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KiCad Open-Source PCB Design Software Keeps Working Towards Its Next Big Release

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  • KiCad Open-Source PCB Design Software Keeps Working Towards Its Next Big Release

    Phoronix: KiCad Open-Source PCB Design Software Keeps Working Towards Its Next Big Release

    KiCad remains the leading open-source electronic design suite for PCB design and other features. KiCad had a successful 2018 with the software even being used by System76 as part of the daughter board PCB designs with Thelio desktop computer, but looking ahead the developers are still working towards version 6.0...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...pen-Source-PCB

  • #2
    Nice piece of software but:

    > KiCad 6.0 is still a ways out from releasing but will feature a redesigned GTK3 user-interface [...]

    sudo dnf install kicad

    compat-wxGTK3-gtk2 x86_64 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 4.6 M
    compat-wxGTK3-gtk2-gl x86_64 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 35 k
    wxBase3 x86_64 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 1.1 M
    wxGTK3-i18n noarch 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 504 k

    Using wxGTK3 (as in the 5.x version) makes it a wxWidgets user interface mimicing a GTK3 user experience. A real GTK3 interface doesn't require all the wxWidgets overhead. So does this mean "will feature a redesigned GTK3 user-interface" mean that it gets a native user interface ?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Candy View Post
      Nice piece of software but:

      > KiCad 6.0 is still a ways out from releasing but will feature a redesigned GTK3 user-interface [...]

      sudo dnf install kicad

      compat-wxGTK3-gtk2 x86_64 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 4.6 M
      compat-wxGTK3-gtk2-gl x86_64 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 35 k
      wxBase3 x86_64 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 1.1 M
      wxGTK3-i18n noarch 3.0.4-5.fc30 updates-testing 504 k

      Using wxGTK3 (as in the 5.x version) makes it a wxWidgets user interface mimicing a GTK3 user experience. A real GTK3 interface doesn't require all the wxWidgets overhead. So does this mean "will feature a redesigned GTK3 user-interface" mean that it gets a native user interface ?
      There's a part in the recording that talks about this. Iirc, they're gonna use something called wxPython.

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice! I am still using Eagle* because I am familiar with it, it does a perfectly adequate job and I don't have to pay for it (academic license eligible + no interest in commercial use), but keep a keen eye on KiCad, which isn't quite there for me UI-wise, but I am ever hopeful!

        * I use it at work on Win7, but not at home because I can't be bothered going outside my package manager to install software (my own time is far to valuable to me to waste it messing around with tedious closed-software installations!).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rubdos View Post
          There's a part in the recording that talks about this. Iirc, they're gonna use something called wxPython.
          So it still isn't a GTK3 user interface then.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LaeMing View Post
            Nice! I am still using Eagle* because I am familiar with it, it does a perfectly adequate job and I don't have to pay for it (academic license eligible + no interest in commercial use), but keep a keen eye on KiCad, which isn't quite there for me UI-wise, but I am ever hopeful!

            * I use it at work on Win7, but not at home because I can't be bothered going outside my package manager to install software (my own time is far to valuable to me to waste it messing around with tedious closed-software installations!).
            IMO, especially academics should try and use KiCAD. It's extremely capable, and will with high probability fullfill your needs. If academics would teach KiCAD, we're halfway world domination!

            Comment


            • #7
              KiCad uses wxWidgets as the UI library. WxWidgets uses different backend libraries on different platforms for "native" UI. On Linux it's either GTK2 or GTK3. Only recently GTK3 was enabled for KiCad, in version 5.0 it still used only GTK2, in the upcoming 5.1 GTK3 is a compile-time option and will apparently be used in some Linux distro packages.

              The situation is very complicated, even though I have followed the development process closely I can't remember the details. But KiCad uses python for scripting and wxPython for scripting UI. The older wxPython could use only GTK2 backend while the newer Phoenix wxPython uses GTK3. The GTK3 backend had to be enabled for KiCad, otherwise python3 could not have been used and some distros are moving completely away from python2 and don't have older wxPython. It's quite a mess because it's up to package maintainers to choose the backend and the features. Now some user scripts may not be compatible with all KiCad installtions, even with the same KiCad version.

              BTW, even though 6.0 will be the next major release (after couple of years; two years would be an optimistic estimation, many old time followers guess three is more realistic), the soon upcoming 5.1 has many UI, workflow and feature improvements while being fully project compatible with 5.0. Some people haven't even moved from 4.0 to 5.0, and 5.1 will be a huge leap forward for them.

              The article was a bit inaccurate. To be more exact: GTK3 backend, UI improvements and many smaller features will be enabled in 5.1. Later, in 6.0, we will see file format changes, "engine" changes and many new major features. The "graphics abstraction layer / canvas" existed even in 4.0 but was for the layout part only. In 5.1 it's used for the schematic part, too.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rubdos View Post

                IMO, especially academics should try and use KiCAD. It's extremely capable, and will with high probability fullfill your needs. If academics would teach KiCAD, we're halfway world domination!
                Very much. While I don't teach, I do spec. some of the student computer labs where I work and keep OSS software available on the machines as an option for anyone who wishes to use them (which is potentially about as often as one of the licensing-servers for what the Academics prefer goes cloud-typical-behaviour, or because our IT department has the audacity to test patches before they deploy them, we don't get our updates on exactly the same day as the students' home systems, so what they save at home the previous night won't open in class because 'old version', or a commercial software supplier changes the licensing for a component to 'free-of-charge' with the odd run-on effect that it is now outside our paid license and we can't install it anymore, etc. etc.).*

                I call it a "learning experience". Someday people may actually learn!

                * If you get the impression I am citing actual things I have experienced recently, you are - sadly - quite correct. The saddest thing being that the vast majority people are conditioned to accept this as 'normal'!
                Last edited by LaeMing; 02-08-2019, 06:43 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I used to do some stuff with Eagle because I disliked KiCAD, but I recently found out about LibrePCB. I didn't like KiCAD because I couldn't be bothered deciphering the unintuitive interface, and LibrePCB really is easy to get used to coming from Eagle.

                  I'm currently designing a keyboard PCB with it and so far my experience has been really good. The 1.0 just got released so it's still missing some relatively basic features and has some bugs (traces can overlap, not auto router, power planes sometimes act funky and have no thermal relief, etc.), but I'm impressed by how stable it is. Also it has IMO a very good library system. The included base library has quite a few standard packages, and components are categorized much more cleanly than Eagle's.

                  I think it's worth a try for beginners or to design simple PCBs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Candy View Post
                    So it still isn't a GTK3 user interface then... Using wxGTK3 (as in the 5.x version) makes it a wxWidgets user interface mimicking a GTK3 user experience.
                    wxWidgets is an abstraction layer; not an emulator. Why is it so important to you to try and make a distinction between an app that uses wxGTK and one that doesn't?

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