The Fedora Electronic Lab collection is growing release after release. So is the user’s learning curve to use these opensource EDA solutions. On Fedora 11, with a 1024×768 resolution, the actual electronics menu tops the screen and engaged into a scroll mode. On KDE, the scroll seems to never end.
The average FEL user seems to drown into such a huge Fedora Electronic Lab collection. He/She can’t find the tool set needed for a particular design flow. Reading tonnes tutorials of tutorials online won’t help because one of the advantages of opensource software is about maximum possibilities with the tool. That said, gEDA-gaf is a perfect example suitable for any type of design flows you want it to fit.
However, tools coming from various upstreams and our workdone here at Fedora to ensure interoperability between our packages need to be presented in such a way that the average user identifies his/her tool set easily and make full use of the interoperability our packagers ensured.
There were lots of discussions around this topic in the past. We converged to two possible solutions:
- List (on a wiki page) all FEL packages in accordance to their design flow.
This required someone to keep the list updated manually. But for long term maintenance, it was quickly considered as a critical path in the FEL documentation process.
- Categorize the “Electronics Menu” in accordance to proposed design flows.
This proposes a simple and intuitive solution to the average user. While the advanced user will not really cared about these submenus, since he/she will be automating his/her design flow with scripts. There is one problem though, command line tools are not listed on these submenus. In order to solve this, during F-13 development, we will be having a “About Fedora Electronic Lab” on those menus, similar to the “About Fedora” or “About Gnome” yelp infrastructure.
The above screenshot describes these submenus which will be default on F-12. There are currently five standard design flows for the average user:
- Analog/Mixed Signal Design
Any EDA software with respect to analog IC design, e.g magic, xcircuit, toped, electric,..
EDA software to create schematics and PCB layouts, e.g geda-gaf, PCB, kicad,…
Spice simulations and waveform viewers.
Frontend and Backend digital design tools and waveform viewers.
8051 and 8085 microprocessor simulators and PIC simulators and programmers.
Filed under: eda, fedora, Free Electronic Lab