Creating a FOSS printed circuit board design tool #OpenSource @LibrePCB

Sortsort hosts an interview with Urban Bruhin, the engineer behind LibrePCB:

Hello, who are you and what are you working on?

Hi, my name is Urban, I’m 30 years old and I live in Switzerland. As an electrical engineer, I develop hardware, firmware, and software. My project, LibrePCB, is free software to create printed circuit boards (PCB) for electronic devices. It allows hobbyists and professionals to draw schematics, route the copper traces and export the data needed to manufacture the printed circuit boards.

Why did you start LibrePCB?

Around 2013, I was building a quadcopter from scratch so I needed a tool to design the printed circuit boards. Until then I had used proprietary software but wasn’t really satisfied with it. After looking for another tool, I realized that the whole situation was horrible – there was simply no tool available which was intuitive and powerful, even less multiplatform and open source.

This was the point where my hardware project turned into a software project – I stopped my activity on the quadcopter and tried instead to develop a PCB design tool. The goal was to continue with the quadcopter project someday, but I haven’t returned yet, more than six years later 😉

How much time do you devote to LibrePCB?

Since the earnings from LibrePCB are far too low to pay the rent, I still have a 90% job and work on LibrePCB evenings and weekends. I don’t keep count of the time working on LibrePCB, but it’s a lot considering it’s still a hobby project. I wish I could work full-time on LibrePCB, but unfortunately, it’s simply not possible yet.

Read the entire interview here.


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