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Good Linux PCB drawing programs?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Jeff, Apr 22, 2004.

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  1. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    Anyone have any recommendations for a decent reasonably priced ( under $1k)
    PCB drawing program that works under Linux. The program will be used to
    design single and double sided SMT boards, mostly 2 layer, with a
    possibility of a few 4 layer. A decent autorouter is a bonus.
  2. Chaos Master

    Chaos Master Guest

    Jeff outputs from the pin 13 of IC6:
    EAGLE ( Just a happy user of this program.

    _____ _ _
    | ____| | \ / | Chaos Master®
    | | | \ / | Posting from Brazil.
    | |___ | \ / | IRC: Wizard_of_Yendor / PowerNOS
    |_____| | \/ | visit
  3. David Knaack

    David Knaack Guest

    There is an open source project you might want to check out:

    I have no idea if it's any good or if it will serve your need.

  4. It looks like it is not quite ready for prime time. No docs, no support,
    only a couple of developers involved. Hopefully it will come along.
  5. Garrett Mace

    Garrett Mace Guest

    PCB's one of the few Linux programs I've used that regularly crashed.
    Abysmal user interface, which says something as I found Eagle easy to use
    from the start.

    Eagle is good all the way up to semi-pro, if you can get by without major
    parts libraries, automation, simulation, version management, etc. Most lone
    wolves and small companies can get by with it, depending on the complexity
    of whatever they're tackling. You could technically design a motherboard,
    but stuff like equalizing trace lengths and resistance/capacitance analysis
    would put you in a padded room. But for hobby work and occasional
    consulting, nothing beats it IMHO.
  6. Roy Battell

    Roy Battell Guest

    VUTRAX is available for Linux.
    It does Schematic Capture plus auto-routing and manual layout,
    Gerber 274X, routing and CNC outputs.
    The 10MB download include an interactive tutorial & practice
    system and is free up to 256 pins, with many options thereafter
    listed in the pricing section of the sites. Visit either (Main UK site) (Central Europe Mirror)

  7. It's a shame cadence or protel dont start thinking about a build for
  8. Cadence Allegro do exists for linux ... But here, we're talking about
    Sylvain Munaut
  9. Hi,

    I'm currently working on a motherboard for embedded system with eagle.
    The external frequency involded are at MAXIMUM, 133Mhz DDR. I hope, I'll
    be able to do it manually. But of course, the few critical tracks at
    this frequency will have to be routed by hand with eagle, as well for
    some high speed differential pair ( like USB2 / firwire ... )

    I would have liked to work with maybe more advanced tools such as
    Allegro that seems 'cool' but it was a little pricy ;( (And it's not
    _that_ easy to use)

    Sylvain Munaut
  10. I use PCB on a regular basis, and though you are right about the rather
    poor user interface, it never crashed on me. It has a few quirks, but I
    find it quite useful for smaller projects. And, of course, it's free.

    Richard Rasker
  11. Garrett Mace

    Garrett Mace Guest

    Perhaps your configuration is different, or you're better at walking through
    a minefield than I am...but whenever I tried to seriously design a board in
    PCB, I never even got to a point that I'd consider saving the file, before
    the program crashed back to the terminal.

    Care to let us know what type of Linux distribution and hardware you
    currently run?
  12. My current Linux distribution is Mandrake 9.2, but PCB worked without a
    hitch under previous Mandrake versions (8.x / 9.x) too. My window manager
    is KDE.

    - Asus Cubx-E ATX MoBo
    - Intel Celeron 633 (Coppermine) processor
    - nVidia Vanta, RIVA TNT driver video card
    - 512 MB RAM (256 MB also worked)

    Previous PCB versions (1.6) seemed to have some issues with the NumLock
    key; if NumLock was on, the drawing area wouldn't respond to the mouse.
    This appears to be fixed though.
    Also, global Alt-key shortcuts might interfere with PCB, but I haven't
    encountered this problem any more lately.

    Perhaps you could give a bit of extra information on the crashes:
    - Are there any error messages on the console screen from which you
    started PCB, or in /var/log/messages?
    - Does PCB crash when you perform a certain action?

    By the way, you can also mail Harry Eaton about any problems you might
    have - I had a question about adding parts to libraries, and I received
    his reply within a week or so.


    Richard Rasker
  13. Iwo Mergler

    Iwo Mergler Guest

    Hi Garrett,

    I have to echo Richard's opinion here, I just finished a 2-layer
    ~200 component board with the most recent snapshot version without
    a single crash.

    Make sure you get the source from Sourceforge. I think the old
    Website still links to an out-of-date version which did indeed
    crash a lot.

    System is Slackware-current, Athlon XP 1600, 512MB.

    Combined with the gEDA schematic capture, it's a very usable tool.

    The only grievance I had (from the PCB manufacturer) was that the
    generated gerber files have composite layers with the copper pour
    in negative plot. The manufacturer's DRC checker barfed on it, but
    they could manufacture it anyway.

    Ah yes, read the manual. I have to agree with you that the program
    is not terribly intuitive. Also, the manual is usually a few months
    behind the software development, so it helps to look into the source
    for the most recent changes.

    Kind regards,

  14. Many people (including me) use Eagle.
    That has a reasonable good auto router too, and is free for
    half eurocard size.

    I have also made boards with Linux PCB, but those were single sided.
    PCB is however a very nice program to work with.
  15. ?????
    Works for me...
    For many years already!
  16. uname -a
    Linux panteltje 2.4.25 #1 Fri Mar 26 18:17:35 CET 2004 i686 unknown

    gcc -v
    Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-suse-linux/2.95.3/specs
    gcc version 2.95.3 20010315 (SuSE)

    That was originally Suse 7.2
    But this system is not, I also have gcc 3...
    Good practice is to press save file after you made some changes, but crashes
    point to defective hardware.
    But PCB was OK on all kernels up from 2.2
  17. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    Thanks Everyone. I have tried Eagle a while back, but I didn't find it very
    user friendly. I have downloaded a new copy of it and will give it another
    try. It also has the advantage of running on a windows box, which is great
    since I still run win 2k at home and on the laptop.

    I will also check out PADs.
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