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PCB Layout software is too difficult?

Discussion in 'PCB Layout, Design and Manufacture' started by eem2am, Oct 26, 2013.

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  1. eem2am


    Aug 3, 2009
    Its well known that application Software is copied in various countries on an enormous scale.

    However, PCB Layout software is very rarely copied.

    For example, undercover "industrial spys" went to China and were not able to buy bootlegged copies of Altium, Cadstar, Pads, Pulsonix, Mentor Graphics.
    -they were able to buy plenty of other bootlegged software.

    Is the reason that the above softwares are not bootlegged in China (for example) because there are no "idiot's guides" to the above softwares?

    In other words, if one uses any of the above softwares, then one is highly likely to encounter serious difficulties in using the software, and due to the fact that the User Manuals are kept , shall we say, "not that crystal clear", then if you get stuck using one of these PCB Layout packages, then quite often, the only way to get round your problem is to seek help directly from the PCB Layout software company itself........when you do request help from them, they can then check that you have payed your license fee.

    ..In this way, the aforementioned PCB Layout softwares manage to avoid having their PCB Layout software getting bootlegged.

    Is this true?

    Its just that I notice that in the case of the above mentioned softwares, there are no manuals or tutorials etc which aren't originated by the designers of the software itself.

    In the case of the Eagle PCB layout software, which *IS* widely used in China, there are loads of "idiots guides" for it, authored by "every man and his dog"...not only that, but the limited version of eagle is free, so nobody has to copy it, as its free anyway.

    So is this the reason why there are no crystal clear "idiot's guides" to PCB Layout Software's mentioned above? because they are worried about getting the software bootlegged?

    And why are there no learning materials for the aforementioned pcb layout softare packages that are authored externally to the actual software designer company?
    That is, why are there no externally authored learning materials for eg Altium, Cadstar, Pads, Mentor graphics, pulsonix, Orcad, etc etc?
  2. Solidus


    Jun 19, 2011
    I'd say it's more in part because of the intended markets of those programs rather than the necessity to prevent unauthorized duplication/distribution/etc.

    Eagle can be found online as such because not only is it "easy" to use because of the resource base but also because it is designed and geared to be powerful, but not as much as to put it out of the grasp of a "lesser" market such as well-informed hobbyists or small companies/cooperatives.

    Unauthorized distribution, from someone who lives and studies in Silicon Valley, is one of the biggest wars the software industry is trying to fight, but it isn't dealt with by making the software itself more difficult to use. If anything, companies try to promote not only their own resources in software but encourage others to do so to appeal to more users and to enhance adoption of their tools. Not the other way around.

    On the flipside, take Cadence Virtuoso / Encounter. These are VSLI platforms designed to create chips - generate the die and design layouts that are sent off to semiconductor fabrication companies that then make the chip.

    You won't find many resources online that are easy to digest because unless you have a big wallet (not only for the 5-to-6-figure program suite itself, yikes, but also for the fabrication costs), you have utterly nothing to do in the software but push buttons and hope you can make a pretty picture. In other words, you are not the intended audience of those programs.

    Such higher-end software tools are designed for higher-end customers, of which it is assumed have experience using lesser tools. Unless you're filthy rich, Ferrari doesn't intend you as a first-time car buyer to be a customer. They assume you have plenty of experience with cars of lesser power to be their client.
  3. eem2am


    Aug 3, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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