First try with using KiCad on a Virtual Machine

So I will out myself here as a sometimes Mac user (though I have disparaged the platform in the past) for my work. I had to give a presentation using KiCad and the Mac build wasn’t quite behaving (more on that in the future), so I decided to try out a VM running Ubuntu. Here are the options on Mac as far as I know:

  • Virtual Box
  • VMware
  • Parallels

I tried VirtualBox, as that is how I did it in the past on Windows machines. For some reason, the graphics were really slow, I believe it was tied to the 3D acceleration (which I could not get working). Then I paid for VMware on the suggestion of others and Ubuntu ran just fine (14.04). From there, I followed the install instructions here:

I opted to not use the install script at first, then the manual build crapped out on me. Then I tried the install script and that also crapped out on me. Then I tried restarting the manual build and realized I was not trying to build/install with sudo and it worked fine after that. All in all, not a very smooth process, but I did get it working.

I managed to start up KiCad under Ubuntu and had some errors due to the permissions of the files I was running (because of how Git has file permissions set up). Once I fixed that, it was good to go and I was able to try and show off the interactive router (push and shove). This was build BZR5067.

My impression of the newest build is that not that much has changed. That was quite surprising to me. I know a lot of stuff under the hood has changed (especially part libraries, grrr), but the basic navigation is quite similar to what I’m used to on an older Windows version (BZR4004 and 4022).

I tried the new install for KiCad that was mentioned here on the forum.
It worked without a hitch.
I noticed they had one for installing on Linux machines as well. I will use when I get a Linux machine going.

Hi Chris. We met (briefly) at the Meetup last week – thanks for your talk, and for sharing the videos. I have been duly inspired to dive into KiCad.

I spun up a fresh installation of Ubuntu 14.04 under Parallels on my MacBook Pro, and followed along with your suggestions with similar results. First attempt using script = #FAIL. Second attempt using manual method = partial success, after patching up several problems along the way… but I wasn’t able to get the libraries or documentation working. Third attempt, back to using the original script = #CHARM. BZR 5054 is up and running.

Here are some of the hacks that I did along the way. I’m not sure which of these are strictly necessary, but I will record them here for posterity.

  • Run the script with sudo … Without this, it fails somewhere in the middle.

  • Set launchpad-login with username for Ubuntu’s (Ubuntu One):

    bzr launchpad-login replace_with_your_username

  • Update with SSH public key, to resolve complaint from the above command.

  • Update bzr whoami using

bzr whoami "my name <>"

  • repair link for the graphics library, to solve a compiler complaint about not being able to find In my case, these was a symbolic link to a mesa library that didn’t exist, so I used “locate libGL” to find a suitable alternative. Here’s what worked for me:

    sudo rm /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/

    sudo ln -s /usr/lib/parallels-tools/tools/prltools.x64/xorg.7.1/usr/lib/ /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ is the link James mentions.

I had all the same issues with running/installing KiCad as you mention Chris, even on Windows and Linux so I was looking for a build to speed things up; Don’t know exactly how I found the link. (Probably EEVBlog forum?)

Even after the installing this build I had some issues with the libraries. Grrr is about right!
Perhaps an automatic build server is a nice future project for :wink:

tipofthesword, glad you found it, so much easier.

Yes, I agree. I’m not sure about an automated build, but we might host a pre-built version (no need to make it dynamic).

I later encountered some ggraphics related weirdness with this build.

In PCBnew, the rats nest lines did not render at all, making it impossible to use. I tried View > Switch canvas to OpenGL and Default. Each rendered differently, but neither was usable. Ultimately, I got it working by changing my VM configuration in Parallels to disable video acceleration (VM > Configure > 3D acceleration = off). Graphics are a bit slower but still very usable, and everything renders correctly.