Altium will soon be free

Yes that's right folks, the Holy grail of PCB design is almost upon us. Altium are developing a free version called CircuitMaker

http://circuitmaker.com

But before you wet yourself be advised that (at present) it is cloud storage only. Yes, no local storage. For many people (myself included) that's a deal breaker but to be fair Altium are listening to the great unwashed and this may change. I hope so.

If you have a week to spare you can read more about it here (40 pages and growing daily)

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/free-altium-is-coming/

Note the vitriol about cloud storage. But as I said the features are still being decided so watch that space. At this point it seems that you can use the totally free version and "rent" upgrades, so for example if 100x100mm is the limit for the free version (I say "if") but you have a one-off requirement for a 100x200 you can rent that functionality for as long as required to do that job. Same for other features like say 6 layers etc.

IF the prices are reasonable I think this is a good model.

A free/cheap Altium has been the impossible dream for as long as I can remember, once you Eagle guys try it you'll never go back :)


Rob

I'm already fully invested in Eagle with a Pro license, will not be changing to anything else for quite a while.

Sounds like their MBAs are desperately trying to suicide this version of the software and my money is on them succeeding.

The only free thing here is the cost to Altium to use of your designs.

While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.

Chagrin: The only free thing here is the cost to Altium to use of your designs.

While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.

That's really their wording? This is for the free CAD software? They way they write it, it sounds like you can't even use your own design once you submit it unless they license it back to you (and it is not explained here how they do that). I'd stay very far away.

I think the business model is still open to being changed, I can't see them claiming your designs, if that were the case not a single person would sign up.

But yes you would have to read the fine print that's for sure.


Rob

CrossRoads: I'm already fully invested in Eagle with a Pro license, will not be changing to anything else for quite a while.

Good for you. I only have light license so I can only exceed size limit with my edu full license on my open source physics lab projects.

$1,640?

Something like that. Whatever the price was at the end of last year.

You missed EAGLE 7 then. They first thought to use some more stringent licensing methods but then backed off and returned to honor based licensing. You can install on multiple computers with the same license code, if you are the sole user, of course ;). Since I am not designing larger boards, I stayed with occasionally dishing out $70 for a light license when the major version increments.

I admit that I'm stuck with EAGLE and unwilling to move away. Every hour I spend learning a new CAD software is an hour that I can do other stuff, like sleeping, finishing grading papers, playing with my son, or just bashing on the keyboard to have fun or make some money. Big opportunity cost to switch CAD software. I might get the full license in the future myself.

I have 6.5 full on one computer, and 7.1 free version on a 2nd for schematic capture.

I used to have 5.x light and tried 6.0 free and tried to do what you are doing but 6.0 is a major upgrade. They went with xml libraries on that one so I can’t exchange parts or libraries or files and all the people in the world were using 6.0 diagrams that I couldn’t open. So, fine!!! Here is your 70 bucks, hard peddler!

Every hour I spend learning a new CAD software is an hour that I can do other stuff...

Ain't that the truth. Even if you have a free version of a CAD package it's a major investment in time to get up to speed with it and you would need a very good reason to change.

As you probably know I'm not a fan of Eagle but it obviously does the job and it's better to get stuff done than be always learning new software.

If this free/cheap Altium works out I will certainly be recommending it to people who have not already invested in something else (ie beginners), but those who have can decide for themselves if it's worth swapping, I doubt it would be.


Rob

Thanks for the heads up Rob. I like the look of Altium when I have seen Mr eevblog Dave Jones using it so I will definitely be having a squiz 8)