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Vcad Stripboard Design Software Is Now Free!

A couple of Xmas's back my dear daughter bought me a full licence for Vcad as a present.  I used it to redesign a seven segment display stripboard, and then to layout a larger board simply as a trial.  The process was reasonably successful and I verified that Vcad wasn't money wasted.  The main problem here was the paucity of available component outlines - much of the work in designing a stripboard with Vcad was to flesh out the very bare symbols library.

Recently I revisited Vcad on the Windows laptop and decided to port my purchase to "the big screen"; namely the recently built AMD Ryzen 5 based under-desk that delivers more computer power than I've ever dreamed of.  The problem was that in the interim I'd finally carried out the switch away from Windows that I'd been promising myself for decades.  I was resigned to keeping a low cost Lenovo laptop pretty much only to run Vcad.  In the last few days I've been adding more drives in the Ryzen 5's capacious box and it struck me that I should explore using it for stripboard design.  I'd had a fair bit of experience with virtualisation on Windows machines, but didn't fancy a Windows virtual machine on a Linux box even though there was now oodles of RAM and twelve fast CPU cores available. 

Never having bothered with Wine I decided to see if it was still being actively developed and was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the Wine website.  The install instructions were clear to follow and I had it running on Ubuntu 20.04 in no time.  I created a Windows sub-directory in my home directory and a child directory for notepad++.  The performance of notepad++ was an eye-opener, so how about Vcad?  Had there been an upgrade, or had that Aussie guy simply lost interest, like most stripboard design software authors have over the years?  Once again things were much more promising than I'd imagined possible, though it took a short while to locate Mr Lascelles site - it had moved, and so had the name of his package!

Yes, Vcad is now called VeeCAD, but the main takeaway here is that the nice Mr Lascelles has opened up the source code and isn't now charging for the full version.  You can download it (and the manual) for free from his download links.  This guy is obviously a stayer in the game, so many have fallen by the wayside over the years.  By opening up the internals of VeeCAD there's scope for others to make incremental improvements.

Like notepad++ the installation process on Ubuntu 20.04 under Wine was quick and flawless, but I will cover this in another article very soon.  I anticipate that VeeCAD will feature heavily on this site before too long, though I hope the odd few stripboard design software packages still standing will tell us all about their products too.  Please feel free to post your experiences with this (and other stripboard design software) in our forums, and share you hints and tips.

Edited by COTB


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