Author Topic: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant  (Read 120934 times)

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Offline baljemmett

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #225 on: October 10, 2013, 04:07:01 pm »
Out of curiosity, what is Altium written in now?   ... if it in fact is being ported to C# that is unfortunate as it does limit the final platform to be used on.

What, more than being written in Delphi did?  Last time I looked, that would be pretty much of a muchness...
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #226 on: October 10, 2013, 07:10:14 pm »
Like I said, PCB Monkeys :) 

now now ...

The key in altium is the entire workflow. schematic, parts ordering, pcb footprints , mechanical interfaces it's all there. and it's all live and realtime.
for PCB specifics here is a couple of things that very few tools know how to do : channel design.
lets say you make your data acquisition block. you have 512 channels each consisting of a programmable gainstage, a programmable filter and an a/d convertor. About 50 componets each. are you going to draw that 512 times and do the layout 512 times ?
In altium you draw this , make a toplevel , tell the tool : please instantite 512 times , go to pcb , make the layout for 1 block 1 time and then tell the tool : replicate. done. if i move 1 trace or component all 511 others follow (if i want to.. i can also tell the tool : these blocks here a slightly different as they have a mounting hole in their area for example )

if i define a net as a differential pair i only need to draw one track . the other one follows me. it will wrap around via's and nets automtaically.
if i shuffle things on the board it takes all these design rules into account. that is the strength of the tool : all the tedious crap is rule driven FROM SCHEMATIC. it is a tremendous time saver.



« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 08:55:45 pm by free_electron »
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Offline Agent24

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #227 on: October 10, 2013, 11:10:46 pm »
Out of curiosity, what is Altium written in now?   ... if it in fact is being ported to C# that is unfortunate as it does limit the final platform to be used on.

Show me a person that can afford Altium but not Windows.

What if I told you that some people don't actually want to use Windows?
 

Offline David_AVD

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #228 on: October 11, 2013, 12:08:31 am »
Out of curiosity, what is Altium written in now?   ... if it in fact is being ported to C# that is unfortunate as it does limit the final platform to be used on.

Show me a person that can afford Altium but not Windows.

What if I told you that some people don't actually want to use Windows?

Then I'd say their software options are somewhat limited.   ::)
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #229 on: October 11, 2013, 01:01:58 am »
What if I told you that some people don't actually want to use Windows?
I'd like to buy 10ppm trimpots from my local 7/11 alas I have to use digikey :(
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #230 on: October 11, 2013, 01:36:43 am »
Out of curiosity, what is Altium written in now?   ... if it in fact is being ported to C# that is unfortunate as it does limit the final platform to be used on.

Show me a person that can afford Altium but not Windows.

What if I told you that some people don't actually want to use Windows?
Tough shit. Suck it up.

What do you care what operating system a program runs on ?
The operating system is just a platform to run applications.
Modern computers can dual boot. Macs can do so to.

I wsih my car would be electric .. But it has a gas engine..
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Offline jshonw

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #231 on: October 11, 2013, 03:45:32 am »
Mono is a cross platform implementation of the .NET framework, so there is the possibility that it can run under Linux and iOS.  I tried getting some of my apps to work with Mono on Linux  and it was hit and miss.  This was a few years ago, so things might have matured since.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 03:48:39 am by jshonw »
 

Offline Agent24

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #232 on: October 11, 2013, 04:55:25 am »
Out of curiosity, what is Altium written in now?   ... if it in fact is being ported to C# that is unfortunate as it does limit the final platform to be used on.

Show me a person that can afford Altium but not Windows.

What if I told you that some people don't actually want to use Windows?
Tough shit. Suck it up.

What do you care what operating system a program runs on ?
The operating system is just a platform to run applications.

I care because Windows is a bloated and insecure piece of junk that only gets supported and (sometimes) patched so long as the mighty Microsoft deems it worth their while, before they get sick of slowing profits and want to force the next "user friendly" abhorrence (think Windows 8\Metro) down your throat. At which point half of your current and perfectly working hardware and software also magically becomes unusable on the new platform.
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #233 on: October 11, 2013, 05:11:39 am »
Mono is a cross platform implementation of the .NET framework, so there is the possibility that it can run under Linux and iOS.  I tried getting some of my apps to work with Mono on Linux  and it was hit and miss.  This was a few years ago, so things might have matured since.

Forget Mono. I dabbled in Mono-based GUI the last time a little longer than a year ago, with their WinForms implementation, GTK#, and an early wxWidgets.NET. It was still more miss than hit. The whole Mono shit existed then for about 8 years, and it still felt broken... :-//

If you are speaking about backends, or other applications which do not rely on a GUI, Mono might perhaps be suitable. But regarding desktop applications, stay away from Mono.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 05:27:29 am by elgonzo »
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #234 on: October 11, 2013, 05:48:01 am »
I care because Windows is a bloated and insecure piece of junk that only gets supported and (sometimes) patched so long as the mighty Microsoft deems it worth their while, before they get sick of slowing profits and want to force the next "user friendly" abhorrence (think Windows 8\Metro) down your throat. At which point half of your current and perfectly working hardware and software also magically becomes unusable on the new platform.

If you were looking to use Altium professionally in a potential profit making environment (heck!, even hobbyist in my case!) then you would not be caring one little bit what OS it ran on. The need & want for the app comes first. If this is not your catergory then Altium isn't for you.
I actually hope that Altium stick with Windows and Windows only.......that way their resources/overheads are not spread which would only raise costs.

Just my opinion.

Ian.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 05:52:56 am by IanJ »
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Offline Rigby

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #235 on: October 11, 2013, 02:15:40 pm »
I care because Windows is a bloated and insecure piece of junk that only gets supported and (sometimes) patched so long as the mighty Microsoft deems it worth their while, before they get sick of slowing profits and want to force the next "user friendly" abhorrence (think Windows 8\Metro) down your throat. At which point half of your current and perfectly working hardware and software also magically becomes unusable on the new platform.

You're clearly what some people like to call a "freetard" and from past experience I can say with confidence that there is a very high likelihood that you let your hivemind opinion dictate your decisions.  I used to be a freetard, so I can spot those folks pretty quickly, though you yourself have made no attempt to hide it whatsoever.

Here's the thing; if you're a goal-oriented person (as in: I need to get something done) then the OS used will not factor into the decision at all.  Not even a little bit.  If the computer and operating system itself is what you like working on, then you will not find any joy in Windows, as you don't. 

Metaphor time!  Windows is analogous to a workbench, a platform on which tools sit.  You use the tools to get your work done, and you don't give a crap whether your workbench cost $300 or it cost $0.  If you like working on workbenches, you find a $0 workbench with 18 mismatched legs and you fix it up to suit your own needs.  If you need a workbench right now, then you pay $300 and you put it up and it works in every single way you care about. 

The $0 workbench is Linux.  The $300 workbench is Windows.

Windows is not perfect, I will agree.  But, Windows will get you everything you need to get work done in a very short amount of time, with a minimum of fiddling, and supports all of the tools that professionals (those folks who like to get things done, rather than argue) need and use daily.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #236 on: October 11, 2013, 02:23:36 pm »
The $0 workbench is Linux.  The $300 workbench is Windows.
You can get Windows 7 for $40 on eBay (I would not recommend Windows 8 if you want to actually do some work on it). It is the OEM version, but works fine. Microsoft tried to forbid distributors to sell it without a computer, but Microsoft lost in court, at least here in Germany, so it is legal, too. Just install it in Oracle VirtualBox, VMWare or Parallels and then it doesn't matter what host system you are using for your other work. I guess Altium Designer runs on a VM, too.
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Offline Rufus

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #237 on: October 11, 2013, 02:37:12 pm »
I guess Altium Designer runs on a VM, too.

The PCB editor makes extensive use of Direct3D for 2D and 3D editing. It needs Direct X 9 shader model 3 support. That is probably the biggest compatibility and performance issue with VMs and a big reason why it won't be ported from Windows any time soon.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #238 on: October 11, 2013, 03:13:17 pm »
Multi-os porting is a waste of effort and time.

If you can't be arsed to spend 100$ for the operating system to run the 7000$ software you are in the wrong ballpark... you're not even in a ballpark ... you are still in the diaper phase ... grow up. Operating systems are there to run applications. Besides the file manager you never touch an operating system. I have never felt the urge to delve into windows registry or muck around with all the confugreation management tools.

Buy motherboard,cpu , ram, case , hdd , power supply ,graphics card, optical drive,  slap together , plonk cd or dvd holding OS installer in , follow installer , deploy applications needed , make system snapshot in case armageddon strikes and off you go.

I use screwdrivers. i don't make em and i don't modify em. At the end of the day having whatever it is i am making assembled and all the screws being properly and in the fastest and easiest way possible inserted and tightened is what matters.

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Offline Agent24

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #239 on: October 11, 2013, 09:14:16 pm »
I care because Windows is a bloated and insecure piece of junk that only gets supported and (sometimes) patched so long as the mighty Microsoft deems it worth their while, before they get sick of slowing profits and want to force the next "user friendly" abhorrence (think Windows 8\Metro) down your throat. At which point half of your current and perfectly working hardware and software also magically becomes unusable on the new platform.

You're clearly what some people like to call a "freetard" and from past experience I can say with confidence that there is a very high likelihood that you let your hivemind opinion dictate your decisions.  I used to be a freetard, so I can spot those folks pretty quickly, though you yourself have made no attempt to hide it whatsoever.

Where did I say it had to be free? I do like free software (who doesn't?), but I don't exclusively use only free software "because it's free".

I would consider myself someone who likes to use what works best for me. I am happy to buy software if it is good. I do not think Windows is good anymore. I loved XP and paid for that but the direction Microsoft is going with Windows 8 and Metro I am not happy with. I have bought many programs for Windows in the past. But as a hobbyist who does not design extremely complex boards I am not going to pay $7000 for an EDA suite. If I had that money to spare I would use it on equipment!

I originally started with Eagle but I just do not like it. Had I loved it I may well have paid for it. I do not know because I started looking at alternatives pretty quickly. Thought I would start with the free software since that's the easiest place to start. Tried gEDA, didn't like that either. Tried KiCad and I happen to love it.

Yes, it has limitations (due to lack of some features) Yes, it doesn't do everything that Altium Designer does. But it DOES do what I need and it does it without costing a cent. I would be lying to say that the $0 price wasn't a factor, but I consider it a bonus, not a life-and-death reason to use it.

Altium Designer clearly has very good features. Would they be great to have? Definitely. Can I afford them? At the current prices as a hobbyist, probably not. That is why a cheap or free entry level version interests me. But I am not sure I want something that will help keep me locked into the Windows cycle.

Though I don't know why people here are discussing tools that cost thousands and which are clearly out of range of the hobbyist. This idea of an "entry-level" tool from Altium - is it not supposed to target hobbyists and smaller players?


Here's the thing; if you're a goal-oriented person (as in: I need to get something done) then the OS used will not factor into the decision at all.  Not even a little bit.

Indeed, if you are a goal-oriented person you will choose what works reliably and well for you. You would not choose what doesn't. I definitely want something that works. My problem with Windows is not price. Windows is an ongoing hassle because of the constant and increasing security issues and with Windows 8 the rest of the 'experience' is going down the toilet.
I want to be able to use my operating system to do what I want. Not have to fight the interface and bugger around with antivirus software. I don't have those problems with Linux and I'm quickly getting sick of Windows.

Cadsoft targets hobbyists (and commercial customers) and they make Eagle available on Linux, OSX and Windows. They don't seem to have any problems doing that either. Even KiCad is cross-platform, and it's free. If they can both do it and be successful, I'm sure Altium can, if their software is really as good as it seems, and they charge as much as the do.



In the meantime, I am interested to see what features come to KiCad with CERN now supporting development. They are talking about donations and fund-raising to make KiCad on par with (or better than) commercial-grade software. As someone who loves KiCad and would love to see new features, I will be donating to the effort.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 09:17:07 pm by Agent24 »
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #240 on: October 11, 2013, 09:59:47 pm »
Oh Dear  ::) . Windows, Linux and Unix have their issue. That hasn't stopped us to successfully use them, has it?
 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #241 on: October 12, 2013, 11:32:23 am »
I care because Windows is a bloated and insecure piece of junk that only gets supported and (sometimes) patched so long as the mighty Microsoft deems it worth their while, before they get sick of slowing profits and want to force the next "user friendly" abhorrence (think Windows 8\Metro) down your throat. At which point half of your current and perfectly working hardware and software also magically becomes unusable on the new platform.

A lot of the problems Windows has are actually caused because Microsoft does completely the opposite: they try to maintain backwards compatibility as much as possible.  That's why the entry point for Windows applications takes a parameter which must always be NULL on any version of Windows released after 3.1; it's there for backwards compatibility with old Windows 16-bit applications.  It's only on 64-bit versions of Windows that they've actually broken compatibility for those legacy applications.  Ironically it was because because it would have made the WoW64 compatibility shims far too fragile and unwieldy - which only exist so you can continue to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit versions of Windows; they made a pragmatic decision.

Do you know when Windows 3.11 mainstream end of support was?  2002 - 10 years after it was released.  Support on embedded systems continued until 2008, 16 years after it was released.  Extended support for Windows XP ends in 2014, that's 13 years after it was released.  Contrast that with, for example, Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.  That hit EOL 5 years after it was released.  Very few companies bother supporting their releases for as long as Microsoft does.

Microsoft is not nearly as bad as many people think it is.  It's far from perfect, but they care more about maintaining backwards compatibility than many other companies do.  They still support running VB6 applications on Windows 8, ffs; something they'd dearly love to drop (something I'd dearly love them to drop as well, because it means I'd have more luck getting all the legacy shit at work ported to something else).

Although I entirely agree that Windows 8 is a steaming pile of shit; but that's just because someone at Microsoft decided tablets are the future and wanted a tablet style OS they could have on multiple platforms.  To which my response is "go fuck yourself and get back to me when you have a real desktop OS again".  I'm quite happy running my Windows 7 and Linux systems in the mean time.
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #242 on: October 12, 2013, 12:56:08 pm »
My development PC runs Linux because I have a whole toolchain/compiler set up using gcc working on that. If Altium did not have a Linux version of their program it means I would need to dual boot between my compiler (for debugging code) and the board layout/schematic (for debugging the board.) It's a lot more convenient to use Linux for some things in the toolchain, and it works better than trying to use cygwin on Windows to achieve the same thing.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #243 on: October 12, 2013, 01:08:02 pm »
If you have enough RAM then install virtualbox and install windows in there and run from it. At least you can have a shared directory, networking and clip and paste mostly working from inside to the outside. Even can have a CDROM/DVD drive or a virtual one mounted and have USB working. Works for me using XP, and the nice thing is you can have a few snapshots or separate VM's as well, in case you want to check out updates before installing them, or are worried about software.
 

Offline WarSim

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EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #244 on: October 12, 2013, 01:19:45 pm »

If you can't be arsed to spend 100$ for the operating system to run the 7000$ software you are in the wrong ballpark...
Where are you getting your Microsoft OS from for $100.00.  Not everyone has a licence where they can add seats for $100.00.  Microsoft charges $400.00 per single licence last time I checked.  OEM licences are cheeper but require a hardware purchase, unless you circumvent the licence. 
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #245 on: October 12, 2013, 01:29:06 pm »
OEM purchase here means you buy a $10 mouse or keyboard..............
 

Offline WarSim

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EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #246 on: October 12, 2013, 01:37:19 pm »

OEM purchase here means you buy a $10 mouse or keyboard..............
The licence requires the purchase of 3 core components.  Anything less is circumventing the licence.  I guess I have my answer.  :)
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #247 on: October 12, 2013, 01:59:33 pm »

OEM purchase here means you buy a $10 mouse or keyboard..............
The licence requires the purchase of 3 core components.  Anything less is circumventing the licence.  I guess I have my answer.  :)
As written before, not here, I found the article:
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Microsoft-muss-im-OEM-Streit-Niederlage-einstecken-29554.html
It says that the Federal Supreme Court of Germany judged, that Microsoft can't forbid that distributors are selling OEM versions and the end users can activate it on any computer. And it is indeed no problem: I have a few OEM licenses of Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 for my main PC and VMs for development, all bought from eBay for EUR 30 .. EUR 40, and activated without problems.
I think the same is true for the European Union, but I can't find any sentence which says this exactly for Microsoft OEM software.
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Online mariush

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #248 on: October 12, 2013, 02:04:36 pm »

If you can't be arsed to spend 100$ for the operating system to run the 7000$ software you are in the wrong ballpark...
Where are you getting your Microsoft OS from for $100.00.  Not everyone has a licence where they can add seats for $100.00.  Microsoft charges $400.00 per single licence last time I checked.  OEM licences are cheeper but require a hardware purchase, unless you circumvent the licence.
So buy a 50-70$ motherboard.  You'd still pay just 50 (mb)+100$ (license) compared to 400$ retail license. Or buy a cpu close to what you have now, sell the older one on eBay.



 

Offline mrflibble

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Re: EEVblog #527 - Altium Entry Level PCB Tool Rant
« Reply #249 on: October 12, 2013, 02:07:14 pm »

OEM purchase here means you buy a $10 mouse or keyboard..............
The licence requires the purchase of 3 core components.  Anything less is circumventing the licence.  I guess I have my answer.  :)

You if you upgrade your quad core you're golden, right? ;)
 


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