Eagle: One Year Later

We're checking in with Eagle CAD to hear about new features added in the past year and to learn what's coming in 2018

Friday, December 15, 2017 12:00 pm PST - Friday, December 15, 2017 12:30 pm PST Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Join this Hack Chat by clicking on the JOIN HACK CHAT button. 


Matt Berggren will be hosting the Hack Chat this week.

This Hack Chat is at noon PST, Friday, December 15th. This is the last Hack Chat of 2017! 

Time Zones got you down? Here's a handy count down timer

In June 2016, Autodesk acquired Cadsoft, and with it, EAGLE (PCB design software). The plans for new features were announced, some promising development happened, and then only six months later, it was announced that EAGLE would be offering subscription license from now on.

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? 

EAGLE has made some major improvements to their UX, added interesting new features, and is  integrating into MCAD, with Fusion 360. This allows a board design to seamlessly integrate as both an electronic design and a mechanical model.

Join us to hear about the new features, state your wishlist to the people who are listening, and hear how things are going for EAGLE under its new ownership.

Matt Berggren is the Director of Autodesk Circuits. He is a HW engineer, programmer, and technologist with a strong interest in opening electronic product design up to everyone. An engineer he has built and consulted on all manner of devices from military, commercial, consumer, and industrial and led teams in China, the US, and Australia building analog & power systems, wired / wireless comms, and any variety of high performance digital systems (MCU, CPU, mixed-FPGA, etc).

Not an EAGLE fan? We'll be speaking with KiCad in the Hack Chat next.


  • What new features have been developed in EAGLE since it was acquired?
  • What are your wishlist items?
  • Technical challenges in designing new features.
  • Where can we find resources?

Please add your questions in the comments of this page. 

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Jim Jones wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:31 point

Any plans to go to a could file system like Fusion 360?

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:36 point

What's a could file system?

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ted wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:21 point

why is it so hard to include a logo?! (eg a png)

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Andrew Sowa wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:12 point

Will we ever see a good autorouter?

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Andrew Sowa wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:10 point

Where do you see Eagle being position compared to Kicad, Altium, Cadence?  Hobbist vs professional spectrum 

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Jarrett wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:10 point

So what's the deal with CircuitMaker? Do you still have tendrils in that team and any idea WTF is going on with Altium? (This probably relates to Upverter too)

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bald engineer wrote 12/15/2017 at 19:47 point

There have been some improvements in the UX, such as the new icons. (They look great.) However, EAGLE still feels like a 30 year old command-line driven CAD program, with a GUI slapped on top. Is there a plan or roadmap to keep a similar UI, but modernize the UX?

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davedarko wrote 12/15/2017 at 19:17 point

I wonder why the prices are 100 USD vs. 130,90 € - is that a tax thing?

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 12/15/2017 at 20:10 point

this is probably a question for @Jorge Garcia rather than the chat

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Garrett Mace wrote 12/14/2017 at 20:25 point

"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? "

Woah woah woah woah woah. Slanted much? Cadsoft always charged for new versions, and people paid for them. I paid what, something like $400 for an upgrade basically just so I could make irregular pads in components. Cadsoft earned about $1600 from me, a single seat pro user, which I assume they used as some portion of their living wage. How in the everloving HELL is not liking subscriptions the same as saying developers should work for free? Cadsoft decided that hobbyists could buy something for $70 of their own accord, and now there's a hostile attitude towards anyone who did so? Just. Wow.

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 12/14/2017 at 20:39 point

not hostile, just asking a question :) calm down!

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Garrett Mace wrote 12/14/2017 at 21:01 point

I thought Matt wrote this, not you Sophi. I still think the above phrase misses the point of why people don't like subscription software. I'll re-buy Eagle for $2000 if it means it's not tied to Autodesk's servers: of course I want developers to get paid. Yes, the subscription is more expensive for some people. But the main problem people have had with subscriptions is that Autodesk is intentionally breaking your tools every two weeks, and you can't fix them unless you have internet and/or pay. Literally nobody is mad that a company wants to pay developers a living wage.

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 12/14/2017 at 21:27 point

Good point and you saw my various rants all weekend long about the internet and Fusion... (I've now uninstalled Fusion btw because to use the latest requires a Mac OS upgrade to Sierra which requires being in strong WiFi for a couple of hours... yup). The thing that I hear the most is - I'm using Kicad because it's "free and open source".  People aren't  maliciously thinking about not paying developers but using free products means that someone is likely to have worked on the product for free. 

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Garrett Mace wrote 12/14/2017 at 21:44 point

There's free and Free though...a non-zero amount of KiCAD users (such as CERN) use it because it's free of commercial entanglements. For example, you're not supposed to use Eagle subscription in another country than the one in which you subscribed, according to the license agreement.

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Garrett Mace wrote 12/14/2017 at 23:02 point

Sophi, I've decided not to participate in this Hack Chat though :) I get pretty upset about the licensing, but other people will have valid technical questions, and you don't need the extra stress! Good luck tomorrow

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 12/14/2017 at 20:48 point

also, HI Garett! My pay-for subscription license was $100 for the year. 

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Garrett Mace wrote 12/15/2017 at 07:51 point

Matt, as I mentioned above, I'm not going to join the actual Hack Chat because you do have valid technical topics to discuss with people who don't see the subscription model as a barrier...I'm not going to disrupt that. I'm quite certain I've been very clear that I enjoy using Eagle and have done so for many years as a paid customer of the Eagle Professional package. You talk at some length about the improvements you've made and have planned, and I think you'll find I've never talked down your team's improvements to Eagle. All of my problems have been with the licensing system that breaks the tool every two weeks forever (or until Autodesk shuts down the auth server).

I'm not saying that you should stop offering a subscription service, but why not both? Subscription obviously works for many people, for their needs it may be better than permanent license + maintenance costs. While I would have to pay $65/mo or $500/yr for your Premium service to get the same features I use now, I would find it more than acceptable to pay that continuously for updates, after an initial buy-in of say $1500 or so for a permanent license key that doesn't require phoning home to Autodesk. I cannot understand why you won't take my money, or from all the other people who love your product but cannot use software that breaks every two weeks without internet (I wonder how many emerging markets have the same internet uptime as downtown SF?).

I appreciate that you're exhausted the topic keeps coming up, but unfortunately I'm not the only person who feels left out in the cold by the subscription license scheme, and I can't control what other people do. I think you'll have to accept that people will be complaining about it to you for the rest of your life, or Eagle's life.

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technolomaniac wrote 12/15/2017 at 15:44 point

Mace, with all due respect, we’ve “litigated” this already.  You’ve said you peace and I have mine.  I wouldnt expect you to know how much it costs to develop software at the level we are; but I dont much enjoy getting dragged into the comment threads to rehash this same issue time and time again.  We're not changing direction on subs.  

Have you compared what we’ve released in one year to what was released in the last 10?  We are opening doors, not closing them.  Whether you choose to enter, completely up to you.  But we have demonstrated net *growth* in eagle usage as a result in an investment that is not about short-term revenue but rather, about bringing together electronics, mechanics, SW and mfg.  

Autodesk was a choice I made because no other company was poised to really drive this transformation.  Not Altium.  Not Cadence.  Not when 100% of your revenue comes from only a handful of tools; it isn’t possible to bet big on the future or take your price lower.  Any bet erodes profits, thereby eroding confidence and pretty soon you done have a company.  And it's doubtful the  open source world can drive this comprehensive view of complete end to end product development - i.e. mechanical modeling, sch & pcb design, simulation (SPICE, thermal, CFD; mechanical sim including motion, dynamics, modelica, etc.), tool path generation, machine control, supply chain management, lifecycle.  There’s a lot to do and integrate and get right and sadly IMO, I dont think we're that organized in the open source community to make this happen.

Again, respectfully, no one is obliged to get excited about that, however your point’s been made. 

Happy to talk about growth in emerging markets as a result of lowering the cost of entry with subscription (recall not everyone is as fortunate as we are in the US).  Happy to talk about free premium licenses to students and teachers.  Happy to talk about integrated sim to address the classroom.  Happy to talk about amazing routing improvements to increase productivity and get people to their kid’s little league games.  We are pouring an enormous amount into it.  Way more than any short term play to boost profits thru subs would yield.  A wise man once said: the easiest thing any CEO can do is increase short term profits.  This isn’t about that and that’s not sound strategy.  EAGLE is a part of a MUCH bigger bet on the future of making things.  This is about building the Thing (with a capital ’T’) that will transform this space.  

But I hope you find what works for you man.  It’s $100 / year or $15 / mo.  I’m not ashamed to say it. Its amazing software and it’s getting better.  Fast. 

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technolomaniac wrote 12/15/2017 at 15:52 point

Let me put one finer point on this which is that subscription provides a continuous, predictable revenue stream that ensures we can continue to make investment whilst smoothing out wild swings in upgrade activities which force us to always hedge and not invest fully in a tool's development.  Erratic upgrade trends and unpredictable revenue mean we cant ever ramp up to a level other than the number of developers we would have during the "bad times".  Predictability means we have a shot at really understanding our costs and our revenues and ensuring we indeed can pay those developers a living wage in a steady and predictable way.  

  Are you sure? yes | no

Garrett Mace wrote 12/15/2017 at 17:19 point

I can see that you understand and appreciate stability, and fear erratic upgrades and unpredictable revenue. Please understand that by making things more comfortable for yourself, you are transferring all the downsides of unpredictability to your customers. Your predictable revenue stream comes at the cost of your customers being able to depend on their tools still working. We all have to deal with unpredictable revenue streams. Your customers BUILD HARDWARE. We can't force people subscribe to our hardware so that we get to have a nice, safe, predictable revenue stream. Frankly, Matt, I don't care how safe you feel. Make a good product and sell it. Your balance sheet is your own business, charge what the tool is worth. I'm sure Autodesk can pay developers through a year of thin times. Your customers build hardware and depend on "unpredictable" sales. It doesn't match up and it's one-sided, and I can't believe your best argument for subscription is pity for a business having to deal with variable revenue.

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Garrett Mace wrote 12/15/2017 at 17:41 point

To put a finer point on it: A company that makes $2 billion every year is actually asking me, a two-man business that does essentially random contract work, to think of the stability of their revenue stream and give up some of my stability to insulate them from market unpredictability. Absolutely ludicrous, even for you.

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Stephen Tranovich wrote 12/12/2017 at 20:58 point

Whoops, looks like the start time is in CET, not PST. I was looking at my calendar wondering what event I could possibly have overnight Thursday until 12:30pm Friday!

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de∫hipu wrote 12/15/2017 at 01:24 point

Yeah, time for hackaday to embrace non-freedom timezones and finally acknowledge that there is life outside of murrica.

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ActualDragon wrote 12/15/2017 at 03:09 point

in all fairness though, you can't blame them, i mean, that's where the headquarters is. CET i mean. They can't put all the time zones across the world in there

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