ODB++ is becoming well known in local (So. Calif. is local to me) pcb shops, 
but the old gerber 274x will be around for a long time. ODB++ is either 
loved or hated.

Most photoplotting equipment still uses a gerber format input and the 
"gerber" output from Valor's "Genesis" (one of the ODB++ based CAM tool 
becoming common in the industry) is much larger than a comparable gerber 
output from a design tool or basic gerber editor and it creates many paint 
and scratch layers and custom shape definitions that are not forced by (or 
created in the) actual design.  This can cause many problems (huge file 
sizes, mis-interpreted polygons and pad shapes, system crashes and more) for 
shops with older hardware. It also creates headaches when all you want is to 
make a simple gerber level edit without buying the latest CAM tools (and 
learning another set of macros and scripting tools).

I have worked in PCB manufacturing for 27 years and been designing for 10 
and my recommendation for is to avoid odb++ whenever possible because it 
over complicates a fairly simple process for most boards.

There ar some applications where it really is good, but it is not 
necessarily a better way for all. Keep in mind that it is a marketing tool 
(with all the hype) for some of the big older companies that have lost 
market share since PC's & "upstart" design & CAM packages became powerful 
enough to do what only they could do before - i.e. "Let's not make good, 
affordable tools but let's shake up the industry and get market share back 
with another big and unintelligible data format that only we (-maybe-) can 
make work".

It is a good format if you plan to maintain design control all the way from 
schematic through pick and place and assembled electrical testing by using 
only vendors with the soft&hardware designed to use it that are comitted to 
working closely with you all the way through and not ever asked to do a 
manual edit of data or a custom change to a board.

Best Regards - Evan Scarborough

>From: "Ian Wilson" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Reply-To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Subject: [PEDA] ODB++
>Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 09:15:45 +1100
>There is a new press release on the Protel www site saying the next version
>is going to support ODB++.
>How prevalent is ODB++? In Oz?
>I am not sure the number of Oz PCB makers and assemblers that can accept it
>but since Protel has such huge market share in this country this may be
>something of an incentive for such service providers to tool up.
>Ian Wilson

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