15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 12, 2010 3:24 AM by Richard_H

    CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

    Alistair Winning

      We have been getting questions and requests for further information about Premier Farnell’s acquisition of CadSoft and the business of of Cadsoft  Computer Inc. While I don’t have all the answers, I’ll post what I know, and if you require any further information, please post your question here and I’ll try my hardest to find out the answers.


      EAGLE software will continue to be supported and developed. The two founders of CadSoft who initially developed EAGLE software will remain with the business for agreed time periods as part of the integration process.

      EAGLE software will facilitate design exchange between engineers through element14, which when combined with Premier Farnell’s transactional websites offers a complete online solution to purchasing and design needs. In addition, TechCast tutorial modules on element14 will enable new customers to quickly become familiar with the tool and help them learn how to use it.

      The acquisition of CadSoft will give Premier Farnell more tools to help in the design process. These tools include the recent launch of DesignLink, which bridges from the other CAD tools straight to Premier Farnell’s product data, and information. 

        • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

          To just give you a view from an open source hardware developer perspective:


          CadSoft Eagle is very populer for open source hardware - due to its free version. From my point of view some things can be imrpoved:


          Prio A (quick & easy wins):

          • Make Eagle open source (probably won't happen)
          • Free &Light Edition should have 4 Layers availlaible (since most modern designs are much easier with 4 layers).
          • Designing with more than one schematics page would be nice (Free & Light Edition)
          • A larger PCB design area would be nice. The licensing is a bit steep in the 'small' versions. You have to shell out a significant amount of money to do an euro card in 4 layers.


          Prio B (more work, but still important)

          • The UI is not very user friendly - it needs some work. Mouse interaction are like from the 80s
          • The library management is a hassle - but your Design Connection is perhaps a nice solution. Enable users to share their libraries. Enable Users to give feedback for their libraries (some of mine are sloppy and not usable, some of my parts are well usable by anybody - Users should rate them - I want to include only good libraries/parts by others).
          • BOM management would be nice (and you can make them directly orderable via Farnell).
          • Make it easy to share designs and sub-designs (building blocks) via elemnent14 - that wuold be really nice. Obe licesning schemes (all my stuff is published as Creative Commons - user using my designs should obey that).


          What are your plans?

            • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14
              Alistair Winning

              Hi, Thanks for your post. I have passed your questions on to the guys here, hopefully you'll have an answer soon.


              Personally I am not involved in the acquisition, but I think Prio B, especially Designlink and BOM management integration would look a good bet

                • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14



                  I know it must be an arkward situation. Farnell now owns elemnt14 & CadSoft and everybody is epexcting Eagle improvements from you. But the CadSoft guys will probablyhave their own concerns regarding the aquisition (I was working in a company that was bought some time ago – so I think I know how it feels like).

                  But it is nice that you take the community thing serious – and by that you can hopefully show that the community is taking this serious as well.

                • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                  Interactive - Matter,


                  Love the idea of making it easier to share designs/sub designs or even smaller parts of circuit design (personally it would help with the learning process as a young engineer). As modular design becomes more and more popular to speed up the design cycle this method of sharing sub-designs may well gather pace in the near future...what are your thoughts?

                    • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                      Isn't that what Open Source Hardware is all about?

                      We (I just count me in as Open Source Hardware developer - even If I am an humble one) develop funny or even innovative designs that can be used by other.

                      We are happy to share - but most of us want a share if money is involved (I personally - and pobably many others us an CC Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License – it is ok, to use my designs as long as you don't make money and state that it was taken from me). I am happy to learn from others and take their designs. (BTW: Why aren't reference Designs & application note designs not publishe under CC as well?)

                      I think regarding OSH – there is a vivid discussion in the professional scene. & thats good!

                    • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                      I am using Eagle CAD for about a year now and I really like it. I bought the Light version and until now everything worked fine. Most things I do with it are small and easy circuits, all open sourced, nothing too complicated, so I can live with the limitations of the Light version.

                      So thumbs up for this piece of software. There is a steep learning curve, but after managing that, it looks like I can do almost everything.


                      But, of course, there are always some things that could get better


                      I would love to see, what interactive-matter noted already, a way to share components, footprints, building blocks, etc. online. I want a database, with which I can connect through Eagle CAD, where I can search for a e.g. component footprint. If it's not there, I can do my own and upload my version to share it with others. That would be great!

                      One step into that direction would be to have the file formats opened up. Until now there is no design-, footprint-, board-format, that is open. At least to my knowledge. Opening the file formats would enable us to write software that could e.g. combine some components into a library.


                      Just my 2 cents.


                    • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14
                      As a professional user of Eagle, I hope that whatever happens, Eagle continues to be maintained and supported at the professional level.  Eagle is by far the most cost effective CAD tool for small businesses doing advanced multilayer PCBs, and I would like to see it stay that way!
                      • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                        Dear All,


                        certainly it will be benefiical to all Electronics Designs Engineers. Perhaps you can try out the free version. Up to 2 PCB layers.






                        • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                          I agree with this last poster than short of open-sourcing the application, open sourcing the file formats would be a great plus already. There are tools that works with Eagle (checked Freerouting.net already ? do !) that would benefit a lot and enhance Eagle at the same time.. It might also allow interaction with "qucs" or ltspice circuit simulators.


                          As for the aquisition as such, my worry is that Eagle is/would be impossible to have /anyone/ take it over. It's a 1980's codebase, I've seen a few of these projects over the years, it's usualy enough to go and jump out of the nearest window. I've have 25 years experience as a pro software dev, and just having a look at the look&feel of the application I'd probably want to run far & wide to NOT see the code :-)

                          So for me the original developers must continue on, otherwise the product will probably die.


                          If improvements are to be made, I'd really like the already mentioned BOM tools, and possibly a way to have a way to import/export (farnell, but please not just farnell :-)) orders part numbers, link to datasheet, and of course the library item if available...

                          Also a way to have "blocks" would be invaluable. Right now you can copy a bit of schematic, but not the related routing that is sometime quite a pain to re-do.

                          And with element14 you possibly have just the right frontal for it all!

                            • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                              I do not think that bashing the Eagle code base is really appropriate. I have not seen the code and I cannot judge it therefore.


                              Despite my critics regarding the UI there are a many points where Eagle is much better than the competitors:

                              • Cadsoft is able to support 3 different Operating Systems and windowing toolkits: Mac, Linux & Windows. That is a big achievement and most probably not easy!
                              • The application itself is fairly stable (there were some glitches in the autorouter) – on all platforms. This is remarkable from my point of view.


                              I do not think that the code is unmaintainable. Nevertheless I think that an UI-refreshment is needed.


                              I have used Eagle for more than a year now and I must confess that I like it a lot. It does what it should do. There are things that can be improved, but nothing really gets into my way realising designs.

                              Comparing this to the price tag of Eagle! I think it is a great tool and I do not have any reason to switch to another tool.


                              So despite a aquisition often leaves a bad taste (I know every aquisition starts with 'nothing will cahnge' and ends with a lot of changes – gone through this as well) I am really happy to see that Cadsoft now has the opportunity to get some 'fresh money', hire some more developers and start improving its product. It is an opportunity.


                              So keep up the good work! And make it better

                            • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14
                              Alistair Winning

                              I've just received this statement from the company on CadSoft


                              As we strive to better understand your needs in the design process, we are constantly looking for ways to enhance the products, technologies, services and information we offer to ensure you get the support you need. We are delighted to confirm that we have recently acquired CadSoft, market leading developer and supplier of CAD software. The software, EAGLE, is now in use by thousands of design engineers throughout Europe, the USA and Asia.  The combination of the EAGLE software, our unique e-community, element14 and our vast product range and services ensures that we can now offer you a complete on-line solution to all of your purchasing and development needs. With our recently launched DesignLink which bridges from CAD tools straight to our product data and information, we are now able to truly offer you support right through the design process.

                              If you are an existing EAGLE user, we assure you that your existing relationship is unaffected by the purchase. We will continue to develop the software and offer the same support and service as before. The freeware version of EAGLE will also continue to be available. The only changes you should see will be positive ones, as we invest more time and development expertise to improve EAGLE even further without changing its position as the most affordable design engineer CAD solution on the market. We will keep you informed as these exciting developments come to fruition.  For the latest information and most up to date discussions visit www.element-14.com.
                              • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                                I'm excited at the possibility of new developments for Eagle. As a hobbyist electronics tinkerer, I've found Eagle to be a very good cross-platform tool for my small projects, certainly better and more stable than the freeware alternatives, but I've started to run up against the freeware limit in board size.


                                Right now the hobbyist "Maker" market is very hot. Companies like Adafruit and Sparkfun and Make magazine are really cashing in on this and a lot of people are entering the low-end electronics design market. I'm definitely not a market expert, so take this with a grain of salt, but it feels like a great time to introduce a "Maker's Edition" of Eagle.  The problem for me right now is that going from a half eurocard board to a full eurocard board means buying a $498 license, even though my design is open source. I would love to see a less-expensive option for hobbyists. For example, I would be perfectly happy to pay $99-$149 for a full-eurocard, two-layer limit and no autorouting. Or, better yet, a limit on pad count rather than a limit on board size, since I often want to do a big board with few components. But I have a hard time justifying anything over a $200 hard-limit for my purposes, and I suspect that's going to be a pretty common price point limit for electronics hobbyists who are getting more serious.


                                Thanks for the opportunity to comment on your purchase of CadSoft. Good luck, and best wishes!

                                • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14

                                  I too would love to see some additional flexibility in the pricing structure. Eagle is a great tool for a small (read: VERY small) manufacturer and the pricing is generally good but the board size limit is the problem.

                                  I want to design boards with a few large components or connectors for ease of integration into extisting equipment but I cant make the board big enough in Eagle for what i can afford to pay!


                                  An increase in the board size but maintain the limit on layers to say 4 and schematic sheets to 9 or 10 would be a good compromise?


                                  Its got my stuffed how you can design a 99 sheet schematic and jam it on a 160x100mm board anyway! I've done a couple of tests with the "free" version as an eval and could fit a quite advanced deisgn into the 1 schamtic sheet and tiny board!

                                  • Re: CadSoft will enhance Premier Farnell and element14
                                    Kamila Bojarova



                                    I'd like to know whether it is possible to place orders with Farnell through DesignLink as it links to Farnell's website or is it only possible to search for products?


                                    Thank you.