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gEDA-user: ExpressPCB is evil.... was: Re: New user to PCB - what does this error mean?

Hi --

> Finally, I only mentioned the ExpressPCB software to say that I had
> managed to get a workaround that took the time pressure off myself
> (trying to get things done during my summer holiday). I checked up
> with the local PCB fabrication place and they want the gerber files
> which ExpressPCB can't generate (as far as I can see) .... *snip*

It's a tangential point, but I'l make it anyway.

Be very careful with the fab houses which offer you "free" design
software -- there's usually a catch of some sort.  ExpressPCB is
particularly bad.  Their software exports to a format which is only
readable by their factory.  Therefore, once you do a design with their
software, then you're locked into using their fab services forever.

To belabor the obvious:  ExpressPCB's software  will not generate

Yes, some people will say "Oh I don't care!  I'm only doing a one-off
board."  However, the fact is that one almost never does a one-off.
You'll find some errors in your design, and you'll need to respin.  Or
you'll want to incorporate large parts of your board into a larger
design after you have proved it out.  Or you make a prototype, and
then your sales department will sell ten of your designs before you
can say "respin!".

And what do you do if ExpressPCB ever goes out of business?  Your
designs will be lost forever.  Or what if they decide to "monetize
their web presence" by jacking up their fees?  You'll have no
choice but to pay.

Although the gEDA/PCB design flow might not seem as spiffy and easy to
use as that offered by ExpressPCB's stuff [1], gEDA/PCB does output
fully standard Gerber files which you can take anywhere.  It's all
about who controls your design, and using gEDA, it's *you* who
controls it.



[1]  Soon to change, due to our collaboration with the Linux Fund!
NOTE:  If you *do* feel strongly about improving PCB's user
experience, *please* go to the Linux Fund's PCB project web page and
make a donation.  Or have your organization make a donation!


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