One of the most popular tools for designing printed circuit boards includes EAGLE software. The Autodesk company that has been administrating it since last summer have decided to introduce a subscription for users. Until now, a one-off licence purchase (USD 70 for the standard version, USD 800 for the extended version) guaranteed unlimited use of the software, now EAGLE subscription does not offer such a possibility.
The Autodesk decision has caused a lot of agitation especially among smaller companies with a limited budget and those not planning yearly costs connected with mere circuit design. This is because from now on the following monthly rates for using EAGLE apply:
- EUR 15 /month; EUR 110 /year for a standard licence (limited to four signal layers and 160 cm2 of circuit surface),
- EUR 70 /month; EUR 545 /year; EUR 1090 /2 years, EUR 1635 /3 years (limited to 16 signal layers, unlimited surface).
To soften the blow, Autodesk offers a free version of their software (for non-commercial use) with the possibility of designing circuits with a maximum of two signal layers and design surface of up to 80 cm2. Also, students and teachers may purchase the software with preferential conditions.
EAGLE's market position seems unshakable which does not mean, however, that there are no cheaper or even free tools for circuit design, such as:
- Open source KiCad http://kicad-pcb.org/
- DipTrace http://diptrace.com/
- Upverter https://upverter.com/
EAGLE is a well-known and popular piece of software for designing and it seems that Autodesk have used this opportunity to impose new, financial conditions for licence purchase. Only time will tell whether this will allow them to gain more users.