"Could you expand a bit on your KiCad/gEDA comparison. I haven't come across any informed ones before!"
I tried to get gEDA working on OS X and it ended up being impossible. There was a dependency of a dependency whose maintainer was so anti-Mac that he was able to ensure that his piece of the puzzle simply wouldn't build on OS X without being hacked.
Plus the gEDA developers are not interested in user suggestions. (By not interested, I mean, "openly hostile.") For example, I suggested that they should figure out how to have net names show up in traces and vias and holes in the PCB layout, and I was basically told, "Why do you need that?" Well, I need it because I don't work on trivial one-layer boards, that's why.
And finally, gEDA's library system for footprints and symbols is just ... awful. M4 macros and all sorts of horridness.
Kicad is actively developed. Certainly there's a lot of developer hubris there, too, and some bug reports get unacknowledged (a show-stopper I reported in July is still listed as "we haven't even bothered to look at it yet").
Most of the issues with Kicad on OS X seem to be with the differences in the wxWidgets layer.
I've designed a couple of boards with it, and it works. Just ignore the stupid CvPCB thing and embed footprint names in the symbol and you're all good.
"Yeah, ludicrous that Altera supports some random flavour of Linux, but not OS X."
Xilinx is exactly the same way. The underlying tools are all Unix and there's a translation layer handling the GUI. Doesn't make any sense.
Of course, some of us are old enough to remember how long it took Xilinx to support Linux while they were still actively supporting HP-UX and Sun-OS, both of which were basically dead.
it is easy for me to blame the OS, when I can directly compare win7 running the latest firefox to MacOSX running the latest firefox on the same exact hardware. One crashes regularly, the other is windows.
Please don't make me say that again, I feel so icky. Arguing over operating systems is silly. Like I said, I've probably just had bad luck.
"Personally, my experiences with MacOs have been horrid. I was a PC/Linux guy mainly. I tought video production using Media100 systems (apple) and they crashed constantly. I stayed away from apple till osX came out and eventually bought a macbook pro (I wanted a nice metal milled chasis!). The hardware is impressive but I had issue with software crashing all the time during video editing... again."
Software crashing? Why are you blaming the operating system instead of the application?
I mean, professionals use Avid video editing and audio production stuff daily on OS X and it all works and they make money using those tools.
Perhaps there's a reason Media 100 is no longer in business?
I remember that article! It was pretty funny hearing people on both sides of the fanboy crowd arguing about it.
Personally, my experiences with MacOs have been horrid. I was a PC/Linux guy mainly. I tought video production using Media100 systems (apple) and they crashed constantly. I stayed away from apple till osX came out and eventually bought a macbook pro (I wanted a nice metal milled chasis!). The hardware is impressive but I had issue with software crashing all the time during video editing... again.
Ultimately I just installed windows7 directly on that machine and had no further issues till it decided to drink an entire cup of coffee.
Now I'm back on another macbook with macOsX and again, flash crashes, browser crashes, etc. I have bad mac luck I guess because everyone else seems to have nearly flawless machines.
I guess it must have been 5-6 years ago, PC Magazine did one of their periodic speed comparisons using a standard set of characterization software. A Macbook Pro running Windows under Parallels ran faster in all categories than the fastest PC at the time. That was quite an admission from the magazine's standpoint.
After having to use PCs during much of my engineering career, as soon as I had decided to retire early from the corporate world, I switched over to the Mac.
1. No more virus updates. No need to even run virus protection S/W.
2. No more crashing.
3. No more fiddling with drivers.
4. No need to replace hardware every two years, due to H/W failures.
This is not to say the Mac is perfect...but it's very close. For those arguing over the price aspect...all I can say is you get what you pay for. Anyway, I digress.
I run all the standard PC-based engineering design software under Parallels and "it just works". Parallels also makes it very easy to go from a Mac to PC application at the click of an icon. It also allows seamless transfer of files and folders from one environment to the other by simply dragging.
I believe S/W companies are finally realizing many engineers prefer moving over to the Mac platform and are starting to port their applications over.
Back to the subject:
Yes, Linear Tech has released a Mac version of LTspice.
Also, there's EazyDraw, a fantastic drafting/drawing program.
There's another spice program, MacSpice.
For PC board viewing and development, there's McCAD GView (plus others for development)
I also recently posted info on a bunch of free PC board viewers here:
LTSpice for OS X has been out for a few months now, and it works well.
And yes, engineers use Macs. NXP's LPCXpresso runs well on OS X, as do other Eclipse-based tools (Silicon Labs has made a little bit of noise about supporting OS X for their upcoming unified tool set). In the board layout area, Kicad actually works quite well (gEDA is a disaster, but that's true on all platforms).
So, yeah, we run Xilinx tools and Keil tools in a Windows VM, and the ability to run in a VM is now the excuse for not porting to native OS X. Macs are solid machines, no more costly than an equivalently-configured Dell box, and they work.