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12 The PCB Design Magazine • September 2014 The Great Gerber vs. ODB++ Debate feature for CAD-to-CAM data transfer without any downsides. In order to promote ODB++, Coates unfor- tunately reverts to Gerber-bashing rather than explaining the strengths of ODB++. And his arguments are highly misleading, as they are based on some tired old fallacies that I would like to address here. Before starting, though, it's important to clarify that when referring to Gerber, I mean RS-274X Extended Gerber, the current Gerber format. This supersedes the ear- lier RS-274-D Standard Gerber format, which is obsolete. Bashing RS-274-D Standard Gerber is like railing against Windows because MS-DOS only allowed eight-character file names. If Coa- tes wants to bash RS-274-D, I'll gladly join him. Having said this, less than 2% of all jobs are transferred using the old format, so it's practi- cally a non-issue. Extended Gerber is the PCB industry's de fac- to image data transmission format. New forma- ts have come and gone; some, like the ODB++ format, have been around for decades, but still today, more than 90% of the world's PCBs, from Editor's Note: This friendly debate (mostly friendly!) began with an article by Mentor Graphi- cs' Julian Coates, which ran in the February issue of The PCB Magazine. Karel Tavernier, managing director of Ucamco, which owns the Gerber format, replied to that article, and Coates was given the courtesy of a rebuttal so that they could be publi- shed side-by-side in the same issue. Finally, Taver- nier replied to Coates, getting the last word...for now, at least. Gerber— the Smartest Way Forward by Karel Tavernier In a February 2014 article by Julian Coates of Mentor Graphics, Smart Data Formats Automa- te CAD/CAM, in which Coates promotes more widespread adoption of the ODB++ format, the arguments he uses indeed make it seem like OBD++ is the great panacea for our industry, one that promises to eliminate all problems

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