So the next phase of this big non-toaster project pretty much calls for EAGLE v7, on account of hierarchical designs.
I'd already observed that v7 doesn't play nice with the older version of Debian on my desktop, what with the libraries being out of date; I need to force use of some futuristic library to make it run at all, and then trying to use the print dialog kills it, but otherwise it seems pretty much OK.
My laptop, now, is already updated to the current Debian-stable (Wheezy, or Debian 8). And EAGLE 7 runs on it. Well... apart from the fiddly detail that (presumably because of some library API instability) the text lengths seem to be calculated wrong, or perhaps not at all, so that xref-style labels enclose about half the last (or first) letter of the label, vertical text seems to be variously not displayed at all or displayed in bottom-to-top order, and other wonkiness.
Either my Google-Fu is weak this evening, or nobody else has had this problem...?
...Do I need to fire up ldd and see what it's using? Would that even work? Should I try something silly like spinning up an Ubuntu VM? This is most vexing.
Oh, and it seems Cadsoft has been acquired by Autodesk or some such thing. They seem to have ambitious plans, some of which sound potentially useful.
Update: Turns out the vertical text was bottom-to-top because the Options->User Interface->Vertical text option had somehow gotten set wrong. But even deleting .eaglerc doesn't address the issue with text dimensions being miscalculated. Sooo... probably not some local configuration problem, but a shared-library thing... but, in that case, why am I not seeing any indication of others having the problem? Maybe a library is misbehaving because of its local configuration?
Update 2: I installed Kubuntu in a VM. Plasma crashes every so often. Also, I'm reminded of why I don't like the Ubuntu family: it's pretty much a world of its own, and things like package management need to be re-learned (either that, or just do sudo apt-get install synaptic as one of the first steps after installation).
Anyway, EAGLE handles text correctly under Kubuntu 16.04, but not on my installation of Debian 8. I don't think I want to be messing around with running it in a VM on the laptop (awkwardness with shared directories; other annoyances of running CAD software on a VM on a normal-sized laptop).
So I still gotta figure out what's wonky here.
Update 3: Oho! Now - I can't remember for sure whether it was like this a month ago - EAGLE v6 is also having the wonkiness. So, something that's always worked fine under Debian 7, and seems to be OK under Kubuntu. Maybe I should try it as a different user, and see if it's something in my settings?
Also, the Kubuntu VM seems to have Issues with forgetting settings, deciding that my personal account (UID 1001) shouldn't be presented on the post-boot login screen, and other nonsense. I don't think I'll be keeping it.
Update 4: Whatever the font issue is, it happens with the 32-bit version (and 32-bit libraries) too. Forcing vector fonts works fine, but the schematic is ugly with vector fonts. Vector fonts are for silkscreen, or for pen plotters! (Or radarscopes, or other vintage tech.)
Come right down to it, isn't it time to take the Gerber photoplotter files out of the equation and use something SVG-derived for transmitting PCB layers? It gets rendered to raster form anyway these days, doesn't it? And a modern format could include all manner of metadata, all layers in a single file, and all that kind of good stuff. The silkscreen text could be prettier, too. Win?