Hi everyone, great discussion here
There are some really great points here. The current methodology for retrieving libraries is insane. The
KiCad Way of managing libraries differs for each type of library (symbol, footprint, 3D model) and each way is (IMO) terrible.
I have spoken at length about this on the dev forums and also on here, so I won't rehash that (too much). My vision for how things should be managed:
- Separate software installed (KiCad program) from library installed
- Provide (ideally as part of the installer) option to download libs (symbols / footprints / 3D) (compressed!). .These will be the "latest stable" version of the libs
- Users who wish to track the libs on GitHub can do that (using existing Git tools, not KiCad)
- Remove the "GitHub plugin" from KiCad, and thus increase quality of life for many KiCad users
- Merge all the footprint (.pretty) repositories into a single repository
- Provide an official "KiCad libraries" website. Here, users can either download entire library-set (zipped) or individual libraries / 3D models. These will be based on the GitHub libs and updated every week or so.
- (Optionally) provide a KiCad updater which can update KiCad version without re-downloading the entire package.
This will reduce the bandwidth burden greatly.
But why has this not happened yet?
a. The separation of the libs / installer needs sign-off from the devs / package maintainers.
b. Some of the devs are really attached to the GitHub plugin.
c. Time / effort / life
I am currently working on generating a "libraries" website. This will provide downloads for the libraries, and also a better "how to download" section, as well as a "how to contribute / KLC" section. My hope is that when this is operational, I can convince the devs that we should be making life easier for the users, and not forcing them to download gigglebytes of data (that rarely changes)
So, what to do for now? Start a bug report that the installer should not always package the libraries (but should provide a way to download them). Everyone who feels strongly about this should add their voice to the bug report by pressing "this bug affects me".