whats_that_smell, I completely agree^2 with your response. Lots of frustration in the EDA world, that is for sure. What a mess they made out of it and how did they dangle lots of engineers on promise-strings.
Let me tell you that I once offered EUR 100,000.- as an investment to a Dutch Salesrep if he could buy off PCAD from Altium (when they just started with that crap I knew right away that was not the way to go) This is not a joke, this was a damned serious proposal. I knew and I know that there is a good market out there for a PCAD alike tool. I see that Eagle now jumps in this huge gap, at least here in Europe. But for me this is all too late. I bought Cadence and I will try to find my way around in this toolchain. Still love PCAD though...
..having started with tape up pcb, then Pcad for Dos (before Altium got hold of it), Tango, then Protel, then Altium. The Altium FPGA stuff was a POS and it stole resources needed to make the PCB software better. Altium became nothing more than a marketing machine with undeliverable promises..remember Altium 9 to 10 development? They moved to the cloud not because its was good for the customer, but because piracy..somewhat ironic since the country they moved to is a leader in intellectual property theft and software piracy. Altium's fate is sealed in the labs I know about..never to be seen again. The good news is this opens up the opportunity for a really good software firm to offer a solid pcb layout package at a reasonable price with good support..and NO POS FPGA design included. Leave that to the pros at Xilinx and others.
I fully agree with you. Those new tools out there are far too big. Not one engineer wants 'management tools' for 'Layout Time' as a 'new option' on his PCB CAD kit. Nor do they want FPGA tools. Heck, I will call Xilinx if I want a proper tool for VHDL, verification and FPGA placement work. Protel and PCAD were perfect for the level of engineering for most people doing serious engineering. I asked PCAD in 2001 for balanced lines for LVDS, but they never made it work right. And look now: All is LVDS and balanced lines, at high speed for sure... THAT IS the problem (yup and I am a bit frustrated here..., sorry for that)
Even if not, people never grow out of own bussines. He could just find some market niche for own products. Few months ago my customer wants to buy licence for PCB EDA software, I was looking for something just for "painting" graphic lines and there were no good software on the market. There are only "big" packages like Cadence and DYI scale like Eagle. They could no afford for big packages, also simple/cheaper version does not fulfill requirements. Eagle was good candidate but if they wanted design some simple display for LED clock on 1 layer PCB, the PCB size limitation will not allow this. There are also licenses for few square meters, 15 layers, but their cost/usability ratio is poor. I was working for years on Protel 98, and this obsolete system could be solution for all their problems, but it is obsolete.
I wish they resurect Protel, this was nice and cheap tool. Altium Designer is too big and too expesive for simple PCB design. If customer wants only design PCB, they push him to buy unneeded modules like FPGA design. I would love to buy "Protel 2012" in 30-50% of price of Altium Designer.
"..it is in the best interests of Altium to adopt a different style of leadership with focus on returning value to shareholders."
Even Jack Welch admitted that focussing on shareholder value was the dumbest idea in the world. I wish Altium a lot of luck, they're sure to need it.
This is a perfect example how the Chinese 'system' grabs the knowledge of a company. It is to their strategic benefits: Lots and lots of Chinese companies already used PCAD or PROTEL (most illegal) before it went to Altium.
You don't have to believe in 'The Flying Spaghetti Monster' to see how this had happened. I am still a user of PCAD (2006...) and bought a Cadence license for about a year ago. But I cannot leave my good old PCAD for time reasons.... (No time for the learning curve... ) It still does all that I want, including 1500 ball FPGA designs.
And this is EXACTLY what the Chinese have found out: You do not need Cadence nor Mentor to get up to a certain level of engineering. OK, it will totally go wrong when speeds go beyond -say- 3GHz, but up to these speeds I have done it all with PCAD until this day. So, my statement for this fact is: "When I see and can do it, why can't the Chinese do it? "
The conclusion of my argument here is that the Chinese have quite a powerful tool in their hands now. They can do -say- 95% of all PCB designs with it.
And for all those engineers who still use Altium for their developments:
Computing in the cloud is not a wise idea !! If you want your IP to land in China for free, be their guest.... I still don't believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster ;-)
Altium - let me start off by sating that their PCB design stuff was very good, but their attempted FPGA abortion (ie: the Frustration Station) along with their tied-in Nanoboards, were an absolute heap of bug ridden rubbish.
Even their engineering staff and support people (when they were all still based back in Australia) couldn't get to work properly themselves. The fact that they sold it as a product and wanted to be paid for support and "bigfixes" shows what a joke the company had become.
Let's not forget that Tony was at the helm when the final decision was made to offshore the operation - so I suppose his Karma finally ran over his Dogma. :)
Don't expect people to feel sorry for someone when they've effectively been ripped off. have a trawl of Altium's "support" forum for a feel of how they treated you once you gave them your money for a license.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Blog Doing Math in FPGAs Tom Burke 2 comments For a recent project, I explored doing "real" (that is, non-integer) math on a Spartan 3 FPGA. FPGAs, by their nature, do integer math. That is, there's no floating-point ...