KiCad as a portable app


If I may add my personal thoughts on this…

I have never liked Microsoft’s method of “putting all the eggs in one basket”, i.e., the Windows registry. It is the 1st place hackers hit.

Although I use Linux/Ubuntu for better security than Microsoft has ever offered, I’m still not sure I care for binaries and data spread out across various folders.

I do tend to like how has their software set up…
All apps have their own install folder and any data or settings the app needs is stored within a subfolder of its main install folder. This allows renaming the main install folder or moving it to a completely different drive if necessary, without harming the way the application operates.

Just seems to me to be a better way to approach this. Again… Just my thoughts.


Does V5 have to overwrite on install?

Actually, that is why KICAD_CONFIG_HOME has been introduced, to allow portableapp, see and the mailing list thread. It would be easier still with a command line option.

So I think KiCad can now be run portableapp style by setting KICAD_CONFIG_HOME appropriately, and installing to a folder other than “c:\program files” on Windows. KiCad used to be distributed as a zip which was very useful.


Why would the variable KICAD_CONFIG_HOME even need to exist ?

Whatever folder/directory KiCad happens to be located would be its “home”, and all configuration data KiCad would need could be saved to and read from that folder, with nothing being written to or be dependant on a main “system registry” or be spread out across various folders.

Just seems to me to be the most eloquent approach across all operating systems.


Most operating systems/distributions segregate executable application code and user data for various reasons, including security.

Regardless of the merits, you are talking about a hypothetical KiCad, in this thread I am trying to help people with the actual KiCad.


Ok Bob.

The main topic was why does KiCad 5 have to overwrite on install ? The truth is … It doesn’t have to.

I was only offering sotware design principles that could avoid that, and still allow different versions of KiCad to reside on the same computer and be completely portable.

Granted, those design principles may or may never take place… It was just some ideas.

I back out of this thread.


Hmm, I guess you haven’t read the thread or the links I posted. I suggest you make alternative suggestions in a new thread.


Yes, Bob, I have read this entire thread. You truly have offered very viable “work-arounds”, and I do commend you on that.


You can find the latest Portable version at


To be honest, I like the portable implementation given in the links, but it violates the GPL3 copyright under which KiCad is released. I can’t recommend using Open Source software binary package whose packager doesn’t respect the licence, whether in good faith or not.

EDIT: unless the source code is hidden somewhere there, but I didn’t find it when I tried recently.


Have you tried contacting the author about that?