Author Topic: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit  (Read 1556 times)

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Offline fyberlabs

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Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« on: May 16, 2020, 05:33:14 pm »
Hi, I have a bit of a weird situation.  I have brought a suit for non-payment against a client.  Their response to a summary judgement included an affidavit from the current contractor stating that KiCAD is inadequate to develop a laser tag platform.  The guy appears to think that only Altium can handle the complexities of a USB D-/D+ pair or something.  So now I have to defend 'my' selection of KiCAD.  Of course 'my' is in quotes as I had walked the client through EDA options I could use and even had support from the contractor (who was originally the assembler).

So any helpful arguments for KiCAD are welcome.

Thanks!
 

Offline fourfathom

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 05:41:43 pm »
You might start by looking at the "Made with KiCAD" pages for examples of commercial products with USB ports: https://kicad-pcb.org/made-with-kicad/

Frankly, it's a ridiculous argument.  KiCAD is perfectly able to do the type of design that is required here.
 
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Offline Jay_Diddy_B

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 06:21:15 pm »
Hi,
Rather than get side tracked as to whether KiCAD is adequate. What does your contract say? Did you deliver everything set out in the contract?

(Differential controlled impedance pairs were routed (by hand) many decades before any CAD software had tools to make it easier.)

I don't know how money is involved, but you might be better putting this client on the list of 'special customers' or even 'very special customers' and moving on.

Do you have any source files that they absolutely need?

Did you give them the Gerber files?

Regards,
Jay_Diddy_B
 
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Offline profdc9

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2020, 06:50:54 pm »
You probably need to consult a lawyer, but unless your contract stipulated that the work to be performed required Altium or excluded Kicad, I don't think that is grounds for nonpayment.  If you did the work stated in the contract, you should go to court to collect.  You don't have to defend Kicad, you need to say that I delivered what was asked for in the contract, and so pay me.  If you can document the work hours you put in on the project, the PCB designs, schematics, and software that was the result of the work, and the contract authorizes the work, they should pay you.  If your contract has a clause in it that says that you can charge them for costs entailed in collecting your payment, including legal fees, it wouldn't hurt to remind them of that either.

 

Offline filssavi

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2020, 07:13:55 pm »
I have been in your position as many, many  other electrical engineers, and i have few advices to give you

1) get an attorney/lawyer, and let him run the suit (IANAL but i seriously doubt the argument can hold much ground in court, as long as the design does indeed work)
2) Consider very, very wel pros and cons before getting involved in a lawsuit as unless the work involved serious money (and for that a contract should have been signed), you will end up spending more in court fees, taxes than the payment itself (consider also you could loose)
3) add the client to the special list of peoples that you will never work with again (unless payed in advaced 3-5 times as much) as it is almost never wort the hassle
 
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Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2020, 09:11:27 pm »
From the little experience I have with courts, it has very little to do with justice, but it's more about who can cough up the "best" story.
You will probably be telling your story to a judge (or whatever) who has no experience with KiCad nor Altium or EDA in general.

I also have my suspicions that people being dishonest towards you, do it as a way of life, and may well have had several court cases before, and thus much more experience in this puppet theater  then you have. It may be worth looking into other court cases this guy has been involved in.

As others have already written. I also doubt if the question whether KiCad is "suitable" is just meant to throw you off track ans waste time preparing for defending this avenue. Nonetheless, a picture book which shows the relative complexity of your project compared to the other projects, complete with references to those projects would probably impress a non EDA judge more then trying to explain matched impedance pairs.

Without a lawyer I give you a very slim chance of getting through such a puppet theater unscathed.

You also do not need a Gibson nor a Stradivarius to make beautiful music. The Blue Man group does it with PVC pipes.

Also: Just recently altium has made an official announcement of their KiCad to altium importer, which should make the whole KiCad thing a non-issue.

https://www.altium.com/solution/kicad-pcb-design-software-free-download/
That link is full with FUD about KiCad, which may confuse a Judge (which is exactly the function of FUD). There may be better links around.

The altium to KiCad importer is also very near completion (It's already in the nightlies, and announced in the Blog on the KiCad website for V6).
https://forum.kicad.info/search?q=altium%20importer%20order%3Alatest
https://www.kicad-pcb.org/blog/
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 10:42:32 pm by Doctorandus_P »
 
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Offline Bassman59

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2020, 04:21:46 am »
Hi, I have a bit of a weird situation.  I have brought a suit for non-payment against a client.  Their response to a summary judgement included an affidavit from the current contractor stating that KiCAD is inadequate to develop a laser tag platform.  The guy appears to think that only Altium can handle the complexities of a USB D-/D+ pair or something.  So now I have to defend 'my' selection of KiCAD.  Of course 'my' is in quotes as I had walked the client through EDA options I could use and even had support from the contractor (who was originally the assembler).

So any helpful arguments for KiCAD are welcome.

Thanks!

Find a lawyer who knows about these issues and let that person do all of the talking.
 

Online edpalmer42

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2020, 04:58:19 am »
Don't forget to list KiCad's corporate sponsors!

- University of Grenoble
- CERN
- The Raspberry Pi Foundation
- Arduino LLC
- Digi-Key Electronics
- SoftPLC - US$450K worth of employee time!!
+ others

Might be worthwhile to add up the value of the major sponsors.  Lots of zeros is always impressive!  :-+
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 05:00:49 am by edpalmer42 »
 
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Offline Karel

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2020, 07:12:08 am »
https://www.altium.com/solution/kicad-pcb-design-software-free-download/
That link is full with FUD about KiCad, which may confuse a Judge (which is exactly the function of FUD). There may be better links around.

Looks like they are starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with the competition...
 
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Offline all_repair

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2020, 07:34:13 am »
How is the contract and the work structured or worded?  Tools should be blind, or you would have to defend the keyboard, mouse, monitor, pencil, etc that are being used to generate your work.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2020, 09:19:44 am »
What's in the contract is the key point, especially the "deliverables" and "acceptance tests".

Different point: does the contract state that the title to the works remains with you until you have been paid?
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2020, 04:53:48 pm »
Now that is an "interesting" situation.

As others have said - your client is bound by the contract. What does your contract exactly say?

Unless there was an explicit requirement for the EDA from the client, I can't see how that could be ground for not paying.

Did you complete the project successfully? If so, what's the problem? Now were the deliverables clearly defined, and the milestones for paying as well?

 

Offline radioactive

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2020, 05:14:32 pm »
Might also be worth mentioning that KiCad will still be around and improving long after Altium is gone.

Look what happened to Eagle Cad.
 

Offline fyberlabs

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2020, 07:59:08 pm »
Thank you all for the replies.  I'll be looking at the example designs listed as examples for sure.  I had already developed a laser tagging robot for a prior customer in KiCAD.  That was my main reason for recommending it. 

I don't want to get into legal strategy publicly, but the contract and their prior behavior does limit their options and they are grasping.  We will be focusing on the contract, they will attempt to confuse.  They are presenting this other "KiCAD isn't suitable for laser tag" contractor's work as fixes.  We know from their invoices it is significant changes in design and additional work.  So we need to address his credibility and performance as simple as possible.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2020, 09:56:24 pm »
Looks like they are starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with the competition...

As they should. EDAs are a relatively mature product category and KiCAD is steadily improving. Eventually there will be nothing Altium can do that KiCAD can't and Altium can't compete on price.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2020, 12:53:16 am »
https://www.altium.com/solution/kicad-pcb-design-software-free-download/
That link is full with FUD about KiCad, which may confuse a Judge (which is exactly the function of FUD). There may be better links around.

Looks like they are starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with the competition...

Here's a hilarious quote from Altium, with necessary edits:

Quote from: Altium FUD
Worse yet, free high-dollar software can be filled with bugs without any developers working to fix them. When you find a bug, you’re left to post your issue to a forum, all the while hoping that some lonely overseas developer will open the source code and fix it at their leisure instead of changing the user interface and adding features nobody asked for. Instead of getting stuck by bugs that arise in segmented design expensive commercial software, you need access to the best PCB design tools in a single program.
 
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Offline radioactive

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2020, 01:25:09 am »
I've worked along-side people who used Altium before, but never used it myself (I talked employers out of it in the past).  I seem to remember a co-worker from many years ago telling me that it was written in some obscure language.  SmallTalk?  something weird that I have no knowledge/experience with.  Is that why it only runs on the Windows platform?  How many years will Windows still be around for engineering efforts?  Seems like Microsoft might be headed in some other direction for the future.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2020, 01:49:52 am »
I've worked along-side people who used Altium before, but never used it myself (I talked employers out of it in the past).  I seem to remember a co-worker from many years ago telling me that it was written in some obscure language.  SmallTalk?  something weird that I have no knowledge/experience with.  Is that why it only runs on the Windows platform?  How many years will Windows still be around for engineering efforts?  Seems like Microsoft might be headed in some other direction for the future.

Altium DXP was written in Borland Delphi, which is basically an object-oriented Pascal. Back when it was introduced in the previous century, Delphi actually was a good Windows development option. But as the world moved on, and Borland went from being the preferred environment to a has-been, and Microsoft reduced the prices of their tools, few programmers chose Delphi.

Altium has been in the long process of re-writing the product for modern 64-bit Windows, while keeping data format compatibility and keeping the user interface the same. I don’t know the state of this transition.
 
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Offline voltsandjolts

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2020, 08:04:52 am »
Here's a hilarious quote from Altium, with necessary edits:
Quote from: Altium FUD
Worse yet, free high-dollar software can be filled with bugs without any developers working to fix them. When you find a bug, you’re left to post your issue to a forum, all the while hoping that some lonely overseas developer will open the source code and fix it at their leisure instead of changing the user interface and adding features nobody asked for. Instead of getting stuck by bugs that arise in segmented design expensive commercial software, you need access to the best PCB design tools in a single program.

:-DD  :-+

Yes, Altium, take a look in the mirror, jeez. You are #1 at ignoring bugs and adding features nobody asked for.
I'm an Altium CircuitStudio user (https://www.altium.com/circuitstudio/) and that hasn't seen any updates for over a year, no meaningful update for over two years.
In the meantime, KiCAD has come along in leaps and bounds.
Total FUD.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 09:21:26 am by voltsandjolts »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2020, 08:39:13 pm »
It's like a narcissist projecting their own faults onto those around them.
 
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2020, 11:46:15 pm »
To the OP:
The best thing to do is get a lawyer. Saying Kicad isn't suitable is likely just blowing up smoke (Kicad can do differential pair routing for USB just fine).

However I get the feeling the actual problem is much larger. A client is only refusing payment AND hiring someone else if you didn't do the job according to what you promised the client. A client is not going to wait for another contractor to re-do the job if you can finish it in time and meeting the requirements. So in the end it all comes down to what has been promised and what has been delivered.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2020, 12:31:36 am »
The part of this that has me confused is what does the software used have to do with the equation? Did the original agreement stipulate that specific software would be used? Did the resulting device work as specified? If the board is laid out correctly and the device works then I don't see what difference it makes if it was laid out in Altium, KiCAD, or drafted by hand on a sheet of paper.
 

Offline artag

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Re: Defending KiCAD's performance as an EDA in a lawsuit
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2020, 10:15:25 am »
Presumably they're trying to argue that the job was done poorly because a non-proprietary software package was used to do it. I can imagine a naive judge might fall for that if they can portray the OP as a 'hobbyist'.

Better check the legal pads and pencils come from a legal-supplies vendor too. It's about as important.
 


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