RIP Cadsoft/Autodesk Eagle (#R20)

Oh well, looks like we got another piece of software to mourn for…good ol’ Eagle is no more!

Autodesk announced in a recent blog post:

Effective June 7, 2026, Autodesk will no longer sell or support EAGLE. Moving forward, we will continue to invest our energy in Fusion 360 Electronics.

(Note that it says 2026: That’s the end of the support. However, nobody sane will buy into that package from now on and switch again with all their projects in less than three years…)

Sure, the announcement itself was a surprise, but the path was clear once Autodesk tried squeezing out money. Like so many people, I made my first steps in Eagle – I’m not actually sure if I ever made a PCB from my schematics, but back then even creating schematics in a standardized, non-scribble-on-paper-way was very useful to me. The base package was (still is!) free, higher tiers cost a very reasonable amount of money or were also free for students – exactly like e.g. Siemens creates technicians proficient in their PLCs that are likely to use (and buy) more Siemens PLCs later in their career.
Eagle was used for homework in the only electronics class I had in university, simply because the look was much cleaner than LTspice (which was used to actually simulate the circuit – double the work to create a simulation model and a nice schematic for it). Shortly after graduating in 2015, the first Kicad 4.0 release became available – and I fully switched to Kicad during the 4.0.x releases. Target 3001 at work (back then) never appealed to me, and Altium ($$$!) in my current job is clearly aimed at more collaborative work at larger corporations – something that Kicad still needs to evolve into, but something that I don’t really miss for personal use.

Well, why did Eagle die? There’s a simple answer to it: Autodesk is greedy, but this time, they didn’t understand the market and their audience.

Autodesk bought Cadsoft (and therefore Eagle) in 2016. Just six months later, and contradictory to their promises (yeah, fuck you, Autodesk), they switched to a subscription model. Eagle always was limited to strangely small PCB sizes except for the largest edition of their software, and that one now cost a former full perpetual license every 30ish months. Stop payments and you’re out. Safe to say people were not pleased with that decision, nor with the online activation crap every two to four weeks. And in 2020, Autodesk stopped selling individual Eagle licenses altogether and merged it into a Fusion 360 subscription, a bit like RS does nowadays with their Designspark line of software. Only that Autodesk’s super premium software of course is much more expensive – and so people acted according to their budget. Most hobbyists moved on to Open Source, mainly Kicad, and businesses that were now hostage to the Autodesk licensing terms to have access to their old designs were probably re-evaluating their needs, budget and satisfaction with the Eagle package. I personally haven’t used Eagle in a long time, but I have also not heard about ground breaking changes and improvements that would justify the steep increase in cost for the average user.

And so, in an attempt to either squeeze out cash from customers or kill off competition to their own “Fusion 360 electronics workspace” (that I have honestly never fucking heard of until this announcement), Autodesk ran Eagle into the ground. It took Cadsoft 30 years to make it a functional, well-known software – and Autodesk burned it down in just five to seven years and roughly 25M USD for the acquisition. Hope that was worth it – for the Open Source world that turbo-developed Kicad out of necessity during that time, it sure was!

(image attribution: Alan D. Wilson,, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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