08:04:03 pm
Light gray text on white.  Nice choice.  (angles LCD to read it)

Dave -- do an impressions video!  :)
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: Kjelt on September 17, 2014, 08:09:07 pm
So whats the catch how are they gonna make money of this "free" tool?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 17, 2014, 08:13:19 pm
Then i will just provide the Circuitmaker link =)

Will it support versioning like github?
Altium is supporting SVN. I guess this will be something cloud based and different.



Good question. They used to underline the shortcuts, and I don't see that here.
Most of the shortcut stuff is in my head and I can do it in a second but it takes like a minute to find it in the menus.
It would be a killer feature, if it could open and edit files from other EDA packages.

Usually, a press and release of the ALT key will get you going on ribbon keyboard shortcuts.
That is all good and everything, but can I get my usual hotkeys?
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: DavidDLC on September 17, 2014, 08:14:41 pm
Kjelt, I was thinking the same.

What is the common thing to do ? Give a limited application and force people to buy tools, features, add-ons, etc.

Our hope, that we can do most of our designs with the free limited application, otherwise people will go back to the other free apps.

David.
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: Wilksey on September 17, 2014, 08:45:23 pm
That UI looks familiar.

If as people have said it only saves to "the cloud" then will it be able to open and print from "normal" Altium? Who wants to save to the cloud only?
I am not convinced they have quite grasped the concept of a "free" version if the above is true.
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: ajb on September 17, 2014, 08:48:25 pm
According to the website it's a free limited version, and you can buy upgrades to expand its capabilities.  No indication of what the limitations are yet.  With the recent price increase to AD (which is something like US$6K3/seat, not counting subscription, IIRC) it's going to be a steep slope unless the free version is REALLY basic.  My guess would be they leave out all of the signal integrity stuff, the more advanced design rule capability, a lot of the data management capability, and limit the max PCB size.  Their big competition is Eagle first and probably KiCAD second, so as long as the software is robust and easy to use, there's lot of room for them to be competitive even without bringing a lot of the features of AD all the way down to the free option.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 17, 2014, 09:53:37 pm
How could I resist? This whole subject just tickles me. Watching the handwringing over all these features :) I shan't message the K word in this thread again
Mention it all you like.

I reserve judgment on the Altium tool until I've used it.  I've used Altium Designer, though, and it's pretty great. 

I've used Kicad and I'm not sure how anyone can tolerate it.  No one would tolerate the problems that software has if they paid even $1 for it.

The good thing about that it is that anyone using it is going to see impressive improvements in an already useful (to them) tool in the near future.  There's a lot to be said for that.  Kicad could be the most consistently up-to-date EDA software package, soon.

If anything I would like to see more development attention paid to Kicad.  I REALLY hope that CERN can keep up their momentum.

I really, really, *really* wanted to like KiCAD.

Being able to share your work was the hook their.

But the GUI?  OMG so bad. Who cares about push n shove, if copy - paste doesn't work.

With Circuit Maker I'm not happy with the cloud only option, but the collaboration sounds like an excellent idea, and I'd bet money copy - paste works.

Excited!!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 17, 2014, 10:14:04 pm
Since Dave has had his hands on the new gee-whiz, it will be interesting to get his take on this. 

I have not used it yet, just been given a demo of it via Skype.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 17, 2014, 10:16:38 pm
Where can I see the features and limitations of this CircuitMaker?
And why Altium seems to not advertise it on their website?

Because it is practically Alpha software and they are still working on huge parts of it and exactly how it will work.
They need early beta testers to help guide them on what direction to take.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rory on September 17, 2014, 11:15:29 pm
Since Dave has had his hands on the new gee-whiz, it will be interesting to get his take on this. 

I have not used it yet, just been given a demo of it via Skype.

I guess it's premature to ask cogent questions without arguing UI or OS nuances ad nauseum with the rest of the monkeys. All I want to know is if it'll be worth using it as a stepping stone to the "Pro" software. Hopefully, once you get your hands on it you'll give us a useful review. As it is, I'm really getting tired of wading through the bullshit getting generated on this thread.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on September 17, 2014, 11:26:36 pm
Quote
Who cares about push n shove, if copy - paste doesn't work.
That's complete misinformation. Pebkac.
If you want to argue about it take it to another thread.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 17, 2014, 11:28:05 pm
Yeah. Rebind the keys to your liking.  Fixed.
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: zapta on September 18, 2014, 01:25:01 am
So whats the catch how are they gonna make money of this "free" tool?

Check the other thread on this topic. Dave posted some information.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on September 18, 2014, 02:04:35 am
Cloud only storage shows they still don't have a clue about the market they think they are going for.

It's standard practice to share your eagle files with people in the open hardware, maker, arduino communities so that they can take your design and make it better, change the form factor, maybe swap a part, take out feature they don't want etc. 

Only being able to share gerbers will NOT cut it, people will just go back to eagle or kicad after being asked a few times for the "eagle files please". 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 18, 2014, 03:09:31 am
We don't know how "cloud-locked" the release version will be, so griping about it at this point is pointless.

And who says one can't share their stuff just because their stuff isn't stored locally?  No one.  No one says that.
Title: Re: Altium has a webpage up for their new free product... circuitmaker
Post by: apelly on September 18, 2014, 03:11:11 am
Circuitmaker. If you've never heard of Altium it sounds like run-of-the-mill over-hyped marketing wank. I wonder what percentage of the maker community has heard of Altium, let alone heard free-electron and Dave banging on about how good it is? Maybe they'll address the branding later, but as far as brand distinction goes, this isn't off to a great start.

And; really? A four page brochure-ware website that requires scripting?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on September 18, 2014, 05:16:12 am
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....
So?, it's a good way of grouping functionality
Agreed. What's the problem? I like it.
Is this like a Comic Sans hatred thing?  :D
I like the ribbon, also.
and ye all must be loving AutoTRAX DEX by that one guy, he got it much earlier than this multi million company. one issue i have with ribbon is they took several pixels more at the top compared to classic 16 pixels toolbuttons. and too much of it wont help, finding one particular button in the ribbon is like finding needle in a plate full of spaggethy. i dont tend to click ribbon or button now and then while working, i prefer shortcut keys.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 18, 2014, 05:25:57 am
One thing has emerged over the past few days; Cloud storage is a really clever device for Altium.

Ask yourself one question: What is the BIG thing that Altium want to avoid happening? Answer: Professional engineers and companies using the free version of their commercial software, and eating into profits.

Solution: No engineer or commercial company will go within a country mile of storage on a system outside their control and security. Arduino hipsters with homeless guy beards, clutching their Apple products and fixed-gear bicycles will love it! Two problems solved in one stroke of the marketing pen.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on September 18, 2014, 05:49:22 am
Quote
Solution: No engineer or commercial company will go within a country mile of storage on a system outside their control and security. Arduino hipsters with homeless guy beards, clutching their Apple products and fixed-gear bicycles will love it! Two problems solved in one stroke of the marketing pen.

I think you hit the nail on the head there. In fact I might go and have a shave.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 18, 2014, 05:49:51 am
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....
So?, it's a good way of grouping functionality
Agreed. What's the problem? I like it.
Is this like a Comic Sans hatred thing?  :D
A ribbon is like a bain marie at a smorgasbord, you have to walk up and down to look at all the food and come away wondering what half of it is. Most people that can read prefer a menu. Adopting UI's designed for n00bs in what is ostensibly a highly technical application reeks of design by mass wanking. Personally, it makes me want to punch someone in the ribbon! |O
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 18, 2014, 05:55:18 am
A ribbon is like a bain marie at a smorgasbord, you have to walk up and down to look at all the food and come away wondering what half of it is. Most people that can read prefer a menu. Adopting UI's designed for n00bs in what is ostensibly a highly technical application reeks of design by mass wanking. Personally, it makes me want to punch someone in the ribbon! |O

+1

When Microsoft Office came with a Ribbon I switched to Open (Libre) Office. It just made things more complex for me. This is subjective of course.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 18, 2014, 05:59:14 am
When Microsoft Office...
To me it felt like I went from using professional tools to being given a plastic hammer that squeaked :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 18, 2014, 06:08:10 am
Only being able to share gerbers will NOT cut it

It is nothing of the sort, the complete opposite in fact.
The whole point of the program is that allows community sharing of the design project files and libraries etc. And all the good stuff like rating projects and parts and libraries and finding were parts are used, project branching etc.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Kjelt on September 18, 2014, 07:09:14 am
Well I think we need more info before we can have a verdict on this one.
More companies are doing free software with cloud storage, there are some serious things to consider though:
- what if the company goes belly up, is all data lost ?  (remember megaupload.com)
- what code will be in the program on your computer and what code will run on their servers (you might not be able to work if there are connection issues)
- what is the catch, how do they make money, it starts to smell like in app purchases  :palm: ?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 18, 2014, 07:23:08 am
Does anyone have a re-cap of what is actually know about AD free?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 18, 2014, 07:47:46 am
- what is the catch, how do they make money, it starts to smell like in app purchases  :palm: ?

That's exactly what it is.
If you need more capability than the free version offers then you can rent the option(s) for 3 or 12 months to finish your project, then revert back to the free version.
I think it's an excellent idea.
On top of that if you finish your design early and don't need that feature any more, you can trade the difference in price for something else. So can chop and change as your design needs change.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 18, 2014, 07:55:00 am
Since it'll have a billing method, will it also have a 'press button, get boards' option?
And possibly a 'press button, get stuffed boards'? That would be quite cool, but rather harder work, some kind of bidding engine behind the scenes?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 18, 2014, 07:56:19 am
If you need more capability than the free version offers then you can rent the option(s) for 3 or 12 months to finish your project, then revert back to the free version.
Can you also buy a permanent upgrade though?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mrpackethead on September 18, 2014, 09:15:49 am
Feeling pretty grumpy that i've spent a lot of money with Altium not so long ago and they are about to essentially give everyone else the same stuff for free.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 18, 2014, 09:29:07 am
I thought that at first, too - but I bet they're not.
Every time I pay for my three seats, it's a distinct wrench, and I guess that's the same for a lot of people. Freezing a seat or two and letting the small projects use the free stuff is so appealing, surely Altium will try quite hard to avoid that.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 18, 2014, 09:35:08 am
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....
So?, it's a good way of grouping functionality
Agreed. What's the problem? I like it.
Is this like a Comic Sans hatred thing?  :D
A ribbon is like a bain marie at a smorgasbord, you have to walk up and down to look at all the food and come away wondering what half of it is. Most people that can read prefer a menu. Adopting UI's designed for n00bs in what is ostensibly a highly technical application reeks of design by mass wanking. Personally, it makes me want to punch someone in the ribbon! |O

The problem isn't so much the presentation (yeah, it's still just a menu, at its heart), but the exclusive promotion of point-and-click operation at the expense of keyboard usability.  Back in the menu days, there was always, you know, "Edit/Copy ... CTRL+C" for every single option that had a key combo.

AD is a bit more obscure using key presses, which for the menu shortcuts, you have to guess at (there's no top level menu "Align", but "A" pops it up nonetheless), and the commands / submenus you have to squint for the underlined letters, but after playing with it for a few months, you catch on to the most useful sequences.

Yes, MS Office gives you the keys when you tap ALT, but it's the same key sequence thing, which is completely inconsistent with the entire history of Windows operability up to that point!  The most irritating part: CTRL+key combos STILL EXIST, but they don't tell you what (you have to dig in obscure help articles, or even third party documentations), and I'm pretty sure they don't want you to know because they're changing their interface methods to be mouse oriented.

And so the point is, AD is quirky enough on its own (it doesn't use CTRL+key combos, not primarily anyway), but if they're fucking it up even more (mouse oriented, if not mouse-only operation!), that's a killer.

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: alimirjamali on September 18, 2014, 10:09:52 am
Alright, let's see if we can get some not so interesting technical details:


System requirements is irrelevant for professional/enthusiast, yet important for a hobbyist who wants to tweak some Arduino shields rapidly. Many hobbyist do not have access to a system which currently Altium recommends (http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ADOH/System+Requirements) for AD:

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janekm on September 18, 2014, 10:41:15 am
Alright, let's see if we can get some not so interesting technical details:

(snip)

  • 8 GByte RAM
  • 10 GByte hard disk space (Install + User Files) - Oh, that is too much for your average Macbook Air toy ;D
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 640 series or AMD® Radeon® HD 7770, 1024MB (or more) graphics card or better - Minimum requirement is Intel HD4000 :palm:
  • Dual monitors with at least 1680x1050 (widescreen) or 1600x1200 (4:3) screen resolution


Dual monitors is nice I'm sure (simultaneous view of schematic and layout) but hardly needed for regular Altium. The rest of the specs I would expect to be the same going by the screenshots, it's clearly the same underlying code. But those specs are hardly crazy these days, even a Macbook Air would be fine (with an external monitor, but a Macbook Pro Retina works great with the built-in display too, great for those Sidney->London flights...).

It's quite likely they'd be able to reduce the base installation size since a lot of the tutorial and library files could stay "in the cloud" after all.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 18, 2014, 11:08:31 am
Alright, let's see if we can get some not so interesting technical details:

  • RAM requirement, HDD requirement, 3D requirement
  • Does it require continues connection to Altium Cloud? or maybe only on Save/Open/Syncing with the Cloud? In other words, is it possible to work with it on a flight from Sidney to London?

System requirements is irrelevant for professional/enthusiast, yet important for a hobbyist who wants to tweak some Arduino shields rapidly. Many hobbyist do not have access to a system which currently Altium recommends (http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ADOH/System+Requirements) for AD:

  • 8 GByte RAM
  • 10 GByte hard disk space (Install + User Files) - Oh, that is too much for your average Macbook Air toy ;D
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 640 series or AMD® Radeon® HD 7770, 1024MB (or more) graphics card or better - Minimum requirement is Intel HD4000 :palm:
  • Dual monitors with at least 1680x1050 (widescreen) or 1600x1200 (4:3) screen resolution

That's what they *recommend* , but for my home / hobby projects I'm running AD14 on an old compaq nc8430 (3BG RAM, on board graphics, 2GHZ CPU) and it's fine.  Takes a few minutes to open, and some times the first 3D is painful, but it works.

Probably wouldn't cut it for big designs, but 150 x 100 mm stuff, no worries.

I expect Circuit Maker to be of the same ilk.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 18, 2014, 12:14:05 pm
^ That's laughable actually, because AD14 (at least .2 or so) is still 32 bit single thread... so it's never going to use more than 4GB, ever.  The most I've ever used was 3.some GB in AD09 (a little too much simulator run time..), and I've seen AD14.2 leaking up over a gig before crashing terribly.  (And yes, AD14.2 leaks, like a sieve.  Doesn't appear to be any other explanation.)  At least they don't claim it needs a multi-core processor. ;D

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GK on September 18, 2014, 12:38:33 pm
Now, don't get me on the database system that first came out with Protel 98/99. Pure cr*p I reckon.


I recall running out of hard disk space before I found the "repair and compact" function and enabled it, which admittedly, is simple enough and solves that hassle.

"As you create and remove documents from a design database it can become fragmented and use disk space inefficiently."

Given how quickly a reasonably modest project database file can blow out to one hundred Mb or even several, that is certainly a major understatement.

I stuck with Protel "Schematic" and Autotrax (both DOS) until 99SE was essentially cured of most of it bugs with service pack 6, I seem to recall. I once did have Circuitmaker installed on one of my machines. I used a limited student version of the simulation package, which at the time was much better than Multisim (previously Electronics Workbench) and light years better than the user interface of Protel's simulator functions. I recall sitting through a Protel DXP day course and the instructor informed us that the simulation "software engine" in Protel was the Circuitmaker code. Pity that in the integration they transformed the user interface into to something unrecognizably unintuitive and thoroughly tedious to use.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: GK on September 18, 2014, 12:42:07 pm
That Circuitmaker introduction page is the most cringe-worthy thing I've read all month! Altium are making a special software package just for ME because I am totally AMAZING and SPECIAL and make AWESOME things??? Really????Awwweeee.......  I think I am going to embrace the Altium cloud and the Maker community afterall.....


NOT!


 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)::) 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: BloodyCactus on September 18, 2014, 01:50:04 pm
I live in the mountains, my internet can go up and down like a yoyo. being 'online' isnt reliable for me. i have source code projects from 10-15+ years old that I kept, I still have source code going back into dos days. will these be there in 10 years and available and usable?

too many questions and I have far too much lack of faith right now to trust this at all
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 18, 2014, 01:52:21 pm
I live in the mountains, my internet can go up and down like a yoyo. being 'online' isnt reliable for me. i have source code projects from 10-15+ years old that I kept, I still have source code going back into dos days. will these be there in 10 years and available and usable?

too many questions and I have far too much lack of faith right now to trust this at all

I would think so.  We don't know everything, yet, and I don't think Altium does either.  That's why they're releasing information before release.  They're eyeballing feedback and weighing opinions and the outcome could change because of it.

If you're interested in this software, AND you have spotty Internet, say so on the feedback form on the site.  As entertaining as this all is, blathering on about it here probably won't accomplish much.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 18, 2014, 03:49:35 pm
...As entertaining as this all is, blathering on about it here probably won't accomplish much.

So far you have 25 posts in this thread.  ;-)

(no, I didn't count manually).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: rbs_phoenix on September 18, 2014, 07:19:34 pm
I will try it and then look if I can use it or not. Why hate it already??

I think a good/better option would be a credit-based system, like that:

The base version is very simple. Like 2 Layers, max. 5.000 mm^2 (or 0.5dm^2) and online-DRC. Everything else costs credits.
max. 1dm^2 - 10 credits
max. 2dm^2 - 20 credits
unlimited size - 50 credits

4 layers - 10 credits
6 layers - 15 credits
8 layers - 20 credits
unlimited layers - 50 credits

Multi-Sheet - 15 credits
Multichannel - 15 credits
Push'n'Shove - 30 credits
Lengthmatched Traces - 25 credits
BOM-Export - 10 credits
3D-View - 20 credits
Local-saving - 20 credits


So you can register at their page, download the base-package and get 100 free credits. Then you can choose whatever you want. If you don't need any extras but want to build big PCBs, then you can choose the unlimited size option and unlimited layer option and be happy. But if you don't need big PCBs but want the "fun stuff", you can choose the max. 1dm^2 option, the Push'n'Shove, Multichannel, Multisheet, BOM-Export and 3D-View option. For example I would rather like to have the Multichannel or Push'n'Shove instead of 3D or BOM option.
When your credits are empty/not enough for what you want, you can buy credits per month (1$/Credit or so). For the first example (unlimited size and layers), if you also want the Multisheet option, you would have to pay 15$ for every month you want to use it. Of course the creditcosts are only made up... But I really like the Idea...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 18, 2014, 07:34:49 pm
And credits for designs you make open that then get upvoted, to try to drive / pull content onto the ecosystem?
They've got to do something to get users keen (and stay, and be productive), I wonder if this would do?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 18, 2014, 07:44:41 pm
...As entertaining as this all is, blathering on about it here probably won't accomplish much.

So far you have 25 posts in this thread.  ;-)

(no, I didn't count manually).

Oh yeah, I know.  I have diarrhea of the fingers worse than anyone.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: s3t on September 18, 2014, 08:31:41 pm
Another screenshot leaked, with limited functionality revealed.
3D looks much better, seems they are going for eye-candy thing.
http://i.imgur.com/VJUTqBS.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/VJUTqBS.jpg)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 18, 2014, 08:42:42 pm
Good lord, someone made models for 1960s germanium transistors and those ancient rod resistors?
Hang on while I dig out my Ladybird book of Electronics... Ah, good times. But quite a while ago.

<rummage>
Yeah. Needs more screw terminals!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 18, 2014, 08:49:33 pm
I'll believe that is the output of the program when I see it running on my PC and not before.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Kostas on September 18, 2014, 08:58:14 pm
Good lord, someone made models for 1960s germanium transistors and those ancient rod resistors?
Hang on while I dig out my Ladybird book of Electronics... Ah, good times. But quite a while ago.

Not only that, but the copper traces look like someone smudged them with a soldering iron near the joins...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 18, 2014, 09:18:16 pm
Good lord, someone made models for 1960s germanium transistors and those ancient rod resistors?
Hang on while I dig out my Ladybird book of Electronics... Ah, good times. But quite a while ago.

Not only that, but the copper traces look like someone smudged them with a soldering iron near the joins...

that's because it's not Altium output.  Where in the schematic are the clipped leads defined?  Where in the board design do you indicate the bends of the wire leads and the shape of the speakers?  where do you get to define just how much the solderer screwed up the soldering?  where in Altium do you define the light source, and whether or not it's a point light, parallel rays (such as from the sun) or the color of the light?

this is a raytrace edited into the Altium GUI to trick people. 

Or it somehow has a plugin written for PoVRAY or something.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 18, 2014, 10:31:53 pm
(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2295566/temp/Free-Altium.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/NP7fFbkXPPz90GbJE1OZ34waUT3UBqhy7FSsp86Iay8v3cbSba1n0yGlTZ-YhpGuNbVPqT046cpnMfVeqc2KbhTUOk64j-QB-FbhnHeQOTyPrbFQMoTX0MFjecxGa5_hCQ)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 18, 2014, 10:55:08 pm
It sure looks pretty (it's a complement).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: CesarEscudero on September 18, 2014, 11:11:41 pm
I have two complains, why only for Windows? sure, it takes a lot of resources to make that happen, and why not letting us to save files locally?  :palm:  :palm:  :palm:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 18, 2014, 11:40:45 pm
We have already had those conversations. :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 19, 2014, 12:08:32 am
By the way, if anyone thinks ribbons are bad UI, go load the Lattice Diamond FPGA software and run it.  That and the simulation tools.

Perfect examples of vomit-like UI chaos.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 19, 2014, 12:23:35 am
I have two complains, why only for Windows? sure, it takes a lot of resources to make that happen

You just answered your own question.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 19, 2014, 12:51:19 am
Can't help but to notice in the first picture I posted, it seems to be saving to a local drive(see the title bar)?  No?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 19, 2014, 01:11:44 am

Another screenshot leaked, with limited functionality revealed.
3D looks much better, seems they are going for eye-candy thing.
http://i.imgur.com/VJUTqBS.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/VJUTqBS.jpg)

Mmmm, sexy!

Looks suspiciously pre-rendered though.

As long as it provides 3D mechanical checking and the ability to import STEP files of enclosures and such, I would be fine if it looked like Doom running on a SNES.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 19, 2014, 01:20:50 am

Looks suspiciously pre-rendered though.

Photoshopped.  The file name and cursor locations are the same as the second pic I posted.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 19, 2014, 01:25:02 am


Looks suspiciously pre-rendered though.

Photoshopped.  The file name and cursor locations are the same as the second pic I posted.

Good catch! Neat rendering none the less. I should reverse image search it, see where it came from.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 19, 2014, 01:29:20 am
I tried quickly - didn't find anything.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 19, 2014, 02:29:26 am
I have two complains, why only for Windows? sure, it takes a lot of resources to make that happen, and why not letting us to save files locally?  :palm:  :palm:  :palm:

Very good points.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Richard Crowley on September 19, 2014, 02:50:44 am
If you were in business to make a profit (vs operating a charity), would you invest your development resources into the 90% market share, or the 10% market share?  It is as simple as that.  Perhaps people who have never run a profitable business will never understand that.

Clearly they are limiting storage to THEIR "cloud" (what an overused buzzword!) to limit users to hobbyists. I wonder how they will manage sending the Gerbers (or whatever) to the board fab?  Will they resort to a proprietary file format and lease the decoder (for a royalty) to the board fabs?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 19, 2014, 02:59:19 am
Seems to me they are stored locally but also on the cloud for sharing and collaboration, we are assuming too many things without anyone being in the closed beta.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 19, 2014, 03:00:42 am
If you were in business to make a profit (vs operating a charity), would you invest your development resources into the 90% market share, or the 10% market share?  It is as simple as that.  Perhaps people who have never run a profitable business will never understand that.

That's not a strong argument. There are many products from for-profit companies that run also on non Windows platform, for example the direct competitors of Circuit Maker.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 19, 2014, 03:02:52 am
Good catch! Neat rendering none the less. I should reverse image search it, see where it came from.

Already did ;-) no match, just dark looking science fiction images.  Probably Altium's original.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 19, 2014, 03:37:55 am
Can't help but to notice in the first picture I posted, it seems to be saving to a local drive(see the title bar)?  No?

I don't get it - I see a file name, but not a local path.

Am I missing something?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 19, 2014, 04:52:55 am
Quote
C:\SVN\CS Designers\arduino\................

Is that not a locally stored file?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ruffy91 on September 19, 2014, 05:06:52 am
I like the TOU on the website. If thei have the same TOUs in the software they'll get stomped into the ground.

"08
Idea Submission
While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.
"
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 19, 2014, 05:47:20 am
I like the TOU on the website. If thei have the same TOUs in the software they'll get stomped into the ground.

"08
Idea Submission
While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.
"

+1 Stomp stomp stomp.

Just exactly what did people think when announcement declared it would be "cloud based storage" ??????  :palm:

Now show Altium just what you think about this with a vote in mikeselectricstuff's poll:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-free-version/msg513318/#msg513318 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-free-version/msg513318/#msg513318)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 19, 2014, 05:55:45 am
Quote
C:\SVN\CS Designers\arduino\................

Is that not a locally stored file?

My bad - here at work your first image is blocked and I looked in via at the second...

Please please please be true!

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 19, 2014, 07:07:31 am
I like the TOU on the website. If thei have the same TOUs in the software they'll get stomped into the ground.

They're just stopping people trying to sue them for making changes in the software, on the 'oo, that was my idea, give me money' theme.

That's a completely different thing to grabbing the rights of user generated content, Thingiverse style. Worth watching to make sure they don't, but I don't think this is related.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 19, 2014, 07:32:41 am
That's a completely different thing to grabbing the rights of user generated content, Thingiverse style. Worth watching to make sure they don't, but I don't think this is related.

And how well did that work out for thingiverse/makerbot?  Not well.  They more-or-less lost support from makers and hacker spaces after that.  And that was before going closed-sourced.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: BloodyCactus on September 19, 2014, 01:02:54 pm
If you were in business to make a profit (vs operating a charity), would you invest your development resources into the 90% market share, or the 10% market share?  It is as simple as that.  Perhaps people who have never run a profitable business will never understand that

when your giving the tool away for free does it matter if you target the 90% or 10% market. Free is $0 at any %. the key will be, how many of those people will buy options/upgrades etc. I suspect it wont be much of a conversion % unless options are really cheap but who knows eh
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 19, 2014, 01:23:25 pm
Quote
C:\SVN\CS Designers\arduino\................

Is that not a locally stored file?

Remember - if it's cloud-only, they'll need an alternative storage system while they're developing the cloud storage. I'm sure there's a compile option to allow local files for use by the developers, it just might not be enabled when you get the software.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 19, 2014, 08:54:14 pm
That totally makes sense.  It's just that, that picture was taken off the official web site.  :D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 19, 2014, 09:19:01 pm
[when your giving the tool away for free does it matter if you target the 90% or 10% market. Free is $0 at any %

Huh? If you're not trying to make your money off direct sales, are you not committed to doing whatever it is that you do, to the widest possible audience?
Taken to extremes, giving a spiffy tool to a dozen users, no matter how enthusiastic - unless they've got cash to throw at you, it's not going to pay back the effort.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 19, 2014, 10:26:01 pm
Google is free to use and they sure can monetize it, tons of other free things can monetize so your any percent of free math is way wrong :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on September 20, 2014, 05:23:27 am
If you want to see how "free" makes money, then go to your smartphone and open the store app. Look at the number of free games available for it. Those "free" games are making not just millions of pounds a year, but billions. If mobile games are a bit of a conceptual leap from EDA software, how about this: Red Hat made its money out of supporting Linux, and is currently worth $10 Billion.

I want to underline what someone else said earlier about giving credit to people who upload component models. If they really want their sharing thing to take off, then what better way to reward contributions and build the product? Time-limited functionality should be a no-no though, you should be able to upgrade it permanently. If functionality really is so dynamically configurable without software or even OS restarts, then that would probably indicate something as simple as a registry setting. I could see people renting all the "toys" for a week, downloading libraries to cache, and then snapshotting the software, and blocking the license server. Lets face it, if people can get around oscilloscope embedded firmware upgrades, then PC software will be a walk in the park for them.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 20, 2014, 06:52:09 am
Here are some screen shots Altium gave to me to share:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 20, 2014, 06:52:30 am
more:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikefatom on September 20, 2014, 06:59:42 am
This is like Altium meets MS Office!  Jokes aside, it looks nice and clean.  I'm optimistic.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Ondre on September 20, 2014, 07:41:50 am
Oh no, the office menu! Where's clippy? Anyway, I'm going to test it. It doesn't look bad!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 20, 2014, 08:20:30 am
Much more complex looking then I imagined!

I assumed they would strip down the tool to a "ExpressPCB" level

(http://www.expresspcb.com/GSoftware/SShotExpressPCB_3.gif)

I totally assumed they were marketing to the "My first PCB" crowd.  Or a "I want to make an arduino shield" guys.  With a few fab houses that could send you a board when you finished.

But this looks more like an eagle/ki-cad killer.  Totally didn't see that coming.

I can only assume Dave is under a NDA, or he would spill the bean!  Dame you and your NDA Dave - spill the beans!  ;)

Still, I want my design on my hard drive and in my back up, and my version control.  Not in the cloud.

And no.  I'm not going to share my parts list with strangers.  That's like posting picture of my underwear drawer to the internet.  You don't need to see my boxers, and I really, really don't want to see yours.

(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2295566/temp/pay.jpg)

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: penfold on September 20, 2014, 09:20:03 am
If you want your design on your hard drive the answer may be to pay for your software!
Just sayin', they have have to have some incentive for you to upgrade your membership if your designs are that sensitive.  Considering they'er permitting some commercial work I wouldn't be surprised if there's a clause that states that the online storage doesn't meet requirements for engineering design management standards
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 20, 2014, 09:20:46 am
makes me wonder, if it is already version 1.0 (and not 0.9.9.9.9.5 rev 16553) why it is not released?
Ah wait. On the blog they say they will be at maker faire, so I think it is either released today, or not.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: SeanB on September 20, 2014, 09:42:26 am
If you want your design on your hard drive the answer may be to pay for your software!
Just sayin', they have have to have some incentive for you to upgrade your membership if your designs are that sensitive.  Considering they'er permitting some commercial work I wouldn't be surprised if there's a clause that states that the online storage doesn't meet requirements for engineering design management standards

Let me rephrase that. If you want your design on your hard drive you have to pay to LEASE our software, and if you do not continue to pay every year for your LEASED software it will cease to work until you PAY up your lease to date to get it to operate again.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: kaz911 on September 20, 2014, 11:54:55 am
Just wait until the release - and it tweets every time you modify a component -  "kaz911 just placed R10 resistor on the VibratorExtraStong schematic.cloud"
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 20, 2014, 12:14:12 pm
Let me rephrase that. If you want your design on your hard drive you have to pay to LEASE our software, and if you do not continue to pay every year for your LEASED software it will cease to work until you PAY up your lease to date to get it to operate again.

How is that any different to the current Altium Designer software?, unless you bought a perpetual license.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: SeanB on September 20, 2014, 12:24:41 pm
It is not, somehow they expect the free to be different.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 20, 2014, 12:44:59 pm
Wow, this looks really nice. I'd like to see a voting system on the public patterns/components though, maybe a reward system if you submit a part that gets X many positive votes or something. It could give you credit towards an upgrade or something.

I really hope I can get in the beta ASAP, I'm about to start a big open source design and it would be a good trial run of the software (plus shaking out bugs, etc.)


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 20, 2014, 01:18:56 pm
I can't wait to catch all you turkeys bitchin' about the cloud to use this tool.  Like your footprints are proprietary to you or something.  As if each of you make your own parts with extra special features no one else has...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 20, 2014, 01:25:44 pm
I dislike the cloud idea if it means I cannot store locally. You know, because I don't always have an internet connection. ???
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 20, 2014, 01:37:41 pm
I dislike the cloud idea if it means I cannot store locally. You know, because I don't always have an internet connection. ???
Yes, because there are always like dozen of PCB designers at airports in suits, designing PCBs on their 10" ultrabook.

If you like making anything PCB related without internet connection and being able to google anything, having access to the datasheets and application notes, mind as well draw the PCB with a fountain pen.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 20, 2014, 01:54:07 pm
Like your footprints are proprietary to you or something.

Well, yes, they are. They're certainly not the same as would be useful for a handsoldering newbie. Many of my parts have been tweaked for manufacture.
Even the IPC accept that different jobs need different footprints, and they're addressing a much narrower world than Altium's about to.

My library parts are also confidential - some made from nda'd data, some made for nda'd projects, some are just none of your damn business. There's no way I'm just going to expose the libraries as a whole.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 20, 2014, 01:58:36 pm
LOL NDA footprints? That's a new one!


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 20, 2014, 02:03:26 pm
LOL NDA footprints? That's a new one!

The NDA's lapsed, but yeah. <hypothetical> You've just released, under NDA, a new wifi module. It's quite spiffy, and you want to manage the product launch, yet have dev boards ready to buy. So, in your usual over-reaching NDA, you specify that the footprint is not to be disclosed. </hypothetical>.

Don't forget the insanity of pretty much all datasheets being copyrighted. 'Protecting' 'IP' is 'fun' and 'profitable'.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 20, 2014, 02:04:42 pm
How is that any different to the current Altium Designer software?, unless you bought a perpetual license.

It's different from free eagle, the competition. That's what matters.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 20, 2014, 02:05:17 pm
I can see that. They said you can have designs kept private, so I assume that would extend to libraries as well.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: madires on September 20, 2014, 02:14:12 pm
I dislike the cloud idea if it means I cannot store locally. You know, because I don't always have an internet connection. ???
Yes, because there are always like dozen of PCB designers at airports in suits, designing PCBs on their 10" ultrabook.

If you like making anything PCB related without internet connection and being able to google anything, having access to the datasheets and application notes, mind as well draw the PCB with a fountain pen.

And if the servers are shut down for any reason your precious work is lost. Thank you very much Mr. Cloud! I prefer to have a local copy.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 20, 2014, 02:25:05 pm
If you like making anything PCB related without internet connection and being able to google anything, having access to the datasheets and application notes, mind as well draw the PCB with a fountain pen.
of course nobody ever designed PCBs before the internet....

Once you've done your placement & netlist, you don't often need to refer to anything, and routing is just the sort of menial task that can be fitted into odd bits of available time like travelling.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 20, 2014, 02:55:24 pm
I dislike the cloud idea if it means I cannot store locally. You know, because I don't always have an internet connection. ???
Yes, because there are always like dozen of PCB designers at airports in suits, designing PCBs on their 10" ultrabook.

If you like making anything PCB related without internet connection and being able to google anything, having access to the datasheets and application notes, mind as well draw the PCB with a fountain pen.

Uh, no, there are dozens (of dozens of dozens, I'd wager) of people with unreliable connections at home.

And I don't need to Google anything to do the layout - at the layout stage, that's all done already, because I'm not an idiot and I actually prepare for my unreliable connection. Important documents are saved. That's what local storage is for.

It's 2014, not 2054. We don't all have the internet surgically implanted into our skulls.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 20, 2014, 03:18:28 pm
Yes, because there are always like dozen of PCB designers at airports in suits, designing PCBs on their 10" ultrabook.

If you like making anything PCB related without internet connection and being able to google anything, having access to the datasheets and application notes, mind as well draw the PCB with a fountain pen.

Not having an internet connection could well mean: "My DSL just went down and I have unsaved work on my screen!" Then what? Leave the machine running until the connection comes back (and pray things don't crash in the meantime)? What if you can't leave the machine running for some reason? Yeah, you can suspend it - which works once out of 10 attempts on desktop machines (it suspends, but whether it will resume correctly is a lottery).

Unhindered local save ability is not simply a matter of convenience for a tool that is marketed for serious work.



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 20, 2014, 03:20:52 pm
Uh, no, there are dozens (of dozens of dozens, I'd wager) of people with unreliable connections at home.
...
It's 2014, not 2054. We don't all have the internet surgically implanted into our skulls.

Git/Github have an excellent model of working with the cloud.  Everything is cached locally in an accessible form and you sync in and out at the point of your choosing. While offline you can still have full repository functionality (add/reverter/remove/diff/log/branch/commit etc).

Other repositories like Perforce allow you to develop off line but without repository operations.

Online applications like Google docs do not even allow to edit offline (maybe the Android mobile app does, not sure, but you get the idea).

Will be interesting to see where free CM falls on this scale, possibly the later because of artificial restrictions.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 20, 2014, 03:21:54 pm
Are you sure this free version is 'marketed for serious work'?
If it is, it's going to gut their existing market, and currently, we're the ones paying their wages / dividends.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 20, 2014, 03:47:35 pm
Are you sure this free version is 'marketed for serious work'?
If it is, it's going to gut their existing market, and currently, we're the ones paying their wages / dividends.

That's the handicap of Altium when addressing to the maker market. They need to protect their legacy bread and butter. This is for example why Silicon Graphics and other dinosaurs died.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 20, 2014, 04:00:47 pm
That's the handicap of Altium when addressing to the maker market. They need to protect their legacy bread and butter. This is for example why Silicon Graphics and other dinosaurs died.

Crumbs, maybe the recent cashpile is because they really are throwing the existing userbase away. That would be... brave...
Mind you, if local working and secure storage exists, I'd get a hell of a lot of maker-priced 'upgrades' for the price of my current maintenance. I'm not sure how I feel about this train of thought.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 20, 2014, 04:10:17 pm
Uh, no, there are dozens (of dozens of dozens, I'd wager) of people with unreliable connections at home.
...
It's 2014, not 2054. We don't all have the internet surgically implanted into our skulls.

Git/Github have an excellent model of working with the cloud.  Everything is cached locally in an accessible form and you sync in and out at the point of your choosing. While offline you can still have full repository functionality (add/reverter/remove/diff/log/branch/commit etc).

Other repositories like Perforce allow you to develop off line but without repository operations.

Yup. If it fit the git model I'd be quite pleased. It seems, though, that they want to use this 'cloud' restriction as a way to differentiate between the low-end and high-end solutions, and a git-like system with both local and remote storage wouldn't really help them do that.

I certainly wouldn't be one of the ones howling if that's what they did. I love git ;D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on September 20, 2014, 04:26:31 pm
Not having an internet connection could well mean: "My DSL just went down and I have unsaved work on my screen!" Then what? Leave the machine running until the connection comes back (and pray things don't crash in the meantime)? What if you can't leave the machine running for some reason? Yeah, you can suspend it - which works once out of 10 attempts on desktop machines (it suspends, but whether it will resume correctly is a lottery).

Unhindered local save ability is not simply a matter of convenience for a tool that is marketed for serious work.

As much as I don't like the cloud thing......I gotta say the chances are Altium have thought about all of this (surely?)...............The easy way is to have the app save locally (but unaccessible to the user) and then if and when the Internet is back up the app does it save to the cloud. This would allow the app to be shut down etc etc etc.
There's no reason to lose anything or be unable to shutdown your PC just because the Net goes down.

I hope!

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 20, 2014, 08:41:10 pm
I dislike the cloud idea if it means I cannot store locally. You know, because I don't always have an internet connection. ???
Yes, because there are always like dozen of PCB designers at airports in suits, designing PCBs on their 10" ultrabook.

If you like making anything PCB related without internet connection and being able to google anything, having access to the datasheets and application notes, mind as well draw the PCB with a fountain pen.

Uh, no, there are dozens (of dozens of dozens, I'd wager) of people with unreliable connections at home.

And I don't need to Google anything to do the layout - at the layout stage, that's all done already, because I'm not an idiot and I actually prepare for my unreliable connection. Important documents are saved. That's what local storage is for.

It's 2014, not 2054. We don't all have the internet surgically implanted into our skulls.
And all the others

This is not a professional tool, dont consider it as one. It is not here to replace AD. Forcing you to be online is not nice, but let's face it, everyone does that. You can use Office for free if you use it online. And guess what, if you want to use it offline, you have to buy it. You have to realise: This is not made for people making money from doing PCB job. This includes one man companies. It is made for hobbiests, makers, people who buy Sparkfun stuff or desing an arduino shield with Microchip ADCs, and maybe they will order 5 PCB and dont know in the end what to do with the other 4.
I'm sure there will be something in between the 9000 dollar AD and the circuitmaker (like option for 150 dollars), but saving offline Should not be free, for the same reasons that we dont want this to be the last release from Altium. IF you make money with it, concerned about IP, dont want your data directly sent to NSA, KGB , Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and who knows where else, pay up. Simple as that.
If the internet connection is down at work, that is payed coffee break anyway.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on September 20, 2014, 08:46:51 pm
...saving offline Should not be free, for the same reasons that we dont want this to be the last release from Altium. IF you make money with it, concerned about IP, dont want your data directly sent to NSA, KGB , Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and who knows where else, pay up. Simple as that.

I never said Altium should change this. I agree with you, I don't see how they could make money otherwise. I just said I won't like the software if this is how it is. They're free to make things I don't like...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 20, 2014, 11:44:38 pm
Quote from: NANDBlog link=topic=35663.msg516585#msg5...Forcing you to be online is not nice, but let's face it, everyone does that.
[/quote

???

I don't think the competition (eagle and diptrace) do that.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 20, 2014, 11:47:04 pm
All our bits are captured and on file anyway.  If anyone on this forum even has an arrest record, the rest of us all have an eye on us, because we're communicating here.  Don't think for a second that your data isn't already captured.

Doesn't matter what your country you're in.  Your data is known to the NSA if it isn't encrypted, and if your key is on disk your encrypted data is known.  No exceptions.

(http://i.imgur.com/yXKlHe6.jpg)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: s3t on September 21, 2014, 07:21:06 am
What's going on with Maker Faire, why no updates? :(

Makers who have used other "free PCB layout tools" for a while, when introduced to circuitmaker be like
*** IMAGE REMOVED BY MODERATOR ***
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 21, 2014, 09:44:31 am
This is not a professional tool, dont consider it as one. It is not here to replace AD.
Not the free version, but if they expect people to pay for upgrades etc. so they can actually make any money from it, there needs to be an obvious upgrade path to it being a profesional quality tool. A cloud-only system fails in this respect.
 Nobody will ever make enough money to be viable from a serious PCB tool that doesn't meet the needs of the professional market.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 21, 2014, 09:45:16 am
It's different from free eagle, the competition.

The maker/hacker/hobbyist market that Eagle supports at no/low cost is the exact market that Altium is targeting.

All Altium had to do was to offer these users a slightly bigger board size limit to what Eagle currently offers.

But no, Altium think they can do a better job by reinventing the wheel.

Time will tell if their wheel is accepted en masse.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sakujo7 on September 21, 2014, 09:55:04 am
Here are some screen shots Altium gave to me to share:

This has potential.

Assuming that sanity prevails and they offer an 'offline mode' or at least the ability to do local backups from the cloud (as weird as that sounds...), I wonder what sort of pricing they would go with. They would be balancing the risk of pulling people away from buying the full Altium vs the reward of getting more people familiar with their tools...

A subscription model seems likely.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nctnico on September 21, 2014, 09:59:48 am
IMHO Altium is way too complicated for hobbyist or small business use. I have been using schematics and layout software for over 25 years so I've seen my fair share of CAD software. I found Altium very hard and counter intuitive to use (I really needed the manual for every step of the process of making a PCB layout; usually I don't need a manual to get going with software). If you are working full time on schematic entry and PCB layout in a team then Altium definitely is worth considering. If not then tools like Kicad, Eagle, etc are much simpler to use and therefole take less time & effort to learn. Altium is never going to compete with tools which are easy to use.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Circlotron on September 21, 2014, 11:23:11 am
Feeling pretty grumpy that i've spent a lot of money with Altium not so long ago and they are about to essentially give everyone else the same stuff for free.
Yeah.
I spent $320 on Easytrax back in November 1989.
Almost a week's wages.
Later it became freeware.  >:(
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sakujo7 on September 21, 2014, 11:41:40 am
If not then tools like Kicad, Eagle, etc are much simpler to use and therefole take less time & effort to learn. Altium is never going to compete with tools which are easy to use.

'Easy to use' is relative. I'd say it depends heavily on which tool(s) you use first, since that will determine which conventions you're used to.

I've had bad experiences with Kicad (crashes left, right and center) and Eagle (PCB/schematic not consistent, having to delete the PCB and start over...). Altium confused me for a day or two but otherwise didn't give me any trouble.

Naturally, your experiences will have been completely different.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Circlotron on September 21, 2014, 11:45:39 am
I just hope it can import my 99SE projects and libraries.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 21, 2014, 12:34:39 pm
What's going on with Maker Faire, why no updates? :(

Chris Gammell tweeted that he visited the stand, he got a demo of it, and he liked it!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 21, 2014, 03:30:23 pm
IMHO Altium is way too complicated for hobbyist or small business use. I have been using schematics and layout software for over 25 years so I've seen my fair share of CAD software. I found Altium very hard and counter intuitive to use (I really needed the manual for every step of the process of making a PCB layout; usually I don't need a manual to get going with software). If you are working full time on schematic entry and PCB layout in a team then Altium definitely is worth considering. If not then tools like Kicad, Eagle, etc are much simpler to use and therefole take less time & effort to learn. Altium is never going to compete with tools which are easy to use.
I find that logic a touch flawed. Todays components have smaller geometries, faster and more sensitive signals. You can only build so many LED blinkers before simple tools become more trouble than they're worth especially if there is a comparative offering that takes a little more learning because it's more advanced
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 21, 2014, 03:40:01 pm
Even more so if there's community stuff you can rip off / start from.
If there's a trustable Arduino shield, a trustable RPi breakout, etc, then that's a huge head start for people just looking to add a few things on a board.

If these reference designs are actually done nicely, maybe we'll see fewer godawful unreadable schematics.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 21, 2014, 11:57:26 pm
Even more so if there's community stuff you can rip off / start from.

Sure, for hobbyists & hackers (which is where this new version is aimed).

As for professionals, they rarely use the Altium Forum (I did not use it once).

But I did use Altium Support (mind you they are pretty useless).

I had great satisfaction in supplying them a list with all the bugs I had found. I listed the date of first notification & the date a fix was received. Most bugs still remained after 2 years which is one of the reasons that I no longer upgrade to the latest version. It is a waste of my time installing it to find that only a few bugs have been fixed & that more bugs have been introduced into the new code.

Over the past 8 years, not a lot of useful features have been added to Altium. A few features, but not a lot.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 22, 2014, 01:41:10 am
Eagle is the hobbyist standard today because it was free for small simple stuff a decade ago.

Eagle is not the hobbyist standard for any other reason.  Momentum was gained by Cadsoft because there weren't any other free, good tools.  When the "maker movement" started lots of blogs suggested eagle precisely because it was free, and often the blogger shared their design files.

The mechanism of sharing does not concern me, so long as sharing is possible.

Other communities use adf.ly to share their files, and I'd love to see that die.  If I don't have to pay to host stuff I wanna create, I'm onboard.

CircuitMaker does not need to cater to Eagle customers; that should not be the immediate goal.  CircuitMaker needs to attract people who would have otherwise chosen eagle tomorrow, first, THEN attract existing eagle freebie users.  This is what makes the new UI such a smart move.

I have eagle and I use it often.

I want to see a genuine competitor.  CM has a very good shot.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: m12lrpv on September 22, 2014, 01:48:26 am
With respect to the no local storage speculation... if you look at the header bar of their home page screen representation you can see the save path is local

http://circuitmaker.com/#make_things_happen (http://circuitmaker.com/#make_things_happen)

To me that implies that it's base isn't cloud only but you never know what will happen between now and release.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 22, 2014, 02:37:23 am
With respect to the no local storage speculation... if you look at the header bar of their home page screen representation you can see the save path is local

http://circuitmaker.com/#make_things_happen (http://circuitmaker.com/#make_things_happen)

To me that implies that it's base isn't cloud only but you never know what will happen between now and release.

c4757p covered this a few days ago:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg515831/#msg515831 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg515831/#msg515831)

But we hope a local storage option is offered.  ;D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: m12lrpv on September 22, 2014, 02:45:53 am
With respect to the no local storage speculation... if you look at the header bar of their home page screen representation you can see the save path is local

http://circuitmaker.com/#make_things_happen (http://circuitmaker.com/#make_things_happen)

To me that implies that it's base isn't cloud only but you never know what will happen between now and release.

c4757p covered this a few days ago:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg515831/#msg515831 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg515831/#msg515831)

But we hope a local storage option is offered.  ;D
Yeah it was covered but it's not sinking in  :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 22, 2014, 04:00:46 am
Sorry for the typos...  I am posting on my phone while in the passenger seat coming back from MakerFaire.

I got a full demo

1.).  A lot is in flux but the ability to grow into more layers and board area look great.   You can pay to upgrade individual pieces.   more board or more layers or both.   pricing was not finalized but the 4 layer option was 29 usd for a year in the demo.   The goal looked like to always be better/more flexible than competing products.  It wouldn't surprise me if Eagle needs to make some adjustments.

2.) The free size is 100x100mm.    calculated as true area.  So a 10 x 1000mm would fit

3.). Basic push shove was enabled.   Multiroute was enabled

4.).  Files are cached so you can work locally.   

5.).  Library....   real supplier links must be used.   No scrappy parts.  Your parts that must have real manufacturing, supplier data.     we discussed parts that are mechanical, etc.    They are considering how to do this while ensuring good quality parts.   No more generic '555s'.   Published parts will have backend data.

I did test with an obscure mechanical part. (surface mount standoff) Octopart found it!    Octopart is the primary search too for getting data


6.). Quite impressed with the commenting/collaboration tools.   I told them I want that in the pro version

7.). Has the new layer stack manager but no rigid flex.


8.). Schematic and library editing is exactly as what you would expect


9.) PCB is very usable.   IE way ahead of eagle but not quite all the features of of the pro

10.). Global editing tools are enabled


All in all,  with some more adjustments,   this looks to be a great package.   I saw a very receptive crowd at MakerFaire and there is nothing in the way of this being a useful tool for open/collaborative hardware.   Unless you are a  curmudgeon who just wants to find a reason to not like the software,  it will be a nice addition to the market.   I got the feeling that they were listening to get it right while still trying protect their primary product.

I plan on getting my community designs converted.   Right now there is not a path from Altium to Circuitmaker but I got the feeling it is not that difficult to make it happen.  :-)








Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 22, 2014, 04:05:21 am
I did test with an obscure mechanical part. (surface mount standoff) Octopart found it!    Octopart is the primary search too for getting data

Yes, now that the cat is out of the bag, Altium have teamed up very closely with Octopart to integrate it into the parts and library backend.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sakujo7 on September 22, 2014, 04:48:30 am
Sorry for the typos...  I am posting on my phone while in the passenger seat coming back from MakerFaire.

Not a problem. Sounds very promising!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: m12lrpv on September 22, 2014, 04:49:39 am
8.). Schematic and library editing is exactly as what you would expect


Personally I'm not sure what to expect with this Octopart announcement.

Library editing is a big one for me. I have a number of "combination" parts with dual footprints so I can vary the exact part used without remaking the boards and also totally custom footprints for hand made parts. As a hobbyist having flexibility in what I use based upon what I can get easily is very important.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: moemoe on September 22, 2014, 06:50:57 am
5.).  Library....   real supplier links must be used.   No scrappy parts.  Your parts that must have real manufacturing, supplier data.     we discussed parts that are mechanical, etc.    They are considering how to do this while ensuring good quality parts.   No more generic '555s'.   Published parts will have backend data.

Can you have multiple footprints/mechanical parts for the same logical element in your schematic? Is it possible to define multiple vendors for the same footprint?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 08:38:14 am

Quote
8.). Schematic and library editing is exactly as what you would expect
but....
Quote
5.).  Library....   real supplier links must be used.   No scrappy parts.  Your parts that must have real manufacturing, supplier data.     we discussed parts that are
What exactly does that mean ?
Can you not create your own arbitary random parts at all , or just not submit them to the communal library?
Does that mean you can't create communal library parts for obsolete stuff like nixie tubes?
Are you forced to create schematic parts for every PCB part ?


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 22, 2014, 09:14:37 am
Thanks for reporting in, but you missed some HUGE parts....

4.).  Files are cached so you can work locally.   

Can I save locally?

Eeek.  So if Altium pulls the plug on the software in a few years, and does another 180 (as prone to do)....all the users are out of luck?  I'm going to invest my time in that for what?

Can you not create your own arbitary random parts at all , or just not submit them to the communal library?

Exactly.  And for the hobbiest, you often want to tweak the footprint a bit for home etching, or hand soldering vs reflow, or for a dozen of reason. 

Damn you Altium! You had one job!  Make the user interface intuitive, give us a board size as large or larger then free eagle, and if you want me to pay for a huge board, 4 or 6 layers, or flex PCB, then charge me. 

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 09:19:11 am
I just tried to find out about altium, just spoke to a UK rep. Err WTF ? the "low end" version is a cloud based one you use online with all of your projects published in the community, So totally unsuitable for professional use although apparently you can buy add ons. A full license is £5000, and there are no cut down versions say for pin count. Great, waste of time. Well done altium you missed the target very widely. Guess I'm stuck with Dip Trace and hoping they learn to code properly some time soon.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 22, 2014, 09:47:48 am

Quote
8.). Schematic and library editing is exactly as what you would expect
but....
Quote
5.).  Library....   real supplier links must be used.   No scrappy parts.  Your parts that must have real manufacturing, supplier data.     we discussed parts that are
What exactly does that mean ?
Can you not create your own arbitary random parts at all , or just not submit them to the communal library?
Does that mean you can't create communal library parts for obsolete stuff like nixie tubes?
Are you forced to create schematic parts for every PCB part ?
That's worrisome.  :scared:
Did a PCB a while ago with these IGBT's mounted on the board, good luck finding a footprint for them.  :--
PDF attached 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 22, 2014, 10:11:49 am
I just tried to find out about altium, just spoke to a UK rep. Err WTF ? the "low end" version is a cloud based one you use online with all of your projects published in the community, So totally unsuitable for professional use although apparently you can buy add ons. A full license is £5000, and there are no cut down versions say for pin count. Great, waste of time. Well done altium you missed the target very widely. Guess I'm stuck with Dip Trace and hoping they learn to code properly some time soon.

They're not aiming it at professionals AT ALL.  They're trying to stop hobbyists from getting so used to the steaming pile that is Eagle that they accept it and continue its use.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 10:34:02 am
I just tried to find out about altium, just spoke to a UK rep. Err WTF ? the "low end" version is a cloud based one you use online with all of your projects published in the community, So totally unsuitable for professional use although apparently you can buy add ons. A full license is £5000, and there are no cut down versions say for pin count. Great, waste of time. Well done altium you missed the target very widely. Guess I'm stuck with Dip Trace and hoping they learn to code properly some time soon.

They're not aiming it at professionals AT ALL.  They're trying to stop hobbyists from getting so used to the steaming pile that is Eagle that they accept it and continue its use.

We are living in an interesting world and there are plenty of small start-ups, like me. We won't be paying 5K for software and we won't be putting our work online for all to see. So unless you suddenly get the urge to spend the cash your not going to use it. It would seem that altiums plan is to get hobbyists into their software and then once they are used to it they will need to pay a lot of money for or ask their employer to spend a lot of money. I asked the guy if they have different licensing levels like diptrace does on pin count and he said that a lot of people ask that but they don't. So clearly altium are not listening, because people are asking for it. i will have to stick with diptrace...... Clearly altium only fry big fish.

I've registered, I'll see what the paid addon's are but the impression he gave me was that keeping your stuff private is not an option so it looks like they have gone so wide of the border either side that either you will only ever use it as a hobby platform or at a very high level - missed the target by far.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: 8086 on September 22, 2014, 10:36:47 am
There's a lot of pages here now so I haven't seen if this has come up already, but why the hell wouldn't they bring out a version of the Altium Designer software without the FPGA nonsense, limited to say 4 or 6 layers, and maybe 30cm square size limit, and some advanced features missing, for something like £1000-£1500?

Surely there must be a fairly large amount of people who would go for that deal? I know a lot of small businesses would consider it a no brainer.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 10:40:00 am
Yea, i'm one of them, but apparently altium have a long history of being thick and not changing any time soon. when diptrace does progress to a decent level altium will have no chance in the low end market
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: bookaboo on September 22, 2014, 10:54:23 am
There's a lot of pages here now so I haven't seen if this has come up already, but why the hell wouldn't they bring out a version of the Altium Designer software without the FPGA nonsense, limited to say 4 or 6 layers, and maybe 30cm square size limit, and some advanced features missing, for something like £1000-£1500?

Surely there must be a fairly large amount of people who would go for that deal? I know a lot of small businesses would consider it a no brainer.

Sold!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 10:56:29 am
I'd get a couple of seats, and stop paying maintenance on two full seats here that are somewhat underutilised.
Oops.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 10:57:24 am
I just tried to find out about altium, just spoke to a UK rep. Err WTF ? the "low end" version is a cloud based one you use online with all of your projects published in the community, So totally unsuitable for professional use although apparently you can buy add ons. A full license is £5000, and there are no cut down versions say for pin count. Great, waste of time. Well done altium you missed the target very widely. Guess I'm stuck with Dip Trace and hoping they learn to code properly some time soon.

They're not aiming it at professionals AT ALL.  They're trying to stop hobbyists from getting so used to the steaming pile that is Eagle that they accept it and continue its use.
There is not enough money in the hobbyist market  - the only way this can work is for it to be a stepping stone to more professional use via upgrades.
Hobbyists in general have more time than money, and are likely to switch to whatever tool does what they want for free.   
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 11:02:20 am
Yea, i'm one of them, but apparently altium have a long history of being thick and not changing any time soon. when diptrace does progress to a decent level altium will have no chance in the low end market

Waah! This unreleased free software probably doesn't do what I want.

Steady on, chap. Why not wait to see what it actually is before you get all pissed off about it?
I'm not saying that Altium won't do something daft, but seriously?

I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see the buy-in price for full Altium to drop a bit, though, as an enticement, perhaps with it being fully rental, and no 'let it stay frozen and unmaintained' option?

Interesting times.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 11:45:18 am
Waah! This unreleased free software probably doesn't do what I want.

Steady on, chap. Why not wait to see what it actually is before you get all pissed off about it?
I'm not saying that Altium won't do something daft, but seriously?

I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see the buy-in price for full Altium to drop a bit, though, as an enticement, perhaps with it being fully rental, and no 'let it stay frozen and unmaintained' option?

Interesting times.

The person i spoke to was pretty clear that if i wanted to keep private business IP this was not the solution for me. He said that yes there are addon's but as far as he knew none will allow keeping designs private. So it's a total no show and not even useful for small businesses. He was clear that it's not for business by hobby projects. My impression is that they are trying to create the electronics version of facebook. No thank you!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: jmag999 on September 22, 2014, 12:30:02 pm
I spoke with a rep at Maker Faire who told me that private designs would be an add-on but that they were not considering local file storage at this time.
Title: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 22, 2014, 12:34:16 pm
Waah! This unreleased free software probably doesn't do what I want.

Steady on, chap. Why not wait to see what it actually is before you get all pissed off about it?
I'm not saying that Altium won't do something daft, but seriously?

I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see the buy-in price for full Altium to drop a bit, though, as an enticement, perhaps with it being fully rental, and no 'let it stay frozen and unmaintained' option?

Interesting times.

The person i spoke to was pretty clear that if i wanted to keep private business IP this was not the solution for me. He said that yes there are addon's but as far as he knew none will allow keeping designs private. So it's a total no show and not even useful for small businesses. He was clear that it's not for business by hobby projects. My impression is that they are trying to create the electronics version of facebook. No thank you!

Sounds like he didn't really know what he was on about.

The cloud saving isn't even set in stone FFS!

Didn't Dave even mention a paid vs public suppository, Upverter style?

There be a bunch of Chicken Littles up in 'dis thread.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 22, 2014, 12:36:50 pm
I spoke with a rep at Maker Faire who told me that private designs would be an add-on but that they were not considering local file storage at this time.

Yeah, I think that was mentioned before.

What folks don't seem to be understanding (in my naive view, perhaps) is that we aren't the target market for this tool.  We're so sure that WE wouldn't use it, but we can't speak for folks that are just starting out today.  Some of us are just starting out and will gladly evaluate this tool and don't care about local file saving.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 01:00:56 pm
if your a business you have to be a little bit careful. I can't go to my boss and say that I'm going to start using a tool that will store stuff online where it can get hacked or that we spend thousands on software that we use to design 2 prototypes a year with. If altium want to ease people into using their software this is not the way to do it for existing businesses and the rep (who is a reseller so maybe not up to date) said that many people ask if there is a pin count limited version so clearly people are asking for one thing which other companies offer but they are not providing it. If it's an in or out for 5K I'm out. Diptrace got the right idea but their software is um... work in progress.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 01:10:34 pm
If you're doing two designs a year, I'd say you may be better off subbing it out, than keeping on relearning tools and paying subscriptions...
Someone who bangs their heads against the tools all day, every day is going to be so much quicker. You'd still do the tricky bit (the actual designing of what you want to achieve - architecture, main component selection) in house, but the handle-turning of getting a schematic and PCB out the door - are you sure you want to dedicate that much time and effort?
Just a thought...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 01:21:23 pm
If you're doing two designs a year, I'd say you may be better off subbing it out, than keeping on relearning tools and paying subscriptions...
Someone who bangs their heads against the tools all day, every day is going to be so much quicker. You'd still do the tricky bit (the actual designing of what you want to achieve - architecture, main component selection) in house, but the handle-turning of getting a schematic and PCB out the door - are you sure you want to dedicate that much time and effort?
Just a thought...

It's part of research and development, not something we want to hand over to a sub contractor. Yes we do use them but when your making it up as you go along you have to work in house or bring in very expensive consultants. I can fix problems and make PCB's to the latest spec based on what we just learnt more quickly than a subcontractor finding someone free to do the work for us and then the tedious job of communicating what we want. Subcontractors are not available "on tap" they have other customers too.

Personally speaking I'm a one man band designer so far designing a few products to present to people and hope they are interested, so of course I'm not subbing that out and neither is paying 5K for software an option. My impression is that altium licenses are locked to your machine as the rep was keen to point out that with their freeware version I can log in from anywhere. I just told him that with diptrace I can use any computer i please with one license providing I don't try to run two at once. He had nothing to say to that. I can take my laptop away with me and carry on working, I take my dads to see my sister and when i get bored pull out the laptop and get working, bet altium is not so flexible.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: baljemmett on September 22, 2014, 01:27:57 pm
Yes, now that the cat is out of the bag, Altium have teamed up very closely with Octopart to integrate it into the parts and library backend.

So does that mean your 'who is Altium buying?' musing was an elaborate bluff, and you had a strong suspicion as to a most-likely answer all along?  ;)

[Edit to correct typo - 'our' instead of 'your' - oops!]
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 01:33:07 pm
It's part of research and development, not something we want to hand over to a sub contractor.

That's most of my jobs!

And yes, you can use proper Altium on multiple machines, but not simultaneously. Laptop and desktop, just works absolutely fine. You need to remember to check out a license if you want to work off-net for a while, but as licensing schemes go, it's painless. It does a bit of authentication and watermarking of some sort when you add a new machine, but meh, their code, their rules.
If you forget to shut down your desktop session before trying to use a laptop, you can just remotely yoink the license away.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 01:44:32 pm
sounds similar to the floating license we use at work for Solid Edge (3D CAD) but that costs more than a regular license.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 22, 2014, 02:14:05 pm
So does that mean our 'who is Altium buying?' musing was an elaborate bluff, and you had a strong suspicion as to a most-likely answer all along?  ;)

Octopart is one of many possible companies.
Would make sense, but so so do others as well, so I have no idea, and they won't tell me of course.
And I doubt they need all that money to to buy Octopart, that would be foolish I suspect, but Altium are the masters of foolish.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 22, 2014, 03:04:12 pm
Quote
What exactly does that mean ?
Can you not create your own arbitary random parts at all , or just not submit them to the communal library?
Does that mean you can't create communal library parts for obsolete stuff like nixie tubes?
Are you forced to create schematic parts for every PCB part ?


Sorry for the ambiguity.  Typing on a phone at midnight is difficult for my brain.


So,  What I meant by "Schematic are Libraries are what you expect" is that the core editor, dialogs, etc are exactly as they are in Altium.

The did exactly what I thought they would do.    They used the Object libraries already developed and just create a new shell around them.  I had some minor objections to a few things but it was nicely done.


As for the details on the libraries and how multiple footprints map schematic parts,    etc.   Here is what I took away:

1.)   All of this is still under consideration....
2.)   When you create a part,  you are creating an entity that is keyed to an specific manufacturer part number.    (The correct way IMHO).    So,  you do not a create a 555 timer.  You create a TLC555CDR with all the metadeta.

I brought up all the other use cases and they are going to talk about how to work in the other use cases while keeping the flow simple.

Here is the general problem.  How do you have a community library that ensures consistent quality, etc?      I suggested some sort of system that filter out the good parts from the bad via some sort of icon/coloring, etc.

3dcontentcentral has a parts rating system but there is often multiple copies of the same part.

Lastly,    what they were showing off was the start of a community tool for open designs.    If you are looking for a tool to make proprietary designs for profit that are not open,  then this first tool is not for you at this point.

The target audience were those who want to make more open hardware.

My other thought that if you are small business who needs to get things private,  you need to come up with a workable business plan that can buy a real tool.    Expecting a free tool for your business without having any restrictions is not reasonable.

Now,  it looks to me that they are planning on options for closed design but right now it is looking like a community product to start with.

For a price tag of zero it is a good start.     There are a bunch of things to work out but I am personally pleased that there is some level engagement with the users.







Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 03:11:00 pm

2.)   When you create a part,  you are creating an entity that is keyed to an specific manufacturer part number.    (The correct way iMHO).    So,  you do not a create a 555 timer.  You create a TLC555CDR with all the metadeta.

All well and good, but I also need to be able to build a part based on 'that funky LCD I ripped out of a clock 4 years ago'. (or scored off an anonymous ebay supplier, or that sort of thing. Stuff that Octopart are never going to know or care about in a million years.

but yeah, still sounds promising.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 22, 2014, 03:14:42 pm
if your a business you have to be a little bit careful. I can't go to my boss and say that I'm going to start using a tool that will store stuff online where it can get hacked or that we spend thousands on software that we use to design 2 prototypes a year with. If altium want to ease people into using their software this is not the way to do it for existing businesses and the rep (who is a reseller so maybe not up to date) said that many people ask if there is a pin count limited version so clearly people are asking for one thing which other companies offer but they are not providing it. If it's an in or out for 5K I'm out. Diptrace got the right idea but their software is um... work in progress.

Right, cloud storage for a business is not always a good idea and not always a bad idea; it depends on the cloud service, it depends on what you're putting in there, and it depends on .. a lot of things, actually.

I don't think this tool is aimed at the business user.  Someone, please correct me if I'm wrong about that.  I'm pretty sure this is aimed at hobbyists who occasionally need to increase the capabilities of the program for a specific project here or there.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 03:18:16 pm


My other thought that if you are small business who needs to get things private,  you need to come up with a workable business plan that can buy a real tool.    Expecting a free tool for your business without having any restrictions is not reasonable.

Now,  it looks to me that they are planning on options for closed design but right now it is looking like a community product to start with.

No one is arguing that a business wants a free software. I have purchased the 500 pin version of diptrace, I'd not have wanted to buy the full version as I don't need it.

It sounds like altium maybe leaving the door open for small business and new startups, we shall see.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 22, 2014, 03:27:29 pm
Maybe not even startups, hobbyist at a push I would say by all of the stories.
I get the feeling if what has been discussed is true, that this "free" version is merely an introduction to the Altium software, I could imagine myself getting very pee'd off with it, maybe thats because I use the "full" version.

The interface from screenshots look like it was made by the same guy that did AutoTrax 2020, some kind of beastly toolbar which takes up 1/4 of the screen space!

I will of course give it a whirl when it does become available, but I can't see the benefit over using this vs Eagle or Diptrace, or even KiCAD, apart from the fact it introduces you to Altium, but is a "free" Altium necessity or a nice to have? I mean to require the power of AD you need to be serious about what you are doing, not just hobbyist, which is why I use Eagle as well as AD as the licenses are so expensive for AD to become even conceivable for hobbyist use. I understand the need for an Altoum "viewer" perhaps, so we can look at designs and print them (not even plot them to Gerber), but thats about all I can see beneficial.

BTW, Dave, do you use the latest and greatest AD or an older version? I have found 14.x.x to be a bit bloaty.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on September 22, 2014, 03:31:52 pm
>Expecting a free tool for your business without having any restrictions is not reasonable.

Yeah, except KiCad has no restrictions and is free.  If the community grows a little and a few improvements are made,it could become pretty dominant.




Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 03:33:35 pm
Quote
What exactly does that mean ?

2.)   When you create a part,  you are creating an entity that is keyed to an specific manufacturer part number.    (The correct way iMHO).    So,  you do not a create a 555 timer.  You create a TLC555CDR with all the metadeta.

There _HAS_ to be a way to make generic parts, otherwise you'd need to have seperate part numbers for every value of resistor, capacitor etc. which would be utterly dumb

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 03:44:39 pm
There _HAS_ to be a way to make generic parts, otherwise you'd need to have seperate part numbers for every value of resistor, capacitor etc. which would be utterly dumb

No, this actually works fine. Especially when you've got a library of R_0603 you can pick from, which I'd imagine the Octopart tie-up (and Altium libraries) will provide.
If it's a different part, it's got a different design ID, with all the attributes bound to that part, which go into the BOM.
If you want to edit it in place to pick a different part, that's easy enough too. 
I see people kicking off about this, but, to me, it's the right way to do it. One reel, one part type. It's not a resistor that happens to be 12K, it's a very specific 12K 0603.
(If I don't know the value yet, it's an R_Undecided, which sticks out like a sore thumb at BOM time, and very rarely gets placed by mistake :)


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 22, 2014, 04:02:59 pm
My other thought that if you are small business who needs to get things private,

Do you know when things become public? continuously as you work? Only at certain events (e.g. gerber generation)? Manually when you declare a version as stable?

My hobby work is open against github but I do have the ability when to publish. Same when authoring a post in these forums. Otherwise you get partial and broken files.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 22, 2014, 04:03:30 pm
Quote
There _HAS_ to be a way to make generic parts, otherwise you'd need to have seperate part numbers for every value of resistor, capacitor etc. which would be utterly dumb

Making a unique part number is the proper way to implement a library workflow.
Why would put a generic part?  You have to know a value and part number to actually build something.    You just do at the front end to make your BOM generation sane.   If not,  you are repeating a lot of work!       

Think about this.... Is there really a generic part?     When you create a BOM to get a board stuffed,     You can't list a "10k"

If you actually get this made,  you have a line item for an a Panasonic "ERJ-3EKF1002V"   and possible substitutions.      It really takes little extra work once you get a good workflow

I always thought the generic part only kicks the can down the road.  At the end of the day there needs to be a source-able part.

With the full version of Altium,  I made a database library that has all resistors and caps in all values and all packages from 0201 to 2512 in all values.    This is actually quite easy with the DBlibs.   Once you figure out the part number scheme everything can be generated via a script.  Since different parts are just lines in a database or spreadsheet,   it is easy to enumerate all possibilities

We even made a part scraper that went to Digikey grabbed all the SMT diodes, fuses, etc for certain manufacturers.    We got all the SOT-23s,  SMAs, SMBs, etc.

So,  in the end it makes for much cleaner design artifacts.

That all being said I believe that Altium is including there generic passive libraries from the vault.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 22, 2014, 04:44:12 pm
Eagle is the hobbyist standard today because it was free for small simple stuff a decade ago.

This is the whole truth. The rest is commentary. (Now go read it.)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 04:51:38 pm
Generic parts make complete sense, they have a value attribute to specify the actual value. That way you can treat them as the same or different depending on who is using the data.
The problem with making parts too specific is it makes it harder to select between equivalent parts when ordering when items are out of stock, discontinued or more expensive than equivalents.
Another problem with being too specific is making sure everything is defined in a consistent way. Maybe some sort of heirarchical definition system would be useful.
Another issue is you don't want to have to tell your pick/place machine vision system about all the different parts - all it needs to know is "0603 resistor".

Specifying generic resistors down to a specific manufaturer part number is just insane. More so when you are trying to target a wide audience, who will be buying parts from all sorts of places.
Quote
Making a unique part number is the proper way to implement a library workflow.
there is no such thing as "Proper" or "Correct". Only more or less appropriate to a particular set of requirements
 
Quote
Why would put a generic part?  You have to know a value and part number to actually build something.   
In many cases you don't.
If I don't care which 10K 0603 1% resistor is used. I do care if purchasing or a subcontractor delays produciton because a specific make of a generic part happens to be out of stock.

Quote

Think about this.... Is there really a generic part?
Yes, many.
Quote
    When you create a BOM to get a board stuffed,     You can't list a "10k"

I can list a "10K 1% 0603"
At the very least the "0603 1%" and the "10K" should be merged at a late stage into a specific part number, not at an early one at library creation.

What might be nice is to have an automated way to generate manufacturer part numbers for generic parts, so given "0603 1%" and "10K" it would generate the correct part numbers for a few manufacturers, then filter by stock and price to select which one to order.

Of course it is important to know which parts are generic and which ones  are more specific.
 In practice we're mostly talking about R's and C's, but these make up a rather large proportion of parts (as opposed to part types) used in most designs.
 


 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 22, 2014, 04:52:54 pm
Eagle is the hobbyist standard today because it was free for small simple stuff a decade ago.

This is the whole truth. The rest is commentary. (Now go read it.)

Altium want it both ways, they want to be seen to be giving something away but are scared shitless of loosing a couple of cents profit. They want the big name but they won't pay for it. It's just PR wankery. I'm not buying it!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 05:02:19 pm
Eagle is the hobbyist standard today because it was free for small simple stuff a decade ago.

This is the whole truth. The rest is commentary. (Now go read it.)

Altium want it both ways, they want to be seen to be giving something away but are scared shitless of loosing a couple of cents profit. They want the big name but they won't pay for it. It's just PR wankery. I'm not buying it!
The whole thing will live or die on what lies on the upgrade slope between the free version and full AD.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 22, 2014, 05:07:08 pm
2.)   When you create a part,  you are creating an entity that is keyed to an specific manufacturer part number.    (The correct way IMHO).    So,  you do not a create a 555 timer.  You create a TLC555CDR with all the metadeta.

Can you define your own manufacturers and part numbers? For example 'Generic'.

I find it useful in Eagle to place a resistor/capacitor in the schema and assign values in the schema without dealing with libraries.  Often I deal with the various footprints only when the schematic is stable.

The least and the latest I need to deal with libraries and exact specification the better it is for me (I use the schematic capture as a brainstorming napkin, iteratively refining the design) so a loose flow will be a better fit. I also liked Free Electron's idea of being able to modify the library in the schematic capture, for example by repositioning pins around the block.

(all the above is for hobby work).

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on September 22, 2014, 05:41:31 pm
Quote
There _HAS_ to be a way to make generic parts, otherwise you'd need to have seperate part numbers for every value of resistor, capacitor etc. which would be utterly dumb

Making a unique part number is the proper way to implement a library workflow.
Why would put a generic part?  You have to know a value and part number to actually build something.    You just do at the front end to make your BOM generation sane.   If not,  you are repeating a lot of work!       

Think about this.... Is there really a generic part?     When you create a BOM to get a board stuffed,     You can't list a "10k"

If you actually get this made,  you have a line item for an a Panasonic "ERJ-3EKF1002V"   and possible substitutions.      It really takes little extra work once you get a good workflow

Another reason came up recently, and puts yet another big heavy nail in the notion of prepared libraries...

Second source.  You've designed the board, put together the BOM, and manufacturing says they can't get X.  Or, they can only get so many of X, and the lead time is impossible.

The library-centric approach would require you to add those fields to the library part.  But this is against the whole concept of a second source: what if that temporary source dries up?  What if it's project specific, and you must call out substitutes on a need-to-know basis?  What about when the substitutes aren't exact, so you're making a direct judgement about the suitability of a part for a project that may not be suitable in other projects?  Putting that in the library could be disastrous!

Having a part in the library to begin with, you encounter the same pitfall, because the part originally selected for that library item will eventually disappear.  You don't want to keep using the same part for five or ten or twenty years just because it's in your corporate libraries.  That leads to all sorts of suboptimal decisions.

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 22, 2014, 05:59:13 pm
Another reason came up recently, and puts yet another big heavy nail in the notion of prepared libraries...

Second source.  You've designed the board, put together the BOM, and manufacturing says they can't get X.  Or, they can only get so many of X, and the lead time is impossible.

This isn't a schematic/PCB-design problem, it's a purchasing problem. Hopefully before you design the part in, you've got your purchasing person making sure you can buy the parts? (And yes, for the one-person shop, the buyer is the PCB designer.)

Quote
The library-centric approach would require you to add those fields to the library part.  But this is against the whole concept of a second source: what if that temporary source dries up?  What if it's project specific, and you must call out substitutes on a need-to-know basis?  What about when the substitutes aren't exact, so you're making a direct judgement about the suitability of a part for a project that may not be suitable in other projects?  Putting that in the library could be disastrous!

What my various employers have done is to split the difference. Schematic symbols don't have vendor part numbers embedded, they have company part numbers. A BOM is generated from the schematic, and that's run against the list of parts which includes vendor part number(s). If purchasing notifies engineering of a shortage, someone will look for a substitute which can get added to the allowed parts for that company part number.

Quote
Having a part in the library to begin with, you encounter the same pitfall, because the part originally selected for that library item will eventually disappear.  You don't want to keep using the same part for five or ten or twenty years just because it's in your corporate libraries.  That leads to all sorts of suboptimal decisions.[/quotes]

That's true, and it's why it's incumbent on the designer to work with purchasing during the design phase. And it helps if engineering is kept aware of which parts are going into NRND or last-time-buy. The purchasing staff should tell all of engineering, "hey, someone put an XXXX on a board, that's NRND, what do you want to do?" and then engineering works it out.

Yes, I know that purchasing departments can sometimes be opaque.  |O

But yes, there's always the question about using something new because it's new, or using the old part because it's already in the library and we have a few reels of parts in the warehouse.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 06:53:12 pm
Second source.  You've designed the board, put together the BOM, and manufacturing says they can't get X.  Or, they can only get so many of X, and the lead time is impossible.

The library-centric approach would require you to add those fields to the library part.  But this is against the whole concept of a second source: what if that temporary source dries up?  What if it's project specific, and you must call out substitutes on a need-to-know basis?  What about when the substitutes aren't exact, so you're making a direct judgement about the suitability of a part for a project that may not be suitable in other projects?  Putting that in the library could be disastrous!

Once a project is off for manufacture, I regard it as frozen - unless there's an ECO, what's designed should be built. Any second source and obsolescence issues are to be managed on that project, by me and the manufacturer. They'll be rolled back into the library if it makes sense.
There's a unique in-house code for every part, which is what is used as an index for external assembly shops / purchasing teams. There's also an explicit manufacturer and manufacturer's part code.  There are also courtesy catalogue codes, to let me easily order for prototypes. It's possible this should lie in an external database, but I'm happy enough to have it in the library.

No doubt it's imperfect, but it does work OK, and manufacturers cope well.
So- in my opinion and experience, it's not insane to have a library part per BOM line.

Mike - the footprint is just another field in the library part. All my R-0603s are called R_0603. This works perfectly for PnP.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on September 22, 2014, 06:56:19 pm
I find it useful in Eagle to place a resistor/capacitor in the schema and assign values in the schema without dealing with libraries.

Same here..........I coudn't image having to go back to the library to place each and every different value of resistor. With Eagle all you do is go to the library once, place the part on the Schematic then duplicate to your hearts content, and just change the VALUE attribute......and from there everything is reflected in the BOM.

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on September 22, 2014, 07:26:12 pm
Altium put a lot of effort and money into 'Altium Live' their Facebook for EEs  - it's horrid. They put a lot of effort and money into 'Vaults' their cloud data storage and management stuff - hardly anyone uses it. They put effort and money into their 'Content store' iTunes/App store for EEs which has never had an item for sale.

It seems the only way they can get anyone to use this stuff is to embed it in a cut down version of their main product (which people do use a lot) and give it away to people who don't have any money.

The last figures I found for sales of Arduinos (darling of the maker scene and feature of their screen shots) was 700k with another estimated 700k of clones and derivatives. 1.4 million Arduinos sold (bit out of date, about 3 million Raspberry Pis sold but that is more computer than electronics). Microchip alone sell 3.2 million microprocessors a day. Makers are but a pimple on the arse of the global electronics market, a very vocal and publicised in 'new media' pimple but pimple all the same.

I just can't see a good business plan for Altium in this.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: etzz on September 22, 2014, 07:51:13 pm
I just caught up with this long topic, and was about to go away, just an old curmudgeon in disgust, but Rufus' post made it all worthwhile.  HA
Yes, they are a pimple on the arse, and one devoid on decent funding.

The future source of great ideas?  I know that large companies regularly troll the "maker community" boards looking to commercialize the good ideas.
Eric
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 08:03:18 pm
Quote
No doubt it's imperfect, but it does work OK, and manufacturers cope well.
So- in my opinion and experience, it's not insane to have a library part per BOM line
Not insane but far from ideal.
Which makes more sense, let's say  for resistors 0402 to 1206, E96 over 6 decades, 1% :
2,304 individual library items, or 4 items with an attribute that gets merged at the latest possible time?

 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 08:25:09 pm
Same here..........I coudn't image having to go back to the library to place each and every different value of resistor.

This really isn't onerous in Altium. I don't know how much hassle it is in other packages, but flow would be:
Shift-drag to copy the part
Double-click it to open the part dialog
change the design ID if it's obvious (like just changing the value), and you're done
or pick another part from the library chooser, if you want something more elaborate.
Honestly, 10 seconds, and you've got a part from a controlled library on your sheet. There are annoyances with Altium, but this ain't one...

You're used to something else, obviously, but this works, and works well.

Edit: Massive libraries just aren't any kind of a hassle. Database controlled, nice and quick, easy to search. Who cares if there are loads of parts? It's not as if you have to create them or tend to them.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 08:51:48 pm
Honestly, 10 seconds, and you've got a part from a controlled library on your sheet. There are annoyances with Altium, but this ain't one...
10 seconds just to add one part...? That's just ages....
One big advantage of a part+value model is that instead of going to a library, you can  quickly make copies of parts that are already onscreen and just change the value. Maybe 3 seconds.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 22, 2014, 09:04:29 pm
Maybe 7 seconds, having just tried it.
Shift-drag to get a copy of the component
double-click to get the parameters
edit field
done, get back in the schematic.

It sounds like the same level of difficulty - ie, none.
If you want the same component, then it's just the shift-drag.
I'm OK with this, and it really, really isn't a slowdown.

(What I'd like from Altium is, when going through the place->part dialog, is to be presented with a list of parts already in this design, rather than most recently placed, possibly in another design, since I often run many jobs at the same time. Being hinted to reuse parts already on the BOM would be handy, if I'm placing something I don't particularly care about.)
But all this 'ooh, picking from the library, that must take ages', Nah.



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 22, 2014, 09:14:37 pm
For me,  this flow ensures that I can generate a BOM from my outjob that has

1.)   A fully populated Assembly Sheet that references a real manufacturer part number.   An out of stock part number is a *supply chain* problem, not a *design problem*.   
2.)  A list of Alternates
3.)  An order list for suppliers.

That can be then sent to purchasing to manage the acquisition.  In many cases, "I" am purchasing for the prototypes and I really like having a ready to go BOM to automate my orders.   (From Outjob to Order is very quick...)

If in the case you have multiple parts that can work on the same land pattern,  you need a internal part number for a layer of abstraction (which cannot be handled by Circuit Maker).       

For me,  it is more than value & package.     Value, Package, tolerance, voltage rating, temperature coefficient, etc....  At that level you need a real part number.

It is just easier to spec a manufacturer part number as the primary key.    If that doesn't fit then the next level of abstraction is a company part number (which then you become the "manufacturer" as you are adding a value add stage of sorting a input product).

Having a schematic with a generic resistor with a value just means  someone has to do a bunch of manual labor to fill in a BOM later (i.e. kicking the can down the road).   For something simple,   not a big deal.   When you have many  line items,  I know I don't want to do it.  I like having my tool do it for me and prefer to do the work in the front end to save me in the backend so everything is automated in the design tool.  I am unware of any way (without a custom script, etc) in Altium to Specify something generic and have it fill in the BOM with a *orderable* part number.

Now, I understand the desire as it just shifts the problem to another point in the process.    Everywhere I have been that has a controlled,  lifecycle managed design flow does it this way.     Everything has a part number...  Doesn't matter if it is a resistor, a piece of wire,  a dildo.    BOMs need real data for a proper design to print package.


I think part of the problem is that some are only thinking of how to handle it in tools like Eagle or Diptrace.    In that case, yes, making a library of resistors is difficult as their model can't handle this level of abstraction very well. (i.e. one symbol  being linked to a table in a database to generate a large amount of parts).

For Altium, It is simple to make parts database to handle this.

The guys working on Circuit Maker just need to do some more work to figure out how to cover the 6-sigma of use cases so libraries are sane.    If you can make the 6-sigma of users happy,  then your job if done :-)

 




Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: os40la on September 22, 2014, 09:33:42 pm
I think some people seem to be missing the bigger picture here..... Like CircuitMaker new on the scene causing DipTrace, Eagle, Etc. to compete with offering better freebees for us Hobbyists..  :-+

It seems to me that some people on here seem to want to use CircuitMaker as a cheep tool for their business and can't or don't like the way it may work for business processes. "Hello McFly"... Did they not say that they are Marketing for the MAKER community?  :-//

Does anyone wonder why Microchip offers a PIC C compiler for free now? Do you think it has something to do with other free tools from their competition?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 22, 2014, 10:42:51 pm
Quote
For me,  it is more than value & package.     Value, Package, tolerance, voltage rating, temperature coefficient, etc....
Except a large proportion of passives will not need that level of detail, and where they do, that's when you specify a particular part, otherwise it's a jellybean.
 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: m12lrpv on September 22, 2014, 10:45:28 pm
I think some people seem to be missing the bigger picture here.....


That hobbyists need even more flexibility than (semi)professionals?

As a hobbyist with less than 10 boards to his name I already find library management to be a pain. Everything I do is generic parts. Being forced to micromanage a library is insane when I just want to put a footprint on a board where I'm not even sure what the final component value will be or if it's even needed until I start testing the board. People trying to copy my boards from a community platform would be bombarding me with crap complaints about my boards not working because of my part and value choices don't work.

I really think that Altium don't understand the target market. Someone said 1.4m Arduino's... How many of them are used in the type of globally open projects that this seems targeted at?

This seems to only be useful to the Open Source Hardware group and not to hobbyists. That's got to be a lot smaller community than Arduino.

Even collaborative education has IP. So the education market for this would also be very restricted.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 22, 2014, 11:47:18 pm
There are already lots of players in this space. Lots of software you can choose from.

Some of you are choosing to crap on software you've never used or even seen.  You're imagining shit, calling it real, and bitching about how much it smells like poo...  All one does there is complain about how much their own imagination lets them down.

It hasn't been released yet.  The feature list isn't even firmed up, yet.  All we know is based mostly on rumor and hearsay... As far as ways to gain knowledge go, rumor and hearsay are two of the worst.

No one bitched this loud about the existing software, which leads me to believe that most everyone found something they tolerated.  So... keep using that.  Be glad you found something you can use day to day.

This new Altium software isn't for you.  So, don't complain that the software is so stupid duh and doesn't meet your needs when they've already CLEARLY STATED that the software IS NOT AIMED at you.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: m12lrpv on September 23, 2014, 12:00:37 am
This new Altium software isn't for you.  So, don't complain that the software is so stupid duh and doesn't meet your needs when they've already CLEARLY STATED that the software IS NOT AIMED at you.

Last time I checked the software was (supposed to be) aimed at me and I feel that what I've seen and heard about it so far misses the mark by a long way.

Many of the comments criticising the software are based on reality and common sense from those who actually seem to have a good handle on the what is needed for the target market. The fact that the feature requirement for the hobbyist market just happens to match the semi-professional market is no reason to troll the semi-professionals.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 23, 2014, 12:53:11 am
Last time I checked

Where did you check?  Which rumor mill? 

Is there an announced feature set, yet?  Nope.

So, anything we have is rumor or third-hand information, a.k.a. hearsay, and necessarily meaningless without confirmation.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: m12lrpv on September 23, 2014, 01:03:22 am
Last time I checked

Where did you check?  Which rumor mill? 

Is there an announced feature set, yet?  Nope.

So, anything we have is rumor or third-hand information, a.k.a. hearsay, and necessarily meaningless without confirmation.

That would be here: http://circuitmaker.com/#why_circuitmaker (http://circuitmaker.com/#why_circuitmaker)

No rumor mill needed and in case you don't understand, hearsay is for courtrooms, not for reality. Most hearsay is true but the person stating it is not under oath hence it's hearsay. That doesn't make it untrue which is what the real world cares about.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 23, 2014, 02:31:18 am
Most hearsay is true but the person stating it is not under oath hence it's hearsay. That doesn't make it untrue which is what the real world cares about.

If that is how you feel then you have been lied to a great deal and don't know it.

For me claims require proof.  I've been lied to too much by too many people to trust anything or anyone that can't be verified.  I don't even trust the link you cited to be faithful to what is actually released; lots of things change during a product's development.  I do recognize that it is as official as we're going to see for now, though.  Too bad it doesn't actually list any features except that it'll have 3D.

in case you don't understand

Unappropriate language removed by Simon
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 23, 2014, 03:28:37 am
Inappropriate language removed

This is why we can't have nice forums things.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 23, 2014, 09:44:05 am
I searched for any mention of Altium on the 2014 Maker Faire videos....no videos at all - not even any coverage from Hack-a-day.   :palm:

Just the usual 3d printers, and cup-cake go-carts videos.  Yawn............... :=\ 

Way, way too soon to call it a marketing fail.  but I expected at last a few blogs to cover it.  Nope!  What's up with that????

Someone at Altium is pissed they didn't get more coverage. What's a cost of setting up a booth and sending 3-4 people and equipment?  $20k USD?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: s3t on September 23, 2014, 10:03:45 am
Maybe 'cos true makers do breadboards.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 23, 2014, 10:12:34 am
Maybe 'cos true makers do breadboards.

We have had a subcontractor do breadboards ;). we don't use him anymore...... I think this has been entirely PR driven without actually looking at needs and what is already available.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 23, 2014, 10:44:33 am
I think this has been entirely PR driven without actually looking at needs and what is already available.

Possibly - but the market for piss-poor free tools is pretty much sewn up.
It'll be interesting to see how utterly horrible 'makers' can make a schematic and PCB using better tools.
Stuff I'm seeing authored with designspark has all the readability of drunken perl!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Circlotron on September 23, 2014, 11:41:43 am
My wish list for a free version would be the PCB and schematic capabilities of 99SE (but without the bugs) and maybe a periodic nag screen, or after say 30 minutes it makes you shut it off and restart. No autorouter either. If those  aren't sufficient, maybe you aren't really a hobbyist.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 23, 2014, 12:00:27 pm
Inappropriate language removed

This is why we can't have nice forums things.

Yep...  All my fault and no one else contributed.  DIAF.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 23, 2014, 12:01:34 pm
Quote
For me,  it is more than value & package.     Value, Package, tolerance, voltage rating, temperature coefficient, etc....
Except a large proportion of passives will not need that level of detail, and where they do, that's when you specify a particular part, otherwise it's a jellybean.
If they make it like the supplier chain in newer Altiums, that works quite well. Imagine like pushing 1 button to order all the stuff at Farnell. On the other hand, Altium has generic resistor values, and you are probably allowed to change the parameters if you wish. So I dont see the reason why it wouldnt be possible what you are saying. Even though I use the library, and I have like 1000 different resistor in a library. It just works, and the 7 seconds you save putting down the resistor, you loose if you have to buy it.
Yes I understand, that you subcontract your designs. We usually send the designs, jelly bean is fully described with a field which allows the manufacturer to use compatible, if they verify it with us. It just works.
Do we know anything about multi-monitor support?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 23, 2014, 12:07:34 pm
I am planning on attending the EDS at the end of October in Coventry, Altium and Premier EDA are both there, so I think i'm going to probe the sales rep and see if he can give me any more info (unless it is released by then, which I doubt), they may even have a demo.

I hope I am wrong, but hobbyist use aside, the new "CircuitMaker" seems gimmicky.
Eagle seems to be more popular due to it's native cross platform ability also, which Altium have already stated (I believe Dave mentioned back along) that they are not that interested in.
I am not 100% sure if DT is native or emulated (WINE et al).
KiCAD is also of course X platform.

I also wonder if it will be able to import libraries and/or designs from other packages (such as Eagle).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: BloodyCactus on September 23, 2014, 02:07:10 pm
I hope I am wrong, but hobbyist use aside, the new "CircuitMaker" seems gimmicky.
Eagle seems to be more popular due to it's native cross platform ability also, which Altium have already stated (I believe Dave mentioned back along) that they are not that interested in.
I am not 100% sure if DT is native or emulated (WINE et al).
KiCAD is also of course X platform

i went from native eagle on linux to diptrace on wine on linux just to get beyond eagles size limitation. DT runs perfectly fine under wine on linux.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 23, 2014, 02:15:37 pm
I know it runs fine, but from looking at (on other forums) peoples comments regarding "whats best, Eagle vs xxxxx" the main factor seems to be that Eagle runs native, regardless of if the others run also under emulation.

If you are locked in commercially then you tend to run whatever OS the app was designed for, so if the app you require is native Linux then you run Linux rather than CYGWin etc, 90% is Windows native, as well as the obligatory (seemingly) Microsoft Office.  I have a Linux machine with Libre (Open) office on and I get on just fine but I also have 2 Windows machines one for PCB design and one for software development.

For hobbyists however, sometimes people disregard software purely because it was built for Windows, I am not one of them, but I know some who do.

I was just opinionating why I think Eagle (apart from it is actually a good piece of software if you know how to set it up) tends to be the most popular (or it was a few years ago in any case).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Simon on September 23, 2014, 02:18:27 pm
i went from native eagle on linux to diptrace on wine on linux just to get beyond eagles size limitation. DT runs perfectly fine under wine on linux.

oh, yea diptrace, I think i made a mistake there
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 23, 2014, 03:02:33 pm
I'm just stoked about this app.  I am a hobbyist and I make a couple boards a month.  New tools are always welcome for me and my hobby.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 23, 2014, 03:16:57 pm
Since Altium/CircuitMaker will have 10x10cm limit, wonder how long it will take Eagle to change from that strange 8x10cm limit..
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 23, 2014, 03:43:57 pm
Since Altium/CircuitMaker will have 10x10cm limit, wonder how long it will take Eagle to change from that strange 8x10cm limit..

It depends on the success or unsuccess of CM. The more pressure they will feel, the harder they will try. Same goes for competition from Kicad and diptrace.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 23, 2014, 04:09:24 pm
Thinking about it, can we really compare DT, Eagle and now CM alongside KiCAD?
I mean, we can compare it in terms of features or lack thereof whatever your views. but Eagle / DT and CM (when it arrives) are actively developed, KiCAD on the other hand seems to have been taken over by CERN and people can't build it properly for numerous reasons, and it is not being "actively" developed as such from what I can see, as it's open source it's community developed and unlimited.

For a hobbyist it is probably more than adequate, it even has an RF toolbox even on the last windows official build.

Eagle and Diptrace users can make it more powerful by upgrading their licenses, arguably to a professional / semi professional design package.

Altium is the "industry defacto" but it is a different product to CM, so you might be able to upgrade CM to remove certain limitations or add extra features but it will never be Altium (whether that is good or bad remains to be seen).

But the lite version of Eagle or DT is still the same product going up to the professional version.
I guess the design "engine" will be the same as Altium just with a cut down set of features and a rather unsightly UI.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on September 23, 2014, 06:18:58 pm
Since Altium/CircuitMaker will have 10x10cm limit, wonder how long it will take Eagle to change from that strange 8x10cm limit..

I wonder how long it will take people to come up with 1/4th or 1/8th scale footprint libraries and plot gerbers at x4 or x8? Altium's internal resolution is 1 millionth of an inch.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 23, 2014, 06:35:12 pm
Board size limits are dumb. Just have pin/layer limits like DipTrace.


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Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 23, 2014, 06:41:17 pm
To be fair, all artificial limits like that are dumb. They've just got to choose from the options of dumb...
For me, jamming far too much onto a small PCB is what I do, so boardsize limits would be ideal. For others, other limits would win.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 23, 2014, 06:45:16 pm
Probably easier and more cost effective to just buy the extra area.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 23, 2014, 07:23:39 pm
Probably easier and more cost effective to just buy the extra area.

Releasing open source design files that require paid software to use it reduces the openness of the design.   I have an Eagle license but subject myself to the free limitations for that reason. Rufus's idea will keep the design open but since in Altium model they control everything they can ban those libraries or even users. That's the problem with cloud only model with no data liberation, you heavily depend on the vendor.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 23, 2014, 07:36:38 pm
Understood.

My time is valuable enough to me that I don't screw around with KiCad.  Too much time lost fighting that interface and those weird quirks.

When it makes sense, I'll just pay to increase the available board size.  It would certainly be against the terms of use to hack around the size limitations, and that's just wasted time, anyway, since the ability to do so could be removed at a whim.

If one is that keen on open source, to use open source at any cost, why would that person even bother to comment on this software?  Why would it even appear on that person's radar?  I'm not talking about you personally.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 23, 2014, 07:56:03 pm
If one is that keen on open source, to use open source at any cost, why would that person even bother to comment on this software?  Why would it even appear on that person's radar?  I'm not talking about you personally.

I was referring to open source designs, not tools. Free eagle fits the bill well.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 23, 2014, 08:09:49 pm
Releasing open source design files that require paid software to use it reduces the openness of the design. 

This is true - but stuff I don't release because the open tools are too annoying / slow, stays even more closed.

gcc and the other open software tools have done an enormous amount of good - but so has the source level portability of (most) software. I think we're still at least a decade out, for hardware. Maybe VHDL with the analogue extensions will get good? I dunno. Maybe schematics just aren't the way of the future, long-term?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 23, 2014, 08:51:49 pm
KiCAD on the other hand seems to have been taken over by CERN and people can't build it properly for numerous reasons, and it is not being "actively" developed as such from what I can see, as it's open source it's community developed and unlimited.

I am not sure what your criteria for "actively developed" are, but I see commits from a few hours ago in the KICAD repository:
https://code.launchpad.net/kicad

That would certainly qualify as "actively developed" in my book.

Re compiling - get a stable version and stick with it. You won't have all the latest (and most broken) features, but it works just fine. If someone attempts to build an unstable version, especially for Windows, without knowing what they are doing, it won't end well. However, that's hardly KICAD's fault.

CERN certainly didn't "take over" KICAD - they have a few people contributing to it because it is what they use in-house, but certainly aren't the ones driving the development if I am not mistaken. I believe that the size of the "team" was only one or two people at the CERN side at one point, right now they have 4 people listed in the code repository. Anyway, CERN did contribute things like push-and-shove routing, for example. I don't think that there is another low cost/free package that has that sort of feature.

I do wonder why there is so much FUD and weird misinformation flying around about KICAD. It certainly isn't the greatest tool under the Sun, but why someone feels the need to take swipes at it?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 23, 2014, 10:06:01 pm
Thinking about it, can we really compare DT, Eagle and now CM alongside KiCAD?
I mean, we can compare it in terms of features or lack thereof whatever your views. but Eagle / DT and CM (when it arrives) are actively developed, KiCAD on the other hand seems to have been taken over by CERN and people can't build it properly for numerous reasons, and it is not being "actively" developed as such from what I can see, as it's open source it's community developed and unlimited.

Kicad is indeed under active development. There are commits to the bzr repository every day. The developer mailing list is very busy.

I use OS X 10.9. I pull the source from the trunk every couple of days or so and build it. It builds successfully, even with the very recent Xcode 6.

Just my perspective.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 23, 2014, 10:24:33 pm
I am not 100% sure if DT is native or emulated (WINE et al).

The developers of DipTrace have announced that the next release will support Linux natively (it currently runs under WINE).

Quote
I also wonder if it will be able to import libraries and/or designs from other packages (such as Eagle).

I believe Dave has already announced that import filters are thin on the ground & export filters non-existent. Presumably there will be a way to export to natively supported Altium formats before too long.

oh, yea diptrace, I think i made a mistake there
Why did you cross out "autorouting"?

I've used it quite a number of times & it works pretty well. I don't see that it is much worse than Altium's autorouter.

However, I often export the schematic file in Electra format & use "Freerouting" to complete more complex tasks. This works very well (or of course you can use the Electra autorouter which I believe does a better job than the standard Altium autorouter).

I note that "Freerouting" is no longer publically available after Zuken threatened to sue them due to alleged code infringement.

This could well be true as the provider used to work for Zuken & the product works so well it probably did have the clout of someone large (like Zuken) behind it.

You can read more on this here:

http://www.freerouting.net/fen/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=272 (http://www.freerouting.net/fen/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=272)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 24, 2014, 01:18:41 am
Interesting and awesome to see RMS himself posting in that Freerouting thread. It changes my opinion of him. (Just slightly though. Like 1%.)


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Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 24, 2014, 03:18:51 am
Board size limits are dumb.

Not when it costs <$50 to get more. App upgrade model of Circuit Maker is it's killer feature.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 24, 2014, 03:35:18 am
Board size limits are dumb.

Not when it costs <$50 to get more. App upgrade model of Circuit Maker is it's killer feature.
More cats out of the bag.  :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 24, 2014, 05:31:26 am
Curious, are you buying or renting the extra features or can you do both?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 24, 2014, 10:30:46 am
janoc, Bassman59,

First of all, apologies, I should have clarified that the last "stable" release on the KiCAD download website is an older version.
CERN seems to be contributing most of the newer features such as push and shove I believe?

To clarify, I use KiCAD and I do like it, I am not having a go at it, I can build it fine all the time every time as I have the compiler and libraries set up correctly.

From the perspective of going into a website (such as DT, Eagle) and downloading the "latest" binary, KiCAD is not actively compiled, maybe that would be a better term or phrase.  There may be very good reason for it not to be, but I remember back along when I saw some videos of KiCAD with some newer features and I couldn't for the life of me find the "download" for it, I thought it was someone's own personal version they had modified for themselves, until i found a link to a CERN branch and compiled that.

I must admit I haven't downloaded from the BZR for a while, so things might have changed / merged or whatever, but from a pure downloader's perspective it is not actively *compiled*.

I guess when Altium comes out with 5 or 6 new "sub versions" a year it makes other software look like it's not being updated, but it makes me think other software has less bugs!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on September 24, 2014, 11:01:14 am
Board size limits are dumb.

Not when it costs <$50 to get more. App upgrade model of Circuit Maker is it's killer feature.

I agree.........I designed 80% of my boards for fun, 20% for financial gain, and I will have no problem in App Upgrading to unlock features I see fit to use, even if they fit in the 80% category. Whether I switch them off afterwards though will depend on how easy it is to do so, maybe Altium will use the "easy to upgrade, hard to downgrade" model.......... :)

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 24, 2014, 11:21:36 am
Finally.....A video from makerfaire......

"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

(http://rs1img.memecdn.com/fuck-this-shit-im-out_o_581692.gif)

CircuitMaker from Altium (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09qOidAK1gE#ws)

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sakujo7 on September 24, 2014, 11:46:25 am
"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: philpem on September 24, 2014, 11:57:43 am
Since Altium/CircuitMaker will have 10x10cm limit, wonder how long it will take Eagle to change from that strange 8x10cm limit..

It's actually quite logical.

8x10cm is a half-Eurocard. 160x100 is a full Eurocard, and if that's not big enough there are bigger variants too (if memory serves, 160x233.5 is a "double" Eurocard, as used on early Acorn machines for the "double" Podules).

More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocard_(printed_circuit_board) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocard_(printed_circuit_board))

(The more you know!TM)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 24, 2014, 12:15:25 pm
as used on early Acorn machines for the "double" Podules).
Now there's a word you don't see everyday "Podules".  Good old Acorn!

Only sold my A5000 a few years ago it still worked like new just had no room for it!
Still got a RISC PC somewhere.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 24, 2014, 12:45:13 pm
ah, that's interresting!, I didn't know that, was just thinking about the strange size compared to the limits that Seeedstudio and those have.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 24, 2014, 01:10:57 pm
The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online

Ahh, I spoke with a US colleague a few minutes ago & he was told at the CircuitMaker stand that you will be able to keep your design private "for a fee".

They were coy about how much this fee would be but did confirm that the fee would be a recurring fee to continue to keep your design private. You could also choose to let your design "go public" or choose to delete the file if it was no longer required.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: daqq on September 24, 2014, 01:22:27 pm
Quote
"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"
(http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11111/111117347/3875270-6173624580-33u52.jpg)

It'll be good to learn Altium, but aside from that, nope.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 24, 2014, 01:36:42 pm

"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.

This is exactly how Upverter works and it's not a big deal. In fact, it can be pretty nice WRT community collaboration and design reviews.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 24, 2014, 01:37:27 pm
Ahh, I spoke with a US colleague a few minutes ago & he was told at the CircuitMaker stand that you will be able to keep your design private "for a fee".

On a longer conversation with my colleague, he understood the operation of your files to be similar to Dropbox. You get access to a Public Box to store your files for free (where everyone else who is signed in can also view them), or you can store them in a private box for which you pay a fee.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 24, 2014, 01:39:11 pm

"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.

This is exactly how Upverter works and it's not a big deal. In fact, it can be pretty nice WRT community collaboration and design reviews.

but will you get bombarded by trolls commenting on your not-yet-finished design...?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 24, 2014, 02:21:12 pm


"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.

This is exactly how Upverter works and it's not a big deal. In fact, it can be pretty nice WRT community collaboration and design reviews.

but will you get bombarded by trolls commenting on your not-yet-finished design...?

I never had that problem on Upverter. Anyone could see the design at any time or even watch me work in real time. In addition to leaving a comment on the design's page. They also have a separate mechanism where you can put a design up for review or even ask for help with a specific issue, this enables people to add markup to it.

It seemed to work very well when I used it regularly late last year.

That said, Upverter is a web app. CircuitFaker is a desktop app. I expect local saving with the option of cloud saves and nothing less.

To drive home this point, if I get in the beta, I will go around and start turning people's board outlines into swastikas and tastefully drawing penises on schematics.

(So yes, I will be that troll.)


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Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Tac Eht Xilef on September 24, 2014, 03:01:09 pm
Since Altium/CircuitMaker will have 10x10cm limit, wonder how long it will take Eagle to change from that strange 8x10cm limit..

It's actually quite logical.

8x10cm is a half-Eurocard. 160x100 is a full Eurocard, and if that's not big enough there are bigger variants too (if memory serves, 160x233.5 is a "double" Eurocard, as used on early Acorn machines for the "double" Podules).

More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocard_(printed_circuit_board) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocard_(printed_circuit_board))

(The more you know!TM)
The strange/annoying thing about it is a half-Eurocard rack is usually mounted so the 10cm side is vertical (i.e. the board is 8cm wide/deep & 10cm high), while the Eagle Light restriction is a hard 10cm wide & 8cm high. It's like they decided on the size to be minimally useful, then decided to be dicks about it by rotating it 90 degrees...

"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.
This, particularly after the previous design (which I admittedly rushed) of my current project had too many stupid mistakes e.g. DC-coupled amp stage feeding a shunt/Pi LC filter, cocked-up voltage divider on an offset amp, etc.

Didn't I see something earlier indicating it would by default allow 1 or 2 private designs & force the rest to be public unless you paid up? Or did I dream that?

(Mostly academic to me anyway, unless it turns out to run well under Wineskin or Parallels/VMware...)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 24, 2014, 03:29:53 pm
On a longer conversation with my colleague, he understood the operation of your files to be similar to Dropbox. You get access to a Public Box to store your files for free (where everyone else who is signed in can also view them), or you can store them in a private box for which you pay a fee.

This is not how Dropbox works.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 24, 2014, 03:35:46 pm
janoc, Bassman59,
CERN seems to be contributing most of the newer features such as push and shove I believe?

There are 5 top level contributors posted and none of them is from CERN. But I digress, I am not a KICAD developer, so I don't know how they are dividing the work. Even if CERN was doing most work now, is that a problem somehow?

I must admit I haven't downloaded from the BZR for a while, so things might have changed / merged or whatever, but from a pure downloader's perspective it is not actively *compiled*.

OK, let's clarify it then - I think what you mean is that the bleeding edge versions from the Bazaar repository are not available on the website (aka nightly builds). That used to be provided, I think they stopped doing that now. Which I can perfectly understand, because people tend to download what is essentially only an integration/testing code with no guarantee of being usable and then harass the developers that things don't work. Providing the builds also requires significant resources.

For me "not being actively compiled" means that nobody is actually testing the code whether it even compiles and that is obviously not the case.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 24, 2014, 03:55:01 pm
Hi janoc,

No it is not a problem at all for me, I may be wrong or they may have merged, I assumed that CERN had forked a more useful branch of the code and developed some smart new features, but it may just have been another placeholder, I know when I searched it was labelled as the "CERN Branch".

I understand them not producing nightly builds, but if they compile it to test it they could put the binary somewhere downloadable even if it is every month or so, rather than nightly.

I base my observation by a conversation I had with a colleague of mine, so I can't speak for everyone.
Someone asked me what I was using to build a small board and I said I usually use Eagle but I am using KiCAD for this one just to try it out a bit more, and he went off and downloaded it.
I built my version from the sources, which had the P+S feature, of course when he used my version and realised his was different I explained he would have to download and compile the latest version or just grab the binary from my machine, he said he would grab the binary as his machine didn't have any dev environments on it as he wasn't a developer.

Which got me thinking that if KiCAD isn't going to have regular binary updates then it is more focused on the programmer / hobbyist rather than just the hobbyist.

So my original suggestion was that Eagle and DT can be downloaded with a binary, KiCAD can but the latest is via source only to build yourself, taking it a bit further away from your standard PCB / Electronics tinkerer who doesn't understand how to set up a build environment other than download the Arduino IDE, which of course there is nothing wrong with, but as you know building KiCad is not always easy!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 24, 2014, 04:30:56 pm
Which got me thinking that if KiCAD isn't going to have regular binary updates then it is more focused on the programmer / hobbyist rather than just the hobbyist.

A second hand rumor I heard is that in a month or two Kicad will start providing stable builds.  I am holding my breath.  A good enough free open source and OS agnostic local application is the best option for me.  Will see when Kicad will fit the bill.  In the past I did the same with the transition from Intellij to Eclipse and it took years. Currently using Eagle. Altium Free as described here is not an option for me, too restrictive and single OS support.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 24, 2014, 05:13:08 pm
I hope that rumour is true!

I would like to promote the use of KiCAD as it is quite mature in itself, and despite people's negativity towards the libraries etc I can't really see a reason not to use it.

With this latest Altium cloud rumour the developers of KiCAD could really get some more supporters if they increased their binary release schedule (purely MY opinion from talking to other engineers).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 24, 2014, 06:01:36 pm
janoc, Bassman59,

First of all, apologies, I should have clarified that the last "stable" release on the KiCAD download website is an older version.
CERN seems to be contributing most of the newer features such as push and shove I believe?

CERN is contributing P&S but most of the mainline development is done by the folks who've been doing it for a long time. As I noted, the developer mailing list is quite active.

Quote
From the perspective of going into a website (such as DT, Eagle) and downloading the "latest" binary, KiCAD is not actively compiled, maybe that would be a better term or phrase.  There may be very good reason for it not to be, but I remember back along when I saw some videos of KiCAD with some newer features and I couldn't for the life of me find the "download" for it, I thought it was someone's own personal version they had modified for themselves, until i found a link to a CERN branch and compiled that.

I must admit I haven't downloaded from the BZR for a while, so things might have changed / merged or whatever, but from a pure downloader's perspective it is not actively *compiled*.

Your complaint is a common one. A lot of people write to the kicad-users list asking for the latest "stable" version, and they have to be told, "the developers aren't interested in declaring anything 'stable'," and the users -- especially Windows users -- quite rightly say that building is difficult, how do I know I've got the right stuff, etc etc. Now there are various folks who've set up nightly builds which get published, or at least they've posted occasional snapshots. Some are linked to from the main Kicad website (which is out of date, of course).

I'm of the opinion that users shouldn't have to build the program from source, but the developers clearly disagree. I remember a couple of years ago, trying to build kicad, and went down the rabbit hole of dependencies of dependences, and reporting build bugs to the developer launchpad site, and being told, "we don't have Macs, why don't YOU fix it and contribute, or send us a Mac and if we have time we'll think about supporting the platform." Luckily (for me, I suppose), at least one developer is strong with OS X development and took over ensuring that the tools all built on Macs. Yes, there are a lot of Mac users who want to see tools that run on the platform.

Anyways, one of the biggest complaints the developers were getting was about chasing down the dependencies, so they really made the effort to simplify that, to the point where the main makefile will download and build the dependencies for you. And, as I said, at least on OS X 10.9.5 with the latest Xcode 6, the tools build all the time.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on September 24, 2014, 06:05:59 pm
For me "not being actively compiled" means that nobody is actually testing the code whether it even compiles and that is obviously not the case.

It is certainly not the case. They're very good about not committing changes which break the builds. Because when it happens, their shit gets jumped.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: os40la on September 24, 2014, 07:54:43 pm

To drive home this point, if I get in the beta, I will go around and start turning people's board outlines into swastikas and tastefully drawing penises on schematics.

(So yes, I will be that troll.)


Sent from my Smartphone

 :palm:  ... If Altium is trolling this thread then I think you just kissed your beta testing goodbye... :-DD

P.S. I did think your post was funny though.  >:D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 24, 2014, 09:38:43 pm
On a longer conversation with my colleague, he understood the operation of your files to be similar to Dropbox. You get access to a Public Box to store your files for free (where everyone else who is signed in can also view them), or you can store them in a private box for which you pay a fee.

This is not how Dropbox works.

Note that I said "similar" to Dropbox, not the "same" as Dropbox. As he understood the conversation at Maker Faire, you have to be signed in to the CircuitMaker/Altium server to be able to save your file for later retrieval. Other's using the software will also need to be signed in to take part in the "sharing" of files.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 24, 2014, 09:57:46 pm
To drive home this point, if I get in the beta, I will go around and start turning people's board outlines into swastikas and tastefully drawing penises on schematics.

(So yes, I will be that troll.)

So, I highly doubt that it will work that way.  It likely will be more like a GitHub structure where you can SEE other people's private stuff, and you can fork it.  The fork is yours and you can modify that to your liking and you can request that the person whose code you copied incorporate your changes, and they are free to accept or decline your offer.

Also, I think that my designs are public by default is a good thing.  It's the same on GitHub and it's a good thing there, too.  Note that I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL, and that I don't think that this feature would be suited for any professional.  As a hobbyist, I think the ability for someone to help me and to offer advice is a good thing.  I (hopefully) won't have to incorporate them, and hopefully I will be able to ignore/ban specific users from pestering me. 

It doesn't bother me a bit that I will (and I definitely will) make design decisions that are embarrassing.  Hiding mistakes is no reason to do anything, in my book.  I can't be taught if I don't expose my mistakes and at least entertain advice others take the time to give.

As to you trolling, I think that's an absolute waste of time and I don't get why people do it.  You're creating a private joke that only you are in on, and you're annoying the hell out of other people.  Where's the reward in that?  Where's the positive outcome?  I don't get it.  You lost what little bit of respect I had for you when I read that statement.  Sorry.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 24, 2014, 10:32:20 pm
It was a joke dude. I'm obviously not going to troll anything.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: JensAndree on September 25, 2014, 12:39:53 am
Making it cloud-only and open to all will make CircuitMaker a hostile environment for us beginners since we sometimes (or often I should say in my case) do stupid mistakes, or just initially bad layout, which we'd prefer not to share with others until we've got it right.

This is sad since I was really looking forward to take my first steps outside Eagle in a professional tool with hope to improve my skills but I'm simply not comfortable with sharing my work from day one.
I also do a lot of work with things I'm not ready to publicly show until I want to, if I want to, and that's also sad.

My final view is to "cloud only" services in general. I want my work, i.e files, on my computer where I control them and not floating around with no possibility to permanently delete files as and when I want to. Especially if I run the software locally! If it was a web-service it could be debatable but I still prefer local storage and ownership/control.

I know this is provided for free - and this I applaud Altium for - but the whole cloud malarkey is not my thing and I guess so for many others as well?
I hear there will be a recurring fee (?) to be able to secure the work, but still only in the cloud... What happens if you forget or are unable to pay in time? Will all your previously "secret" work be made public?

It feels really bad to complain about a free professional tool but without feedback it would be impossible to hope for improvement/change.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 25, 2014, 12:43:58 am
Add an annotation stating that it is work in progress and non functional and move on :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 25, 2014, 01:15:02 am
I hope that rumour is true!
I would like to promote the use of KiCAD as it is quite mature in itself, and despite people's negativity towards the libraries etc I can't really see a reason not to use it.

KiCAD will never, ever, hit the mainstream until someone takes it by the horns and takes responsibility to produce an "official" stable version available on an official central website that does not deal with the source etc.
A version so that when a user joins a forum and asks for support or wants to report a bug etc, they can say that they are using "Version X".
There are countless other examples of this, and KiCAD will be no exception.
Mark my words.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 25, 2014, 01:42:21 am
KiCAD will never, ever, hit the mainstream until someone takes it by the horns and takes responsibility to produce an "official" stable version available on an official central website that does not deal with the source etc.

I heard that this will start happening in a mater of months. Will see.  Until then, Eagle for me.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 25, 2014, 02:54:47 am
Also, I think that my designs are public by default is a good thing.  It's the same on GitHub and it's a good thing there, too.

No, this is not how github works, you can work for months locally with full version control capabilities without pushing up to the cloud.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zeta on September 25, 2014, 05:28:26 am

- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud.

- The free version will have a limit on how many projects you can keep "private".


Basically means you cannot do anything non-opensourced with the free tool.

Of course I won't pretend to know you enough to say it is weird not  to see you calling out this as bullshit but it is quite surprising to see you going so off-character without a monetary incentive, especially since on several occasions you have called "shitty" any software that needs to call home.

Also, reading/hearing you say "Community" so many times :palm: leads me to think that those marketing guys at Altium have done a really good job.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tautech on September 25, 2014, 05:56:02 am

- NO, you will not be able to save files locally, they must be stored online in the cloud.

- The free version will have a limit on how many projects you can keep "private".


Basically means you cannot do anything non-opensourced with the free tool.

Of course I won't pretend to know you enough to say it is weird not  to see you calling out this as bullshit but it is quite surprising to see you going so off-character without a monetary incentive, especially since on several occasions you have called "shitty" any software that needs to call home.

Also, reading/hearing you say "Community" so many times :palm: leads me to think that those marketing guys at Altium have done a really good job.
Dave wants to be un-banned from their forum.  :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: AlfBaz on September 25, 2014, 06:03:25 am
I guess time will tell but I feel there may be some major implications with this model of forced sharing.

Having a company take a community incentive and holding it to ransom for their profit seems nothing short of abhorent
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zeta on September 25, 2014, 06:13:50 am

"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.

This is exactly how Upverter works and it's not a big deal. In fact, it can be pretty nice WRT community collaboration and design reviews.


most probably, it won't be a big deal for you or for me. Noone will pay attention to our boards before we announce them. But just imagine if one bloody day a new non-finished schematic silently appears on Dave's account. it turns out Dave has decided to continue working on his uSupply. Soon after everyone and their moms will be asking him why he didn't use this or that part. saying this way is better or just complaining about his poor choose of color for the wires. Then you will have a kid burning his house because he build a project based on an schematic not ready for public release just yet.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 25, 2014, 10:53:49 am
I hope that rumour is true!
I would like to promote the use of KiCAD as it is quite mature in itself, and despite people's negativity towards the libraries etc I can't really see a reason not to use it.

KiCAD will never, ever, hit the mainstream until someone takes it by the horns and takes responsibility to produce an "official" stable version available on an official central website that does not deal with the source etc.
A version so that when a user joins a forum and asks for support or wants to report a bug etc, they can say that they are using "Version X".
There are countless other examples of this, and KiCAD will be no exception.
Mark my words.

Mainstream for hobbyists maybe!
Bit of a large risk to take to use open source for professional use, especially if they change format of anything whilst fixing a bug, and you can't explicitly state a version number as you have said.

But I should imagine it wouldn't take much for someone to take the proverbial bull and make it into a stable release.

zapta thinks this might be on the cards in any case, so watch this space I guess!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 25, 2014, 11:14:56 am


Also, I think that my designs are public by default is a good thing.  It's the same on GitHub and it's a good thing there, too.

No, this is not how github works, you can work for months locally with full version control capabilities without pushing up to the cloud.

Are you saying that Github repos aren't public by default?  Are you saying that public stuff isn't a good thing?

I didn't say anything about working locally, so I'm not sure why you've chosen that point to disagree with.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 25, 2014, 11:26:44 am
Of course I won't pretend to know you enough to say it is weird not  to see you calling out this as bullshit but it is quite surprising to see you going so off-character without a monetary incentive, especially since on several occasions you have called "shitty" any software that needs to call home.

I'm just stating facts as I know them.
I have called out this as being bullshit, d you want me to do it again? Ok, it's bullshit, and I told Altium the product will sink or swim based on this could only thing. I think most likely sink unless they change it somehow, and I'd explained how they can do that.

Quote
Also, reading/hearing you say "Community" so many times :palm: leads me to think that those marketing guys at Altium have done a really good job.

Umm, the community features do look pretty good. Have you actually seen the tool?
Not everyone needs "community", but for those that do it seems they are doing that part right.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 25, 2014, 11:27:29 am
Dave wants to be un-banned from their forum.  :-DD

Even if they unbanned me, I wouldn't use it, it sucks.
And mine is 100 times bigger  :P
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sleemanj on September 25, 2014, 11:41:49 am
And mine is 100 times bigger  :P

With blackjack, and hookers.

(http://i.imgur.com/HuPv2lHs.jpg)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 25, 2014, 11:47:12 am
In fact, forget the Forum!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 25, 2014, 11:49:39 am


Also, I think that my designs are public by default is a good thing.  It's the same on GitHub and it's a good thing there, too.

No, this is not how github works, you can work for months locally with full version control capabilities without pushing up to the cloud.

Are you saying that Github repos aren't public by default?  Are you saying that public stuff isn't a good thing?

I didn't say anything about working locally, so I'm not sure why you've chosen that point to disagree with.

Your files become public only when you decide to run git push. It's very different from the CM model so saying that they are the same is inaccurate.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 25, 2014, 12:35:01 pm
Quote
KiCAD will never, ever, hit the mainstream until someone takes it by the horns and takes responsibility to produce an "official" stable version available on an official central website that does not deal with the source etc.
A version so that when a user joins a forum and asks for support or wants to report a bug etc, they can say that they are using "Version X".
There are countless other examples of this, and KiCAD will be no exception.
Mark my words

I was recently was contracted to design review a "product" that some guys were working (and I was billing at my normal rate).   Design was in KiCad.    I wanted PDFs of the schematic and artwork.    The claim was that the build they were using wasn't generating a correct printout.  I got the Gerbers but still had no way of effectively reviewing the schematic design.

Ok....   I'll just install KiCad.   They said to go grab the "Latest".      After installing,  the files didn't open.    The PCB tool didn't like something about a few of the lines.

Turns out that they were using build XXXXX  with patch ZZZZZZZ.  I was using BUILD XXXXX-1.   

Took me 3 hours to get a build after tracking down dependencies and fighting with make errors.

I did finish the review.     They ended up paying money for KiCad whether they intended to or not.

Moral of the Story.    KiCad needs to also learn about version controlling interfaces and formats.       Having the most random build of the day means that no one can effectively share files.    If your job is to to PCB design,   you really shouldn't have to be worrying about changing a build macro and a 3 hour compile process to open a file.  That is just dumb.

This is something that all the other tools have figured out.

I tried to make a point to them that it is OK to spend some money on a tool.     It is called "Opportunity Cost". 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: hikariuk on September 25, 2014, 01:12:36 pm

"The whole thing about this is that.... every design you create in the tool is going to be shared publicly, online"

Nooooooooope. I for one would like to keep at least the first few revisions private so I can fix everything I screwed up before someone else can see it.

This is exactly how Upverter works and it's not a big deal. In fact, it can be pretty nice WRT community collaboration and design reviews.


Sent from my Smartphone

Which is fine, if that's what you want.  If what you want is a private work box in which to make all your stupid choices privately, less so.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 25, 2014, 01:25:37 pm


Also, I think that my designs are public by default is a good thing.  It's the same on GitHub and it's a good thing there, too.

No, this is not how github works, you can work for months locally with full version control capabilities without pushing up to the cloud.

Are you saying that Github repos aren't public by default?  Are you saying that public stuff isn't a good thing?

I didn't say anything about working locally, so I'm not sure why you've chosen that point to disagree with.

Your files become public only when you decide to run git push. It's very different from the CM model so saying that they are the same is inaccurate.
Zap, I was talking about forking, as a reply to someone saying they would run around modifying everyone's board outlines into swastikas.

I order for this person to do that, they would need write access to everyone else's files.

I said something like "it will probably be like Github in that you fork a design and modify your copy."

Here comes Zapta: "nuh-uh! Git is local until you push!"

Me: "WTF?"
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 25, 2014, 02:24:51 pm
Quote
KiCAD will never, ever, hit the mainstream until someone takes it by the horns and takes responsibility to produce an "official" stable version available on an official central website that does not deal with the source etc.
A version so that when a user joins a forum and asks for support or wants to report a bug etc, they can say that they are using "Version X".
There are countless other examples of this, and KiCAD will be no exception.
Mark my words

I was recently was contracted to design review a "product" that some guys were working (and I was billing at my normal rate).   Design was in KiCad.    I wanted PDFs of the schematic and artwork.    The claim was that the build they were using wasn't generating a correct printout.  I got the Gerbers but still had no way of effectively reviewing the schematic design.

Ok....   I'll just install KiCad.   They said to go grab the "Latest".      After installing,  the files didn't open.    The PCB tool didn't like something about a few of the lines.

Turns out that they were using build XXXXX  with patch ZZZZZZZ.  I was using BUILD XXXXX-1.   

Took me 3 hours to get a build after tracking down dependencies and fighting with make errors.

I did finish the review.     They ended up paying money for KiCad whether they intended to or not.

Moral of the Story.    KiCad needs to also learn about version controlling interfaces and formats.       Having the most random build of the day means that no one can effectively share files.    If your job is to to PCB design,   you really shouldn't have to be worrying about changing a build macro and a 3 hour compile process to open a file.  That is just dumb.

This is something that all the other tools have figured out.

I tried to make a point to them that it is OK to spend some money on a tool.     It is called "Opportunity Cost".

Kind of my point about KiCAD, it is powerful enough to make boards with but unless you are a design group using it without wanting outside influence / reviews etc then you are OK to use whatever version you want as long as your design group uses the same.
The only way around it is to provide a download to the binaries you use as original designer to give to the reviewer, KiCAD is at least portable, though not good it you designed it on Linux and the reviewer is using Windows for example.

If they produced stable builds with version numbers they could (if they don't release too many) create a binary archive, which I believe would make it more usable for the small business / general hobbyist, but that is why I wanted to separate it from Eagle and DT originally as it is not in the same category as them.

I see 3 categories of PCB software, KiCAD being it's own, low to medium end and high end, KiCAD being it's own for reasons you mentioned and the comments I have made.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 25, 2014, 04:09:48 pm
They ended up paying money for KiCad whether they intended to or not.

Perfect example.  Thank you.

I have a very similar story about OpenOffice.  That bit of software cost a former employer FAR more money than MS licenses would have cost them.

Edit: some quote markup syntax errors, hopefully corrected.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 25, 2014, 04:20:33 pm
They ended up paying money for KiCad whether they intended to or not.

Perfect example.  Thank you.

I have a very similar story about OpenOffice.  That bit of software cost a former employer FAR more money than MS licenses would have cost them.

What matters is the aggregated experience, not anecdotes.  Around here there are thousands of happy Libre Office users.

(http://www.mathsisfun.com/data/images/normal-distribution-1.gif)

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 25, 2014, 04:30:43 pm
Of course.  I'd love to see some good numbers for Kicad and open office usage.  I know a LOT of people who are former open office users, and I know zero current users.

I don't know a single Kicad user outside this forum.

And if I'm wrong and they're both used more than I think, then that is fine with me.  I am willing to be wrong.  I hope I'm wrong.  I want to be wrong. 

Kicad could be great, and as Dave said, to get there they need to have a project leader with passion and a clear vision of kicad's future. That person will need the developers working with them to believe in that vision.  Design by committee is never going to produce good software.  I don't know if Kicad is designed by committee, but it has a lot of the hallmarks of a zero-leadership software project.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 25, 2014, 04:57:36 pm
Of course.  I'd love to see some good numbers for Kicad and open office usage.  I know a LOT of people who are former open office users, and I know zero current users.

I don't know a single Kicad user outside this forum.

My impression is that Kicad is not ready for prime time (mostly around stable version builds as Dave commented earlier) but hopefully this will be fixed.

As for Libre Office, I know thousands of users that chosen it over employer paid Microsoft office. This also my suit of choice for non cloud documents. Give it a try, it's actually an excellent open source and cross OS product with better usability IMO than Microsoft Office. Kicad is very far from that level of maturity but so was Eclipse once so I am still hoping for a change. ;-)

Between Kicad and CM for the hobbyist market I see more potential in Kicad.  Open source, cross platform, developers' interests aligned with users' interests.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 25, 2014, 05:33:35 pm

Between Kicad and CM for the hobbyist market I see more potential in Kicad.  Open source, cross platform, developers' interests aligned with users' interests.
maybe in the (very) long term, but most people just want to make stuff, and CM would appear to have the edge on that aspect for the moment at least.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bored@Work on September 25, 2014, 08:33:20 pm
though not good it you designed it on Linux and the reviewer is using Windows for example.

Run it in a VM. Not too difficult.

But that of course doesn't fix the KiCad issues in general. It is very apparent that what the KiCad developers deem to be important and unimportant, what they prefer to do and hate to do (and what they are capable of doing) is add odds with what Joe Average User needs and wants.

The biggest service one could do to the community (there, I used the c-word ...) would be to talk some sense into the KiCad developers. Another big service would be to improve their programming, software engineering and user interface design skills.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janoc on September 25, 2014, 09:15:22 pm
Of course.  I'd love to see some good numbers for Kicad and open office usage.  I know a LOT of people who are former open office users, and I know zero current users.

I don't know a single Kicad user outside this forum.

I guess it is time to broaden your horizons!

LibreOffice/OpenOffice is very popular even business here in Europe (e.g. in our company most of us use it just fine), there are projects like Munich migrating their entire municipal administration to open source software (not only OpenOffice, though), there was another one in Italy recently. Etc. I have even seen it come pre-installed on PCs.

If all you do in Office is some simple writing in Word and a table here and there in Excel (which is the case for maybe 80-90% of the users), then it is more than adequate.

And re Kicad - guys, nobody is forcing you to use it. I feel that mentioning Kicad here is like waving a red cloth in front of a bull - there is immediately a legion of people popping up, chanting how it is not ready for prime time, has crappy release system, no/bad versioning, it is hard to compile, whatever. Can we stop beating this dead horse finally? It is truly getting old. Especially folks that complain about things that are mostly a matter of taste/preference, like user interface.

The fact is that despite all these issues it is being used, like it or not. It is certainly not a competition to Altium Designer, but the low-end limited versions of things like DipTrace or Eagle. And for a hobbyist that is using Linux or Mac or cannot justify putting several hundreds of euro into the full version of Eagle, it is pretty much the only game in town. Especially when multilayer or boards larger than 10x8cm are needed, because nothing else can do them.




Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bored@Work on September 25, 2014, 10:13:37 pm
Especially folks that complain about things that are mostly a matter of taste/preference, like user interface.

No, it is not a matter of taste. Usability is a well researched topic and linked to productivity. So are particular areas of usability, like consistency within an application and between applications.

"it is a matter of taste" is a common excuse among programmers who give a fuck about good usability.

Quote
The fact is that despite all these issues it is being used,

That only shows how flexible users are, how willing they are to compromise and how well they can be trained to ignore glaring issues, all while clicking themselves silly. And just because you are willing to compromise heavily doesn't mean everyone else must. There is no law people must like KiCad and stop talking about it just because it is free.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 26, 2014, 03:34:25 am
Especially folks that complain about things that are mostly a matter of taste/preference, like user interface.

No, it is not a matter of taste. Usability is a well researched topic and linked to productivity. So are particular areas of usability, like consistency within an application and between applications.

"it is a matter of taste" is a common excuse among programmers who give a fuck about good usability.

Quote
The fact is that despite all these issues it is being used,

That only shows how flexible users are, how willing they are to compromise and how well they can be trained to ignore glaring issues, all while clicking themselves silly. And just because you are willing to compromise heavily doesn't mean everyone else must. There is no law people must like KiCad and stop talking about it just because it is free.
Right on the money.

Acceptance of a given user interface shows that the user adapts, not that the interface is good.

User interface quality is measured by the time it takes to learn to use the software effectively.  Ideally it would be very close to zero for any user.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on September 26, 2014, 06:38:02 am



Also, I think that my designs are public by default is a good thing.  It's the same on GitHub and it's a good thing there, too.

No, this is not how github works, you can work for months locally with full version control capabilities without pushing up to the cloud.

Are you saying that Github repos aren't public by default?  Are you saying that public stuff isn't a good thing?

I didn't say anything about working locally, so I'm not sure why you've chosen that point to disagree with.

Your files become public only when you decide to run git push. It's very different from the CM model so saying that they are the same is inaccurate.
Zap, I was talking about forking, as a reply to someone saying they would run around modifying everyone's board outlines into swastikas.

I order for this person to do that, they would need write access to everyone else's files.

I said something like "it will probably be like Github in that you fork a design and modify your copy."

Here comes Zapta: "nuh-uh! Git is local until you push!"

Me: "WTF?"

By the way, to clarify my comment about drawing swastikas on boards: I was implying it could be done if they used a similar system to Upverter, where you can mark your design as "For Review" which opens it to public markup. (The markup is an overlay on your design and doesn't actually change it.)

Also, I wouldn't actually troll anyone on CM. I was trying to be sarcastic. I guess it doesn't translate to text very well. (Hey Unicode guys, where are my irony/sarcasm marks???)


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on September 26, 2014, 11:07:07 am
I couldn't help but to notice that Altium "staff" responded to the thread on HAD, and a few other blogs....

....But they won't touch Dave's forum with a 10 foot poll!  :scared:

Quote
Hey guys, this is Max from Altium, and I just wanted to clear up something about CircuitMaker that may not have totally come through here. While the free version will only allow you to keep your in-progress project private, part of the upgrade model will let you purchase more private projects if you need them. They will still be stored online, but will not be visible to any other CircuitMaker users.?

Quote
When I refer to “private projects”, I’m talking about CircuitMaker projects that are only visible to you and not shared publicly. As a couple other people on this thread have pointed out, the free version of CircuitMaker will allow you to keep one project private (so you don’t have to share a half-finished design), and the rest are visible to everyone else in the community. The limitations in the free version of CircuitMaker will still let you design fairly sizable projects.

The purchased upgrades in CircuitMaker will let you buy only the features you need (such as more private projects), without forcing you to spend money on parts of the tool you may not need right at the moment. This means that upgrades are cheap and give you only the functionality you need, when you need it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 26, 2014, 11:20:00 am
Dave wants to be un-banned from their forum.  :-DD

Even if they unbanned me, I wouldn't use it, it sucks.
And mine is 100 times bigger  :P

Yes, the Altium Forum is pretty much a waste of time. Bugs are listed ........... & still remain in AD 2 years later.

Posters get answers from Altium employees who you could swear have never used the software.

Altium does not take criticism kindly. Too much of this & you get banned ....... just like Dave.

And often you get advice from other forum members who know far less than yourself.

In fact, forget the Forum!

Fully agree.

I got the (KiCAD generated) Gerbers but still had no way of effectively reviewing the schematic design.

Shame the designers did not simply install a free PDF print driver on their machine.

That would have been a real easy fix.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 26, 2014, 11:27:13 am
I couldn't help but to notice that Altium "staff" responded to the thread on HAD, and a few other blogs....

Quote
Hey guys, this is Max from Altium, and I just wanted to clear up something about CircuitMaker that may not have totally come through here. While the free version will only allow you to keep your in-progress project private, part of the upgrade model will let you purchase more private projects if you need them. They will still be stored online, but will not be visible to any other CircuitMaker users.?

Just as I reported here:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg518706/#msg518706 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg518706/#msg518706)

Plus: Your design is considered "finished" as soon as you choose to generate the gerbers. You are then given the choice to pay to keep your design private or to let your design go public.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on September 26, 2014, 11:48:25 am
I couldn't help but to notice that Altium "staff" responded to the thread on HAD, and a few other blogs....

Quote
Hey guys, this is Max from Altium, and I just wanted to clear up something about CircuitMaker that may not have totally come through here. While the free version will only allow you to keep your in-progress project private, part of the upgrade model will let you purchase more private projects if you need them. They will still be stored online, but will not be visible to any other CircuitMaker users.?

Just as I reported here:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg518706/#msg518706 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg518706/#msg518706)

Plus: Your design is considered "finished" as soon as you choose to generate the gerbers. You are then given the choice to pay to keep your design private or to let your design go public.

That is stupid. The development cycle doesnt stop at the gerber generation. I usually generate them halfway, it is easier to spot problems, and after they are generated at the end, I still use a third party solution to check it for any issues.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: madires on September 26, 2014, 12:11:18 pm
I couldn't help but to notice that Altium "staff" responded to the thread on HAD, and a few other blogs....

....But they won't touch Dave's forum with a 10 foot poll!  :scared:

Quote
Hey guys, this is Max from Altium, and I just wanted to clear up something about CircuitMaker that may not have totally come through here. While the free version will only allow you to keep your in-progress project private, part of the upgrade model will let you purchase more private projects if you need them. They will still be stored online, but will not be visible to any other CircuitMaker users.?

There's another issue with that cloud storage approach. I assume that you can't export your project locally either. You'll be locked in Altium's cloud.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 26, 2014, 12:45:58 pm
Quote
CircuitMaker will allow you to keep one project private (so you don’t have to share a half-finished design), and the rest are visible to everyone else in the community.

So one can work on only one project at the time.. that would not work very good..
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on September 26, 2014, 12:54:18 pm
Quote
CircuitMaker will allow you to keep one project private (so you don’t have to share a half-finished design), and the rest are visible to everyone else in the community.

So one can work on only one project at the time.. that would not work very good..
..per account presumably, so probably work-aroundable but a bit of a pain.

I wonder how it handles loading an old design for reference while you're working on a new one.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 26, 2014, 01:16:38 pm
Quote
CircuitMaker will allow you to keep one project private (so you don’t have to share a half-finished design), and the rest are visible to everyone else in the community.

So one can work on only one project at the time.. that would not work very good..
..per account presumably, so probably work-aroundable but a bit of a pain.

I wonder how it handles loading an old design for reference while you're working on a new one.

So,

If working on multiple designs, you end up with a lot of unfinished crud filling up their servers.

Dumb dumb dumb dumb

Maybe keep *all* your projects private *until* you generate gerbers could be a suitable work around.

Add a 'gerber view' that doesn't generate files for release so you can check your progress...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 26, 2014, 02:38:41 pm
I don't understand AT ALL why you guys are shying away from showing unfinished designs.

I want EVERYONE to see my stuff before it's done, because after it's done changes are a lot harder to make.

Who cares if I make a silly mistake in the beginning?  I want to know then, not later.

Every designer has mistakes.  Every one of us.  Everyone.  Showing your design before its done is like asking, or offering, proofreaders to look at your stuff and offer input.

I would much rather have help when the concrete is wet than after I'm done and it's difficult to change.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on September 26, 2014, 02:42:40 pm
I don't understand AT ALL why you guys are shying away from showing unfinished designs.

I want EVERYONE to see my stuff before it's done, because after it's done changes are a lot harder to make.

Who cares if I make a silly mistake in the beginning?  I want to know then, not later.

Every designer has mistakes.  Every one of us.  Everyone.  Showing your design before its done is like asking, or offering, proofreaders to look at your stuff and offer input.

I would much rather have help when the concrete is wet than after I'm done and it's difficult to change.

Good point!

I was thinking from the point where you pick up my untried footprint, and then pow three hundred boards are no good.

But peer review, often and early, is a bloody good thing.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 26, 2014, 03:13:41 pm
I assume you can edit your design once it goes "public" ?
There are several things I would consider before designing anything with CM (though it's looking more and more likely I won't be using it for anything other than to see what it's all about), if other users in the community want to download your project, they are going to get a shock if it doesn't work because it is unfinished. Does that open you up to an onslaught of abuse from other community members pointing out that your design isn't finished?

If they DO lock the design after you have generated Gerbers, this will be a pain, if they don't, you could I guess, generate the gerbers (assume you can save these locally and not have to rely on "Altium PCB services"?) and then modify the circuit to "break" it if you didn't want anyone else to see it.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if they are going to implement version control for PCB / Schematic revisions?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bud on September 26, 2014, 03:28:03 pm
There's another issue with that cloud storage approach. I assume that you can't export your project locally either. You'll be locked in Altium's cloud.

Next step they will force their files to only work with particular PCB houses.

Said it before and want to say it again: once you put your data on the cloud it is not yours anymore. There is a reason Altium wants you to work online, right?
Right?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 26, 2014, 04:16:00 pm
Said it before and want to say it again: once you put your data on the cloud it is not yours anymore. There is a reason Altium wants you to work online, right?
Right?

No, they want to make you miserable so you will pay for the upgrades.

Their interest is not user happiness.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 26, 2014, 06:32:29 pm
Their interest is not user happiness.

I definitely see that point of view.

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE MODE TURN ON

I also see the other, because here comes a free Altium that people have been wishing for, for years and years.

They didn't do it before because they cared less about user happiness than they do now.

Here's the thing about cloud connectivity--it is required for effective license management for very short term license durations like what they are offering.  There are other solutions that exist, yes, and those are easily circumvented, so they're attempting to squelch that a bit.

And, since the client has to connect to validate that they're licensed anyway, might as well offer a cloud storage option.  "Hell, store everyone's stuff for free so we can see how they use it.  What kinds of errors are people seeing?  What parts are seeing lots of use?  Oh, we didn't see that in testing, what's going on?  Oh look at that, they're using it in ways we didn't predict, we can improve that and upsell a few of them."

It's not nefarious.  Read the EULA when you install and see what the agreement allows them to do and what it does not.  Then you'll know.

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE MODE TURN OFF

Until release we're all just speculating.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 26, 2014, 07:35:46 pm
I also see the other, because here comes a free Altium that people have been wishing for, for years and years.

I am not sure it is what people have been wishing for...
It's not even Altium, in a recent interview I saw with Altium they have said they use parts of Altium, like the 3D renderer, so I wonder exactly how much is in there.

When I wrote to Altium a few years back asking if they were planning a free version, I outlined the fact that we wanted something that competes with the likes of Eagle, be it size limited or pin limited, remove the FPGA stuff and leave the rest of the "useful" stuff in, export to Gerber, open and print and save (if inside the limits) standard Altium files.

Yes, it is all speculation, or most of it, but they have created a new (old) product, I was personally expecting a "freeware" or "lite" .alf file that just reconfigured the GUI into a cut down mode.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 26, 2014, 07:48:25 pm


When I wrote to Altium a few years back asking if they were planning a free version, I outlined the fact that we wanted something that competes with the likes of Eagle, be it size limited or pin limited, remove the FPGA stuff and leave the rest of the "useful" stuff in, export to Gerber, open and print and save (if inside the limits) standard Altium files.

Well, except for the cloud-only stuff, which I don't see a problem with, but wouldn't specifically ask for, we're getting what you mentioned.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on September 26, 2014, 08:36:31 pm
Only in a really unintuitive way, it's like they have made it as difficult as they can to bring out a "free" version.

It's a bit like when Aston Martin "made" the Cygnet, everybody wanted a "affordable" Aston Martin, but it was basically a different car (Toyota).  Circuit Maker isn't Altium.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 26, 2014, 08:48:09 pm
Eagle model for the free version is "if your design is small enough then you get all the features for free". With CM is more like "if your design is small enough then you get only some of the key features for free because we want to make you miserable enough to pay"

These are very different attitudes.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on September 26, 2014, 08:56:52 pm
Don't knock Freemium. It does work and people are happy to throw money at it.
Also the lease to use works too as Adobe is proving and Office 365 to some extent.
You can rent a virtual server with licenses and pay as you use it.

Like it or not it's heading that way for now, but it always cycles from desktop to server to desktop to server, ....
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Tac Eht Xilef on September 27, 2014, 12:26:16 am
Eagle model for the free version is "if your design is small enough then you get all the features for free". With CM is more like "if your design is small enough then you get only some of the key features for free because we want to make you miserable enough to pay"

These are very different attitudes.

While generally agreeing with you, Eagle's model is version is more like "if your design is small enough then you get most of the features for free, because we want to make you miserable enough to pay". If you want sheets, or more than two layers, or even to layout a board in 8cm x 10cm (as opposed to 10x8), then you've got to pony up the sheckels.

(Can you tell that my current spare time project is something that'd be really easy to do with sheets for different subsections, 4 layers, and laid out upright as 5x10 - but to make it accessible to its very niche hobbyist market I'm having to do the schematic as a single large sheet, and the board as a double-sided 5x8?)

I don't think the attitudes are really much different - except that, with CircuitMaker, Altium is making a carefully calculated attempt to leverage the 'sharing hacker' angle for added mindshare (and expecting that -> marketshare). The first things anyone coming into the hobby right now learns (rightly or wrongly) are that (a) Eagle has a free version that's widely used, (b) 'real' engineers mostly use Altium, and (c) they should aspire to be like (b).

The next thing they learn is that the only thing you get for free with Altium is an eye-watering pricetag. Now, Altium is giving them a stepping stone...

(Realistically, the others barely get a look-in. Kicad looks attractive until you actually decide to try it out, starting with reasons which have been well covered upthread and elsewhere - sorry guys; fix those issues and then you can start on world domination. Diptrace has a different but similar set of limitations to Eagle. All the others are, realistically, niche products in the hobbyist market with pricetags that, if not eye-watering, certainly make you wince and cross your legs.)

None of that is particularly a criticism - just an impression/observation. As I said earlier it makes no difference to me, unless they either come up with a native OSX version of CircuitMaker or it runs well in Wineskin/Parallels/etc.

Oh and some of us are introverts, or the kind of person who would rather sit down and nut out their own problems for the simple pleasure of it without inviting every clown on the internet to comment, or simply prefer to wait until we're good and ready before sharing designs and inviting critique. Altium's decision with CircuitMaker makes you pay for the privilege of not sharing, because it weakens their plan. Whether you consider that a fair trade off or not depends on your individual personality, attitude, and how much they charge for the privilege.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 27, 2014, 02:55:20 am
Altium's approach of charging for basic features such as keeping your design private or saving files locally reminds me of Omar Baba, the stingy airline owner from "Come Fly With Me".  Here is his version of pay as you go:

Omar's Life Jackets - Come Fly With Me - BBC One (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idd32nyf1pc#ws)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 27, 2014, 04:14:58 am
No one is gonna make you use CircuitMaker.

I'm gonna give it a fair shake, and if I like it, I'll use it. If I don't, I won't.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 27, 2014, 04:19:04 am
Eagle model for the free version is "if your design is small enough then you get all the features for free"

Except if you want to use it commercially. Free Circuitmaker is free to use commercially.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on September 27, 2014, 04:22:09 am
No one is gonna make you use CircuitMaker.

I'm gonna give it a fair shake, and if I like it, I'll use it. If I don't, I won't.

It was supposed to be funny. The series is on Netflix BTW.

Anyway, Altium decided not to support my OSX computer and I am not going to change it just for that.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 27, 2014, 11:48:24 am
Oh... Apologies.  Didn't watch the vid.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 27, 2014, 07:19:32 pm
One of the reasons I do like the cloud model is the same reason I like google docs.     The real time editing/collaboration features.       Imagine Google Docs without the cloud storage?   It would be dumb.   Some of the coolest features is being able to collaborate in real time and being able to share and get documents anywhere.

Now, this may not be as applicable for schematics/PCBs but I can easily imagine some really useful cases of real-time collaboration on the design.   

Also consider this.   Do you really design "offline?"   Unless you have have a  pile of datasheets from days gone by, the reality is that most people always design with an active connection.    I can see the point of doing a PCB route offline (as it is just you and those traces) but CM handles this case.  I personally have internet radio going,  email active, etc.   when I design.   To me an internet connection is somewhat like mains power.   It is a public utility that is just requisite for modern society.   No sane company is considering the use case of the person without internet, power who maybe at the bottom of the grand canyon.     That is a very small use case on the extra edge of the curve.

If you are concern about the use case where everything goes to hell where there is no internet for long periods of time then I personally will become a a pig farmer.  There will be much better money in Bacon if a solar flare sends us back to the 1800's.

My other thought is that Altium (read Amazon AWS on the backend) is many orders of magnitude better at storing files than ANYONE here.    Altium (and EAGLE!) have been around for 25+ years,  have a better balance sheet than many companies and they have real cash flow.    The purpose of circuit maker, EAGLE is to make money.   I worry more about open source projects who shutdown because of political disagreements.  The argument that someone else can take the code and move on only happens for the highest level projects.   The reality is the 99.9% of users simple don't have the time to re-engineer a piece of software.

Given the current state of the Open EDA tools (GEDA and Kicad) and their organizational/project structure,  I tend to think the chances of the them going to hell is much greater than a company with a real income stream.

Unfortunately too many people look at open source software from a religious and political viewpoint,  not from a perspective of actually getting something done.   For me the pragmatic viewpoint is that  organizations that are looking for an income stream are 100% more reliable long term.   Just use EAGLE as an example of this.   

What I am really hoping for is that this will cause the EAGLEs and Diptraces of the world to step up their game.    In the end,   we all will benefit.



 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on September 27, 2014, 08:10:59 pm
I worry more about open source projects who shutdown because of political disagreements.

A project shutting down doesn't disable the tool and delete all the work you ever did with it which is what Altium's cloud only storage allows.

If Altium shut down their cloud CircuitMaker becomes a waste of disk space and gerbers and prints are all you have left from whatever work you did on it.

It probably won't happen but where is the upside in taking that risk?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 28, 2014, 03:07:01 am


I worry more about open source projects who shutdown because of political disagreements.

A project shutting down doesn't disable the tool and delete all the work you ever did with it which is what Altium's cloud only storage allows.

If Altium shut down their cloud CircuitMaker becomes a waste of disk space and gerbers and prints are all you have left from whatever work you did on it.

It probably won't happen but where is the upside in taking that risk?

We don't know CircuitMaker's failure modes.  The risk could be immense, and it could be purely imaginary.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on September 28, 2014, 03:58:52 am
I worry more about open source projects who shutdown because of political disagreements.

A project shutting down doesn't disable the tool and delete all the work you ever did with it which is what Altium's cloud only storage allows.

If Altium shut down their cloud CircuitMaker becomes a waste of disk space and gerbers and prints are all you have left from whatever work you did on it.

It probably won't happen but where is the upside in taking that risk?

We don't know CircuitMaker's failure modes.  The risk could be immense, and it could be purely imaginary.

CircuitMaker's failure modes? It is Altium failure modes you need to worry about. What if there is another board re-shuffle that wants to change direction? What if Nick Martin manages to buy his way back in and wants to change direction? What if whatever Altium do with recently raised money is a disaster and they go bust? What if someone buys them out and decides to scrap the loss making CircuitMaker?

Do you think in any of the above cases they will re-write CircuitMaker for offline storage and let you download your designs as a parting gift?

I already posted here that I don't see they will make money from what they are currently proposing for CircuitMaker. That makes me a lot less confident it will still be around in a few years time.

I own the full package. If Altium went bust tomorrow all I loose is the possibility of buying future updates. CircuitMaker users (if there were any) would loose pretty much everything.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on September 28, 2014, 07:06:07 am
It would be exceedingly odd if Altium couldn't import circuitmaker stuff...
'yay, you decided to upgrade to our professional package, have fun redoing everything from scratch'. Nah.

As long as there was at least a tiny bit of warning, I don't fear this calamity too much. Sure it's possible - but I've also got orphaned designs from several paid-for packages, because I can no longer get the dongles to work.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: _Sin on September 28, 2014, 07:26:52 am
Also consider this.   Do you really design "offline?"   

Yes. Because it's my hobby, not my job, and I have to fit it in where I can, be that at home (where I do have internet, but it sucks and I'd hate to be reliant on it - especially if there's even a modest requirement for bandwidth), or on the train to work, or on a plane going somewhere, or just on holiday in general where I'm often without a connection for large tracts of time.

And yes, I do keep around a pile of datasheets (digitally, obviously!) especially anything relevant to what I'm working on. Though in most circumstances I could just look something up on my phone if I really need a live connection. And yes, I'm aware I could tether my laptop to my phone, but that gets expensive real quick and isn't a catch-all solution anyway.

If this were for professional use you'd expect to have a contract with a SLA, and some provision to get the data out (because no sane company would stick their IP in a vault they can't actually access). But it's not for commercial use, it's aimed squarely at 'makers' and hobbyists and that, to me, undermines the assumption that always-on-internet is actually a reasonable assumption. And as it's free, I wouldn't expect the SLA either.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on September 28, 2014, 10:40:09 am
It would be exceedingly odd if Altium couldn't import circuitmaker stuff...

I think they already said AD will import from CircuitMaker but not the other way round. That leaves the problem of finding $9000 or whatever to buy AD. If they shut down CircuitMaker they will probably offer a small discount - lol.

Import will probably be done by AD being able to connect read only to CircuitMaker vaults so a valid AD licence (possibly a current subscription as well) will be required to break CircuitMaker designs out of their jail.

People should start calling CircuitMaker storage jail, more appropriate than vault or cloud.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: kxenos on September 28, 2014, 11:17:23 am
If they said that AD will import CM's projects that means that there will be a way to connect with a friend's AD to the cloud and somehow save the files locally??
Else this will be possible only if you pay to make the project local.
But the bigger issue for me is not the cloud storage. I have in my computer projects I did 5 - 10 - 15 years ago and I haven't opened them since. IMO if a project doesn't take off within 6 months it never does.
The biggest issue is the default shared or public mode the projects will be in. I mean, OH is fine but in this way you remove the possibility for an amateur making any money from their work with your product without having them make an investment to keep their projects private. If they keep this investment comparable to the price of some boards or a partslist for a couple of boards that will be fair.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Laertes on September 29, 2014, 09:00:24 pm
My personal two cents: I think that marketing something to the Open Source Harware community and forcing them to use a public cloud for it isn't really that big of an issue, is it?
The only big risk is CircuitMaker being scrapped and all desings lost, that would suck indeed, but then, who guarantees the survival of your harddrive? Ever lost a file because your drive hiccupped or failed? I know I have, and it's happened more than once. Now I backup regularily on a RAID5-Array on my NAS, but from what I can tell not many people do(and I myself tend to forget for weeks so there's still that risk...). If you work on your Laptop somwhere on a trip you run the risk of it getting stolen, dropping and breaking it etc. etc.

And for those of you who still think that it really sucks to be forced to do it - if CircuitMaker is a lot better than any of the other freebies around someone will crack the binaries and provide a server you can run locally to provide your own "Cloud" to the program...there's bound to be a few good software crackers in the hacker and maker community isn't there?

And personally, as a commercial user of AD and previous long-time Eagle user(and later a little DesignSpark) I think that CircuitMaker will be ages ahead in terms of usability and man-machine interface... I mean the community only suffers through what CadSoft calls an interface(I'd say it's more of the opposite - making the features as unaccessible as possible ;) ) because everyone supports Eagle so nicely don't they? At least from the very few screenshots it seems they took a lot of the good stuff from AD over to CM..
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 29, 2014, 10:57:44 pm
I think open source hobbyists won't worry about cloud storage, true.

I don't see Altium folding anytime soon.  My employer alone buys enough TASKING licenses to keep Altium afloat for decades.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Laertes on September 30, 2014, 01:12:33 am
I think open source hobbyists won't worry about cloud storage, true.

I don't see Altium folding anytime soon.  My employer alone buys enough TASKING licenses to keep Altium afloat for decades.
Well that's not really the issue is it? I think someone else here stated it, what happens when someone buys them? What happens when some Altium Board Guy gets another brainfart and decides to scrap CircuitMaker because he realizes he doesn't give a shit about the OSH community after all? Altium Board Guys are well known for their brain farts, aren't they?

I guess I get why some people are really put off by that prospect of "cloud-only" and of course, why CircuitMaker doesn't appeal to the small business owner or something... but I also think that unless you're running business-grade server infrastructure yourself the argument of data security is actually rather insignificant.
And the argument that the "forced-open" will cost the hobbyist his chance at making a little money aside from his Kits or whatever is rather ridiculous too - if you want to sell your little hobbyist kit most people would publish their schematics and artworks anyway, or is that a misconception?

So - I don't know I think they're getting bashed for their cloud thing because people aren't used to it and maybe people will be far more accepting once they have seen it(assuming, of course, it's actually well implemented!). Just because it's not ideal, doesn't mean it's a dealbreaker...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 30, 2014, 02:05:40 am
Well don't use it, then.  Geez.  Ships don't change course or cancel a journey because there MIGHT be a storm. They effin' sail!

I'm not worried about it.  If I see signs of trouble at the horizon, I'll take measures to protect myself.  Until then, smooth seas.

Planning based on what MIGHT happen is folly;  The gut feeling is more often wrong than right.  We're wired to fear the unknown; the secret is to ignore our stupid gut feelings and look for evidence.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: K6TR on September 30, 2014, 09:55:11 am
Phew ! I just plowed 41 pages of comments. No one can accuse this bunch of being shy about expressing their opinions.


I guess I get why some people are really put off by that prospect of "cloud-only" and of course, why CircuitMaker doesn't appeal to the small business owner or something... but I also think that unless you're running business-grade server infrastructure yourself the argument of data security is actually rather insignificant.
And the argument that the "forced-open" will cost the hobbyist his chance at making a little money aside from his Kits or whatever is rather ridiculous too - if you want to sell your little hobbyist kit most people would publish their schematics and artworks anyway, or is that a misconception?

So - I don't know I think they're getting bashed for their cloud thing because people aren't used to it and maybe people will be far more accepting once they have seen it(assuming, of course, it's actually well implemented!). Just because it's not ideal, doesn't mean it's a dealbreaker...

Laertes you and Rigby are both right to say the Cloud Storage is, in the assessments here, overblown. Not because this group is paranoid or the concerns are not justified but because there are other concerns the Altium Board must take into consideration. In this case its a concern of Altium's Core Client Base. I consider the participants on this messageboard to be beyond or above the typical "Maker" for which Altium is targeting Circuitmaker. Specifically many of the participants here are Professional Engineers that are gainfully employed. Many if not most of those Engineers have signed Exclusivity Agreements as a Term of Employment. I'm not defending Exclusivity Agreements I think they are Bullshit but I also know they are the way of the world and without a coordinated fight there is no way around them. The Altium Board has to consider what the reaction would be from its current clients if it created a product that would allow their employees to down load it and set up shop clandestinely and surreptitiously moonlight. Hence the need for posting files publicly. I don't think this matter is a brainfart on the part of the Altium Board at all ! As a matter of fact they are carefully considering their current clients being antagonized to the point of jumping ship to a competing product, albeit one that is not currently in the market place, to protect the integrity of their products.

As to myself I come back to the statement Dave Jones made at the outset. People commit to products they are invested in, for me that is Diptrace. I purchased a "Starter" License in April and upgraded to a "Lite" License in July. I was specifically holding off with the beefy upgrades until Altium's Entry Level product surfaced. Now that it has and now that the details are out in the public it validates my initial decision and encourages me to continue the process. When Circuitmaker is released  I will download it. Circuitmaker will be worth the effort to familiarize myself with it if for no other reason to put it on a resume. I may even use it for a project or two but that will be it. But that does not change the fact that I will be sinking my money into Diptrace and a functioning Autorouter Program. I harbor no ill will towards Altium and wish them well with the product but I will be pulling for Diptrace in the hopes that they come up with a functioning Autorouter and clean up the lose ends.

I'm more than a little bit puzzled by all the gnashing of teeth regarding the decision Altium made about Circuitmaker's method of file storage.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on September 30, 2014, 10:21:40 am
I don't understand AT ALL why you guys are shying away from showing unfinished designs.

I want EVERYONE to see my stuff before it's done, because after it's done changes are a lot harder to make.

Who cares if I make a silly mistake in the beginning?  I want to know then, not later.

Every designer has mistakes.  Every one of us.  Everyone.  Showing your design before its done is like asking, or offering, proofreaders to look at your stuff and offer input.

I would much rather have help when the concrete is wet than after I'm done and it's difficult to change.

The question is, can it be marked as work in progress?, does the tool support more than one unfinished project?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on September 30, 2014, 12:56:03 pm
I come back to the statement Dave Jones made at the outset. People commit to products they are invested in, for me that is Diptrace. I purchased a "Starter" License in April and upgraded to a "Lite" License in July.

Good move. DipTrace has come a long way with their last 2 releases.

If you need more than what DipTrace has to offer, take a look at Proteus. It is also excellent value for money, quite powerful, yet easier to learn than AD14.

Quote
But that does not change the fact that I will be sinking my money into Diptrace and a functioning Autorouter Program.

Take a look around to see if you can find the "Freerouting" autorouter which works very well with DipTrace. Otherwise look at purchasing the Electra Autorouter which I believe does every bit as good a job as Altium's - maybe it actually does a better job :)

Quote
I harbor no ill will towards Altium and wish them well with the product but I will be pulling for Diptrace in the hopes that they come up with a functioning Autorouter and clean up the lose ends.

Actually, it is worth spending a bit of time setting up the standard DipTrace autorouter. Try & place all your components on a common grid (being where possible all metric or all imperial) as this helps a lot too.

Set your minimum clearances to the minimum your can accept also goes a long way to getting a reasonable end result.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 30, 2014, 12:59:28 pm
The question is, can it be marked as work in progress?, does the tool support more than one unfinished project?

One free private project per account.  If you want more, set up more accounts or pay for private designs.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Laertes on September 30, 2014, 02:21:08 pm
The question is, can it be marked as work in progress?, does the tool support more than one unfinished project?

One free private project per account.  If you want more, set up more accounts or pay for private designs.
It doesn't have to be private to be marked as Work in Progress. I think that, if Dave is right and Altium are actually trying to listen to the community, there's a big chance they will make some kind of system to "cathegorize" the development state of your board, like marking it as WiP, Finished and Locked(so no more comments on "you could change that resistor value"), "Requesting Feedback", ... because that's something loads of people are concerned about and will cost Altium absolutely nothing. And I choose to believe that the community can be reasonably sensible to designs that are clearly marked as "not finished, not usable, in development", so you don't get a ton of comments like "your design is shit and I had it made and it didn't work...".

The option of private projects makes it attractive to people like Dave who will inevitably get an absolute metric fuckton of comments on everything they do, even if it's far from finished and clearly marked as that. But then, people like Dave probably also don't profit too much from the comments in general because they probably don't make too many beginner mistakes anymore that people could point out to them...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: kxenos on September 30, 2014, 08:34:08 pm
And the argument that the "forced-open" will cost the hobbyist his chance at making a little money aside from his Kits or whatever is rather ridiculous too
If you've done any OH projects you should of known that the moment there is a public (OH) project that has some market value the Chinese produce clones before you have the test prototypes assembled. Even if you want your project to be OH the exact timing of the release should be on your hands. This process flow will be Chinese delight for what I can see. Think of it reasonably, without insulting people: You design your board and you produce your gerbers to manufacture some prototypes to test, characterize etc. You haven't produced any boards to sell yet but your schematics and board files are already online. Do you see a problem with that or not?
Do you know Gerry Sweeney? He created a very nice and elegant decade substitution box for hobbyists (search for "Seven Decade Programmable Resistor" on ebay). Well, he sells his boards for 15,3Euros. The Chinese clones start at 5,50Euros with free shipping. And again, the Chinese will copy a design if it has market value no matter what. But would you give them the lead right from the start?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on September 30, 2014, 09:56:26 pm
Again, you wouldn't use this software for that, would you?

THIS IS SOFTWARE FOR HOBBYISTS.

This is NOT software for professional designers.

This is NOT software for entrepreneurs.

This is NOT software for someone that wants to keep all their super sparkly special My Little Pony board outlines secret.

We all agree that this software is not what Sparkfun or Adafruit would use for design.  The only people who think this software is aimed any ANYTHING other than a hobbyist think so only because they haven't read what is available on this software.

So, no.  Don't use this software if you're a professional board house that is copied by someone in China thrice per week.  You probably already have perfectly fine circuit and PCB design software you're already using.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: BloodyCactus on September 30, 2014, 10:16:39 pm
We all agree that this software is not what Sparkfun or Adafruit would use for design.  The only people who think this software is aimed any ANYTHING other than a hobbyist think so only because they haven't read what is available on this software.

since all sparkfun / adafruit stuff right now you can get as eagle files, the above would be a huge blow imo. Altium need people like that on board this train. imaging going into CM, browsing sparkfun stuff and dropping a premade design piece into your design, drop the Si4703 FM Tuner board in, BAM, wire it up into your own design.

linux/mac are really tiny markets, but go to a maker faire, and you see LOADS of mac laptops and such. no cross platform is huge in a tiny market. (obviously it does not to offset the development).

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on September 30, 2014, 10:33:34 pm
Do you know Gerry Sweeney? He created a very nice and elegant decade substitution box for hobbyists (search for "Seven Decade Programmable Resistor" on ebay). Well, he sells his boards for 15,3Euros. The Chinese clones start at 5,50Euros with free shipping. And again, the Chinese will copy a design if it has market value no matter what. But would you give them the lead right from the start?

The Chinese one is not the same board.
Same functionality (as countless people have done in the past), but entirely different layout and form factor.
It is very possible they have never seen Gerry's design, and if they did they certainly didn't copy his form factor. Not that Gerry invented anything here, there is only so many ways you can do a decade resistor board with jumpers/switches. I did one ages ago that looks very similar to Gerry's in form factor, but used SMD DIP switches.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on September 30, 2014, 11:22:22 pm
The blog is updated with some more information about where things are going

http://blog.circuitmaker.com/Blogs/circuitmaker-community-09-30-14 (http://blog.circuitmaker.com/Blogs/circuitmaker-community-09-30-14)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Laertes on September 30, 2014, 11:35:08 pm
And the argument that the "forced-open" will cost the hobbyist his chance at making a little money aside from his Kits or whatever is rather ridiculous too
If you've done any OH projects you should of known that the moment there is a public (OH) project that has some market value the Chinese produce clones before you have the test prototypes assembled. Even if you want your project to be OH the exact timing of the release should be on your hands. This process flow will be Chinese delight for what I can see. Think of it reasonably, without insulting people: You design your board and you produce your gerbers to manufacture some prototypes to test, characterize etc. You haven't produced any boards to sell yet but your schematics and board files are already online. Do you see a problem with that or not?
Do you know Gerry Sweeney? He created a very nice and elegant decade substitution box for hobbyists (search for "Seven Decade Programmable Resistor" on ebay). Well, he sells his boards for 15,3Euros. The Chinese clones start at 5,50Euros with free shipping. And again, the Chinese will copy a design if it has market value no matter what. But would you give them the lead right from the start?

Okay, so maybe the decade resistor box example is not quite spot on, as Dave pointed out, but I get the point - you create something neat and the Chinese come and take it, make their kits 1/3 of your price and nobody buys it. Or do they? I don't know, I mean you said yourself that the Chinese will copy any good design(and they don't care if its OH either). And yeah, so they don't get the one week of delay between your finished design and their own, but what difference will that make in reality? Don't most people already start releasing lots of design data before they order two hundred PCBs for sale? I have no idea, but it just seems that somebody who goes and spends this kind of money upfront can't really be called a hobbyist anymore...

Personally, I assume that most stuff makers make and sell is stuff that is directed at the maker community itself - to stick to the example, who else buys a decade resistor box kit? But makers don't necessarily open EBay first, they see a neat little design in Dave's mailbag and go to the kickstarter page of the guy who made it. Or they see a project on hackaday or here in the forum... and they buy it from the original designer, maybe even find the project long before it is actually done and released...and when they have this great new CM platform that they can find all the good stuff at, even better. At least, that's the way I perceived the community. Maybe that's total crap, I don't know.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Laertes on September 30, 2014, 11:38:47 pm
The blog is updated with some more information about where things are going

http://blog.circuitmaker.com/Blogs/circuitmaker-community-09-30-14 (http://blog.circuitmaker.com/Blogs/circuitmaker-community-09-30-14)
Nice. Interesting bit: "At the time of deciding to share or release a public project, you’ll be required select an appropriate open-source license and the project becomes public."
So for all those who were afraid of it: Most likely, Altium won't own your designs...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ampdoctor on September 30, 2014, 11:46:08 pm
I don't understand how some of you folks don't get it. It's not about whether or not it's targeted at hobbyists or that it's not intended for professionals or entrepreneurs or whatever. It's about some individual having an original idea and some piece of shit stealing it and selling it as their own while making a cool million off of it, and to make matters worse possibly even getting a few lawyers together and filing for intellectual property rights, patent, and/or trademark. When that happens you'll get a damn good idea of how it might feel emotionally to be raped. And if you think that won't happen on a grand scale you're delusional. The better or more innovative the idea, the more likely it is to happen. Might as well just use a pirated copy of the real deal and tell them to blow it out their ass.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on October 01, 2014, 12:06:53 am
Quote
When that happens you'll get a damn good idea of how it might feel emotionally to be raped. And if you think that won't happen on a grand scale you're delusional.

Sorry only grabbed part of the post, so it is slightly out of context, but I find this statement ridiculous.

Personally I wont be using circuit maker as I use Kicad. But I think Circuit Maker seems to be a reasonable offering, a good step toward introducing more people to their product and then selling more of their product.
Also having an upgrade path if you realise your project is really showing potential. I think it is a pretty cool idea. If I was a young design engineer trying to learn the ropes I would probably go with Circuit Maker.
The whole cloud thing, if it is an issue to you dont use it. If you potentially have millions worth of IP then use something else.




Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 01, 2014, 12:32:40 am
Again, you wouldn't use this software for that, would you?

THIS IS SOFTWARE FOR HOBBYISTS.

And that is the idiocy of it for Altium. Their 2014 investors presentation document shows Altium in the middle of an 'end' triangle with arrows labelled expansion pointing upwards and downwards. They say they are going to expanding into the high end (with new features in the full package) and towards the low end.

CircuitMaker with it's stupid cloud only vault storage doesn't expand towards the low end, it targets a thin strip right at the bottom and pretty much guarantees no one above that strip will touch it.

I have no interest in CircuitMaker. I wouldn't touch it, but, I am pissed off about the possibility of subscription money I pay them being used to fund CircuitMaker instead of improving the product I do use.

The blog is updated with some more information about where things are going

Pretty much what I expected. When Altium first introduced their vaults (3-4 years ago?) I said they would never be used to host anything of value excepting the enterprise version which wasn't available anyway. As far as I can tell my prediction was pretty much spot on. Altium hosts their free libraries, templates, and examples on their vaults and hardly anyone else uses them, even after some of the major reasons not to use them were removed. Vaults are complicated and complicated to set up yet I had to go back 10 pages and 3 weeks on Altium Live to find a post asking about vault usage (which wasn't answered). The guy who asked about vaults here asked there (I assume) and didn't get an answer from anyone actually using vaults.   

Altium seem to be so desperate to get someone using their vault technology that they are specifically targeting people who are not going to create anything of value and giving it to them for nothing with a cut down version of AD thrown in.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ampdoctor on October 01, 2014, 12:46:50 am
Ridiculous? People get intellectual property ripped off all the time! It's not just from China. If circuit maker is mandating you open source all your designs you're handing your ideas to an unscrupulous business on a silver platter. The court dockets are loaded down with companies locking horns over intellectual property. If a business will have a go at another million dollar business, given the opportunity they'll tear some poor maker with no capital to defend themselves a new ass. The problem with the average maker is that many engineering types aren't too business savvy so they probably wouldn't even realize they're sitting on a million dollars worth of IP.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 01, 2014, 01:14:52 am
And that is the idiocy of it for Altium. Their 2014 investors presentation document shows Altium in the middle of an 'end' triangle with arrows labelled expansion pointing upwards and downwards. They say they are going to expanding into the high end (with new features in the full package) and towards the low end.

Don't worry, it will be fixed in the 2015 investor presentation. The change is due to shifting market conditions and the company responding to it quickly and with a new game changer initiative.

Seriously, one thing that would help CM's marketing is to partner with a major 'Making' vendor that will endorse and adopt it for its own open designs. I have hard time though to see let's say Sparkfun and Adafruit adopting a Windows only tool. They will get a lot of public beating for it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 01, 2014, 01:38:40 am


Ridiculous? People get intellectual property ripped off all the time! It's not just from China. If circuit maker is mandating you open source all your designs you're handing your ideas to an unscrupulous business on a silver platter. The court dockets are loaded down with companies locking horns over intellectual property. If a business will have a go at another million dollar business, given the opportunity they'll tear some poor maker with no capital to defend themselves a new ass. The problem with the average maker is that many engineering types aren't too business savvy so they probably wouldn't even realize they're sitting on a million dollars worth of IP.

He was talking about the "rape" part.  That part in particular is ridiculous.

It also won't happen on a huge scale.  It just won't.  Not by my definition of huge anyway. 

This is how open source hardware is supposed to work.  You open it. You ALLOW other people to COPY your design and use it themselves.  That's the whole point...  Complaining that the software doesn't allow you to keep your designs private puts a little too much value into your design skills, as if only you are capable of designing a circuit, while simultaneously afraid to reveal embarassing mistakes that you, as a certified super ultimate master designer, might make in front of every other certified super ultimate master designer on the service.

In short: no one is going to care about your designs.  No one is going to see any mistakes you make.  Look at all this that doesn't happen on upverter.com. all designs are open throughout the ENTIRE DESIGN PROCESS, and folks can see every single step you take on the schematic and the layout.  The horror!!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on October 01, 2014, 02:43:18 am
Dave, I believe you should close this thread & start a new one.

This thread is called "Free Altium is Coming".

Altium Designer is for professionals who need to keep their designs confidential.

CircuitMaker is not AD & therefore this thread title is misleading.

Let me suggest the correct thread title: "CircuitMaker for Hackers & Hobbyists".
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: K6TR on October 01, 2014, 03:57:01 am
Ridiculous? People get intellectual property ripped off all the time! It's not just from China. If circuit maker is mandating you open source all your designs you're handing your ideas to an unscrupulous business on a silver platter.

You're flying off the deep-end. Altium addressed that concern directly in their latest update saying the will wall off any design you come up with for a fee. No specifics were mentioned but I would expect the fee structure to be progressive in both quantity and time. The question will be how many designs and for what length of time can a design be protected before the cost becomes excessive.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on October 01, 2014, 04:14:47 am
IMHO Altium are onto a good move here.

Free Circuit Maker will be picked up by Universities and other learning institutions, no longer shackled to AD licences, and all their graduates will come to the workforce with a CM way of doing things.

Which I bet will be so similar to the AD way, that very little further training will be needed for someone to become reasonably proficient with AD.

The other win is the vault.  My old employer (very small company) has atrocious data keeping skills.  Sure I set up a repository while there but that server died many moons ago, and I still get calls requesting long lost files. 

Lucky for him I have decent records, lucky for me I can charge a recovery fee.

But I digress - if something like CM with low cost vaults existed for me back then I'd have been able to take advantage of that, and in a decade he'd not be harassing me for lost files. 

Lost passwords maybe....
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on October 01, 2014, 05:03:38 am
The blog is updated with some more information about where things are going

http://blog.circuitmaker.com/Blogs/circuitmaker-community-09-30-14 (http://blog.circuitmaker.com/Blogs/circuitmaker-community-09-30-14)

Quote from above webpage:

       "Work in progress projects will not be able to generate output files for production. In fact the process of ‘releasing’ a design generates the production files at the same 
         time."

Just as I posted here: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg519931/#msg519931 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg519931/#msg519931)

Also from the above webpage:

      "it will be possible to pay for, or subscribe to, entirely private projects (stored online) allowing you to release them privately, generate production files, and in which case the     
       design IP remains entirely your own."

Just as I posted here:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg518706/#msg518706 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/msg518706/#msg518706)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bored@Work on October 01, 2014, 06:20:10 am
I am a big open-source and open-hardware fan. But I also believe that a designer should at any time have the right to choose to release something as open-x or not. CircuitMaker gives you a hard time exercising that right to choose.

Should you change your mind while the project is unfinished from releasing it as open-hardware to closed-hardware your alternatives are:

- Drop the started project in CM, start over with the project in some other tool.

- Repeatedly pay Altium a ransom sum, so they keep your project private and allow you to generate private output.

- (Assuming this option is available at all) Pay Altium a ransom sum, so you get your project files in a readable and usable format you can import in another tool, then drop CM for the project.

By initially choosing CM you place yourself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to that choice. They have you over a barrel once you have invested some significant work in a design with CM.

Even if in the end you really want to release your work as OH, you might want to get a head start over the cloners. E.g. to benefit from being first on the market and to establish your brand. You have a problem with CM if you want to design in private, manufacture a first batch in private, sell the first batch, and then at some point in time release the design as OH.

Then there is the question how trustworthy Altium is, when they will give a shit about promises they make today. And how well their cloud thingy works. Oh, and do you really need that social junk to distract you from working on your own design?

Will schools love CM?

Maybe. Until the build-in, encouraged, easy cloning of existing projects becomes a bit of a problem. At least when they actually want to teach students to do things on their own and grade their work, and not grade work that students quickly cloned in CM. BTW, by choosing CM schools will implicitly force students to release their work as OH. An aspiring entrepreneur might not be too happy having to do that just so his the school can grade his project. And some (US) lawyer might find it an interesting case if schools can force students to put an OH license on their work, just so it can be graded.

Will people still use CM?

I think they will. Because there are enough people out there that won't think first. There are enough people out their thinking cloud is the best thing since sliced bread, and everything that isn't modern is bad, because it is old. And there are enough people out there who love to waste their time with that social junk. Altium knows why they target makers.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on October 01, 2014, 09:47:29 am
Will schools love CM?
Only if they provide some good training materials, sample projects etc.
Otherwise schools will continue to use what each particular teacher happens to  know.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on October 01, 2014, 11:13:21 am
The question is, can it be marked as work in progress?, does the tool support more than one unfinished project?

One free private project per account.  If you want more, set up more accounts or pay for private designs.

Not my question this time, since there is only one private project, can the other projects be marked as work in progress, even if they are available for others?, so they arent going to be a source for others frustations?
I can newer have only one ball in the air at one time, I have multiple, and would newer be working on only one project.. :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: neslekkim on October 01, 2014, 11:17:57 am
The question is, can it be marked as work in progress?, does the tool support more than one unfinished project?

One free private project per account.  If you want more, set up more accounts or pay for private designs.
It doesn't have to be private to be marked as Work in Progress. I think that, if Dave is right and Altium are actually trying to listen to the community, there's a big chance they will make some kind of system to "cathegorize" the development state of your board, like marking it as WiP, Finished and Locked(so no more comments on "you could change that resistor value"), "Requesting Feedback", ... because that's something loads of people are concerned about and will cost Altium absolutely nothing. And I choose to believe that the community can be reasonably sensible to designs that are clearly marked as "not finished, not usable, in development", so you don't get a ton of comments like "your design is shit and I had it made and it didn't work...".

That would be very great, if I could put up all my ideas as WiP, and possible add my questions/issues there, if anyone care to comment or give suggestions, that could open up for an new level of learning experience.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on October 01, 2014, 11:21:17 am

Quote
‘Work in progress’ projects will not be able to generate output files for production. In fact the process of ‘releasing’ a design generates the production files at the same time.
That's just dumb. It's entirely likely you may want to make changes after looking at the gerbers.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: sca on October 01, 2014, 11:37:05 am

Quote
‘Work in progress’ projects will not be able to generate output files for production. In fact the process of ‘releasing’ a design generates the production files at the same time.
That's just dumb. It's entirely likely you may want to make changes after looking at the gerbers.

There's an awful lot of boards out there which don't appear to have been 'looked at' at any stage after hitting the 'Autoroute' button....


sca
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on October 01, 2014, 12:38:26 pm
And that is the idiocy of it for Altium. Their 2014 investors presentation document shows Altium in the middle of an 'end' triangle with arrows labelled expansion pointing upwards and downwards. They say they are going to expanding into the high end (with new features in the full package) and towards the low end.
CircuitMaker with it's stupid cloud only vault storage doesn't expand towards the low end, it targets a thin strip right at the bottom and pretty much guarantees no one above that strip will touch it.

Agreed. They very likely have screwed the pooch on that. And in true Altium tradition they will never admit it, even when it fails miserably.
Their plan was perfect, and the execution was 95% right. Unfortunately the 5% they got wrong could end up being 95% of the intended market.

Quote
I have no interest in CircuitMaker. I wouldn't touch it, but, I am pissed off about the possibility of subscription money I pay them being used to fund CircuitMaker instead of improving the product I do use.

You have no right to be pissed off at that.
Not even as shareholder really (because these things are expected companies), and certainly not if you just a customer. The problem is your perception of entitlement is skewed because Altium is (or was) essentially a one product company.

Quote
Altium seem to be so desperate to get someone using their vault technology that they are specifically targeting people who are not going to create anything of value and giving it to them for nothing with a cut down version of AD thrown in.

Altium have a history here of finding the 0.01% of customers who happen to make use of their new *insert wank feature here*, and then get them to do promo videos for them and testimonials etc. And then of course marketing ramp that up to the hilt - "See, our FPGA features ARE what the public wants, look at how wonderful it is for this company.
Of course it's not just Altium that does this, it's business marketing 101 stuff. But Altium's problem (and the new management now know it) is that Altium have the almost company destroying reputation of not giving a toss what the customers want. They are trying to change that now, but this cloud-only thing could ruin any progress they are making if they don't listen and at least concede something.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on October 01, 2014, 01:37:15 pm
They seem to have picked up since the change of CEO.
Moved Rnd out of China, share price up, actually implement a strategy to get people using their tools.

I think they might be doing ok.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 01, 2014, 02:13:57 pm


They seem to have picked up since the change of CEO.
Moved Rnd out of China, share price up, actually implement a strategy to get people using their tools.

I think they might be doing ok.

I feel the same. 

Somehow a lot of people are pissed off because of this, for whatever reason.  We aren't entitled to the product we want; we choose amongst what is offered.  Here comes a new choice!  Let's get angry about it!!

Some here seem to think that Altium owes them something... That doesn't compute for me.

Altium is heading in a new direction, expanding PCB tools into new markets, and far too many of us are whining about it, after we've whined for years about how Altium doesn't go in any new directions or expand PCB tools into new markets.

A lot of us just want to complain, I think.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on October 02, 2014, 05:08:35 am

Some here seem to think that Altium owes them something (with CircuitMaker) ... That doesn't compute for me.

Fully agree with you.

The only thing Altium owes its AD customers is to fix the bugs faster & to be truthful about when (or if) the bugs have been fixed.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: K6TR on October 02, 2014, 08:05:47 am

Some here seem to think that Altium owes them something (with CircuitMaker) ... That doesn't compute for me.

Fully agree with you.

The only thing Altium owes its AD customers is to fix the bugs faster & to be truthful about when (or if) the bugs have been fixed.

I concur. Altium like any other company is about 1 thing, making money. If they can please a few people along the way so much the better but that isn't their goal.

I see CircuitMaker as it exists as more of a training and indoctrination tool than anything else. If it increases the pool of trained operators the installed base of Designer Seat Purchasers will be that much happier. If they create a product that is essential the equal of Designer and can be purchased for under a thousand dollars one can bet PCB Design Operators will purchase a copy and go into business themselves starting off by raiding the client base of their employers. That will not make Altium's existing client base very happy with Altium.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on October 02, 2014, 11:51:24 am
The cloud isn't for me, but the more I think about it I'm starting to think a LOT of people (beginners) might just like it just for it's ease of use, sharing boards and libraries, instant online community etc etc.

I half think that most folks here aren't in that category hence the moans & groans.

Hmmmm, maybe i've been working too hard........am I getting "Altiumized".

 :scared:

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on October 02, 2014, 12:08:00 pm
Given what some people seem to be happy putting up on Facebook, exposing your designs to all and sundry doesn't seem like such a big deal...
I think I'd be happy to expose my OSHW this way, and I don't particularly mind people seeing work in progress. I'm robust enough to ignore unhelpful comments, I hope. Obviously, secret stuff stays secret and done with full AD. I'm just hoping it's easy to import / export designs. If CM requires all components to be from their libraries and vaults, there's going to be a sheet with some wires and netlabels on it...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 02, 2014, 01:51:57 pm
I concur. Altium like any other company is about 1 thing, making money.

Historically Altium has been much better at loosing investor's money by spending large amounts of it developing things no one wants to buy. After the recent board shake up they are supposed to be getting better, the current CircuitMaker proposal says otherwise.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 02, 2014, 04:20:00 pm


I concur. Altium like any other company is about 1 thing, making money.

Historically Altium has been much better at loosing investor's money by spending large amounts of it developing things no one wants to buy. After the recent board shake up they are supposed to be getting better, the current CircuitMaker proposal says otherwise.

Well, they've sure existed a while for a company that loses more than they bring in, if that's what you're saying.

Lots of companies lose money on stupid efforts that everyone but the board saw coming. Seems unfair to single out any one company for that mistake.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on October 02, 2014, 11:43:36 pm
Lots of companies lose money on stupid efforts that everyone but the board saw coming. Seems unfair to single out any one company for that mistake.

Well, if everyone else saw it coming but the Altium board did not, it just goes to show that the Altium board is clearly incompetent.

I don't think they have been unfairly singled out. Altium is a high tech company that should know its market very well. They make dumb mistake after dumb mistake. They seem to never learn.

Their staff don't know how their software really works, they tell you bugs have been fixed when they have not.

We all thought things would get better after they dumped founding CEO Nick Martin ............. but little seems to have changed since his forced departure.

Yes, I use Altium software, but no I don't really like it & I do not like Altium the Company either.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on October 03, 2014, 12:56:11 am
Myself I'm waiting for Altium to let me try the software, I'm not going to make an opinion until I see it and use it.

Edit: and if they accept me to their closed or open beta, I'll do my best to give them feedback before they do their final release.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 03, 2014, 01:31:28 am
Well, if everyone else saw it coming but the Altium board did not, it just goes to show that the Altium board is clearly incompetent.

They know lots of things about the internals of the company and directions and intentions and a bunch of crap the minions don't know a thing about.  This clouds things sometimes and makes things clear other times.  It's the same for any company.

Groups of people can talk themselves into anything.  Ask a jury member who's put an innocent person in jail just how easy it is.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on October 03, 2014, 02:01:49 am
It seems to me a huge blunder is brewing by not just releasing it now. 

Everyone is talking about it and speculating, and it's all negative.  And people are forming opinions before they even see it. 

If they have something decent, then just release it already and people will stop the speculating and see for themselves if it's a good thing or not. 

I think its a big mistake for Altium to not to just get it out there and be done with it. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on October 03, 2014, 02:08:11 am
I disagree.

Yeah people are eager and want it now, but it's in their best interest to do the close beta and their open beta before they release it.

The first impression of someone actually using it when it's a final product will turn people off it it's not a finished product and for that they do need to finish their beta.

It's like if you get an e-mail about a new super duper website, if it's not working the first time you visit it, chances are you'll never visit again.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on October 03, 2014, 05:04:17 am
Well, if everyone else saw it coming but the Altium board did not, it just goes to show that the Altium board is clearly incompetent.

Altium was never run by a board, it was run by one guy with "visions" who just liked playing with stuff.
One day you are working on something then word comes down that he had this great idea on the weekend and quick, everyone start working on that. The programmers were geniuses so they could get it working in days, and if it was cool enough it got shipped in the next beta, regardless if it was well thought through or well implemented, or useful to real customers.
So AD ended up with the legacy of half arse features and concepts buried in it all over the place.

Quote
We all thought things would get better after they dumped founding CEO Nick Martin ............. but little seems to have changed since his forced departure.

I doubt the focus on the low cost market would have happened with Nick still at the helm.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 03, 2014, 11:18:10 am
The board kicked his ass to the curb, didn't they?

Sounds like they got tired of him.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Batang on October 03, 2014, 05:38:09 pm
I just finished watching a nauseating youtube video of Max discussing CircuitMaker complete with Google Speak.

Altium should get their collectives heads out of the Cloud and wake up to the fact that the people that will use this software are not into collaborative efforts.

Library components that can be shared ok, examples etc good but cloud saving as public files, dream on.

A stripped down AD14 without the bloat (FPGA etc) with either hole and or layer limits that resembles the actual product for those who would upgrade is a sensible approach.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 03, 2014, 05:41:39 pm
A stripped down AD14 without the bloat (FPGA etc) ..

The FPGA stuff is not a bloat, it just misses the cloud integration ;-)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on October 03, 2014, 05:45:11 pm
Altium should get their collectives heads out of the Cloud and wake up to the fact that the people that will use this software are not into collaborative efforts.

Yeah, I think they've chosen quite sensibly, to avoid this new offering gutting their commercial product. Commercial customers simply don't want this cloud and collaborative, open stuff. Don't want, can't possibly use, won't touch with a bargepole.
Sounds like you're not the target audience?

There may be a justification for a cut-down AD, but that's more or less irrelevant to CM, isn't it?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Batang on October 03, 2014, 06:20:34 pm
Quote
There may be a justification for a cut-down AD, but that's more or less irrelevant to CM, isn't it?


The video pitch however is not extolling the virtues of the actual software functionality rather an optimistic idea of cloud computing.

And no I am not in that target audience, but I was once.

Cheers
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 03, 2014, 06:55:01 pm
Yeah, I think they've chosen quite sensibly,

Specifically targeting customers that don't have any money and won't ever make money using your product - stroke of genius.

Maybe we will see pop-up adverts every time you place a component or route a net? How else are they going to fund it?  Or maybe they will fund it with money made by their core product the same as all the other dumb ideas Altium has had.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on October 03, 2014, 07:11:38 pm
I'd guess at PCB sales (commission), component sales (commission), maybe a prototype assemby service (commission), upselling features within CM, upselling to AD, charging to jailbreak designs. Plenty of ways of harvesting a few dollars from the willing, without unnecessarily pissing off the userbase. No idea if it'll cover the costs or be profitable, but that's all part of being a company...
Since I'm hoping this is substantially based on the AD codebase, code, documentation and support should be where the money goes.

As far as I can see, Altium have taken far worse gambles over the years. This one kinda makes sense to me, even though I'm not a likely customer.

Edit: Documentation. Altium, FFS, you do need to sort the documentation. AD-levels of ineptitude really won't work for a more casual audience. Knocking out a few videos of 'how to' is one thing, but actual documentation, kept up to date and in sync with the code, would make CM stand out from the other packages. You know, sort of look professional?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 03, 2014, 08:00:44 pm

I just finished watching a nauseating youtube video of Max discussing CircuitMaker complete with Google Speak.

Altium should get their collectives heads out of the Cloud and wake up to the fact that the people that will use this software are not into collaborative efforts.

I dunno, Upverter and the entire OSHW movement kinda says different.

Let me guess, you hate Arduino too and anyone who uses them, right?


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 03, 2014, 08:48:26 pm
Let me guess, you hate Arduino too and anyone who uses them, right?

Microchip alone sells as many microprocessors every 12 hours as have been used in all the Arduino's, clones, and derivatives ever made. Seriously get over yourself.

Anyone here paying money to upverter? Do they make any money or are they still burning through the 2-3 million of VC they got?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 03, 2014, 10:16:21 pm
What does Microchip selling PIC chips have to do with Arduino? That's apples to oranges.

Arduino sells as many units every day as Microchip has ever sold PIC dev boards, is a much better comparison.

Yes, I pay for a Pro Upverter account. Clients love being able to actively collaborate on their designs. They can upload their schematic from Eagle and participate in the design review. For smaller projects I'll do the entire layout in Upverter, otherwise I use DipTrace and export/import my changes.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 04, 2014, 12:08:48 am
What does Microchip selling PIC chips have to do with Arduino?

The numbers give Arduino and the OSHW 'movement' a 'pimple on the arse of' size ranking in the global electronics market which means only a slightly bigger pimple in the global electronics design tool market.

So saying "Upverter and the entire OSHW movement kinda says different" doesn't mean that much.

Yes, I pay for a Pro Upverter account.

Any more?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 04, 2014, 09:15:11 am
Well, Linear Tech has started giving Arduino based examples in their data sheets and a lot of their dev boards are Arduino shields, so, uh...

I guess what I'm trying to say is you don't know what you're talking about. (I.e. Stop spouting shit from *your* pimpled ass.)

;)


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on October 04, 2014, 09:24:49 am
The board kicked his ass to the curb, didn't they?
Sounds like they got tired of him.

Yep.
Funny thing with that whole Saga was that Nick bailed out his buddy by buying his practically bankrupt zero-income company Morfik for 15% of Altium stock. Said buddy already had a big percentage of Altium stock from when he worked there from the early days and left to form Morfik.
The said buddy who now had a massive chunk of Altium shares sided with the board to finally boot out Martin, and they finally had the votes to do it. Now former buddy is now the CEO.
That's what you get when you help out your "friends"  :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on October 04, 2014, 01:59:09 pm
Well, Linear Tech has started giving Arduino based examples in their data sheets and a lot of their dev boards are Arduino shields, so, uh...

I guess what I'm trying to say is you don't know what you're talking about. (I.e. Stop spouting shit from *your* pimpled ass.)

;)


Sent from my Smartphone
Really ? Linear tech ? My , how deep they have fallen ...

I get how arduino appeals to beginners and how easy it is to kludge something together ,but , anyone serious about their electronics hobby (note : electronics hobby , im not talking about artists and blinkylight makers) or wouldnt't be caught dead with an arduino.

Here is why:
-oddball formfactor with a tab sticking out (strange board shape , why do they need that weird shape. Rectangle not good enough ?)
-connectors not aligned to a standard grid (misaligned is a better word)
- the board is not routed. It is vomited. (Talking original duino now)
- not properly designed. No ferrites on usb shield vs chassis , no common mode filters in datapath , too high a standby current
Title: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 04, 2014, 02:18:55 pm
I know plenty of EE's who use Arduinos and/or Wiring compatible platforms (MSP430/Tiva C, PIC32, ATmega, STM32) for prototyping.

If you're not primarily a software guy, but great with hardware, it makes a ton of sense.

There's a difference between Arduino the Hardware and Arduino the Platform.

(That said, I agree about the Arduino hardware form factor: What were they thinking?!?!)

Personally, I'm invested in TI's LaunchPad and use Energia a lot. (Though through a real IDE: Xcode.)

Of course final products get all the Wiring abstraction ripped out, but for prototyping, it makes things majorly easy, let me tell you!

Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 04, 2014, 02:27:27 pm
For quick, "need this working now" type stuff, Arduino is pretty great.  I wouldn't make a product out of any of the stuff I've prototyped with Arduino, but for proof of concept stuff and demos I think they're invaluable. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 04, 2014, 03:28:07 pm
I guess what I'm trying to say is you don't know what you're talking about. (I.e. Stop spouting shit from *your* pimpled ass.)

Microchip sell about 3.2 million microprocessors a day. Who do you think is buying them and who designed the circuits and boards they go in? Microchip could make processors for all the Arduinos ever made in 12 hours, who do you think keeps them busy 24/7?

Makers and the OSHW 'movement' seem to be so wrapped up in their little world tweeting, facebooking, and collaborating with each other that few have any concept of the global electronics industry and what a tiny tiny proportion of it they are.  This gross over-representation on the interwebs and new media helps to fool themselves and I suspect others. Look at Element14 who bought eagle, sponsor Ben Hecks etc and created the useless Element14 community where collaboration mostly consists of idiots bugging real EEs who are obliged or paid to participate there.

In the real world EEs are simply not allowed reveal designs to people outside their organisation which severely limits the usefulness of and need for collaboration features in design tools.   
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 04, 2014, 03:38:44 pm
Microchip sell about 3.2 million microprocessors a day. Who do you think is buying them and who designed the circuits and boards they go in?

You are mixing number of unit produced with number of designs. A mass produced design needs one schematic and so is a one-of at home hack. The number of chips sold has nothing to do with potential number of CM users.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 04, 2014, 04:37:38 pm
You are mixing number of unit produced with number of designs. A mass produced design needs one schematic and so is a one-of at home hack. The number of chips sold has nothing to do with potential number of CM users.

It isn't directly proportional but it still has plenty to do with it. More importantly it has plenty to do with how much money each design makes and so how much money designers have to spend on design tools.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Precipice on October 04, 2014, 04:58:35 pm
Would a fair comparison be automotive?
The volume of aftermarket stuff is tiny compared to OEM, but is still a huge and thriving market, and evidently worth servicing. Each variant design of butt-ugly hubcap, 'lexus-style' light cluster or phone holder is a design, and someone, somewhere, designed it.

I doubt Altium/CM care that most designs will never be built more than ten (or zero!) times. Heck, I suspect that only 1/3 of the designs I do in real Altium ever get made, and that's ignoring revisions. If you count the ones that actually get to mass production, I suspect it's less than 1%. This doesn't affect the fact that I pay maintenance on my Altium seats, and it doesn't affect the fact that I charge customers for designs, whether they make it to production or not.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zeta on October 04, 2014, 06:16:28 pm

Yes, I pay for a Pro Upverter account. Clients love being able to actively collaborate on their designs. They can upload their schematic from Eagle and participate in the design review. For smaller projects I'll do the entire layout in Upverter, otherwise I use DipTrace and export/import my changes.
you gotta be kidding, right?  :-DD :-DD :-DD




Makers and the OSHW 'movement' seem to be so wrapped up in their little world tweeting, facebooking, and collaborating with each other that few have any concept of the global electronics industry and what a tiny tiny proportion of it they are.  This gross over-representation on the interwebs and new media helps to fool themselves and I suspect others. Look at Element14 who bought eagle, sponsor Ben Hecks etc and created the useless Element14 community where collaboration mostly consists of idiots bugging real EEs who are obliged or paid to participate there.

In the real world EEs are simply not allowed reveal designs to people outside their organisation which severely limits the usefulness of and need for collaboration features in design tools.
true
except collaboration is big stuff inside organizations.  a lot of times there is a guy doing the design while another does the layout,  someone else selects/approves the parts that can be used in the design and then a bunch more needs to review the design. all of them need a way to provide annotations/feedback.


What this so called OSH community members talking so passionately of "collaboration" fail to remember is that most (if not all) of the designs out there, that people like to call OSH, were actually made by a single individual working on his own time with little regard to what other people has to say and only release the design when it is done. That is true even in the OSS movement. Trying to do otherwise is stupid and a total waste of time.

Even after the design is made public most won't pay much attention to the "improvements" the "community" has to offer not to mention that what most in the "community" mean by collaboration is actually limited to downloading/building the designs someone else made or bitching others to change the design.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 04, 2014, 06:22:31 pm


Yes, I pay for a Pro Upverter account. Clients love being able to actively collaborate on their designs. They can upload their schematic from Eagle and participate in the design review. For smaller projects I'll do the entire layout in Upverter, otherwise I use DipTrace and export/import my changes.
you gotta be kidding, right?  :-DD :-DD

Pro Upverter account allow unlimited private designs. As in only myself and the client can access. I provide services for individuals/small teams and small to medium size businesses.

There is a huge market there and I will tap it if it puts food on the table. If you guys don't want to join me here in reality, well, less competition for me!


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Batang on October 04, 2014, 07:46:48 pm
Quote
What this so called OSH community members talking so passionately of "collaboration" fail to remember is that most (if not all) of the designs out there, that people like to call OSH, were actually made by a single individual working on his own time with little regard to what other people has to say and only release the design when it is done. That is true even in the OSS movement. Trying to do otherwise is stupid and a total waste of time.

Even after the design is made public most won't pay much attention to the "improvements" the "community" has to offer not to mention that what most in the "community" mean by collaboration is actually limited to downloading/building the designs someone else made or bitching others to change the design.

Exactly.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 04, 2014, 08:22:09 pm
There is a huge market there and I will tap it if it puts food on the table.

Doesn't sound that great if you cannot afford plates. Just saying.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on October 05, 2014, 01:38:16 am
Lol, enjoyed that.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 05, 2014, 03:29:53 am
I'm sure his use of upverter is valid.

Here's something that I think escapes us all from time to time: each of us does things differently, and each of our solutions is valid for the problem presented us.  ESPECIALLY SO if it pays.

So who gives a rats ass if Arduino production is dwarfed by microchip?  Arduino IS A VALID SOLUTION just the same as pic.  For the same problem? I don't know and I don't care.  They're freaking valid.

So drop the crap about upverter.  For him it works.  For you, it might not.  Why the hell does anyone care if upverter is used?  Why are any of you even bringing it up, like its a sign of failure?

Some of the crap that goes on in here makes me ashamed to say I'm a member of this forum.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ozwolf on October 05, 2014, 05:04:45 am
I'm sure his use of upverter is valid.

Here's something that I think escapes us all from time to time: each of us does things differently, and each of our solutions is valid for the problem presented us.  ESPECIALLY SO if it pays.

So who gives a rats ass if Arduino production is dwarfed by microchip?  Arduino IS A VALID SOLUTION just the same as pic.  For the same problem? I don't know and I don't care.  They're freaking valid.

So drop the crap about upverter.  For him it works.  For you, it might not.  Why the hell does anyone care if upverter is used?  Why are any of you even bringing it up, like its a sign of failure?

Some of the crap that goes on in here makes me ashamed to say I'm a member of this forum.

+1

Hear, hear.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 05, 2014, 08:02:52 am
Some of the crap that goes on in here makes me ashamed to say I'm a member of this forum.

No shame in associating with upverter users. 

 :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 05, 2014, 09:19:23 am
Thank you Rigby (et al). Finally another voice of reason.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 05, 2014, 03:31:31 pm
So who gives a rats ass if Arduino production is dwarfed by microchip?

Anyone interested in the relative size of the market for design tools provided by those than mostly use Arduinos and those that don't.

So drop the crap about upverter.  For him it works.  For you, it might not.  Why the hell does anyone care if upverter is used?  Why are any of you even bringing it up, like its a sign of failure?

Because it is very similar to what Altium are proposing for CM and will target the same type of customer. Who it does and doesn't work for is very relevant to this thread.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 05, 2014, 05:14:49 pm
Because it is very similar to what Altium are proposing for CM and will target the same type of customer. Who it does and doesn't work for is very relevant to this thread.

Anybody cares to comment about the differences between CM and Upverter?  Also, does Upverter use an install app or brwoser based similar to Digiky?

Personally I like the github model of one versioned repository to all my project files, hardware, software, docs, drivers, etc. My only exception is the BOM, I edit in Google docs spreadsheet and export the github as a PDF (yack).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 05, 2014, 06:14:25 pm
Browser-based.  HTML5.

Go try it.  It isn't bad.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 05, 2014, 07:17:10 pm
Browser-based.  HTML5.

Go try it.  It isn't bad.

I just tried it. It looks nice, very responsive and had a footprint for the arbitrary chip I looked up (LPC11u35/33). Didn't do a deep test of the functionality. Like every EDA package it requires getting used to, for example, scrolling changes the zoom rather panning and for panning you need to click on that hand icon (tedious).

Several places in this thread people compared CM to google docs but upverter fits better that model no software installation and OS agnostic. I wish it would also export files in useable formats as google docs does.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 05, 2014, 08:56:40 pm
It supports exporting.  There are keybindings, too, so you don't have to click the icons to select the desired tool.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: alimirjamali on October 05, 2014, 10:52:44 pm
Chris Gammell just posted a detailed Simple Plane Experiment (KiCad vs CircuitMaker vs Upverter) (http://contextualelectronics.com/simple-plane-experiment-kicad-vs-circuitmaker-vs-upverter/) article on contextual electronics.

BTW, now that the wolf (or better to say the bird) is awaken, what do you guess about EAGLE reaction to CM? Farnell did not invest €12 million (http://www.premierfarnell.com/media-centre/acquisition-cadsoft-computer-gmbh) in Cadsoft in 2009 to let it go easily (or did thay?).

1. Will they turn EAGLE to some online collaborative tool? The same way Altium did?
2. Will they just seat on their chairs and watch?
3. Or they will try to kill the dragon (CM) in the egg before fully hatched? By unlocking EAGLE limitations and aiming to cash out, selling parts from their popular EDA?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 06, 2014, 12:01:49 am
No way to know.  It's all guessing.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 06, 2014, 09:49:14 pm
By the way I SERIOUSLY doubt that any immediate changes will be seen in Eagle.  Dominant market share arrogance will prevent Cadsoft/Element14/Newark from viewing CircuitMaker as a threat for a long while after it becomes one, if it does become one.

Your question makes it appear like you are a journalist. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: alimirjamali on October 06, 2014, 10:22:33 pm
No way to know.  It's all guessing.

>:D
Contraindication
I SERIOUSLY doubt that any immediate changes will be seen in Eagle.

BTW, there are currently 9 guests on this page. Is there any possibility that any of them are from Altium? If Altium ever cared about Dave's rants, they might be stalking on this forum? I have seen many companies to monitor 3rd party forums to protect their assets or get market feedback.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 07, 2014, 12:16:02 am
... Is there any possibility that any of them are from Altium? If Altium ever cared about Dave's rants, they might be stalking on this forum?

Of course they do, but they are not allowed to respond here.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: IanJ on October 07, 2014, 06:26:49 am
By the way I SERIOUSLY doubt that any immediate changes will be seen in Eagle.  Dominant market share arrogance will prevent Cadsoft/Element14/Newark from viewing CircuitMaker as a threat for a long while after it becomes one, if it does become one.

Your question makes it appear like you are a journalist.

As an Eagle user (paid) I had posted on their forums early on making them aware of this thread and what Altium was up to.....and urging them to stride forward with their product rather than the wee tweaks we have seen over the past couple of years and that if Altium get it right then IMO the OSH community could make a shift.............
The reply from them was that they weren't waiting for version 8 to do so..................although I don't think the Cadsoft guy I did dialogue with knew anything about anything really.

I did my bit.

Ian.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Kjelt on October 07, 2014, 08:17:36 am
I also doubt that Eagle will change significantly which does not have to be bad.
If you look at Altium with the zillions of options/boxes and possibilities that might be a 10+ year experienced board designers wet dream it is the starting hobbieist worst nightmare. All they want is to produce a decent board with one or two days learning effort and best in just a weekend time.
Eagle fullfills that just by watching the 10 part youtube instruction videos that are out there, and you have your board ready.
Sure if you want/need fancy 3D imaging, RF analysis and 40 layer designs it is not suitable but than you are playing in the big leagues and that is not their target audience.

So basically you guys are twisting the story thus far.
Why should Eagle have to change to a pro version that can not win from Altium, when Altium obviously feels threatened by Eagle and now starts to make a second version targeting their audience?
It probably will fail since reading the last few pages they have terrible management that has no idea about where and how they should earn money in the future, and only knows about re-organizations and moving HQ between countries  :palm: .
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: george graves on October 07, 2014, 09:09:16 am
Anyone (besides Chris Gamble?) get a beta version of the software yet?  Or can those people not say(NDA)?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on October 07, 2014, 11:45:26 am
I don't not believe that he actually has a copy to to compare. This was a "virtual" comparison.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on October 07, 2014, 12:05:48 pm
Quote
As an Eagle user (paid) I had posted on their forums early on making them aware of this thread and what Altium was up to.....and urging them to stride forward with their product rather than the wee tweaks we have seen over the past couple of years and that if Altium get it right then IMO the OSH community could make a shift.............
The reply from them was that they weren't waiting for version 8 to do so..................although I don't think the Cadsoft guy I did dialogue with knew anything about anything really.


I used EAGLE for a couple years (version 4 days) (I really miss the simplicity of the ULPs).     It took them *years* to add simple features such as user part parameters.  People had been asking for hierarchical design and that took about 10!   EAGLE's model is to move at the speed of a glacier.   Not saying that is bad,  just an observation.      If it involves them changing the price, it could be quick.   As far as changing anything about usability of the program,  I would be surprised to see them do anything.   

That being said, if Altium were to die in a fiery crash tomorrow (very unlikely) I would go back to EAGLE.   The great part about it would be that nothing would have changed!

Now, Altium is on the complete end of the spectrum (which can be frustrating) but some of the features they have pushed have been industry 1sts that everyone else simply copied. For example, the rigid-flex capabilities in AD14.

It is my hope that Circuitmaker will help push others to improve.  While not everyone will like all the design decisions,  it does add to a landscape where there is some clear choice between offering and the low end.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on October 07, 2014, 12:09:55 pm
I think Chris saw CM at Maker Faire.

I don't think Eagle is at threat because of some cloud based crap offering from Altium.

CM is aimed at people who want to build simple things and don't care if they get shared, no business in their right mind would use it, everything that CM can do Eagle can do in one way or another, the only difference being if you want to upgrade Eagle is still Eagle, CM is, well, not Altium.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on October 07, 2014, 01:45:31 pm
As an Eagle user (paid) I had posted on their forums early on making them aware of this thread and what Altium was up to.....and urging them to stride forward with their product.

Most of the moaning about CM in this thread is about it not being a financial threat to Eagle, diptrace etc. Upverter should be worried, no one else really.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 07, 2014, 05:35:33 pm
Any EDA tool vendor who wants to keep their current customers should be paying close attention to CircuitMaker, KiCAD, and all of their other competitors.

A vendor that doesn't pay attention to its competitors is taking its customers for granted and deserves every bad thing that happens to them.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 07, 2014, 09:11:56 pm
I tried Eagle once when I was starting out. What a hodgepodge of a confusing fucking mess that UI is. I couldn't figure out how to even do basic things. About two years ago I picked it up again and it was literally the same broken design.

People in this thread complaining about the Ribbon, yet saying Eagle is good software? Wow.

I was more used to CAD software, so I guess that's what I was expecting. DipTrace fills my role for EDA software nicely. So that's what I'll be comparing this against.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 07, 2014, 09:54:34 pm
Like most software that's been around a while, inertia keeps bad UI design around a lot longer than is reasonable.

This is a small part of the smart move on Altium's part with CircuitMaker.  They can completely scrap the existing Altium Designer UI and be free of the interface baggage that AD carries with it.  They can test new ideas and solicit feedback and quickly incorporate changes. The massive user base of AD make that kind of thing impossible on that application.

Thinking about that, it makes a lot more sense to me now if there won't be a clean upgrade path from CM to AD.  They won't be aimed at the same people whatsoever.  Why provide a path for a customer to move from a program they like and are productive with into a completely different application?  It would make no sense to do so, since CM and AD are targeted at completely different, non-intersecting sectors of the market.

The more I think about CM the more I like it.

Can't wait to try it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 07, 2014, 11:32:43 pm
... The more I think about CM the more I like it.

Let me remind you a quote by a younger Rigby

"Maybe it'll be awesome. Maybe it'll be a catalyst that kick starts some better development in kicad or eagle or your favorite tool.  Who knows?  Until we get our hands on it we are all just talking out of our asses."

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/195/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/195/)

;-)



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 08, 2014, 12:48:15 am
OK good point. 

I should clarify: based on my imagination, CM seems pretty nice.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Batang on October 08, 2014, 04:57:22 pm
Does anyone know what the deal will be in regards to library files?

I assume CM will be able to have user created library files and will these files also be cloud stored?

And if you can open existing Lib files will the changes to be cloud stored?

In the latter case I would not be too thrilled by that.

Cheers.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 08, 2014, 06:48:10 pm
The library sharing is a big deal with this, apparently, so they'll be shared and awesome.  Dunno.  There is documentation on this somewhere though.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: os40la on October 08, 2014, 08:55:30 pm
OK good point. 

I should clarify: based on my imagination, CM seems pretty nice.

 :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mengfei on October 15, 2014, 09:33:22 am
I hope it's not to crippled when it gets out  :-+
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on October 15, 2014, 10:21:54 am
Well, from what Dave was saying on the last mailbag, he has seen it and likes the interface, but has concerns over the cloud "wank", and as he has said, it's not Altum, if you go with the mindset that it is a different product then you might be able to forgive the cloud, I did say *might*!

But I guess Altium must at least read some of the comments as they sent Dave some stuff, they might not like what they read though as they sent him a large T-shirt!  :-DD

It seems a touch pointless to me to have an offline tool that can only save online.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 16, 2014, 03:36:04 pm
Well, from what Dave was saying on the last mailbag, he has seen it and likes the interface, but has concerns over the cloud "wank", and as he has said, it's not Altum, if you go with the mindset that it is a different product then you might be able to forgive the cloud, I did say *might*!

But I guess Altium must at least read some of the comments as they sent Dave some stuff, they might not like what they read though as they sent him a large T-shirt!  :-DD

It seems a touch pointless to me to have an offline tool that can only save online.

I think it won't matter much among the people who Altium are aiming the product towards.  I also don't think it'll matter much to most people, if the tool is a good tool otherwise. 

The main complaint seems to be something like "how can I work offline, if it's cloud only" and that has been answered; it caches locally so one can work offline.  How many really work offline, though, while designing circuits?  I'm always looking things up and checking pins and emailing or instant messaging people I know with questions about this or that while I design.  Personally, I can't design while offline even with an offline tool, so the cloud connectivity portion of this is of very little concern to me.

Another thing that I think is overlooked is that there is going to be a community built library available to all users of the tool, and every device in a library is required to be mapped to a specific part in Octopart.  ALL the jellybean stuff will be either present on day 1 or created within the 1st day, and as time goes on, the need to even dink with your own footprints or 3D models will entirely go away.  I, for example, intend to contribute 3D models whenever I can, as I have a bit of experience in this area.  The 3D feature is useless to people without 3D modeling capabilities if the libraries aren't shared, so yay sharing.

I'm looking forward to it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Wilksey on October 16, 2014, 05:01:38 pm
One thing with this "community built" library, is there going to be an option / check box somewhere in the library part (or entire lib) that states if it is proven or not?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on October 16, 2014, 05:50:31 pm
Tick Tock Tick Tock

I still say they are totally blowing it by getting all this hype, coming up with the flashy website, having everyone sign up, and then ZERO COMMUNICATIONS or a peep out of them for weeks and weeks.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on October 16, 2014, 07:21:08 pm

Tick Tock Tick Tock

I still say they are totally blowing it by getting all this hype, coming up with the flashy website, having everyone sign up, and then ZERO COMMUNICATIONS or a peep out of them for weeks and weeks.

This. They're blowing any momentum they have.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 16, 2014, 07:52:58 pm
yup  :palm:

Gotta keep the community engaged, and that isn't done by ceasing all communication with the community.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on October 17, 2014, 12:40:10 am
That doesn't seem to affect any other product that gets announced half a year or even a full year before released.

They will be fine :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bored@Work on October 17, 2014, 05:31:05 am
Well, or it might show that all this buzz-creation, lets-go-on-potential-customer's-tits kind of marketing is just a waste of money.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on October 17, 2014, 05:44:56 am
Or throw a bone every now and then to keep their potential customers salivating and eager to get it once it's out.
Marketing is a strange beast that I don't fully comprehend but the ones that do sure can build anticipation.

Edit: like my wife waiting for http://www.eliomotors.com/ (http://www.eliomotors.com/) along with other 35,000+ reservations to be released sometime in 2015 (hopefully)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 29, 2014, 03:54:24 am
Cloud based EDA. Having problems for a few days now due to integration with the Autodesk ID system.

(http://i.imgur.com/s4uWbkC.png)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 29, 2014, 01:26:11 pm
Cloud based EDA. Having problems for a few days now due to integration with the Autodesk ID system.

That's not a fault of it being web based, that's an integration failure, which is nearly always going to be human error at some point.  Tinkercad works well, when they don't fuck it up.

point taken, though, definitely.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 29, 2014, 02:51:48 pm
Cloud based EDA. Having problems for a few days now due to integration with the Autodesk ID system.

That's not a fault of it being web based, that's an integration failure, which is nearly always going to be human error at some point.  Tinkercad works well, when they don't fuck it up.

point taken, though, definitely.

I needed to work on my design so looked for alternative and found OpenSCAD. It's an open source, multi OS, offline software that works much better for me (I can define functions, consist, formulas, loops, etc and you can version control the source). I don't see much tinkercad in my future for serious designs.  This is one data point on cloud vs offline applications.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on October 29, 2014, 02:56:12 pm
Agreed.

OpenSCAD is pretty epic.  I use it a lot.  Look at FreeCAD too, it is similar.  Programmatically Parametrically defined 3D modeling.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on October 31, 2014, 01:36:57 pm
Ribbon!?  :palm: |O....
So?, it's a good way of grouping functionality
Agreed. What's the problem? I like it.
Is this like a Comic Sans hatred thing?  :D
I like the ribbon, also.
and ye all must be loving AutoTRAX DEX by that one guy, he got it much earlier than this multi million company. one issue i have with ribbon is they took several pixels more at the top compared to classic 16 pixels toolbuttons. and too much of it wont help, finding one particular button in the ribbon is like finding needle in a plate full of spaggethy. i dont tend to click ribbon or button now and then while working, i prefer shortcut keys.
I agree that many people hate ribbon menus. But many people also love them. DEX's riibbon menus are context  sensitive. But here's what great for everbody; switch between ribbon menu and classic drop down menu in the same app. DEX allows you to switch back and forth between menus. You can also shrink the ribbon menu so it behaves a a popdown ribbon menu. Choices, choices...

Here's a video showing how it works (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFEC5_MnJDk&list=UU6h3VbJP93d9mMFZRoVvIXA)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on October 31, 2014, 02:05:53 pm
Agreed.

OpenSCAD is pretty epic.  I use it a lot.  Look at FreeCAD too, it is similar.  Programmatically Parametrically defined 3D modeling.

I just looked at FreeCAD screenshots and it looks impressive. I will give it a try.  It seems that open source 3D modeling software is way ahead of open source PCB design software. I would think that the algorithmic complexity involved in 3D modeling is higher than schematic/layout products such as CM, eagle and Kicad.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on October 31, 2014, 02:45:34 pm
I have used Freecad.   (I have solidworks at my Day job as a reference).

Freecad has some very quirky UI "features" that can make it difficult to use.   But it is Free... and they believe in releasing know working binaries.

Also,  they do respond to bug posts.  I found a crash that they responded to within a few days.


For home stuff, I primarily use it for coloring step models to be used with Altium
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ivan747 on October 31, 2014, 08:54:20 pm
Sooooo they abandoned Circuit Maker?  ???
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on October 31, 2014, 09:05:17 pm
No.  Private beta before general release. See the Blog on the circuitmaker website
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on November 02, 2014, 09:46:50 am
Sooooo they abandoned Circuit Maker?  ???
The fact that I've entered my email adress on their website and they did not send me an email so far... As Dave would say: "You FAIL at the internet"
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ludzinc on November 02, 2014, 10:11:04 am
I have used Freecad.   (I have solidworks at my Day job as a reference).

Freecad has some very quirky UI "features" that can make it difficult to use.   But it is Free... and they believe in releasing know working binaries.

Also,  they do respond to bug posts.  I found a crash that they responded to within a few days.


For home stuff, I primarily use it for coloring step models to be used with Altium

On that's awesome.

Can you point to a tutorial for doing that?  Want to publish one?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on November 03, 2014, 01:10:41 am
Quote
On that's awesome.

Can you point to a tutorial for doing that?  Want to publish one?

Thanks!

Maybe when I get some free (ha ha) time.   I actually wanted to document the whole process and record a video.   Just too many things...

It isn't too bad if you are willing to click around for awhile.   It is faster to do it in Freecad than Solidworks ( color color faces of a model) once you get in the groove
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 18, 2014, 07:57:21 pm
Sooooo they abandoned Circuit Maker?  ???
The fact that I've entered my email adress on their website and they did not send me an email so far... As Dave would say: "You FAIL at the internet"

They sent me an email saying Beta was closed and I could not have it.
Had several emails saying things were going great but I still can't have it ... yet.  :o and...

CircuitMaker Community Newsletter: Beta Program Update #1
Feature Tiers
CircuitMaker is free to start, with the option to selectively upgrade features if you need them. What is the optimal level for these upgrade tiers? What features do we need to adjust to make these levels work best?

Umm. What is the optimal level for these upgrade tiers?  >:D
What features do we need to adjust to make these levels work best? Do they mean remove?

Upgrade Points
Along with determining the feature upgrade tiers, the actual price points separating each of these tiers is important. What is the right approach when figuring out these points, and should they be adjusted?
Uhh, I thought it was free? :-//

Is this just an Altium Designer sales cannibal ? The cut down version is free but... It's like selling a car without seats chained up and the steering wheel clamped.

What's wrong with just one price?

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Halfdead on November 18, 2014, 08:37:22 pm
They finally sent me an email, still no download though.

So much hype for nothing.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 18, 2014, 09:06:52 pm
In the past when trade shows were worth going to, I often came across something cool that I'd like to buy, So I would get my wallet out and say to the zealous sales guy, How much, I want it now. This is the best way to suss out vapourware.

I think I have a good pricing/feature model for them.


Saw this on a Google forum.
I looked on the Altium web site for pricing, and they're one of those
"hand us one of your testicles and we'll tell you how much you need to
pay to buy our product" sort of companies.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on November 18, 2014, 09:12:14 pm
Got the same newsletter, which it's all it was.

They had 12,000 requests for the Beta, they are starting the closed beta with a small pool of testers, to help them define the program and work out some of the basic logistics, but after that they will have an open beta.

We are such an instant gratification society. Products announced one year in advance are not uncommon in the software industry.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 18, 2014, 09:14:30 pm
Well you are soon to be gratified.  :-+

I had this from Daniel Fernsebner.
Director of Global Services & Developer Network

Closed beta has begun with the intent to release the product in January.

Kind regards,
Dan


So the Beta is just December?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 19, 2014, 01:45:46 pm
It's always been known that it was a "free to use, pay to be useful" style of app, Iliya. 

I wound up getting an Altium Designer trial license and minus a small amount of (assumed) legacy UI stupidity, it is fantastic.

I won't be buying AD, and I'm definitely giving CM a try when it is available.

January makes sense if the closed beta is with their usual closed beta partners.  They're gonna get feedback they will trust from those folks I'd bet.

edited to correct spelling of Iliya's name.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 19, 2014, 05:55:54 pm
It's always been known that it was a "free to use, pay to be useful" style of app.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'pay to be useful'. Seems to imply the 'free to use' is not useful so the free version is like a car with the seats chains up and no driving wheel. So is this really a demo in disguise? Mind you, I would expect a demo to be useful.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 19, 2014, 06:22:08 pm
This is useful for hobby stuff.  For 4-layer or large boards or whatnot, there are extra parts to buy/rent.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 19, 2014, 07:10:40 pm
I assume you have the beta (closed) version and have a spec. of what's for free and checked it out. Is that correct? Perhaps you could tell us all.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 19, 2014, 08:24:47 pm
I assume you have the beta (closed) version and have a spec. of what's for free and checked it out. Is that correct? Perhaps you could tell us all.

I don't, and if I did, I doubt I'd be able to share that.

I don't know, myself.  Reading through this thread will get you that information, though. 

I believe that 2 layer stuff is included, 3D is included free, libraries are required to be shared, IIRC, you can have one private design for free, others are public, um, 4-layer is a paid option, board sizes beyond 100cm2 are a pay option.  can't recall anything else at the moment. 

read through this thread.  the info I know all came from here and circuitmaker.com.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: graynomad on November 19, 2014, 11:46:11 pm
Quote
4-layer is a paid option
I hope not, 4 layers is the new 2 layers IMO and I'm increasingly looking at 6.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 20, 2014, 12:33:07 pm
On their we site they only say:
'CircuitMaker will be a free PCB design tool powered by Altium.'
There is no mention of charging. In the UK they would be breaking trade description laws if the software you downloaded had to be paid for.
As detailed in their newsletter they won't say what is in and what is not. So in reality nobody outside Altium know, even Altium does not know  :-//

Their newsletter does not say anything specific except implying they don't yet know how to measure the thickness of your wallet.

Feature Tiers
CircuitMaker is free to start, with the option to selectively upgrade features if you need them. What is the optimal level for these upgrade tiers? What features do we need to adjust to make these levels work best? Work best for who? For customer just all features works best.

Upgrade Points
Along with determining the feature upgrade tiers, the actual price points separating each of these tiers is important. What is the right approach when figuring out these points, and should they be adjusted? Right approach? For whom? For customer just an all in price works best with no price traps. 

Why can't they charge just one price instead of trying to con people? This industry seems riddled with such dubious pricing. As the developer of AutoTRAX DEX I only charge one price.

Honestly would be a nice thing!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 20, 2014, 01:46:12 pm
Well, no, they don't know, you're right.

That's why they're in the closed beta with (probably) trusted entities that give them honest feedback.  They're wanting to know just what they should charge for certain features and what all the terms should be and all of that.

I'm not sure why you're angry.  If it's something I said, I apologize. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on November 20, 2014, 02:06:47 pm

Feature Tiers
CircuitMaker is free to start, with the option to selectively upgrade features if you need them. What is the optimal level for these upgrade tiers? What features do we need to adjust to make these levels work best? Work best for who? For customer just all features works best.
Not if having all features means the user is paying for stuff they don't need.
Quote
Why can't they charge just one price instead of trying to con people?
Because that would make it unaffordable for some users. They have to make a living out of this.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on November 20, 2014, 03:17:06 pm
they also announced circuitstudio.

my gut says

circuitmaker : free - cloud storage
circuitstudio : paid in tiers : local storage.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 20, 2014, 03:17:55 pm

Feature Tiers
CircuitMaker is free to start, with the option to selectively upgrade features if you need them. What is the optimal level for these upgrade tiers? What features do we need to adjust to make these levels work best? Work best for who? For customer just all features works best.
Not if having all features means the user is paying for stuff they don't need.
Quote
Why can't they charge just one price instead of trying to con people?
Because that would make it unaffordable for some users. They have to make a living out of this.

Yeah, exactly.  This is a strategy that works for the consumer (usually) and the software/service provider, and it's becoming more and more common.  Economics and marketing research shows that if you offer a potential customer the exact thing they need, they're much more likely to purchase what you are offering.  This is why automobile models have several editions (LX, SE, Limited, etc.) and why software packages like this one go all the way from $0 to whatever they're going to charge to fully license everything permanently.

In that way the customer can purchase only what they need, making them more likely to purchase, and it will very likely cost a lot less than buying a full-service package that will contain a lot of things that no one uses.  So, the customer gets what they needed, and Altium make a sale when they otherwise wouldn't have.

they also announced circuitstudio.

my gut says

circuitmaker : free - cloud storage
circuitstudio : paid in tiers : local storage.

I think you're right about that.  All the uproar about cloud-only, they'd be fools not to see that as a business opportunity.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: _Sin on November 20, 2014, 03:29:31 pm
From the email the other day, this bit: "Nearly 12,000 makers, hobbyists and DIYers have shown their support..." raised a wry smile here.

I'm presumably one of those 12,000, but while I've expressed interest, I'm not calling that "support" until I've decided whether or not this thing is even going to be useful for my hobbyist needs.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on November 20, 2014, 04:14:36 pm
Quote
Why can't they charge just one price instead of trying to con people?

That is like saying "Why can't a chip maker make only one version of a chip in one package for one price?"

It's is because I may not need the version with ethernet, USB and SD card in a 256 pin BGA.   I really only need the 64-QFP version with 1/2 the memory and 1 serial interface.

This is called basic business sense.   You build tier so there are multiple points of entry to grab multiple levels of customers. 

Lastly,   given that the intention is to give a baseline version for free, why would you ever complain about it?       Given that this takes real engineers working at their day jobs to build,   expecting the entire product capability for Free price is dumb.



Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on November 20, 2014, 05:12:55 pm
Quote
Why can't they charge just one price instead of trying to con people?

That is like saying "Why can't a chip maker make only one version of a chip in one package for one price?"

It's is because I may not need the version with ethernet, USB and SD card in a 256 pin BGA.   I really only need the 64-QFP version with 1/2 the memory and 1 serial interface.

in many cases they even contain the same die .... just with a couple of fuses blown... with masksets costing millions of dollars it is cheaper doing one maskset and blowing fuses. silicon area is cheaper than masksets.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 20, 2014, 06:15:19 pm
From the email the other day, this bit: "Nearly 12,000 makers, hobbyists and DIYers have shown their support..." raised a wry smile here.

I'm presumably one of those 12,000, but while I've expressed interest, I'm not calling that "support" until I've decided whether or not this thing is even going to be useful for my hobbyist needs.

It means they now have nearly 12,000 emails. They got my email address on the promise of a download. No download  >:( Ummm, I wonder what they'll do with the emails, send me to the recycle bin?  :o
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on November 20, 2014, 06:29:44 pm
It only means that it's a closed beta and you were no selected.
You'll have to wait for the open beta like the rest of us that didn't get selected.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 20, 2014, 06:51:49 pm
Quote
Why can't they charge just one price instead of trying to con people?

That is like saying "Why can't a chip maker make only one version of a chip in one package for one price?"

This is not like software and the comparison is not like for like.

For a single binary program collection it is exactly like saying "Why can't a software developer make only one version of a program in one package for one price?"

Before I went to University I worked for United Biscuits, in Halifax in charge of one of the 3 custard filling machine. Yes, it was me that put the cream into custard creams. The machine would busily assemble the biscuits with cream and off they went through the cooler to the packing machines at the other end. They would pack then into PennyWise, Sainbury’s and Marks and Spencer brand packets. All the same biscuits at the same time.  In the shops PennyWise custard creams were a lot cheaper than the others. It doesn’t just happen with custard creams.

After graduating from University I worked first for Ferranti Electronics then National Semiconductor and then Motorola  in photolithography. (Microchip manufactures).  Now, back to biscuits; yes you guessed it, yes often the same stuff came out of the end. However, the testing sorted them out into different ‘speed’ bins. Now think overclocking.

Now AutoTRAX, all 430,000 lines of it, comes out the other end as just one program and one price.  I won’t deceive or trap people.

There is no such thing as a free lunch; the piper will be paid! Maybe not now but soon...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on November 21, 2014, 03:15:51 am
Quote
This is not like software and the comparison is not like for like.


Actually it is.   A semiconductor family is designed to the device super-set and simply repackaged.   Takes about the the same amount of work in design, tape-out, etc.     It would be dumb to do otherwise.

To be honest,  your business skills need refinement if you cannot figure out a multi-tiered approach to sales and marketing.    Doesn't matter if it's tulip bulbs, software or marshmallows.   

You can sell your product for whatever you want.   Expecting a large company with $80M/year in revenue to give away their entire product for free is not reasonable.

Life is much different when you have to meet payroll and expenses compared running a part-time hobby shop. 

What people expect for free simply amazes me.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 09:20:54 am
Quote
To be honest,  your business skills need refinement if you cannot figure out a multi-tiered approach to sales and marketing.   

If you read my posts, I clearly understand the multi-tiered approach for what it is and I am trying to inform others about what they really are buying in to.

Quote
Expecting a large company with $80M/year in revenue to give away their entire product for free is not reasonable.

So, you agree with me that Circuit Maker really is not free in the long term.

Quote
Life is much different when you have to meet payroll and expenses compared running a part-time hobby shop. 

I absolutely agree with you. If you are referring to me as a running as a part-time hobby shop then clearly, in your eyes, you are trying to degrade what I do. I am not a part-time hobby shop but like many people on this forum, I a full time professional working far more efficiently that several groups in a company spread over several countries. 

Many large companies start out as a ‘part-time hobby shop’; see the history of Silicon Valley. Some even keep their original founder while others sack their founder and forget their roots. Some companies see the folly of dumping the founder and quickly get them back (Apple).

Perhaps an apology is in order. I suggest you try AutoTRAX with an open mind and you will realize your error.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 21, 2014, 01:06:48 pm
Perhaps an apology is in order. I suggest you try AutoTRAX with an open mind and you will realize your error.

Does it run on Mac OSX?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 01:36:10 pm
Yes.
See:
http://kov.com/Support/Apple (http://kov.com/Support/Apple)

Here is a message from Don Knull


I wanted to let you know that I have, I hope, the answer to the problem with garbled graphics in my DEX installation.

I downloaded and installed an evaluation copy of VMWare Fusion 5.0.1, which is a competitor to Parallels. After installing it I installed DEX and some of the other programs I normally would have on my Windows system.

DEX runs very smoothly in all views, including the 3D view. According to the Activity Monitor, VMWare uses about 75% of CPU capacity when DEX is spinning my 3D model, while Parallels was using 98-110% (!) doing the same thing. So the problem apparently is 3D graphics bandwidth in this emulated environment.

A caveat: I installed the latest 1.11.08, which I am assuming still is using the older 3D package, not OpenGL.

Other caveats are that in doing this I installed a fresh copy of everything - Windows, .NET 4, etc. I also have not installed *everything* that I had on my Parallels VM, such as Microsoft Office, Visio, Silverlight, and others. I suppose some of that might have caused the problem, although none of it was running when the problem occurred.

My intention is to make the full migration to VMWare, and leave Parallels behind. The upgrade cost is reasonable, and I would need to spend the same amount to make the upgrade to the latest Parallels version anyway.

Thanks! And you may find this information helpful for others who might be using Macs to run DEX.

Don Knull
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: BloodyCactus on November 21, 2014, 02:02:01 pm
any windows program can run under vmware/parallels.

I would not call that running on Mac OSX . Its not a native OSX application with OSX integration.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on November 21, 2014, 02:04:10 pm
Yeah running in VMWare is not running on OS X. I give the DipTrace guys a pass for putting out a Wine Bottled OS X app, at least I don't have to *start an entirely different fucking operating system* just to work on a board. Plus the next version is going to be native now that they're on the new Delphi compiler.

Remember, Macs are huge in schools, colleges and with the Maker crowd, not to mention software guys. Having a native Mac version also gives you access to the iPad market which is enormous. Imagine being able to seemlessly switch from working on a board at your Mac to your iPad on the train. For things like drawing a schematic or even routing a board, a touch interface could be amazing if done right.

PC only software designers are like people still building carriages when the Model-T had been out for years.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 02:50:02 pm
any windows program can run under vmware/parallels.

I would not call that running on Mac OSX . Its not a native OSX application with OSX integration.

The question was:
Does it run on Mac OSX?
The answer is yes.

Not:
Is it available as a native  Mac OSX application.
The answer is no and probably never will be.

I did a port to both Linux and Mac (native on both) written in C++/QT several years ago. I had a G5 PowerPC MAC. Then Jobs decided that he no longer hated Intel so bye bye PowerPC :--. So My G5 went straight to eBAY and that was the end of it.
There is no money in Linux. Linux on the desk top is dead!  Apples: well, Is their heart really in selling desktops?

The reality is Windows rules. Of course there are many Windows haters out there who will no doubt respond to this. :box:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 03:43:06 pm
Yeah running in VMWare is not running on OS X. I give the DipTrace guys a pass for putting out a Wine Bottled OS X app, at least I don't have to *start an entirely different fucking operating system* just to work on a board. Plus the next version is going to be native now that they're on the new Delphi compiler.

Remember, Macs are huge in schools, colleges and with the Maker crowd, not to mention software guys. Having a native Mac version also gives you access to the iPad market which is enormous. Imagine being able to seemlessly switch from working on a board at your Mac to your iPad on the train. For things like drawing a schematic or even routing a board, a touch interface could be amazing if done right.

PC only software designers are like people still building carriages when the Model-T had been out for years.


Sent from my Smartphone
PCB design on an iPad  :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 21, 2014, 03:53:26 pm
any windows program can run under vmware/parallels.

I would not call that running on Mac OSX . Its not a native OSX application with OSX integration.

If a single install make it run on a stock Mac OSX that it's probably OK for me but if I need to buy/install other prerequisite software I will pass.

For a cad software to succeed in the makers/hobby market it needs to 1) have a free version and 2) run on all major OS's, otherwise it's not a good choice for open source projects. Circuit Maker passes the first test (kind of, with major cloud limitations) but not the second. AutoTrax passes nither.  For me it's still eagle until Kicad will release Mac OSX binaries.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 04:13:56 pm
I could make a free version of AutoTRAX available for non-commercial purposes. However I would have to make it without any other limits.  Any thought?

Nothing I can do about the MAC native code.  :(

P.S. I am working on a new shape base router for AutoTRAX. I have 2 versions, one in C#, .NET and the other in Visual Studio C##/11 with QT 5. Amazingly the C# version is 2% faster.  :-//
It makes re-porting to QT/C++/11 not as attractive. Over the years I have written over 1 million line of C++ and over 500K lines of C# so I am efficient at both.
I don't use Pascal (e.g. Delphi )
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 21, 2014, 05:05:39 pm
I could make a free version of AutoTRAX available for non-commercial purposes. However I would have to make it without any other limits.  Any thought?

I think it will open many doors for open source projects.

Nothing I can do about the MAC native code.  :(

Can you pack it as a single install that includes the prerequisites?  IIRC this is what diptrace do for Mac OSX (others may have more details).

P.S. I am working on a new shape base router for AutoTRAX. I have 2 versions, one in C#, .NET and the other in Visual Studio C##/11 with QT 5. Amazingly the C# version is 2% faster.  :-//
It makes re-porting to QT/C++/11 not as attractive. Over the years I have written over 1 million line of C++ and over 500K lines of C# so I am efficient at both.
I don't use Pascal (e.g. Delphi )

I am very impressed with what you have done. I spent a few years working on automatic routers so I can appreciate it and your product seems to be very comprehensive. Chapeau.

BTW, have you considered Java instead of C#? It is more portable.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on November 21, 2014, 06:39:39 pm
Java would be dog slow.

If you've written it in .NET you could maybe compile for OS X/Linux/BSD with Mono.

If you port to QT/C++ it *will* run on OS X/Linux/BSD.

Giving up 2% speed for a 40% larger install base seems logical to me. Especially since the Mac/Linux crowd loves software written by one man teams with love and care.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 21, 2014, 06:52:36 pm
Java would be dog slow.

If you've written it in .NET you could maybe compile for OS X/Linux/BSD with Mono.

Doesn't seem  that slow according to this arbitrary comparison page.

http://reverseblade.blogspot.com/2009/02/c-versus-c-versus-java-performance.html (http://reverseblade.blogspot.com/2009/02/c-versus-c-versus-java-performance.html)

Even Javascript is fast these days. Try to running tinkercad.com in Chrome. It's very impressive.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 07:21:21 pm
C++/11 is a vast improvement over C++/98

AutoTRAX EDA, the version before DEX was written in pre standard C++, Visual Studio 6 and MFC. MFC really sucked in comparison to QT. I like QT as the API is written for humans.

I have never taken to Java. It's always been there but never had a convincing enough pull.
I like C# as it is very expressive. I use DevExpress for the GUI, it makes a beautiful design but is dead slow on startup. QT comes up instantly.

Active3D is written in QT/C++/11. I could compile it to run on Linux or MAC.
http://kov.com/Download/Active3D (http://kov.com/Download/Active3D)

See demo video http://kov.com/Videos/3D?play=g_RAoJ9-Rp0 (http://kov.com/Videos/3D?play=g_RAoJ9-Rp0)
It currently runs only on 64 bit and OpenGL 4. It can be a bit touching as on some machine the QT will not start up. I don't know why but it looks like a platform file is needed.
Could do a 32 bit version but until the 64 bit runs for everyone it will have to wait.

Perhaps I could crowd source development of a QT version and also make the source code open source!
Would be possible to run with an open source control system to share PCB designs/schematics/parts as well so users could use their own design server. No need for a Altium cloud service.

All my file formats are open (XML) By default they are compressed. (ZIP with small compression marker). DEX also optionally encrypt the files compressed or plain.
File format is at:

http://kov.com/DexXmlSchemaManual/ (http://kov.com/DexXmlSchemaManual/)

P.S. I do AutoTRAX because I love it!
Many years go I worked for Apricot Computer in Birmingham, England and wrote 90% of their test software for their manufacturing. I went down onto the manufacturing flow and saw about 100 machines all running the test software. It's great to see one's programs being used.
http://www.old-computers.com/MUSEUM/computer.asp?c=499 (http://www.old-computers.com/MUSEUM/computer.asp?c=499)


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 21, 2014, 09:04:38 pm
Java would be dog slow.

Not so much, these days.  In fact, Java hasn't been really slow since Java 1.3, and that was a good while ago.

I'm assuming you're speaking of run speed, and not boot speed.  C# has the MS blessing of effectively precompiling every .net EXE and DLL in the background from bytecode into machine code and caching the machine code with a windows service, so it FEELS faster when you launch a C# app vs. a Java app.  Java doesn't do this and accordingly it takes more time for a Java app to start.  Unless Oracle want to design and implement a service to do this on major platforms, Java will never have great startup speed.

Performance after startup is done.. that's really good.  Like, really good.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 21, 2014, 09:34:02 pm
The AutoTRAX installer compiles and optimizes all its .NET DLLs during installation.  The optimization is for 32/64 processor type as well as processor model so there is no JIT compiling during startup.
You will see this as you install AutoTRAX.


See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6t9t5wcf%28v=vs.110%29.aspx (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6t9t5wcf%28v=vs.110%29.aspx)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: janengelbrecht on November 21, 2014, 11:04:42 pm
Make the full version free without caveat. Those who want to support it can and will. Those who cannot afford will do so latet add their business grows. Those who are just hobbies shouldn't have to pay and those who are psychopathic were always going to pirate it anyway.

They could in fact make a hobby license and a pro one. Same specs but limitations in such a way that you are not allowed to use the hobby version for professional jobs. (A lot of chineese people wouldnt care - but again they used the cracked versions anyhow :P )
Title: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on November 21, 2014, 11:09:25 pm
Java would be dog slow.

Not so much, these days.  In fact, Java hasn't been really slow since Java 1.3, and that was a good while ago.

I'm assuming you're speaking of run speed, and not boot speed.  C# has the MS blessing of effectively precompiling every .net EXE and DLL in the background from bytecode into machine code and caching the machine code with a windows service, so it FEELS faster when you launch a C# app vs. a Java app.  Java doesn't do this and accordingly it takes more time for a Java app to start.  Unless Oracle want to design and implement a service to do this on major platforms, Java will never have great startup speed.

Performance after startup is done.. that's really good.  Like, really good.

I think Java's days as a consumer software platform are coming to an end. Hell, Apple used to include a JRE with OS X, then they moved to making it downloadable from Software Update as an optional due to the size. All this time they took care of including each new JRE update via Software Update, but it got to the point where there were so many "Critical Updates" coming down the pipe due to major security flaws they just said fuck it and stopped supporting Java altogether.

Keep in mind, Apple was handling the building and testing of Java on OS X *for* Oracle. At one point in the early days (OS X 10.0 through 10.3 IIRC) you could write native Cocoa applications in Java! (!). Apple had considered it as the de-facto language for the platform moving forward, but Sun was too slow implementing some agreed upon changes and that was that. Apple went all in on Objective-C and later started writing their own toolchain when they got frustrated with the GCC project. This all happened in a 2 year span from 2003 to 2005 or so.

Hence LLVM, CLANG et al. were born.

There's even a Java front end for LLVM in the works. Annnd now we've come full circle. =D

Anyway, didn't Windows even used to include Java support through a Microsoft specific implementation of the JRE or something? I know that's been gone for awhile.

Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 21, 2014, 11:12:26 pm
Java will always have a place, I think.  You're right that its place as a consumer, end-user required install is fading.  C# has so many excellent language features that, everything else being equal, it makes no sense to write Java apps for the desktop.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 22, 2014, 12:06:26 am
Java will always have a place, I think.  You're right that its place as a consumer, end-user required install is fading.  C# has so many excellent language features that, everything else being equal, it makes no sense to write Java apps for the desktop.

Does C# run on Linux and OSX?

Go lang is supposed to have simpler deployment than java, it's still on my to do list to check how real is it.

In my hobby projects, multi os support is a must.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 22, 2014, 12:08:17 am
You missed the recent news about. Net.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on November 22, 2014, 12:33:10 am
You missed the recent news about. Net.

How can anyone miss that?
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dotnet/archive/2014/11/20/one-week-of-open-source.aspx (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dotnet/archive/2014/11/20/one-week-of-open-source.aspx)

Maybe is because they announced also free Visual Studio 2013 community up to 5 seats for small companies/individuals or small groups, and you can actually sell the code you produce provided you are within $1 million revenue or something like that.

Edit: post with more details about VS 2013 community
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/visual-studio-community-2013-a-full-featured-ide-free/msg550822/#msg550822 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/visual-studio-community-2013-a-full-featured-ide-free/msg550822/#msg550822)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 22, 2014, 01:05:19 am
You missed the recent news about. Net.

How can anyone miss that?
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dotnet/archive/2014/11/20/one-week-of-open-source.aspx (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dotnet/archive/2014/11/20/one-week-of-open-source.aspx)

Maybe is because they announced also free Visual Studio 2013 community up to 5 seats for small companies/individuals or small groups, and you can actually sell the code you produce provided you are within $1 million revenue or something like that.

Edit: post with more details about VS 2013 community
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/visual-studio-community-2013-a-full-featured-ide-free/msg550822/#msg550822 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/visual-studio-community-2013-a-full-featured-ide-free/msg550822/#msg550822)

What does it mean? Do we have now a IDE that can run on all the three OS's and can be used to develop GUI based programs that can run on all three OS's? The best I know so far is Eclipse.

I haven't use Visual Studio and Microsoft APIs for more than 15 years now and I don't miss it. Since then working at home and professionally mostly with open source tools and variants of Unix, some for very large scale systems.  Life is good.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 22, 2014, 01:19:21 am
The Microsoft APIs of 15 years ago and the Microsoft APIs of today are as different as red and green.

With full respect to you, I don't consider any 15 year old opinion on development to be valid.  SO MUCH has changed.  The .NET APIs aren't perfect, but they are SO FAR beyond what MS had available in 1999.

Honestly.  Do yourself some credit and give .net an honest try. 

Given that this is a Microsoft that open sourced .net, and just released a free version of visual studio specifically for nonprofit stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if a Linux or Mac version of VS is on its way.

Things have changed.

Edit: grammar.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on November 22, 2014, 01:29:43 am
True, a lot has changed since Visual Studio 6.0

Edit: and if you know how, you can put your own custom tool chains
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 22, 2014, 01:54:03 am
True, a lot has changed since Visual Studio 6.0

Edit: and if you know how, you can put your own custom tool chains

Isn't this what Atmel did with their studio?   It's windows only and has a monstrous installation (compare for example to lpcxpresso/eclipse).

As for Microsoft API getting much better, that's very possible since microsoft has very talented engineers,  but it's limited to their property OS so no much incentive for me. Same goes for Altium Circuit Maker which supports windows only. I learned to appreciate openness and deployment flexibility. YMMV.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on November 22, 2014, 02:00:35 am
Suit yourself on both counts (well on three counts if you include AutoTRAX).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on November 22, 2014, 02:20:09 am
Suit yourself on both counts (well on three counts if you include AutoTRAX).

My non scientific observation is that programs that support all three OS's do better in the maker/hobby/open-source market. Circuit Maker doesn't and this a major limitation in this market.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on November 22, 2014, 02:46:46 am
That's fine, myself I'm happy with an OS that supports them all which I paid $139.80 including taxes and I'm using it exclusively for electronics.

Sure it's an off Lease refurbished system; Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Processor 3.0GHz; Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit; 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM; 160GB Hard Drive; DVD-ROM Drive and no Display, and I added 2 500 GB drives that I had, not the quickest system out there but fills my needs.

So I'll be able to try Altium CM on it along with PSoC Creator, Keil uVision, LTSpice, Altera Quartus II, Eagle, etc
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on November 22, 2014, 02:50:04 am
As for Microsoft API [...] it's limited to their [proprietary] OS so no much incentive for me.

It isn't, though.  Mono is available on Linux and Mac, the official C# compiler is open source, and now nearly ALL of .net is open source as well.

It can't get much less proprietary.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on November 22, 2014, 03:41:45 am
Yeah, I'm interested to see what Apple does with Swift. They're pretty much going to have to fully open it up or let it die and make a deal with the devil and treat C# as a first class language by giving it Cocoa bindings.

Personally, I'm surprised Apple didn't make a deal with MS years ago to sort of combine .NET and Cocoa. It would have made writing Mac/Windows applications a breeze, but more importantly it would have opened up iOS development to every Windows programmer in the world. Something like that had the potential to crush Google and Android.

One set of code would have supported two commercial desktop OS's and two tablet and phone OS's.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on November 22, 2014, 03:44:48 am

That's fine, myself I'm happy with an OS that supports them all which I paid $139.80 including taxes and I'm using it exclusively for electronics.

Weird, every OS X release for the last 5 years has been free. Why is MS still charging for an operating system upgrade?

This is why over 40% of the Windows install base is still running XP.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 22, 2014, 07:52:33 pm
The reason people keep using XP are probably:

Vista was terrible so that broke the chain for many.
Most computers are still running from the XP days and are fine. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Windows 7 - well, XP seems to be working fine.
Windows 8 - Oh dear  :-\

In the banking sector in the UK all the old mainframes are biting the dust, nobody know Cobol or how the old programs works (All the programmers are long gone) so they can't transfer the data...  :scared:

For me I still have to support XP, so I can only ship .NET 4.  This is a pain.

P.S. I believe there is a Cobol.NET  :-DD
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on November 22, 2014, 07:59:50 pm
The Microsoft APIs of 15 years ago and the Microsoft APIs of today are as different as red and green.

With full respect to you, I don't consider any 15 year old opinion on development to be valid.  SO MUCH has changed.  The .NET APIs aren't perfect, but they are SO FAR beyond what MS had available in 1999.

Honestly.  Do yourself some credit and give .net an honest try. 

Given that this is a Microsoft that open sourced .net, and just released a free version of visual studio specifically for nonprofit stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if a Linux or Mac version of VS is on its way.

Things have changed.

Edit: grammar.

Absolutely:
The code in the old days of C++/MFC is absolutely terrible  to write and fix compared to C#/.NET. 50% + of the advantage of C# is the massive .NET libraries. This greatly improves productivity and maintainability/reliability. Also security is better (no classic buffer overrun).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on November 23, 2014, 01:55:45 am
From my experience, c# & .net is an extremely productive tool.   I use it to create production test/programming tools.    I have had a line running on .net helping crank out units for 6 years now.  Never any issues.   The IT guys have had no problem maintaining the tools written in .net.   

I have also written some acoustic field solvers ( 4th order PDE's) in .net.  While the performance was about half that of a c implementation,   the code was up and running  very quickly.  It also handles multicore and multi threading very smoothly.   virtually all of the performance issues were due to array bounds checking in a loop.   It made it easier get the code running and throw more cores at the problem.


As for Apple pricing on the os...  Of course the don't charge.   They already got 400% margin on that overpriced hardware that comes in a 4 color double walled box. ????


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: timb on November 23, 2014, 11:41:54 am
Actually, Apple's laptops are on par, if not cheaper than a comparative quality PC laptop. Hell, they made the MacBook Air their entry level machine starting at $999. That's an ultrabook with an SSD, milled from a solid block of aluminum. It's hard to beat, really.


Sent from my Smartphone
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 01, 2015, 11:01:13 pm
Any news regarding Altium Circuit Maker? No much buzz recently.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on January 01, 2015, 11:30:36 pm
Any news regarding Altium Circuit Maker? No much buzz recently.

So much for them telling us "later this(2014)".


I bet we never ever see this thing released. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 01, 2015, 11:52:53 pm
Any news regarding Altium Circuit Maker? No much buzz recently.

So much for them telling us "later this(2014)".


I bet we never ever see this thing released.

If so, the concerns expressed in this  thread may have a part in it.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on January 02, 2015, 12:12:56 am
They did tell us that we were not chosen for their close beta and the release was planned for January, today is just the 1st. Patience ;)

Well you are soon to be gratified.  :-+

I had this from Daniel Fernsebner.
Director of Global Services & Developer Network

Closed beta has begun with the intent to release the product in January.

Kind regards,
Dan


So the Beta is just December?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: alimirjamali on January 02, 2015, 05:13:38 am
Any news regarding Altium Circuit Maker? No much buzz recently.

It appears that Dave and Chris discussed this in the last episode (http://www.theamphour.com/230-prepping-for-hoverboards-gallionic-github-gabble/) of The Amp Hour podcast. Unfortunately I did not have time to listen to it. I quote the episode notes here:

Quote
When Dave finally hires an intern next year, he’ll have to decide which PCB package he’ll purchase/use with them. Altium is planning to release a mid range version called CircuitStudio (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-circuit-studio/) alongside CircuitMaker.

So far those hobbyists/open source advocates who waited for the so called Circuit Maker were losers and the others who adopted another free package won. Learning curve is time consuming and time is money :palm:

In the meantime, KiCad's development team has been highly active, making it more and more reliable. I have heard it is now stable on MacOSX.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 02, 2015, 06:13:56 am
In the meantime, KiCad's development team has been highly active, making it more and more reliable. I have heard it is now stable on MacOSX.

Still no binary...  I don't hold my breath anymore.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 22, 2015, 08:28:29 pm
In the meantime, KiCad's development team has been highly active, making it more and more reliable. I have heard it is now stable on MacOSX.

Still no binary...  I don't hold my breath anymore.
Ah well. One day...  :'(

Anyway Free AutoTRAX is here, so no need to wait.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software) :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 22, 2015, 08:45:03 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)

(couldn't resist)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: pickle9000 on January 22, 2015, 09:08:01 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)

(couldn't resist)

He spent all his time on the software, I gave it a look and it's not bad at all. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 22, 2015, 09:34:14 pm
In the meantime, KiCad's development team has been highly active, making it more and more reliable. I have heard it is now stable on MacOSX.

Still no binary...  I don't hold my breath anymore.
Ah well. One day...  :'(

Anyway Free AutoTRAX is here, so no need to wait.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software) :)

Doesn't help here, I am a Mac OSX user.  ;-)

Any chance of supporting also Mac OSX?  I think it's an important feature for tools for the OSH community (see Eagle, DipTrace, Kicad (almost)).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 22, 2015, 09:41:08 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)

(couldn't resist)

That's a one man operation. An amazing achievement IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWeBjjjXMhM#t=141 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWeBjjjXMhM#t=141)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on January 22, 2015, 10:33:38 pm
Anyway Free AutoTRAX is here, so no need to wait.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software) :)

I could not get the above link to work for some reason & so post your first post from that thread below:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software/msg591110/#msg591110 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software/msg591110/#msg591110)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 23, 2015, 03:35:59 pm
In the meantime, KiCad's development team has been highly active, making it more and more reliable. I have heard it is now stable on MacOSX.

Still no binary...  I don't hold my breath anymore.
Ah well. One day...  :'(

Anyway Free AutoTRAX is here, so no need to wait.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/free-unlimited-version-of-autotrax-pcb-design-software) :)

Doesn't help here, I am a Mac OSX user.  ;-)

Any chance of supporting also Mac OSX?  I think it's an important feature for tools for the OSH community (see Eagle, DipTrace, Kicad (almost)).

This may help... http://kov.com/Support/Apple (http://kov.com/Support/Apple)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 23, 2015, 03:43:35 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)

(couldn't resist)

Well, you could always do a project in DEX, email it to me and I'll use that an excellent example of PCB design.

I'll even give you a full license for free if it's any good. That can't be bad!  :)

We're all looking forward to seeing it.  :-+

If anybody else has an excellent design in DEX that they would like me to feature on my web site with a link/credits to them, then please email me the project (Use the build in problem reporter) and I'll give them a full license for free if it's any good.

Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on January 23, 2015, 04:13:04 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)
(couldn't resist)
That's a one man operation. An amazing achievement IMO.
amazing indeed, but sadly went the wrong direction, what a waste. have you tried the simple demo pcb editing? a good way to make a spaghetty mess in seconds, no 45 deg trace snap, just arbitrary angles. i tried to advice him to become a millionaire but he didnt listen, he kept firing at people saying his invention works. i dont know today.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 23, 2015, 04:39:34 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)
(couldn't resist)
That's a one man operation. An amazing achievement IMO.
amazing indeed, but sadly went the wrong direction, what a waste. have you tried the simple demo pcb editing? a good way to make a spaghetty mess in seconds, no 45 deg trace snap, just arbitrary angles. i tried to advice him to become a millionaire but he didnt listen, he kept firing at people saying his invention works. i dont know today.

I was wondering when you was going to turn up. Anyway, Here goes...

You are so wrong  no 45 deg trace snap!. Have you used AutoTRAX?
View this video to learn about  45 deg trace snap - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQW86DuoWjA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQW86DuoWjA)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 23, 2015, 05:12:31 pm
This may help... http://kov.com/Support/Apple (http://kov.com/Support/Apple)

Any chance for a single package installer for Mac OSX?  Without having to install other products and OSs.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 23, 2015, 05:22:46 pm
i'll wait for free altium. judging by the demo layouts on Autotrax website it's pretty crummy >:)

(couldn't resist)

Well, you could always do a project in DEX, email it to me and I'll use that an excellent example of PCB design.

I'll even give you a full license for free if it's any good. That can't be bad!  :)

i'll take you up on that offer. lemme see if i can whip up a board over the weekend. but be prepared for some 'machinegunning' if the software is counterintuitive. if i need to spend more than a few hours finding my way to create symbols, footprints and route it ... the guns will come out .

We're all looking forward to seeing it.  :-+

If anybody else has an excellent design in DEX that they would like me to feature on my web site with a link/credits to them, then please email me the project (Use the build in problem reporter) and I'll give them a full license for free if it's any good.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 23, 2015, 05:27:59 pm
i'll take you up on that offer. lemme see if i can whip up a board over the weekend. but be prepared for some 'machinegunning' if the software is counterintuitive. if i need to spend more than a few hours finding my way to create symbols, footprints and route it ... the guns will come out .

Michael Buffer - Let's Get Ready To Rumble!!! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6eQ78HCGEA#)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: elgonzo on January 23, 2015, 06:02:46 pm
i'll take you up on that offer. lemme see if i can whip up a board over the weekend. but be prepared for some 'machinegunning' if the software is counterintuitive. if i need to spend more than a few hours finding my way to create symbols, footprints and route it ... the guns will come out .

Girl Knocks Herself Out with Gun Funny Movies Videos.flv (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrNEsA5f8no#)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 23, 2015, 06:48:16 pm
i'll take you up on that offer. lemme see if i can whip up a board over the weekend. but be prepared for some 'machinegunning' if the software is counterintuitive. if i need to spend more than a few hours finding my way to create symbols, footprints and route it ... the guns will come out .

Don't forget to keep an open mind. AutoTRAX is not Eagle (impossible to leave dangling wires in AutoTRAX). There is no separate schematic/PCB

Design from the schematic not the PCB.

Start with schematics.
http://kov.com/Videos/Schematics (http://kov.com/Videos/Schematics)
Try editing parts in place. Drag terminals etc.

As for parts, view at least 1 video. See parts videos...
Parts http://kov.com/Videos/Parts (http://kov.com/Videos/Parts)
Use parametric parts, use PDF capture for symbol terminal. (see videos) Re-order/split symbols.

Then finally to the PCB
http://kov.com/Videos/PCBs (http://kov.com/Videos/PCBs)

If would be nice if you could let us all know what you are designing so we could perhaps make this a race, or PCB design shoot-out  :box:
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on January 23, 2015, 07:31:25 pm
Meanwhile....its almost February 2015 and I forgot how many months ago it was I signed up for the Altium site and received a total of 1/2 of a communication from them the entire time.

(http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/meanwhile-in2.jpg)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 23, 2015, 07:46:54 pm

Don't forget to keep an open mind. AutoTRAX is not Eagle

Eagle ? What is Eagle ? you mean that glorified pencil and napkin tool ?
Don't insult me ! i don't use tools that smell like wee >:)

What i'm making ? probably something simple. a couple of TQFP's , 4 layer plus a couple of planes , some memory. may throw in some diff pairs and length matched stuff. may use flow routing ( curved traces ). Better make sure your spatial checker is up t par... just in case i make this a foldable board ...

i hope it can read STEP files or i'm not even beginning ...




Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 23, 2015, 07:56:42 pm
well this is a no start ... no STEP support   >:(
how am i supposed to bring in assemblies like a case , buttons etc ? i have a bunch of mechanical stuff that needs to fit correctly on the pcb. i have all those parts as STEP or IGES files ( STEP be the dominant format. all manufacturers like tyco, molex and many many others have STEP available. )

this begins good ... i can' t even place the first parts or draw out my board contour ... i don't do rectangular boards .. they need to fit a case including holes, notches , cutouts and other stuff.

from the DEX manual : download file, load in Inventor export as SGL.

great so i need a 10000$ program ( a program i don't have and don't know ) to work with the 45$ pcb tool ...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 23, 2015, 08:41:17 pm
well this is a no start ... no STEP support   >:(
how am i supposed to bring in assemblies like a case , buttons etc ? i have a bunch of mechanical stuff that needs to fit correctly on the pcb. i have all those parts as STEP or IGES files ( STEP be the dominant format. all manufacturers like tyco, molex and many many others have STEP available. )

this begins good ... i can' t even place the first parts or draw out my board contour ... i don't do rectangular boards .. they need to fit a case including holes, notches , cutouts and other stuff.

from the DEX manual : download file, load in Inventor export as SGL.

great so i need a 10000$ program ( a program i don't have and don't know ) to work with the 45$ pcb tool ...
So you've jumped out of the ring and off to the dressing room before the bell's started. :-//

Bye the way, does everything you don't like smell of wee. There's nothing better with a full English breakfast than a couple of grilled kidneys. :P
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 23, 2015, 08:47:06 pm
Meanwhile....its almost February 2015 and I forgot how many months ago it was I signed up for the Altium site and received a total of 1/2 of a communication from them the entire time.

(http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/meanwhile-in2.jpg)

Ahh..., but they now have your email address. Did you give them your phone number? :(
Do you fancy Altium Designer as Circuit Maker is not quite ready. :-\
Hope you didn't give them your address. Who's that at your door with a big carpet bag? :o
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on January 23, 2015, 10:04:12 pm
You are so wrong no 45 deg trace snap!. Have you used AutoTRAX?
View this video to learn about  45 deg trace snap - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQW86DuoWjA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQW86DuoWjA)
o right :palm: i am so "wrong" :D congratulation! after all this years. now we have alot to catch up ;) keep it up! hows the simulation tutorial/functionality goes on? next time make that (45 degree routing) as default setting because we dont usually see spagetthy board around. next move?.... questionaires for experts... and hope we dont wander and waste time too much. i hope you dont take it as an insult, more like an advice ;)

Ahh..., but they now have your email address. Did you give them your phone number? :(
i occasionally got an email from your ads dept thanks. i hope one day i got one from your edu dept, err i mean full tutorial on how to from A to Z (footprint->components->schematics->simul->pcb->3d->gerber production) not in phletora form of small sections in few minutes each separately in where i cannot or difficult to find ;) cheers.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Christopher on January 23, 2015, 10:26:17 pm
DEX seems like a really good bit of kit for the hobbyist. Not everyone needs more than 2 layers or diff pair routing. Iliya, keep doing what you are doing no matter what the haters say. For a one man band your software seems more than useful for the maker community who want something simple that just works and can be picked up over the course of a weekend. Eagle is too.. Eagle. Altium isn't for makers.


All I can say is different tools are for different markets. If you go to McDonalds to eat with royalty you're gonna have a bad time.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 23, 2015, 10:33:54 pm
BTW, the 'scientific' name for that 45 degrees routing is 'octilinear', the 90 degrees routing is  called 'rectilinear', and then there is the 'any angle'.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on January 23, 2015, 10:44:09 pm
may throw in some diff pairs and length matched stuff. may use flow routing ( curved traces ). Better make sure your spatial checker is up t par... just in case i make this a foldable board ...

i hope it can read STEP files or i'm not even beginning ...

well this is a no start ... no STEP support   >:(
how am i supposed to bring in assemblies like a case , buttons etc ? i have a bunch of mechanical stuff that needs to fit correctly on the pcb. i have all those parts as STEP or IGES files ( STEP be the dominant format. all manufacturers like tyco, molex and many many others have STEP available. )

Sweet Jesus you're picky... of course it's no Altium...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 23, 2015, 11:24:18 pm
I know it's not altium and i don't expect it to be altium. This is also not a matter of being 'hater' or not.
This is basic functionality. If you are going to support 3D make it usable by supporting the standard formats like STEP and IGES.

Remember that my goal is to make a NICE looking board so that he can show this off on his website. I am willing to invest time in doing that, and figuring out along the way where there is room for improvement. (and i am going to be vocal about anything i find !)

I am in step 1 of the board design : figuring out where everything needs to go and i'm already stuck : i can't place parts as i can't load the models.

When designing a board you first place 'immovable objects' such as connectors , buttons , displays, heatsinks, transformers and anything that needs to be accessible outside the box, or interact with the box (spatial wise like transformers, heatsinks etc ) . DEX supports 3d. Great , Fantastic... except only an obscure format that NOBODY uses. And with nobody i mean : go to websites of Samtec, Tyco ,Molex, MEC or even 3Dcontentcentral. That format is NOT there ! So you may as well not have 3D at all.

you need a very expensive tool to convert to that 3d format.(and jump through intermediate hoops to get even there ! )

I wanted to make a nice board with some cool packages and nice buttons and a display and i can't even load the buttons to figure out where they need to go.

If you are going to support 3D make sure it uses the dominant standard format. An that is STEP.

Not good !
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 23, 2015, 11:44:04 pm
A fair comparison would be to eagle, diptrace, kicad and products for the same target market.  Saying that it's not having feature X while none in this category has it is meaningless.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on January 24, 2015, 01:29:45 am
A fair comparison would be to eagle, diptrace, kicad and products for the same target market.

The latest edition of DipTrace supports the importation of 3D component models in the following formats:
STEP
IGES
3DS
VRML

http://diptrace.com/company/news/ (http://diptrace.com/company/news/)

I believe Iliya will fairly quickly work out a way to achieve STEP import without requiring the use of expensive third party software.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: firewalker on January 24, 2015, 08:30:05 am
I believe FreeCAD can import STEP files and export it to a number of formats. E.g. VRML (wrl) for KiCAD.

Alexander.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: elgonzo on January 24, 2015, 12:36:46 pm
Seems Altium has a real marketing problem. Just look at this thread. People are more interested in discussing the 3D import capabilities of KiCAD, Diptrace, AutoTrax and whatnot.

I can imagine the people in a few months from now:

Quote
"Have you heard about Altium?"
"No. What is that?"
"I dunno. I thought you knew."
"Hmm. Perhaps they discovered a new element. The name does sound like one of these elements Potassium, Einsteinium, Uranium and what they are all called."
"Yeah, I guess you are right. Awesome that they still discover new elements these days. Science is amazing..."

 >:D >:D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 24, 2015, 02:05:21 pm
A fair comparison would be to eagle, diptrace, kicad and products for the same target market.  Saying that it's not having feature X while none in this category has it is meaningless.
And what target market would that be ?
The target market for a schemaric / pcb package is people that want to draw schematics and design boards. . No ? What other diversification do you want.

Do you want to make cars that are only for people that drive short distances ? Ot cars for people that only drive on two lane roads ? That doesnt pan out.

Of course you cant expect  that all cars are as advanced as a Tesla.
But , today every car comes with a navigation system (3D) Right now the 'dex' car only navigates on dirt roads in moldavia. Anything else requires you to bring the bulldozer and pour the asphalt.

Not good ...

Anyway. I have not given up.

I will do a design , trying to make something that looks neat and cool so he can put it on his site. It has to be aestetically pleasing , properly laid out and properly drafted.

So i will start by making a schematic. And post my findings along the way.
I may come of harsh , but i am intrigued by this tool , especially since it is a one man show. Any criticism i spew is notment to hurt but to poke a finger in the eye where the big shortcomings and annoyances are. Capture and layout software should assit the designer and lighten the work or speed it up.  Too many cad programs are written by 'programmers' that have no concept of what the problems really are or how it will be used.

There are a lot of very tedious steps in making a schematic and producing a board. A good program does the annoying jobs for you and lets you focus on where the human is needed. Let the computer do what it is best at and the human where he is best. Cad programs that need to have the human do everything or no longer of this century ... They died years ago.


Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: zapta on January 24, 2015, 03:19:08 pm
A fair comparison would be to eagle, diptrace, kicad and products for the same target market.  Saying that it's not having feature X while none in this category has it is meaningless.
And what target market would that be ?
The target market for a schemaric / pcb package is people that want to draw schematics and design boards. . No ? What other diversification do you want.

For example, the market of large corporation the needs to adhere to standards (e.g. resistor proportion) and processes are very different from the needs of a small OSH project maker.

Do you want to make cars that are only for people that drive short distances ?

Yes, they are called golf carts and are very useful.

Of course you cant expect  that all cars are as advanced as a Tesla.

Of course not, I expect them to be better so the government doesn't need to bribe people to buy them.  ;-) 

Anyway, looking forward for your open minded evaluation.

The main drawbacks I see with Auto Traxs are being Windows only (not that useful for open source projects) and being a one man close code project (things can happen).
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 24, 2015, 03:50:50 pm
The main drawbacks I see with Auto Traxs are being Windows only (not that useful for open source projects) and being a one man close code project (things can happen).

Things can happen with the big guys.
Where's PCAD, EasyTrack, Circuit Maker old and new?  :-//

Oh, and where's Nick?  :scared: At least I own 100%

I think Altium also put another program to sleep (euthanasia).  :'(

P.S. I have a will and it has written instructions on what to do. Worst case senario, it goes on GitHub as open source. (Oh dear, better watch my back!)  :o
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 24, 2015, 03:56:51 pm
A fair comparison would be to eagle, diptrace, kicad and products for the same target market.  Saying that it's not having feature X while none in this category has it is meaningless.
And what target market would that be ?
The target market for a schemaric / pcb package is people that want to draw schematics and design boards. . No ? What other diversification do you want.

Do you want to make cars that are only for people that drive short distances ? Ot cars for people that only drive on two lane roads ? That doesnt pan out.

Of course you cant expect  that all cars are as advanced as a Tesla.
But , today every car comes with a navigation system (3D) Right now the 'dex' car only navigates on dirt roads in moldavia. Anything else requires you to bring the bulldozer and pour the asphalt.

Not good ...

Anyway. I have not given up.

I will do a design , trying to make something that looks neat and cool so he can put it on his site. It has to be aestetically pleasing , properly laid out and properly drafted.

So i will start by making a schematic. And post my findings along the way.
I may come of harsh , but i am intrigued by this tool , especially since it is a one man show. Any criticism i spew is notment to hurt but to poke a finger in the eye where the big shortcomings and annoyances are. Capture and layout software should assit the designer and lighten the work or speed it up.  Too many cad programs are written by 'programmers' that have no concept of what the problems really are or how it will be used.

There are a lot of very tedious steps in making a schematic and producing a board. A good program does the annoying jobs for you and lets you focus on where the human is needed. Let the computer do what it is best at and the human where he is best. Cad programs that need to have the human do everything or no longer of this century ... They died years ago.

I've put STEP on the 2015 Roadmap for AutoTRAX. http://kov.com/Support/Roadmap (http://kov.com/Support/Roadmap)
Use the:
Feedback http://kov.com/Support/Feedback (http://kov.com/Support/Feedback) or
Wishlist http://kov.com/Support/WishList (http://kov.com/Support/WishList)

You can ask questions inside AutoTRAX - use Help->Support->Report Problem button.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on January 24, 2015, 04:00:59 pm
I've put STEP on the 2015 Roadmap for AutoTRAX.   
 (http://kov.com/Support/Roadmap)

:-+

I don't really think 3D is as important as he makes it out to be, but I definitely approve of the attempt to get STEP implemented.

hmm... it does look like nice software... might have to get it up and running in a virtualbox or something...

P.S. dude, you have serious troubles with posting links on this forum ;D
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 24, 2015, 08:10:29 pm
3d is extremely important. It is where the industry is today. No longer where it is headed. No step model means we dont use it !
The days of having to bi.uild footprints from paper are over. So are the days of having to guess if everything will fit after it is assembled. We live in a time where computers are powerful. Where 3d printing is ubiquitus.Everyone bleats about collaboration and sharing . I say share step files. It avoids problems and shortens design time and eliminates lots of problems. We can create beautiful things if we can mesh electronics and modeling and mechanical cad. 3d step files allow you to pull that together.

Any new software that does not support that will fall by the wayside. Not having support for real 3d is like a calculator without multiplication. You can do it by repetitively adding, but nobody will buy it.

As for the comment ' it's for makers' . I resent such comments. Anything worth doing is worth f.doing good. You are holding people back. There is tons of peoe out there that could make great stuff if knly they could get their hands on decent tools. That is my 'fight'

When i grew up as a 16. Year old i saw flga tools on sun workstations. I had ideas but couldnt even learn about that stuff because the computers and software were too expensive.

Today stuff has come down in price a lot. 400$ gets you a pretty good scope.
We need a really good pcb tool that lets one make designs with bga et al. Not that stuff that costs 500$ and you can still only do 4 layer eurocards. Dex looks interesting. Its cheap and promises a lot. Let me see if it holds up against my yardstick: getting a capable tool in the hands of the masses.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on January 24, 2015, 08:42:47 pm
The main drawbacks I see with Auto Traxs are being Windows only (not that useful for open source projects) and being a one man close code project (things can happen).
the other drawback is its "paid" software ;) because the trend for success in linux is it has to be "free", besides of being "open sourced" ;) no?. imho and reading... linux is flooded with free stuffs and the users seem not to be able to distiguish between "software" and "the real software". most of the time they like to insist that whats available in "free stuff" can rival or do what "commercial/professional/paid stuff" can do.

and yes things happened in linux one (even many) man open project. what happened? the original creators left to find a life (knitting maybe) waiting for other enthusiasts that up to the task to continue whats being left (KiCAD anyone?)... for "free" of course. i wish linux ecosystem can be the next thing to users and developers, i've been holding my breath for 20 years ++, i dont see thats happening.

if you ask me between free kicad and paid diptrace, i'll choose diptrace, kicad is not up to the task esp in term of speed running in windows. but the thousands pound sterling for unlimited diptrace is not in my price range either, dillema! i'll hold my breath on "cheap paid" version like AutoTRAX, but how long? i dont know. its sad to see a potential pcb package like trax went to a fancy 3d editing package like well suited for arduino artists... i mean whats the top/left/bottom/front buttons view are for? we aint want to full edit the vertices of whatnot, we just want to make a clear view of 3d component, just one "3d orbit mouse drag" button will do, autotrax seems going to be flooded with bunches of useless buttons... new world order dilemma! between free/expensive/cheap stuffs. in the mean time maybe knitting is the right stuff for me now :palm:

from:
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/linux-and-open-source/proprietary-linux-software-a-big-dilemma-for-many-linux-users/ (http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/linux-and-open-source/proprietary-linux-software-a-big-dilemma-for-many-linux-users/)

"If end users (and admins) are willing to open up there minds and wallets, more Linux companies will be able to create more and better software. With more and better software flooding the landscape, Linux will begin to enjoy more and more success."

no thats not happening yet. the real reason is unclearly why albeit its free for the 20+ damned years.  :-//
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on January 24, 2015, 09:24:33 pm
3d is extremely important. It is where the industry is today. No longer where it is headed. No step model means we dont use it !
The days of having to bi.uild footprints from paper are over. So are the days of having to guess if everything will fit after it is assembled. We live in a time where computers are powerful. Where 3d printing is ubiquitus.Everyone bleats about collaboration and sharing . I say share step files. It avoids problems and shortens design time and eliminates lots of problems. We can create beautiful things if we can mesh electronics and modeling and mechanical cad. 3d step files allow you to pull that together.

Any new software that does not support that will fall by the wayside. Not having support for real 3d is like a calculator without multiplication. You can do it by repetitively adding, but nobody will buy it.

As for the comment ' it's for makers' . I resent such comments. Anything worth doing is worth f.doing good. You are holding people back. There is tons of peoe out there that could make great stuff if knly they could get their hands on decent tools. That is my 'fight'

When i grew up as a 16. Year old i saw flga tools on sun workstations. I had ideas but couldnt even learn about that stuff because the computers and software were too expensive.

Today stuff has come down in price a lot. 400$ gets you a pretty good scope.
We need a really good pcb tool that lets one make designs with bga et al. Not that stuff that costs 500$ and you can still only do 4 layer eurocards. Dex looks interesting. Its cheap and promises a lot. Let me see if it holds up against my yardstick: getting a capable tool in the hands of the masses.

I agree with you in some respects.

AutoTRAX is not intended solely for the Maker market. I am trying to bootstrap develop a tool with a solid, well designed data structure, from the bottom up. A lot of work went into this.
As for BGA I have book that may be of interest. BGA Breakouts and Routing. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/BGA-Breakouts-Routing-Effective-Methods/dp/1452867585/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422134118&sr=8-1&keywords=BGA+breakouts)
I am very interested in expanding AutoTRAX to take into account signal integrity etc. The DRC is good geometrically and can easily be expanded for timing etc. The PCB has defined thickness and I could easily add dielectric constants etc.
The tool tip already shows track length so timing is easy to add.
Buried/Blind vias are on the cards but at the moment the boards cost a lot extra to make.

I need users....
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Mechatrommer on January 24, 2015, 09:53:42 pm
...tool with a solid, well designed data structure...
circuit designers dont care a dime on what data structure it is or how faboulosly effort put into it, they only care about designing circuit. if you get that idea you win, diptrace albeit its poor ol gui and kicad like separate sw for comp/sch/pcb and more expensive is still on top of this trax why? they got the idea right. dont talk marketing a circuit designer dont care about. when i say win, is not based on how fancy a sw looks, but how much users and profit they collected, please one should not live in one's own dreamworld ;) no offense, again, if i have to mention this everytime.

I am very interested in expanding AutoTRAX to take into account signal integrity etc.
no no no dont do that yet! fix the basic thing first, people are put off by this basic things impracticality and overwhelmed by your buttons with less manual instructions. expanding to complicated stuffs will do no good if people are not using the sw because of trivial (but important) stuffs. but if you wish to waste another time and have money poll to live, then carry on, i dont have the right to object its your sw afterall.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: free_electron on January 24, 2015, 10:13:39 pm
I need users....

Ok, i am trying ... Go read the topic i created. I am stuck. The autowiring algorithm doesn't work. How do iturn it off ?

There is already a long list of things you can start tweaking to make DEX better.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: c4757p on January 24, 2015, 11:07:58 pm
I am very interested in expanding AutoTRAX to take into account signal integrity etc.
no no no dont do that yet! fix the basic thing first, people are put off by this basic things impracticality and overwhelmed by your buttons with less manual instructions. expanding to complicated stuffs will do no good if people are not using the sw because of trivial (but important) stuffs. but if you wish to waste another time and have money poll to live, then carry on, i dont have the right to object its your sw afterall.

+1

Seems like it's got some trouble with basic things, like easily drawing schematics. Fix that first! You want a nice product to add some special features to, not a pile of bells and whistles that smells like wee ;)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: hikariuk on January 26, 2015, 06:45:49 pm
All I can say is different tools are for different markets. If you go to McDonalds to eat with royalty you're gonna have a bad time.

Princess Diana used to take William and Harry to McD's all the time...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zeta on January 29, 2015, 10:37:21 pm
There is tons of peoe out there that could make great stuff if knly they could get their hands on decent tools. That is my 'fight'
That's not your 'fight' that is your tantrum. If it were your fight you would we building those tools instead of just whining about the existing ones.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on January 29, 2015, 10:41:05 pm
There is tons of peoe out there that could make great stuff if knly they could get their hands on decent tools. That is my 'fight'
That's not your 'fight' that is your tantrum. If it were your fight you would we building those tools instead of just whining about the existing ones.

There are many fronts to a fight.  There's all kinds of ways to actively fight against a software problem that don't involve actual programming.

Besides, once you get to a point where you can know circuit and board design very well, it's because you spent time designing circuits and boards and not programming.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zeta on January 29, 2015, 10:51:32 pm
There is tons of peoe out there that could make great stuff if knly they could get their hands on decent tools. That is my 'fight'
That's not your 'fight' that is your tantrum. If it were your fight you would we building those tools instead of just whining about the existing ones.

There are many fronts to a fight.  There's all kinds of ways to actively fight against a software problem that don't involve actual programming.

Besides, once you get to a point where you can know circuit and board design very well, it's because you spent time designing circuits and boards and not programming.
There are many ways to help build a software product that don't require programming expertise. Whining about it or bugging others to do as you wish is not one of those.

I would have thought the OSS movement had made that clear long ago.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on January 29, 2015, 11:03:31 pm
The only thing that the OSS "movement" has made clear to me is that without someone being responsible for software quality, as in OSS, the software quality is absolute shit.

Plenty of non-free software is shit too, mind you, but not having someone who is responsible for quality, be it to themselves or to others, then there won't be any impetus to increase quality.  "works for me" is where it stops.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: nixfu on January 29, 2015, 11:15:23 pm
OSS, the software quality is absolute shit.

That statement has been proven statistically wrong.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/250543/actually_open_source_code_is_better_report.html (http://www.pcworld.com/article/250543/actually_open_source_code_is_better_report.html)

http://www.zdnet.com/article/coverity-finds-open-source-software-quality-better-than-proprietary-code/ (http://www.zdnet.com/article/coverity-finds-open-source-software-quality-better-than-proprietary-code/)

//just sayin
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zeta on January 29, 2015, 11:28:47 pm
The only thing that the OSS "movement" has made clear to me is that without someone being responsible for software quality, as in OSS, the software quality is absolute shit.

Plenty of non-free software is shit too, mind you, but not having someone who is responsible for quality, be it to themselves or to others, then there won't be any impetus to increase quality.  "works for me" is where it stops.
I hope we agree that quality control, usability and UI design require expertise in that particular field. No project, be it OSS or propietary, be it big or small, would appoint a cry baby for such task only on the merit of their whining.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on January 30, 2015, 01:51:22 am
With the new deal done with Farnell, I suspect the name of this thread should now read "Free Altium is NOT Coming".

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-circuit-studio/msg598018/#msg598018 (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-circuit-studio/msg598018/#msg598018)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on January 30, 2015, 02:12:50 am
As far as everyone knows, they are still in close beta with open beta around the corner.

Just because they have circuit studio it doesn't mean a thing. Marketing wise it makes sense they keep quiet during this time and hype it up once open beta comes, then quiet again and more hype close to release. That repetition of hype-quiet reinforces the customer awareness of the product when it's ready to come out.

I would worry if they don't have anything by the end of February because slipping one month is nothing in projects like this.
Then again there are two days left in January so the open beta could be still on schedule, we just don't know, and guessing is not going to help bring it to market faster :)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Iliya on April 05, 2015, 11:20:02 pm
As far as everyone knows, they are still in close beta with open beta around the corner.

Just because they have circuit studio it doesn't mean a thing. Marketing wise it makes sense they keep quiet during this time and hype it up once open beta comes, then quiet again and more hype close to release. That repetition of hype-quiet reinforces the customer awareness of the product when it's ready to come out.

I would worry if they don't have anything by the end of February because slipping one month is nothing in projects like this.
Then again there are two days left in January so the open beta could be still on schedule, we just don't know, and guessing is not going to help bring it to market faster :)

It's April now, I'd love to take a peek. If I slipped a month, well over 2 in this case, I'd be sacking people. Oh, there's only me to sack  :o
I signed up for Beta last year. Nothing!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on April 06, 2015, 01:55:49 am
It's April now, I'd love to take a peek. If I slipped a month, well over 2 in this case, I'd be sacking people.
I signed up for Beta last year. Nothing!
Perhaps that is why there is another thread running called "CircuitMaker Dead".

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/eda/circuitmaker-dead/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/eda/circuitmaker-dead/)

As I've said before, Altium will not be putting much effort into this product now that they have come to their new agreement with Farnell with the product called "Circuit Studio".

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-circuit-studio/ (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-circuit-studio/)

Now before all the hopefuls yell me down, I state the above due to being privy to some inside information.

You will find that Altium does just a little on the product until their shareholders have forgotten most of their presentation to them last year .......... and Altium will be ramping up Circuit Studio as the money making replacement.

No doubt most of their shareholders will swallow this hook, line & 10kg sinker.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on April 06, 2015, 02:33:18 am
Just saying vague statements is nothing more than spreading rumors for whatever agenda you or your insider informant has because of internal politics and his statements might not have any truth behind them at all.

Why would Altium announce just a couple of weeks ago that they'll go open beta at the Maker Faire in one month from now?
http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/The-Road-to-Maker-Faire (http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/The-Road-to-Maker-Faire)

So what is your professional relationship with Altium to be privy on that information? And what did you actually hear that it's a done deal that is a no deal?

Show a memo/annoucement from someone that actually has authority on the subject or what you know are just rumors.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on April 06, 2015, 03:02:46 am
Just saying vague statements
I don't think my statement was in any way "vague". In fact it is very much black & white.

"As I've said before, Altium will not be putting much effort into this product now that they have come to their new agreement with Farnell with the product called Circuit Studio".

Quote
So what is your professional relationship with Altium to be privy on that information?
I am very close to one of the developing team members.

Still, best you don't believe & just observe what happens over the next 18 months.

I will point you back to this post once the end result is known.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on April 06, 2015, 05:21:57 am
I'm very close to a lot of developers in my field but we do have company policies that state not to spread points of view from even collaborating companies because individuals might not really be in the know and because it can waste millions of marketing funds by thinking the insider information is in black and white.

So you are saying that the open beta is not going to happen? or is it? and octopart has nothing in stake with this?

I guess we can wait one month and change and see what happens at Maker Faire.

Short of sharing Altium's roadmap for CM indicating an early EOL it's just speculation since they are updating news to the masses and the press.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on April 06, 2015, 06:28:36 am
So you are saying that the open beta is not going to happen?
No, I did not say that.

Clearly if you read my posts above (& in the CircuitMaker thread) you will have a pretty good overview of where this product is heading (it will be released, but not much will be done with it in the future - if you want something that is usable/workable for production, you will need to move up to Circuit Studio which you will find will be having a lot of work done to it over the next 2 to 12 months to bring it quickly up to speed).

Quote
it's just speculation since they are updating news to the masses and the press.
As I said above, we will revisit this in 18 months. You will have the benefit of hindsight then.

I will be kind to you when I ask for your apology.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on April 06, 2015, 06:43:23 am
I will have no need to apologize since you are not disclosing details on your relation with Altium, so I can take it with a grain of salt and would not feel the obligation to apologize since you are not doing a full disclosure.

If for example you were giving proof and I was denying it then I would feel obligated to apologize but to me this is no different than a guy at the bar telling me that he is Ted Nugent's closest hunting buddy.

If I don't believe him I would not feel obligated to apologize even if it was true.

Edit: The only thing I get out of your statements are conflicts of interests as far as Altium and your employer are concerned with you outing this miss/information (false or true) it doesn't matter.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: LabSpokane on April 06, 2015, 08:06:54 pm
In light of the fact that Altium is publicly traded, the "insider information" could work out badly for the folks providing it.  Not sure what the laws are in Aussieland, but in the US, it's a major no-no. 
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on April 06, 2015, 11:16:43 pm
Not sure what the laws are in Aussieland
You may not be aware of it, but many of Altium's most talented programmers are in the Ukraine.

I don't think they care too much about the laws in Australia.

They are more interested in the war that rages within their country & their immigration applications for the USA.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Corporate666 on April 07, 2015, 01:44:08 am
Not sure what the laws are in Aussieland
You may not be aware of it, but many of Altium's most talented programmers are in the Ukraine.

I don't think they care too much about the laws in Australia.

They are more interested in the war that rages within their country & their immigration applications for the USA.

It's also likely that Altium management aren't sharing the long term vision of each product with their programmers in Ukraine.  And a lot can change in a year or two... even if they are putting one product on the back burner in favor of another, it doesn't mean things will say that way.  After all, Altium isn't the best at predicting the direction the market will take.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on April 07, 2015, 04:31:01 am
It's also likely that Altium management aren't sharing the long term vision of each product with their programmers in Ukraine.

You are right on two counts:

1/ The programmers are simply directed on what features & bugs are to be worked on for certain products. This only gives a short term "picture" of which products are being moved ahead (& which aren't).

2/ Altium's Management have no term vision on anything. They lost their way in the early 2000's & I don't expect them to refind it anytime soon.

Quote
And a lot can change in a year or two... even if they are putting one product on the back burner in favor of another, it doesn't mean things will say that way.

You are right again. As Altium realises that they are making next to no money from CircuitMaker, they will only be determined to spend even less time on it.

Quote
After all, Altium isn't the best at predicting the direction the market will take.

For the third time in a row - you are correct again.

Altium is pretty poor at predicting, pretty poor at fixing bugs, pretty poor at following up on what they tell their shareholders.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: ehughes on April 15, 2015, 02:01:40 am
Now that the NDA is lifted, you will probably hear a lot more about CM.     I have been on it from the 1st beta.    There has been a lot of iterating to get a free version that balances all of the interests.    Contrary to certain belief, it is not dead.


There was just another version posted for testers tonight    In particular, there is a lot of development on the component workflow to get it smooth.    There is still work to do but it looks better on every release.     Part of the good news is that Altium has been working on modeling everything in the Common Parts  library.


I have been doing quite a bit of testing on the component workflow and project management.     My daughter and I are working on a project for world maker faire 2015.   She is new to the electronics world and is having a good time with CircuitMaker.   The ability to save in the cloud works quite nicely.


I currently have CM on 3 machines.   Being able to seamlessly moving between them without having to setup a license server, etc is quite nice.   That and I can work between them and manage versions without a hiccup is very nice.


Not to say their aren't issues to be worked out but it is coming along.




Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on April 15, 2015, 03:14:36 am
Altium is pretty poor at predicting, pretty poor at fixing bugs, pretty poor at following up on what they tell their shareholders.

I can remember when they didn't even bother to tell the Australia Stock Exchange that they sacked their President and COO. And that's required by law  ::)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Ice-Tea on April 15, 2015, 06:46:30 am
I just love how my distributor just send me a bill for renewing my subscription without even a mention of new licensing or product options.

I wonder if they will offer upgrade/downgrade paths for current licence owners...
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on April 15, 2015, 07:20:26 am
I just love how my distributor just send me a bill for renewing my subscription without even a mention of new licensing or product options.
I wonder if they will offer upgrade/downgrade paths for current licence owners...

Downgrade?
The majority of Altium users would probably take it, and then the company would implode!
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Ice-Tea on April 15, 2015, 09:08:13 am
Which is probably why the new product options are a really bad idea.

Never a good idea to leave your loyal customers with the idea they got the shitty end of the deal.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: T3sl4co1l on April 15, 2015, 10:13:22 am
Seems to me, the idea is to take your legacy product, and price it *up* to drive sales away, while offering newer or better-supported offerings.

A preferable alternative might be to price it *down* into irrelevance, reduce or fully cut support (you're on your own, besides user forums), and perhaps release some of the source ("it's your problem now").  Not that that's an option for most of these big, old, lumbering companies, who greedily hoard their crappy code and try to wring every thin cent they can out of it (but it's "IP"!!).

So, sigh I guess...

Tim
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on April 15, 2015, 10:46:34 am
Never a good idea to leave your loyal customers with the idea they got the shitty end of the deal.

But in true Altium spirit they did exactly that when they suddenly dropped prices by 70%!, back when it was around $12K a seat.
I can remember Nick Martin giving a speech at the company announcing it, saying "we can never go back to high priced software". That didn't last long  ::)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on April 15, 2015, 11:02:58 am
Never a good idea to leave your loyal customers with the idea they got the shitty end of the deal.

But in true Altium spirit they did exactly that when they suddenly dropped prices by 70%!, back when it was around $12K a seat.
I can remember Nick Martin giving a speech at the company announcing it, saying "we can never go back to high priced software". That didn't last long  ::)
I still dont get why they did that. Did they really expect to triple the sales??? Or some COO was really bad a math? They expected all the FPGA development to switch to their product?
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: DerekG on April 15, 2015, 11:53:40 am
Did they really expect to triple the sales???
A quadrupling of sales was the argument that was put to their shareholders.

A similar argument was put to their shareholders to support their relocation to China.
Quote
Or some COO was really bad a math?
As it turned out, yes.
Quote
They expected all the FPGA development to switch to their product?
Yes. Altium lost their way for almost 10 years with FPGAs.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on April 15, 2015, 12:46:03 pm
I still dont get why they did that. Did they really expect to triple the sales??? Or some COO was really bad a math? They expected all the FPGA development to switch to their product?

OK so this I do get.  One of the few things in the world...

Off topic for a second: Valve Software's Steam sales have proven repeatedly that the net and gross income for a given game improve dramatically when the game is on sale.  Not only are there more sales, there are more profits during sales.  This only works when the game is on sale, and it doesn't work long-term when the price is lowered long-term.

I am certain that when AD's price was lowered that they sold a lot more licenses, and had a short-term gain in profits but because they didn't call it a "sale" and they kept the price low, the surge in sales would have slowed relatively quickly, and the normal year-on-year urge to increase profits organically raised the price up again.

This is why Steam has many 7-10 day periods throughout the year where games are 75% off, or sometimes even 90% off.  The publishers and .. well, everyone involved, earns a hell of a lot more money during the sales.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on April 15, 2015, 12:47:50 pm
By the way, the Circuit Maker beta participants were released from NDA today.  If you have questions, I'll do my best to answer.

I didn't get a lot of time with the tool, maybe 5 hours in total, but I did create contribute some footprints to the vault and I did design some boards.  I didn't have any fabbed, though.  Also, I am not an AD expert whatsoever, so I am probably not going to be able much in terms of contrast between AD and CM or even CS.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: EEVblog on April 15, 2015, 01:20:40 pm
But in true Altium spirit they did exactly that when they suddenly dropped prices by 70%!, back when it was around $12K a seat.
I can remember Nick Martin giving a speech at the company announcing it, saying "we can never go back to high priced software". That didn't last long  ::)
I still dont get why they did that. Did they really expect to triple the sales??? Or some COO was really bad a math? They expected all the FPGA development to switch to their product?

IIRC the President and COO at the time was against the move, hence why she was given the boot not long after.
Yes, I think the public reason was that they wanted to align the prices with FPGA type subscription, but IIRC there was lots of ra-ra talk about how Protel used to be a low cost tools and the company had strayed from it's roots etc.

And for those who forget it actually happened. And it was 75%, not 70%, my bad:
http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/practical-chip-design/4309511/Altium-cuts-prices-on-their-design-tool-creating-an-interesting-IP-pricing-play (http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/practical-chip-design/4309511/Altium-cuts-prices-on-their-design-tool-creating-an-interesting-IP-pricing-play)
http://www.embedded.com/electronics-news/4197934/Altium-cuts-the-price-of-design-tools (http://www.embedded.com/electronics-news/4197934/Altium-cuts-the-price-of-design-tools)

IMO it was good move for the industry, maybe not so good for the company though, although IIRC it didn't hurt them a huge amount. So essentially I think the move worked in bringing in extra customers, as you would expect it would. That was a very attractive price.
The problem was they were smack in the middle of the FPGA dream which everyone but Altium saw was going to fail miserably as it ultimately did.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rufus on April 15, 2015, 03:00:26 pm
I think the move worked in bringing in extra customers, as you would expect it would. That was a very attractive price.

Extra customers paying $1500 support subscriptions.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Bassman59 on April 15, 2015, 05:13:54 pm
But in true Altium spirit they did exactly that when they suddenly dropped prices by 70%!, back when it was around $12K a seat.
I can remember Nick Martin giving a speech at the company announcing it, saying "we can never go back to high priced software". That didn't last long  ::)
I still dont get why they did that. Did they really expect to triple the sales??? Or some COO was really bad a math? They expected all the FPGA development to switch to their product?

IIRC the President and COO at the time was against the move, hence why she was given the boot not long after.
Yes, I think the public reason was that they wanted to align the prices with FPGA type subscription, but IIRC there was lots of ra-ra talk about how Protel used to be a low cost tools and the company had strayed from it's roots etc.

And for those who forget it actually happened. And it was 75%, not 70%, my bad:
http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/practical-chip-design/4309511/Altium-cuts-prices-on-their-design-tool-creating-an-interesting-IP-pricing-play (http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/practical-chip-design/4309511/Altium-cuts-prices-on-their-design-tool-creating-an-interesting-IP-pricing-play)
http://www.embedded.com/electronics-news/4197934/Altium-cuts-the-price-of-design-tools (http://www.embedded.com/electronics-news/4197934/Altium-cuts-the-price-of-design-tools)

IMO it was good move for the industry, maybe not so good for the company though, although IIRC it didn't hurt them a huge amount. So essentially I think the move worked in bringing in extra customers, as you would expect it would. That was a very attractive price.
The problem was they were smack in the middle of the FPGA dream which everyone but Altium saw was going to fail miserably as it ultimately did.

I remember that around this time, we were strongly considering moving from Altium to another package, mainly because we didn't think that the extra features offered (the FPGA and the microcontroller stuff) were worth a damn considering the money Altium wanted for licenses. I think we considered dropping maintenance, too, as the current version was working well enough. When they cut the price it was a no-brainer to continue with Altium and upgrade.

My guess is that other users were similarly not upgrading, so Altium had no income from current users. Dropping the price made it reasonable for those (we) users to continue with Altium, and even buy more licenses (which we did), and no doubt it made Altium a possible upgrade path for small business guys who wanted something better than EAGLE. That seemed like a good strategy.

Then they screwed the pooch by returning to the previous price.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: HackedFridgeMagnet on April 16, 2015, 06:09:55 am
I think that Steam sale idea is a good one for Altium.
The people without much money can wait for a sale that may come occasionally, while the people who need it now pay full price. It's also a bit like the way they sell airline tickets.
ps. Not that I really care about Altium.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Rigby on April 19, 2015, 12:31:33 am
I think that Steam sale idea is a good one for Altium.
The people without much money can wait for a sale that may come occasionally, while the people who need it now pay full price. It's also a bit like the way they sell airline tickets.

Or, just let the hobbyists and non-commercial folks pick up the full version inexpensively.  This is another known working model.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: tszaboo on April 24, 2015, 10:48:16 pm
"Haven't received your CircuitMaker beta invite?
Good news, the wait is over!
The CircuitMaker open beta starts in 3 weeks - read about all the details on our blog and join us at Maker Faire for the celebration!

Learn More About the CircuitMaker Open Beta
This is going to be a huge milestone for CircuitMaker and the entire maker community. Don't miss this opportunity to be one of the first to register for the open beta. We'll see you there!
The CircuitMaker Team"
http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/The-Road-to-Maker-Faire (http://blog.circuitmaker.com/#Blogs/The-Road-to-Maker-Faire)
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: miguelvp on April 25, 2015, 06:47:27 pm
got the same email the other day.
Title: Re: Free Altium is Coming
Post by: Zad on April 26, 2015, 01:51:08 am
I got one of those emails today too.

It will be interesting to see if they have further crippled the concept, in the light of the new Farnell sponsorship.