Data Transfer in the News

A couple new articles are out on the IPC-2581 and ODB++ data transfer formats.

On Oct. 2, longtime EDA journalist Richard Goering provided a well-written writeup on the “lively panel discussion” (“Data Transfer in the 21st Century”) we held during PCB West on Sept. 29. Richard does a nice job capturing the frustration of the designers present and historical give-and-take that has led us to the current situation.

And yesterday, EDN weighed in with interviews of participants from the data transfer panel held at PCB West and other key spokespersons.

Given the new support for IPC-2581 by Cadence and Zuken, among others, this issue isn’t going away.

This entry was posted in Hot Wires and tagged , , , , , , by Mike. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

4 thoughts on “Data Transfer in the News

  1. I suspect that Cadence and Zuken’s sudden support for IPC-2581 is driven more by Mentor Graphic’s acquisition of ODB++ via Valor more than anything else since there were mutterings about creating a new inteligent format replacing gerber when I first became a PCB CAM Engineer after leaving University in 1994.
    To take 17 years to get this far isn’t very good for the industry.

  2. @jimster: No question. But if an open standard is important, I guess what matters most is the industry gets there, not really how the industry gets there.

  3. Hello Mike

    Do you have any thoughts on what would be IPC-2581 Consortium’s stance on providing free IPC-2581 viewer in order to ensure that this format would be widely used?

    Valor has provided free ODB++ viewers in the past which I believed was one of the reasons that why ODB++ format was widely used. However ever since Mentor Graphics acquired Valor, they had stopped providing free ODB++ viewers and this result that many users of ODB++ apprehensive due to the fact that the new ODB++ viewers are licensed and required purchase.

    Correct me if I am mistaken but I think one of the good examples of format being widely adopted was Adobe’s PDF standard which were incorporated as an ISO standard in 2008. When Adobe created the PDF standard in the early 1990s,it provides free Adobe readers to the public, ensuring that the PDF format was successful as the public were able to utilized free PDF readers.


  4. Hi KC,

    While I wouldn’t directly be responsible for that decision, the sense I get is that the Consortium thinks a free viewer could be a pretty essential component for adoption. Some side groups have had some internal discussions about a IPC-2581 viewer. The key thing is how to ensure the viewer remains both free and neutral, who invests in the work and maintains the IP going forward.

Comments are closed.