I just found out recently that AutoDesk just bought CadSoft Eagle — my favorite PCB layout software. I have built many boards and libraries using Eagle starting from version 4 all the way to version 7.7. Now I just found that CadSoft Eagle is no more. AutoDesk owns Eagle now and they have a subscription only purchase model. This is terrible in my opinion since you used to be able to just pay once and own the software. Now this try-and-fail method of DRM is going to make the new Eagle fail just like any software that had done this before it. My prediction is that only companies that can’t switch to a different software package and software pirates would be using Eagle.
This brings me up to the next point — switching to a different package. I played around with many packages including Altium but that software is out of reach unless you work for a company with deep pockets. In the past around 2013, I looked at KiCAD and it was a terrible hodgepodge of many pieces of software bolted together with awkward usage. I didn’t even want to touch it seeing how much work it would be just to even get it going. Then I looked at it again last year (2016) and I was surprised how amazing and polished it has become. It’s on the same level as the new Blender and Inkscape software packages.
It’s time to give it another shot and see whether it’s going to be my new EDA program of choice. Here is the link to KiCad if you want to start the switch too!
Here’s a nice beginning tutorial for KiCad from ContextualElectronics