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EDA in a better (open and free) world :-)
Defining open formats for schematics, libraries, netlists, PCBs,
foorprints, projects, routers input could be (very) interesting for
kicad users, as well as gEDA, QUCS, KTechLab, FreePCB, and other EDA
Unlike commercial sofware companies, free sofware is not interested in
keeping users trapped in one sofware only.
These formats could be a strength :
- everyone using one of these tools would be able to use the most
interesting for a project.
- People in a common project could use different tools, maybe on
different OS, everyone using the "best" software, knowing that the
best is often the one we usually use.
- As far as I know, no EDA suite can cover every aspect of electronic
design : the simulator, or the autorouter, or something else is
missing, or not as good as we want.
- Using a common and open file format would reduce the time spent in
creating efficient and bugsfree format translators, especially between
free and proprietary file formats. The work can be shared between the
different EDA software developpers.
- using a common format could incite our preferred magazines to adopt
these open formats. In particular, it is very annoying to have a PCB
design with components impossible to find (i.e. I'm unable to find
that power connector with the footprint in this PCB... but I have a
lot of other power connectors that could suit for this usage!). In the
same way, there's a lot of sites (the electronic cookbook,
universities, private individuals...) offering thousands of
interesting projects, but in a number of "static" file formats :
impossible to modify anything, schematic or PCB.
- common libraries, well organized and online (some kind of
superkicadlib.org ;-) ), for schematics as well as for footprints.And,
why not, an online tool to search and import!
- ability to use different autorouters, because they have different
abilities and... prices, for different usages (hobby or pro).
The first step in this better world is about to be done with the
Specctra bridge. Thanks Dick (and others?), for all that work.
Of course, it may exist some reason that the idea is not convenient :
please feel free to tell us what could be wrong!!!