Warning: NSFW language.
So, Autodesk bought Eagle. This in and of itself would not necessarily be bad news – Eagle has been in need of some improvements for some time, and occasionally, when a bigger company assimilates a smaller company there are improvements to the product (other times the product dies away, gets cannibalized, canceled, integrated or meets any number of gruesome death that can make it unusable).
So, what did Autodesk do? Well, several things. First they added some actually useful features. Second, they changed the buying model to renting (subscription) model…
…with no permanent buy option. So, basically, when you want to work you have to pay for it. When you want to do a PCB, you have to pay. There are monthly and yearly subscriptions available, the maximal version goes at 65 USD per month, or 500 USD per year. Also known as go fuck yourself.
Now, to be fair, I would be OK if Autodesk simply made a PCB design software that you had to
bend over and allow yourself to be fucked by subscribe to, and made Eagle a legacy or discontinued product you could still buy. I would simply ignore the new piece of crap. It would not be a great situation, but oh well…
Instead, now if I want (as a company) any new seats for my designers I have to agree to pay a monthly/yearly ransom. Subscription is, as far as I’m concerned NOT an acceptable way of licencing my software. And that goes double for a situation where you start of with one payment model (perpetual licences) and then move to a subscription one – while this is not an outright scam, it’s as close to the definition of a dick move as you can get. You have to understand that PCB design is literally what puts bread on my table. What if I’m in a shitty situation financially wise and need to do some work, but I can’t afford to pay the rent for the tools that make me more money? I will not rent a hammer, nor a screw driver. Unless there is literally no other option than to go to a subscription I will not touch a subscription tainted software. I am OK with paying for the occasional update, when I need it, or can afford it, but I will not risk my livelihood on the whims of corporate pricing drones and the availability of servers that have been known to be shitty.
The reaction to this has been pretty much universally bad – no one likes to be informed that hence forth you can only work on your designs with the old stuff, or, pay a subscription and cease being able to work on the new stuff with your old licenses. Also, the cost is just silly, particularly in the long term, when you can save up for a non-ransom based design tool.
Oh, you have to sign in to be able to use that piece of shit, so, Internet access is a must… or would be if there weren’t reports of crashing, lost productivity due to not being able to connect…
So, to justify this move, Autodesk added some new features! Yaaay! What are they? Well… I don’t give a damn. As far as I’m concerned Eagle is dead to me, and I do not see a future in it for me. Even if every time I started Eagle up I’d get a triple mind blowing orgasm, I would still stay away from it. I used to teach it to kids when I lead a robotics course on a local high school, no more. I used to recommend it on forums, give people tips, no more.
But fortunately some good came out of it. The marketing from other companies saw this as an awesome opportunity, which landed me a perpetual Circuit Studio license for the price of one year of renting Eagle. Also, many people reported that this was the final nail in the coffin, that they were thinking of moving to something different for a long time, so, yeah, KiCAD popularity is at an all time high!
Autodesk, you have taken a good product and killed it. Congratulations. No matter what you do, I won’t touch it.
Note: This is not news, I have been aware of this since the start, I just now got to rambling about it. Had I actually gotten to rambling about it sooner, many more nasty words would have been used… maybe the whole article would be a few thousand lines of Fuck you.