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Re: gEDA-user: weird names in PCB part library

On Aug 20, 2004, at 12:57 PM, Stuart Brorson wrote:
Perhaps back in the stone age, when PCB was written for the=20
Altair 8800^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Atari [2], generating symbols on the fly
from an M4 macro was a good idea in order to save space memory.=20

Seems to have totally misunderstood.
Well, perhaps I don't know exactly why M4 was used to generate symbols
when PCB was written over 20 years ago.  But I *do* think I know a
thing or two about circuit design.  And from the standpoint of a
circuit designer (i.e. our target audience for gEDA), M4 is
unnecessarily old, scary, nasty, and obscure.  For PCB to make inroads
into the circuit design community, it needs to act and feel like a
contemporary PCB layout tool.  M4 is unnecessary baggage.  Footprint
files -- i.e. PCB's second lib -- are the way it's done these days.
Creating parameterized footprints using stand-alone TCL, Perl, or
Python scripts would be more attractive and more contemporary.
M4 is "obscure" and TCL, Perl, and Python are not??

M4 has shipped with EVERY UNIX-like OS for the past 20+ years. By my definition, that's called "ubiquitous", not "obscure".

Creating using M4 means that you can generate footprints in a=20
*parameterized* manner, which is 100 times better than the WYSIWYG=20
concept. Really.
Generating footprints using an automated, parameterized method is a
good thing.  I completely agree.  Do it using TCL, Perl, or
Use a scripting language to process macros instead of a macro processor, in other words.

PERL (you know, the Practical Extension and Reporting Language) is not the right tool for this job.

The problem is that the maintenance of the M4 library is sketchy, at=20
best. It really needs a full overhaul, to make it consistent and proper=20
parameterized, but that is another matter.
Well, it's sketchy because it is an obscure relic which nobody wants to
support.  All the more reason to jettison it and use contemporary,
supported languages like Perl or Python utilities to generate symbols
If I have to install the bloated pig that is Perl in order to use PCB, I will find another layout package.

Existing, perfectly functional, fast, builds-and-runs-on-EVERYTHING tools are not an appropriate battleground for the PerlTribesmen to try to infect.


Dave McGuire "...it's a matter of how tightly
Cape Coral, FL you pull the zip-tie." -Nadine Miller