Crowdfund Clearance Matrix (Contracting KiPro to implement it)

You can already donate to kicad in the normal manner. This allows the core team to allocate the donations to the features best fitting the next evolution.

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I would like to contact the Linux foundation for this project as it’s a registered non-profit organisation.
I could not figure out, who is responsible for the community project. Can anyone help me?

Edit: And what I really like about that site is, that no fees are applied!

The community project is current managed by Wayne and the rest of the lead development team.

Similarly, Wayne and I run and manage the KiCad Services Corporation (KiPro), whose primary purpose is to support development of KiCad.

People who want to support overall development of KiCad should donate ( via the Linux Foundation (LF). This is not tax-deductible for US-based individuals and most businesses although you should check with an accountant for details.

The main difference between LF and KiPro is that KiPro funds full-time development and support for business-related services, including feature-specific requests with fixed deliverable deadlines.


@Seth_h , i would like to contribute to that feature directly. Would you developpers be willing to set up a custom category for that feature? If the user can actively contribute to a feature, i can imagine a higher willingness to give.

We may, in the future, begin accepting feature-based donations. Currently, KiPro is focussed on developing sustainable funding models for KiCad development. While feature work is directly relevant to users, it doesn’t address long-term technical debt that exists in projects. It also does not provide sufficient predictability to fund business necessities like health care (in the US) and retirement funding that are needed to support full-time developers.

At the moment, we are focussed on developing our business client base with ongoing, subscription-based support. Businesses get guaranteed bug fix timelines as well as priority feature development. Ancillary feature development is available on an as-available basis.


Maybe i could not formulate adequately what i wanted to say. Or i did not understand you. (Sorry, i am not a native speaker)

Currently KiCad is difficult to use for high voltage designs. (Honestly, i desperately need this feature!) Therefore mostly Altium is used, which I do not like. To make Kicad a viable option for power electronics, a clearance matrix is a necessity. I would like to donate some money, i guess from what i read, at least one more person too. I have not a good feeling donating the money indirectly, I would like to donate/contribute directly to this feature. If you would be willing to set up a category for this explicit feature, i would donate some money. Thereby the users can vote/buy by dollars the priority and speed of the development.

So my propose would be a platform, where feature request can be handed in. You set up a price, promise a fixed schedule, make the whole development process transparent.

My problem with Cern is, that i donated a lot of money, However, i do not know what happened with it.

I’m not aware that any Open Source project has that kind of system. Obviously, running the platform takes time and money, and where money is involved various legal aspects must be observed. I guess that is why opencollective end up charging 25%.

Bountysource run a platform where you can donate money for specific features, but they do not yet support gitlab (github is supported). Their fees are more reasonable, 10% on funds going out.

It’s difficult enough for a open project to commit to a specific feature request - the project leader simply does not have the ability to do that. Asking for a new funding platform to be set up so that users can direct funds to specific features is a little unrealistic, IMO.

If you really want to help the KiCad project, without imposing extra workload on them, you could find and pay your own developers to work with KiCad and provide the feature.


@Bobc, i do not want any specific new platform to be set up. I only propose to add at the linux foundation a category for that clearance feature. As there is already for travel and development work.

However, i guess such outlined platform, proposed as an outlook may be quite innovative and maybe asking to much. There you are right.

The thing is if there is a way to fund one particular tool there also needs to be one for any other tool (I bet nearly everyone is missing something slightly different. And there might even be the possiblility that some tasks can be solved with different features and different users might prefer one over the other)

The requested improvement to DRC is already on the roadmap. So if you help kicad in general (with money or your time) then you might increase the chance of this being in v6 instead of a later release no matter if your contribution goes directly into funding this feature. (More funds means more boring stuff can be outsourced making it more likely that core devs can focus on exciting new stuff)

I am not arguing against a way to fund specific features but want you to be aware that handling such a request system might hinder the general development of KiCad (Directly because it means resources must be spent to deal with the request system and indirectly by possibly forcing the project to implement some feature before the pre requirements are properly in place or by diverting funds away from the more boring behind the scenes development that would be vital for the future of the project.)
This is why the general croudfunding idea for this feature might have merrit as it means the community takes care of the required overhead (But only as long as the core dev teams wishes are taken into account. Which would be the case if KiPro is the organization that handles the implementation.) And this feature is a bit special in this regard as it is already on the roadmap so we know we do not hinder the current goal by funding it externally.

Other features further ahead in the future might need a different approach where users are made aware that their funding goes towards building the bedrock onto which the requested feature can be later implemented

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I think the problem there is still how to manage the funds for a specific feature, as opposed to money that goes into a general pot. Managing one feature may not be onerous, but I guess that this will be the thin end of the wedge, and people will want to add many other features for specific funding. (There are currently 636 issues on the KiCad wishlist!). But I don’t manage the budgets, maybe it is easier than I think.

Have you considered funding platforms like patreon, gofundme, indiegogo etc? If you could do the donkey work of collecting the money, then engage KicadPro directly.

Up to my knowlhedge there exists a founding platform for KiCAD called CommunityBridge. Why should I reinvent the wheel, while this platform is the most cost effective out there (free!)?

If you click on donate, a category can be selected. It would be an easy task to add yet another category, say “clearance matrix”. KiCAD is not obligated to use it, as highlighted below. But i guess it would be enough.

To my knowledge, there are 7300 USD++ that could be already used for a speed up of the development, for example also for the DRC feature.

CERN promised only 600 (i guess) more working hours to complete KiCAD 6 back in 2018. That did not happen to my knowledge. Therefore my willingness to give without allocation is reduced.

Ok, seeing as people regularly make requests of KiCad, whether it is a comprehensive library of parts, up to date and complete documention, some feature that Altium has that KiCad doesn’t. Of course, everyone thinks their own request is the most important to the exclusion of any other.

The point is always the same, KiCad is primarily a volunteer projected. So you should be asking “How can I help KiCad?” not “I want KiCad to help me”.

It doesn’t seem like you’re willing to put your own time or effort into helping. Just saying.

The practical steps you can take have been outlined, I predict this will be another thread where “I gotta have feature X” will die without effect.

If you would like to subscribe to KiPro, we’re only $400/year for businesses and you get priority feature development in addition to our rapid bug-fix program. This means that your priorities get reflected in our development choices. We do this for all of our clients.

You might think of this as the same as “heat” in Launchpad or “weight” in GitLab except that priorities are limited only to people who are (probably) using KiCad professionally.

You also contribute to the pool of businesses that are ensuring long-term, sustainable development of KiCad into the future.

We (KiCad dev team) are immensely grateful to all of our supporters. Every contribution is helpful to KiCad’s continued development.

That said, development costs do not proceed in small chunks. A single developer costs more than $7300. There are not a large group of under-utilized developers that can be mobilized to write code for KiCad.

You should expect to see KiCad features arrive in jumps.


I just donated 100USD to the project for generic use. I think subscribing to KiPro seems actually the most reasonable option to me.

Is there any rough schedule when KiCad 6 will be available?

The main new feature for v6 will be the new file format for symbols and the schematic. This will require quite a bit of testing so i would guess that there will be at least a year between this being merged to the development branch and v6.

This feature has not yet been merged so my guess is that v6 is more than a year away.

(The library team will also need time to convert the symbol libs to the new featureset not just to the new format. There might even be some time required for the librarians to experiment with the file format to discover what its true potential is. I would hope we will get this time to be able to continue to supply the best possible library for our users. This might mean that we librarians might request a delay should the time between first useful file format implementation and planned release date be too short.)

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Back on topic :slight_smile:
As a power electronics engineer dealing with low voltage ( 540V -> 1kV) having a more comprehensive net classes would be invaluable since spotting a creepage problem later on can and does result in ripping up layout and placement.

This sort of thing is beneficial to other aspects of constraint management - high speed digital, tracked-pairs (as oppose to differential pairs). While it would be great to have such a feature expedited, its probably best to fully architected. Right now, using net clearance and proper reviews is viable.

I’m surprised how fast some money was collected. Now this account is beyond 12k. @ChrisGammell was really generous to Kicad.
I talked with Olson@Kicad and he is not able to put further professional work in this feature.
@Seth_h or other KiCad professionals: Would there be a possibility to use the current collected money for that feature? Or are there other plans? In the last days the feature was also linked two times, so its and often requested one.

This is a bit of a repeat but I’d like to be clear:

This feature is currently on the v6 roadmap. We plan on developing it prior to v6 being released.

If there are professional users who would like this specific feature (or any other KiCad feature that is important to them) implemented on a fixed timescale, they can contract KiCad Services directly (link is in my user profile).

General donations to KiCad via the Linux Foundation are greatly appreciated and will be used to improve all areas of the project that benefit all users. This may include the clearance feature at some point but to ask that the LF account be zeroed out to support this request is a non-starter.


I’d also like to chime in and say that a proper implementation of this feature is tied in to a lot of other tasks, some of which might seem completely unrelated to those unfamiliar with the KiCad codebase.

Nobody is saying a clearance matrix shouldn’t be implemented, but as we are trying to move KiCad forward we have to do so in a way that keeps the level of “technical debt” manageable, and gives us a stable platform to build on in the future.

Right now there are developers working on things that are pieces in the puzzle that will eventually lead to this particular feature. It might take a while, but we will get there :slight_smile:


@Seth_h and @craftyjon thanks for the clarification. An normal kicad user is indeed unfamiliar with your codebase and its hard to judge. I just see in a clearance matrix a great need, honestly also a big one from my side.

I would recommend to use donated money quickly for feature improvements average Joe can understand. This could motivate additional founding. One problem i noticed with Cern, is that it was not made clear for what the money was used. So please make clear what the money is used for. A clearance matrix is often requested and easy to understand. However, i truely understand that only one request cannot use up all the money.

Thanks to all KiCad developpers for their work, and especially to @Seth_h for his patience in answering my (repetitive) questions.