Mac FOSS Electronic Design Automation Software


Wikipedia lists a number of free and open source (FOSS) options for Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software that should work on a Mac. This post details my experience looking for schematic capture.  Trials were run using a MacBook Pro, OS X 10.6.6.  This post will be updated as I work through the options to find a schematic creation and board design software for the Mac.

  1. CBOLD.  Is a C++ framework for a schematic design.  One creates a C++ program that describes the design.  Not what I was looking for.  Authors have not tested on OSX even though Wikipedia lists it as Mac architecture.
  2. Electic (Java).  Seems to work but could not easily find a transformer element.
  3. gEDA (X11). Not interested in running x11.
  4. Icarus Verilog.  
  5. Kicad.  Could not get Kicad to work native on the Mac.  Documentation for the native Mac version was very hard to find. Mac users in the development list were reporting much better success using Ubuntu in VMware on the Mac.  The Sourceforge download page lists two sources (Brokentoaster and  Mdx4) for Mac versions.  Mdx4 seemed out of date with last version dated Sept 2010.  The Kicad Wiki lists an additional source that I used as it seemed more up to date as it was a nightly build.
  6. KLayout. Layout viewer (GDS and OASIS) and editor. Based on Qt and Ruby. Maintenance release 0.21.16, 5 March 2012.  Binary available for 10.6. Seems focused on chip design not boards.
  7. LayoutEditor. Latest version is dated 18 Dec 2011.  Three versions; Full ($1499), Reduced ($379), and Basic ($49).  Schematic capture requires full version. Requires license to save/export.
  8. MyHDL.  Uses python as a hardware description and verification language to create Verilog and VHDL files.  Ignored for this reason.
  9. Open Schematic Capture (Java). Open Schematic Capture is a set of programs intended to be a production grade open source mixed analog/digital IC schematic entry tool along with a project manager and net listers. A system level simulator and a data viewer are also included. Alpha release 20 March 2012.  Have to type in Terminal to start and modify shell scripts.  Was not intuitive GUI.  Could not get it to work.
  10. Quite Universal Circuit Simulator (QUCS). Latest version 11 Dec 2011.  Seems to work fine.  This is really focused on simulation and not schematic creation and board design.
  11. MI-Sugar. Circuit simulation. Discontinued.
  12. ngspice. Circuit simulation only.
  13. MacSpice. Circuit simulation only.
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