We need common CAD data interchange format for starters

by Sanjay Mishra
(Gaithersbug, MD, US)

This is a great article. I would love to have reasonably priced EDA tools on Linux and Apple. While EAGLE CAD is cross platform, lots of other tools are not.

The WINE project may provide an answer to some older software. However CAD software operates so close to hardware for efficiency that it is difficult to see it being ported.

While it is difficult to see established commercial vendors investing the money to develop software for the smaller (still!) Linux/BSD market, the success of Open Source projects like Blender and GIMP offers hope.

The development of a common open CAD data interchange format would be a great help in this regard. Right now, our design data is to a large extent locked with the vendor of the CAD tool. This is a situation of great comfort for the CAD tool vendor and a situation of great unease for use the users of this data.

Even in our small company tens of thousands of dollars of Intellectual Property would be released to be used from one project to another if we could use IP from one project to the other. Across the economy the benefit would be huge.

Maybe the ability to export to a common data format should be legislated. Else there is no incentive for the dominant CAD tool vendor to allow export to a common data format that allows users to migrate away from their tool. Even if it is not legislated, if US Govenrnment agencies make it mandatory for CAD tools to export to a common format it would go a long way to alleviate the situation.

All of us, except for the CAD tool companies, suffer because of this feature. The cost to the economy and the eventual consumer is huge.

Apple practices user lock in and should not complain when it is the victim of such lock in itself.

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