Friday Hack Chat: Eagle One Year Later

Way back in June of 2016, Autodesk acquired Cadsoft, and with it EagleCAD, the popular PCB design software. There were plans for some features that should have been in Eagle two decades ago, and right now Autodesk is rolling out an impressive list of features that include UX improvements, integration with MCAD and Fusion360, and push and shove routing.

Six months into the new age of Eagle, Autodesk announced they would be changing their licensing models to a subscription service. Where you could pay less than $100 once and hold onto version 6.0 forever, now you’re required to pay $15 every month for your copy of Eagle. Yes, there’s still a free, educational version, but this change to a subscription model caused much consternation in the community when announced.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking about Eagle, one year in. Our guest for this Hack Chat is Matt Berggren, director of Autodesk Circuits, hardware engineer, and technologist that has been working on bringing electronic design to everyone. We’ll be asking Matt all about Eagle, with questions including:

  • What new features are in the latest edition of Eagle?
  • What’s on the Eagle wishlist?
  • What technical challenges arise when designing new features?
  • Where can a beginner find resources for designing PCBs in Eagle?

Join the chat to hear about new features in Eagle, how things are holding up for Eagle under new ownership, and how exactly the new subscription model for Eagle is going. We’re looking for questions from the community, so if you have a question for Matt or the rest of the Eagle team, put it on the Hack Chat event page.

If you’re wondering about how Altium and KiCad are holding up, or have any questions about these PCB design tools, don’t worry: we’re going to have Hack Chats with these engineers in the new year.


Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hack Chat group messaging. This Hack Chat is going down on noon, PST, Friday, December 15th. Time Zones got you down? Here’s a handy count down timer!

Click that speech bubble to the left, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

103 thoughts on “Friday Hack Chat: Eagle One Year Later

  1. To be honest, I am a loss why anyone uses Eagle anymore. For a similar cost there are generally better options (in my opinion) with perpetual licenses and for true open source types, there is KiCAD etc.

        1. Yes! Have a look at the nightly builds for the new Eagle import module. It’s received a fair bit of testing but the more, the better. A word of caution that the nightly builds are not guaranteed to be stable but KiCAD is in feature-freeze for the 5.0 release right now.

        2. Yes, as Seth already mentioned, the Eagle import in the current development branch works quite well. There are a few things that need to be touched up, but I was able to import an 8-layer, 5.5 x 5.5 In board with 684-pin BGA, DDR3, etc with only enough issues to be corrected in less than a day. I’m quite happy with the money I have donated to CERN (about two Eagle upgrades worth). Others also worked on the Eagle import.

          I’m am quickly getting familiar with Kicad. I can still get things done quicker with Eagle 7.6 for now (used it for around 20 years), but the routing/real-time DRC in Kicad blows Eagle away. I highly recommend making the switch.

        3. The FOSS pcb layout tool PCB-RND can load XML Eagle layouts, including the embedded netlist, as well as Eagle versions 3, 4, and 5 binary format layouts, including the embedded netlists. PCB-RND can also load binary and XML library files to allow re-use of footprints.

          This means you can rescue older layouts or libraries done in Eagle and continue to use them, or modify them easily. In addition, PCB-RND also supports export in other formats, including Kicad and Protel Autotrax, in addition to gEDA PCB format, and PCB-RND’s own native file format.

          This support for loading Eagle binary and XML formats was prompted by the introduction of subscription SAAS, displacing the crippleware version used by many hobbyists.

          Many designs and user contributed libraries can now remain in the information commons, without being fenced off by commercial license changes.

    1. I normally don’t get into this type of discussion, but here I am. Why don’t you get why people use it? I use it, and I’m quite happy with it. I’ve used KiCAD, and I think that’s the worst experience I’ve ever had with a particular piece of software (Windows ME included). But the point I want to make is not Eagle is great, KiCAD is terrible. The point I want to make is “Eagle is great for me, and KiCAD is not”, please don’t tell me what “The best ™” is, because what’s best for you might not be the best for me. Likewise, I don’t get why people uses MacOS, vi or emacs or plays Candy Crush in the tube.

      Please consider that there are people out there that love using what they use right now because it’s perfect for their workflow, or they have adapted their workflow to the tools that were available when they had to take the decisions on what tools to use. For those of you that love KiCAD, I will never understand you, but you have all my support :D

      Please don’t take my reply as a personal attack, I see what you say about what in your opinion are best options, but I wanted to reply to your question about why people use Eagle.

    2. Found this forum while trying to find out if Altium has abandoned CircuitStudio because it sure looks that way.

      Altium has not updated CircuitStudio in months. The links to documentation on the Start screen now have broken nodes.

      I get the impression that they have lost interest in the product. I’m going just go ahead and plow through KiCAD, which I did use for one simple project with no real issues, because I want to make a board larger than 160cm^2.

      I will not be renewing CircuitStudio unless things change radically before renewal time.

  2. Ugh. Subscriptionware again. Am I the only one a bit creeped out by this? More and more it seems like us peasants aren’t allowed to own anything, only lease the property of others. I don’t like that trend, although there are certain applications where it makes perfect sense.

    1. Yup, not a fan of being locked into a subscription and just hoping that the servers wont go down and be left hanging.

      Also, anyone taking bets on how many “just use kicad” posts we’re going to get? Just mention the word “Eagle” and they come running.

      1. I have been using inventor for a number of years, and Autocad for longer, andpreviously used a number of other cad packages, going back to the early 1980’s. I like the product, but if I didn’t have to use them for work, I would drop them like hot potatos, solely due to the current licensing scheme and the hassles of periodic reregisters, logging in, or, more to the point, not being able to log in, when a reliable network connection isn’t available, the need to call and jump through hoops every time I upgrade or repair a machine and the product decides that it is not on the machine licensed for, and so on. Always at the worst time, and several times a year.

        I still have a legacy license for Eagle. That is all I will ever have unless A-desk changes, and they won’t. Given the current political climate, I would not be surprised if they eventually claim royalty rights to all work done with the product, or, for that matter, outright ownership.

        1. >I have been using inventor for a number of years, and Autocad for longer,
          > andpreviously used a number of other cad packages, going back to the
          > early 1980’s. I like the product, but if I didn’t have to use them for work, I
          > would drop them like hot potatos

          Out of curiosity, what would you use instead? Is there a better option when it comes to 3D parametric MCAD?

      2. It doesn’t creep me out at all; I simply _do_not_ subscribe to things that shouldn’t be subscriptions.

        Like websites that sell subscriptions for cheap shipping. Just Say No!

        Software subscriptions are so laughable, they have 0% chance of getting me to use it. I know they won’t ever lock me in, because I won’t use that type of system in the first place.

        I’m willing to write the data files by hand if I have to; that willingness to do it the hard way is what prevents me from having to do things the hard way! The reason is that there are already numerous competing options; refusing to do it the Wrong Way will not leave you out in the cold, but willingness to do it in a way that you know is wrong, for supposed convenience, is what sets you up for pain in the future.

        If you don’t want to be a digital peasant, just commit to only using software that respects you! Others are doing it already, and the options tend to exist as soon as they are desired.

    2. The best way to fight this trend is…. not to subscribe. Really, switching to a subscription model wouldn’t be such a hot thing right now if it wasn’t for the fact that all the happy little consumers just keep eating it up. People just don’t seem to get that capitalism is like democracy. You vote for products, companies and business models with every purchase you make. Then again… look how well people do in choosing politicians. Maybe people do realize they are voting but just suck at it!

    1. A friend got me hooked on DipTrace a few years back. It’s the only schematic/PCB software I’ve tried that actually follows standard GUI design conventions, and I don’t understand why it’s not more popular for hobbyists. I guess KiCad finally got decent enough to take most of the “not Eagle” crowd?

      1. I personally use Protues and find the GUI very intuitive (unlike Eagle). When I purchased Proteus, the price of Eagle with similar layer and size capabilities was comparable and I got the added bonus of simulation.

      2. This 100% – It’s the first EDA software that doesn’t use archaic, non-standard keyboard & mousing conventions. I got proficient in Eagle, suffered through some KiCad tutorials, but DipTrace is by far the easiest to learn. Pricing structure seems a little more gradual than Eagle too…

  3. I like how they inadvertently ended up promoting KiCad by insisting on “renting our software” versus the “you BUY and OWN a copy of our software” they had before greed got the best of them in the shape of being acquired by a bigger company with questionable business model from a users POV.

  4. Exactly why I don’t use any non open source software for business. You invest your time in learning and using tools and with one acquisition, all company culture, commitments, assumptions etc can change. I run a design business and have not touched closed source in over a decade. One (very big) less thing to worry about.

    1. I totally agree. A technology business should control their toolchain, they should not even touch a toolchain that has the capability to control them. If it is proprietary, I can’t control it, and using it creates a needless ongoing liability. The freedom you get from open tools is way more valuable than any cost savings; even if using an open tool costs me more in the short term, because I have to build it out, or do training, it still is going to leave me with more value because of the predictability.

      In the old days, businesses valued predictability. I’m not sure when that changed, or what they teach in its place in business school these days… but somehow a lot of business people prefer proprietary software.

    2. Spoken like someone in the software-only world.

      The death of a open source software community is identical to the death of a subscription based company. Both risky options compared to a finished and stable software that’s offered with a perpetual license. This is how REAL companies purchase software.

      Open-source software can only ever be as good as the community which supports it. ‘Proprietary software’ can be as good as the money thrown at it. Although KiCAD’s community is better than ever, it still massively lags $2k EDAs and shows no hope of ever catching up.

      REAL companies also pay for SERVICE subscriptions. THis has to do with accountability. Something OSS lacks completely. When an OSS bug costs your company money, who is responsible to fix it or prevent it from happening in the first place? That’s correct, your company. If you employ software engineers that specialize in that code base, you’re set. If you employ electronics engineers who specialize in laying out PCBs, you’re screwed.

      This hobby community will not blink spending $2k on another laptop or $2k on another 3D printer for slight productivity improvements, but the thought of spending $2k on an EDA tool that will save some of them a literal MONTH of work each year is certifiable because it’s not open-source. Wish they would just be honest and admit they just don’t use it enough to warrant the cost. They’re just hobbyists and it’s all about the money.

        1. Altium’s Circuit Studio is $500 now, was ~$1k.

          Altium’s Free online only service is Circuit Maker.
          Other EDNs have offered similar services, but not gotten enough traction to continue offering it. There appears to be two sets of customers, companies willing to pay ~$4k to $10k per seat, and hobbyists who want basically everything free. Small businesses are in the middle and drive the sub $2k market of crippled tools because they can’t wait for open source to never catch up.

      1. Here’s a real life example A company that used a leading top of the line expensive dongle protected C compiler for firmware on a product with thousands installed in a 1000km radius. The product required ongoing development as the industry requirements kept changing. Thieves broke in to the office and stole the PC. A new dongle is 5k USD. Bad, but doable. The compiler company was called and the answer WAS : sorry we don’t make that anymore. All the firmware had to be ported to a new compiler. With firmware, especially in the old days this was not a trivial task. The new compiler: GCC, no dongle, never again will they be held at gunpoint at the wimm of a tool supplier. No matter how professional your tool suppliers are they can always go out of business, be bought and shut down by the competition etc etc. Open source can never be shut down, only abandoned, and that usually only happens when there is a significantly better open source option. The catch with open source it in choosing the one that will become The one.

        1. So the company continued to use a programmer long after it was supported without considering the consequences? I see that alot.

          Not considering end of life support is just as common and risky as not designing for manufacturability or designing with open source software without a healthy company/community/industry behind it.

          Thankfully that company had a second option to support their shitty business practices.

          Our local healthcare conglomerate, UPMC, decided to use open-source software for transferring/viewing/filing medical images between techs and doctors. More than one company offered support and it was cheaper than the alternative. After a couple years, productivity actually increased slightly! Unfortunately, around that time, HIPAA rules were constantly making big changes. This forced all the software service providers to cease support or go out of business. It was too much work for a service plan. Surprisingly none of the doctors, nurses, radiologists, etc knew how to update the code to support the new equipment or rules…

          Although consultants were hired for little patches, prices were increasing exponentially as they smelt blood in the water. Proprietary software finally replaced the OSS and all data was ported. The new package is better, but not great. Tomorrow this software company might fold and the process will renew. UPMC learned its lesson and now focuses on the health of the software solution instead of caring if it’s open.

  5. I’ve been using a 3 user advanced Eagle license since version 3.x and didn’t upgrade the first time they messed with licensing… until they realized they made a mistake and reverted back to the old way. Same thing since Autodesk took over; I assumed that they would realize how many loyal users they pissed off and switch back. I guess I should finally stop holding my breath and make the jump to something else.

    Funny thing is I don’t mind Fusion’s 360 subscription. Mostly because there was nothing else out there anywhere near the price. I’m an early bird adopter, so what is normally $1,200 a year is only $300 for me, as long as I’m never late on a payment! The CAM feature are awesome. Although I can’t imagine I’d ever want to be able to modify a PCB dimension in Fusion and have the changes automatically updated in Eagle.

    1. As a midwestern gringo I cringe a little bit each time I see that. It reminds me how all the cool tech stuff is on the other side of the continent. Don’t get me wrong, we produce hackers, makers and geeks as well as anywhere. It’s just that once ours reach a certain age most of them decide everything is out west and leave thus making it true.

      Then again… at least with PST I know to always add 3. We have that @#$@#$ daylight savings time here so one has to consider that when converting to/from GMT. And besides, those Greenwich guys have had their universal time zone since 1884. Isn’t it time to play nice and let someone else have a turn? What makes their location so special?

    2. Dude! I didn’t notice this the first time through “. Time Zones got you down? Here’s a handy count down timer!” Go look at it, that last part is a link to your answer. Did you notice that before you posted? If so you sure are a whiny git aren’t you?!?

    3. My question is, does it improve the conversation to include people that can only read clocks conditionally when they’re in their preferred format?

      I’d prefer they go the other way, and use a binary clock with a randomized time zone in EBCDIC. Then people who can’t do baby-hacks wouldn’t even find it!

  6. I’d be curious to know if they’ll ever integrate it into the Fusion360 licensing scheme, which as far as I remember is: free until you use it in a buisness that brings in $100k USD a year or more.

    As someone who does CNC for fun, I love fusion 360 for its integrated CAM.

    As someone who does PCB for a living, I’m not sure I wouldn’t just use my work Altium license anyway, but if I were ever going to start a business of my own, fusion 360 with integrated PCB suite would be a tempting proposition. Otherwise I’d probably just use KiCad.

    1. ” I’m not sure I wouldn’t just use my work Altium license anyway”

      You probably would just use Altium then. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all used the same tools though? One’s knowledge and experience as an amateur would completely carry over when going professional. When a person retires and loses access to all that expensive software they had at work they would still have the same thing at home anyway if they wanted to keep going as a hobby.

  7. “Yes, there’s still a free, educational version, but this change to a subscription model caused much consternation in the community when announced.”

    Do you want bootleg copies to start circulating? Because that’s how you get bootleg copies to circulate.

    1. They have a free version (w/o subscription) and a 3 year “free” educational subscription.

      I point this out because some companies out there offer “free educational” versions of their software which IMHO are not free at all! First, if you aren’t currently a student they are NOT available for you. Some companies have no concept of a hobbyist at all, you are either a professional with a company budget or a student on his/her way towards becoming one. Second, they don’t want to offer the hobbyist anything, they just want students to learn their stuff so that the learning curve will guarantee they request their future bosses send them money!

      I’d rather see a free, open source tool win the market but I will at least give Autodesk credit for being better than that!

      1. Does Eagle’s free educational version require an @edu email address or no?

        CircuitMaker is just free and more capable than even most of the paid Eagle packages, but online only.

        OrCad, PTC and Altium had an educational version that required an @edu email. Not sure if they still do.

    2. I remember in the `80s when most of the nerds at my school had bootleg copies of Moon Patrol.

      All it took for bootlegs to circulate were floppy drives. Oh, and somebody named The Nibbler who cracked it.

  8. I use KiCAD at home because it feels as good as Altium and I am able to achieve the same level of productivity. KiCAD only needs to improve on library management, adding click and drag to editors sans keyboard, and more advanced routing features for high speed signals. Otherwise for free its hands down the best PCB design tool there is.

    1. Open source can be good even with it’s idiosyncrasies like Blender and GIMP. But it’s not going to be good just by being open source, but by those dedicated to making it good. That includes UI and documentation.

  9. I abandoned Eagle CAD. I keep my version 7 around to access old projects, but don’t use it for anything new. I switched to Altium Circuit Studio and KICAD for all new designs. My only complaint about Altium Circuit Studio is that there is no linux native version… as a side note, based on many of the posts, interviews, and articles, i wouldn’t trust a single word that comes out Matt Berggren’s mouth. Really disappointed in Hackaday giving him an opportunity to swindle the maker community….

      1. Altium Circuit Studio is compatible enough with Altium designer that i am able to exchange design with others that are also using Circuit Studio or Designer… I also have some cadence tools as well. most businesses haven’t adopted KICAD for their professional work…

  10. Am i the only one who wants to draw my PCBs in gimp? I know gimp, I like gimp, I’d really rather just draw the traces in myself. Does anyone know how to convert from an image file to something i could send osh park?

    1. No idea, but I’d start by sticking something like “image to gerber” into your search engine of choice. I also would imagine that something like that would only be useful if you are doing a one layer PCB.

  11. I haven’t jumped on the Eagle subscription bandwagon, either. Looking for something else for personal projects. Use Altium at work.

    Postscript: these dollar signs in the article and comments are freaking out Chrome! Every time we have something like $100 versus $50, the stuff between the dollar signs gets turned into italics. Is it interpreting it as LaTex?

  12. I hate to be the point of dissent but I’m ok with this. Software is a moving target – they are constantly upgrading it and adding value.

    It’s kind of the same thing between leasing a car and buying one. If you buy a car you’re (generally) stuck with it for the life of the car. Yes overall it’s cheaper, but any upgrades in auto technology are lost until you buy another one. For instance, when ABS came out I specifically bought a car so I could have that feature. But I don’t have adaptive cruise.

    With leasing you are always within 2 or 3 years of the latest technology. This didn’t matter much in the 70’s 80’s 90’s and oughts because cars didn’t change that much, but now if you can wait even a year you’ll get much better driver aids and safety technology.

    So for me $100 a year is a fair price to always have access to new features. Caveat, of course, that they provide sufficient new features to make it worthwhile. The autorouter in 8 is definitely better than the autorouter in 6.

    On my wishlist is 3D rendering of PCB’s which Altium is really good at.

    1. Software was always a moving target and people do pay for worthwhile upgrades. Cadsoft charged for major revisions and those revisions were purchased. Autodesk survived from the 90’s until a couple years ago asking people to buy new versions of their CAD software. Other EDA tools charge for upgrades; if you decided not to buy them for a few years, you’ll typically have to “catch up” on maintenance fees but that’s ultimately fair.

      Subscription means that they break the tool every two weeks. If you can’t log in, you lose access to the tool and the work that is accessed via that tool. If you can’t renew the subscription every month, same thing. You have to keep paying regardless of whether you believe the upgrades are worth the price, because your work is held hostage.

  13. “It’s quite different to pay $70 once, and hold on to your version 6.0 and never pay for upgrades, than to pay $15 every month forever and be forced to upgrade versions. Naturally, among the community, this caused a lot of outrage.

    This begs the question, do we have a right to expect software engineers to work for free to bring us great software? Is it fair to be mad when a company wants to hire developers and pay them a living wage by charging its customers for software?”

    (above quote is from the event page)

    This is really impressive adversarial phrasing. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve paid Cadsoft about $1600 in order to make sure Ed, Jorge and others can feed their families. Cadsoft always charged a significant fee for upgrades, I paid around $400 just to get irregular pads in components (the only part of that upgrade I really needed). I didn’t realize that disliking a subscription plan and paying a company $1600 was the same as wanting handouts.

    1. Yeah, that’s a really strange argument. What about all the other countless products that you pay for once? What’s next, subscription plans for toasters? I mean, they design new toasters all the time, so it’s only fair, right?

        1. Or let them rot for being anti-consumer with forced subscription plans unless you happen to own (as in legal ownership) the legacy version.

          No amount of sweet talk and sales pitches are going to justify it, especially on a site where people create or modify things.

          Since being able to do that without getting in trouble requires ownership.

          Unless you support scummy shit like John Deere using DRM to keep farmers from repairing and servicing their own Tractors they bought, then you’d vehemently oppose software subscriptions too.

    2. From what I can see, the programmers who manage to create software that they sell directly and receive residual payments from tend to stop writing much software. The ones who get paid a salary keep writing lots of software.

      Like with shareware; people who got a big hit would tend to have really really low productivity.

      If the programmer’s pay is tied to subscriptions, they will have low output. If their pay is based on code written, they’ll have much higher output.

      Notice that it doesn’t matter for that calculation which model the customer is paying on! And so here, the programmers working for Autodesk get paid not based on the code they wrote last year, but the code they wrote during a particular pay period. The subscription part doesn’t go to the programmers. So it makes no difference at all to programmer productivity or pay.

  14. At work we’re still using V6, as nothing of value has been added since, and at home I now use a “student edition” (courtesy of Bittorrent), and am probably going to switch to KiCAD soon. I’d happily pay ~100 euro for a perpetual licence, but I refuse to be held hostage.

    Autodesk, please go prematurely end your existence in an environment of hot combustible materials.

  15. Let’s not forget the whole “we won’t be going subscription any time soon” weasle words used when they bought Eagle. Presumably so as not to kill sales of V7 until V8 was ready. What user would trust something run by a guy like Matt? Once you use a subscription product they have the opportunity to change pricing or licencing terms and you have to suck it up. I got burned once with a promise of “free maintenance and support” when I purchased V7 just before this crap. Never again.

  16. I’m ok sticking with V7.30 or something. I can import most parts using ultra librarian and I don’t need boards larger than 10x15cm either, and if I do I could make multiple boards or use adobe illustrator to stitch multiple design together if necessary.
    The only thing I miss is the ability to render the board in 3D and export it to a CAD program like solidworks. I know solidworks has an electronics cad program as well but the consensus is that’s crap basically. Anyway I can work quite quickly with Eagle 7 and works well enough that I don’t want to learn another program again (came from ultiboard and CircuitMaker before). With inventor and fusion 360 it should be easy to do good quality 3D design from eagle, that would be interesting to me, but I’m not going to fork out 15 pop a month.

  17. The thing that gets my goat about subscription licenses is they always pretend it isn’t a price hike. Even with the most absurd software and hardware refresh cycle (smartphones for instance, where users upgrade every two years) that represents a 360% price hike. Most hackers hold onto their hardware and software longer than that (like four years) which makes it a 720% hike.

    Ultimately in this case I don’t have a personal stake in it since I have always loathed Eagle and am quite happy with KiCAD but the implication that their users are too dense to notice that the effective cost has gone up significantly is insulting. Instead I feel they ought to acknowledge and justify their gouging (and if the thing phones home, not charge people for months in which they don’t use the software).

  18. I was an Eagle Pro licensee since 5.x and did not upgrade to 8.x due to the model change. I had to use 8 recently to support a contractor’s work and they’ve done something to the UI. The selection sensitivity is now requires much more accurate point and click and they’ve changed some control/behavior modalities. Version 8 vs 7 feels just a foreign to me now as any other eCAD tool. And as far as I know, there is no ’emulated the legacy version 7 behavior’ switch. Very disappointing if they held out hope of reaching out to former customers.

    I recently started a new job and recommended the purchase of Altium Designer. More expensive (perpetual license) but miles ahead in features. I’m liking it so much, I plan on purchasing a personal license next year to support my own work and some side contracting.

    AutoDesk is completely out of touch. It not only affects the eCAD market, but companies that do electrical design often do mechanical as well. I have such a poor impression of the company after this, any sales call with them on other products would be a up-hill battle. We have 1 EE (me) and 35 ME/IEs!

    1. There is an setting in Options->Set…->Misc called “Group Command Default On” which, once turned right back off again, restores karma and v8 operates much more like v7.

      Personally, although I would prefer to have the option to buy an outright license, I am ok with the subscription so long as they are working for it and the software is progressing as I can see how much Autodesk are throwing at EAGLE in terms of resources. Fusion 360 integration, SPICE integration, Live DRC, Push and Shove routing, Obstacle avoidance, True mirror board view (that doesn’t just mirror all the parts), to name but a few, plus many other useful UI and usability enhancements. I’ve probably missed a whole bunch of important new stuff out there but there has been so much new stuff brought into EAGLE in the last year.

  19. Damn, looks like there’s not a single positive comment regarding EAGLE!
    First, let me explain: I do not own a subscription. My needs are so far satisfied with those 80cm2 of board area (area, mind you, with an arbitrary aspect ratio). I designed about 15-20 PCBs this year, typically within 5x10cm or 8x10cm due to the size being preferred by cheap PCB manufacturers in China.
    I would say there has been a dramatic improvement in EAGLE’s development. It is not their Autodesk’s flagship product, nor does it aim to be, yet the amount of improvements added within this year outpaces minor changes happening prior to its acquisition.
    Up to this point, my design process was to set the DRC, then to align the traces “by eye” and check every now and then what DRC violations did I make. I laid every trace segment by hand, which gets old whenever multiple parallel signals go around (or, worse, between) an obstacle.
    Right now the software keeps the traces at optimum, DRC specified spacing and suggests entire multi-segment sections rather intelligently (no worse than I could manually route them). Vias can be brought as close together as the process allows – automatically. Jumping between layers with the spacebar is very convenient, especially when supported by the single layer mode. I easily get 400-500 net boards done in a single day – about 1.5 – 2x improvement – and not feel like a dumb robot afterwards plus my boards look good to me. And now they have introduced push-and-shove routing which I haven’t had the chance of trying out – the sole thing I really wanted added and which KiCad had for like 3 years. Can’t complain, really. Honestly, I do like working in Eagle.

    1. Amazed this comment wasn’t deleted already considering the overly aggressive attitude HaD has toward non-open software or opposing viewpoints on that topic.

      99.99% of HaD doesn’t understand why people like me use proprietary software so I made a post explaining why companies like mine buy Altium, then pay a subscription fee for service, vault access, etc.

      The comment was not only deleted, but a “rubypanter” post took its place which, point for point, incorrectly argued my original topic.

      Good on you michalkob. Fight the good fight. Just don’t be surprised by the obtuse attitude here.

    1. that is exactly my question for HAD! Matt Berggren and Autodesk have CONSISTENTLY shown that they are no friend of the Maker Community, why does HAD continue to give them a forum and voice to continue to push their “pay to play” subscription model?
      oh wait… i guess HAD already has said why they keep giving Matt a voice on HAD:
      “I had the chance to talk with [Matt Berggren], former Hackaday overlord who is currently serving as the Director of Autodesk Circuits. He is the person ultimately responsible for all of Autodesk’s electronic design products, from Tinkercad, 123D,, and project Wire, the engine behind Voxel8, Autodesk’s 3D printer that also prints electronics. [Matt] is now the master of Eagle, and ultimately will decide what will change, what stays the same, and the development path for Eagle.”

  20. I use a very old version of Protel that I purchased. Protel upped their price massively with Altium and as a person who only makes a couple of tiny (1sqin) boards per year as a hobby, I was not going to spend many $$$ for features I didn’t need. All my old pcbs still load on my old Protel.

    When you subscribe, you cannot guarantee that you will be able to load your old board designs tomorrow. You have lost any guarantee of accessing your archived files. I used a MS Office subscription for a year (supplied/paid by a comany I did some work for). MS subscription killed my legally owned version of Office. So now I use the free WPS Office – it opens my xls/xlsx, doc/doc files without a concern. I don’t need upgrades to keep accessing my archived files.

    At least when you buy a software product, you can keep using it (without upgrading) even if the company goes bust, or changes their model.

    I don’t mind supporting companies by buying their software, providing the price is reasonable for the use I will get from it. I object to all subscription models because you never know when they will pull the plug and leave you hanging, and prevent accessing your archives.

  21. Really surprised with all the hate on Autodesk here. I work at a small startup, and we use Eagle to design our PCB’s. I have tried many free alternatives, but all of them are absolutely trash compared to Eagle. We pay only 100 euro’s per subscription, per year, that is absolutely nothing if you have a company. Autodesk has made continuous improvements to the software, and their Fusion 360 integration is also coming along nicely. Now, if there was a free alternative which is easier to use than Eagle, let me know.

    1. You’re not paying attention. Many people in this thread have stated that they use paid licenses of Eagle and other proprietary software and were happy with it, and considered the investment worthwhile. The hate you’re seeing (aside from a few OSS zealots) is for the subscription model. I’ve used Eagle for many years, first as a hobbyist and then as a paid customer (Eagle Pro). I’ve love to continue doing so, but I won’t use the subscription model because it depends on internet connectivity and Autodesk’s servers to keep that tool from breaking every two weeks.

  22. when are we going to get an awesome combo of free open source CAD/CAM packages that all fully interact and can cope with lots of interacting boards/parts with lovely user interface
    PS dont ask me to do it I cant make software

  23. Perhaps you guys should look at this another way. How often do you purchase new versions of software? Have you compared the yearly cost of SaaS software and all the updates that come with it it real time versus the locked in versioning that sometimes comes with one time purchased software?

    I don’t know about you but I think Autocad purchasing Eagle was the best thing that could have happened. It’s a drastically better product because of it and I for one became more loyal to Eagle because of its increased usability and feature set. They are on version 8.4 now I think and I wouldn’t be surprised if they surpass most other design softwares functionality in the next year.

    Ford/Chevy, Glock/1911 whatever the comparison there is always debates, it’s whether the tool does what you want or need given your specific requirements.

  24. I have worked for a company that writes sophisticated add on packages for AutoCAD and other Autodesk products for specific vertical industries. We are a platinum level Autodesk developer and dealer and have been for 18 years. In that time, I have seen Autodesk create or acquire many products, only to abandon them a couple years later when they don’t make enough money. Even worse, they do it without warning and with absolutely no post support. If you’re lucky, you might be able to import the files into another Autodesk product. We have put thousands of man-hours of work into Autodesk products that are now dead and I have many folders full of now useless files. (Example: Actrix)
    I don’t trust Autodesk to continue to support Eagle. Or Inventor or Fusion either. They could disappear tomorrow with no notice. I love AutoCAD, and since that is their core product, I feel fairly safe with it. But as soon as they purchased Eagle, I made the switch to KiCad.

  25. Late to the party, just read the transcript and this thread. Thread is basically nothing but gripes against the licensing model, transcript has absolutely no mention of licensing model. Is this just a bizarre statistical anomaly, or did the chat logon banner say in big blinking letters, “First rule of Hack Chat is we do not talk about the licensing model”, or has the transcript been, erm, curated?

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