KiCad For Raspbian?


Hi - I’m struggling a bit trying to run the newest version (5) of KiCad on Raspbian (pi 3 model B). The old version (3) installs and runs. I’ve also tried Ubuntu 16 with no luck. What’s happening is dependencies can’t be resolved cancelling the install. This coming from the Software Center. There is a download file for armhf which extracts into /usr/bin, /usr/lib and /usr/share which I’ve tried with no luck. No installation instructions. The KiCad executable complains about missing libraries and modules within. I’ve attempted to update those libraries with newer versions with some success but can’t get all the missing libraries resolved. Thus no install.

The reason for the pi install is the large HDMI monitor which is a BIG help with PCB design.

I’m curious if anyone out there has got this combination running or is the arm7 architecture just not fully supported. Thus meaning an install isn’t possible. I do have KiCad 5 running on Mint 19 on my Dell laptop. Small screen, however.

If I can work with someone here to resolve this, I’d be happy to do any legwork required. I think others would benefit too. Any help, input and/or assistance very much appreciated. Many thanks.

Best - Scott



I don’t know if it helps but is a good start.


Yes I’ve done this and gotten an outdated working version of KiCad. Would like to be able to run the latest version. Bug fixes and new features always a plus. Thanks.

Best - Scott


I don’t know if it’s possible with Raspbian. Looking at I can see that there are ubuntu packages for arm architecture. If you can use Ubuntu Mate (16.04?) on Raspberry you might succeed.

Hardware accelerated graphics isn’t probably available for KiCad on Raspberry, so you have to try fallback toolset.


Thanks - I did install Ubuntu 16 on the pi. Using the Software Center I tried to install KiCad 5 and got dependencies unresolved. Also tried the js-reynaud command line instructions and got the same thing. Missing libraries and/or objects within. A fallback tool set would be fine.

I did locate this: “kicad-5.0.1-1-armv7h.pkg.tar.xz” which extracts to something that shows possibilities. But again, missing libraries when I try ./kicad from the command line. I also noted Ubuntu 16 doesn’t run very well on the pi and the processor gets very hot and shows a warning. Strange.

The pi board has got a lot of HP and I think very capable of running KiCad 5. The devil being in the details, of course. Thanks for your input.


If you are sick and go to a doctor do you tell them exactly where it hurts or do you just say “hey, I’m sick! cure me”?

Why are you reporting issues with your installation and withholding exactly what the issues are? “Missing libraries” is repeated 3-4 times in your post and you never mention what those are.

At the very least post the contents of the error message if you can’t understand what exactly is it complaining about.

Maybe those libraries are just in another package that is not added as dependency by mistake, maybe those libraries don’t exist for raspbian. Someone will be able to help you more if you provide this information.

In general follow these rules and you will encounter more people willing to help.

  1. I’ve abandoned the Ubuntu 16 avenue owing to the O/S doesn’t run well on the pi. So the unresolved dependencies (and details) under that O/S aren’t relevant.

I did mention I have KiCad 5 running on my Mint 19 system (so no illness). It installed without a hitch. Some general background information was provided to query the group and see if anyone has successfully installed KiCad 5 under Raspbian?? My feeling is it hasn’t been done. It isn’t offered for D/L either. Perhaps that’s because of pi limitations under that O/S. An older version (3) 2014 does run on the pi, however. If someone installed V5, I’d be interested in how this was accomplished. I’d also be interested in knowing if it’s even possible on Raspbian. If the answer is no, then I setup another work station with a larger display. Case closed.

Best - Scott



I believe the Raspberry Pi only supports acceleration for OpenGL ES, not for the full/legacy OpenGL specification. Converting KiCad to use GLES should be mostly mechanical, IIRC we don’t really require anything from the non-ES parts of the specification, but it would have to be done before we can expect it to be usable.

Fallback (CPU rendered) graphics will still work, but these use a lot of CPU time and are rather slow.

(This project is in the “I have registered the domain but not yet started on any code” stage of my ToDo list, at current rate I will get to it shortly after GL has been replaced by Vulkan)


Thanks for the informative response. It calibrates expectations. The pi 3 was released in 2012, so you’re correct. It has only the basic driver support via the OpenGL ES drivers. They hit the long ball with the pi so lots of people out there using it. For things not foreseen when it was released. Nice to see developers port over good software.

If there is anything I can do on this end to assist, perhaps I can help out. Also would like to send the effort some bread. Where/how is that best done? Many thanks.

Best - Scott


Unless something has changed, KiCad only requires a very limited, early, OpenGL specification.

I successfully ran a (I think) V4 release of KiCad on a newer RasPi. I believe I remember using the modern canvas with the installation. It was slow compared to my main PC (that is fairly well optimized other than the new card based SSDs and faster RAM). However, I found that if I changed my workflow, the RasPi did fairly well for what it was; it was not optimal, but the experience was not as painful as some other PC configurations that I have used.

Hint: My families kids got the “hand-me-down computer”. As I would upgrade my main PC I would throw my old parts (ha! how many months old?) into the family computer. My sons friend got a brand new, very expensive, and advertised as their "top of the line " model for Christmas (or maybe birthday). My son was so excited to try out a few of the games on this new super computer. He came back and told me that his “hand-me-down computer” was faster than the new toy his friend had; Mr dad earned a couple of respect points as a result of the experience.

I’d like to see more development of KiCad to run on RasPi, but I also think it is not good use of limited resources. Hopefully someone with extra time, like a retired person with the proper skillset, will come on-board and make KiCad for the RasPi a real thing.


Jim - Thanks for your input. I’m assuming you were on the Raspberry pi 3 model B running Raspbian? That model specs out as:

  • SoC: Broadcom BCM2837.
  • CPU: 4× ARM Cortex-A53, 1.2GHz.
  • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV.
  • RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 (900 MHz)

I’m told a fast SD card makes for an improvement. Should do OK with KiCad with HP. The Raspbian repositories point to the old V3 KiCad (2014) which is a bit old. The KiCad site still says V4 is available. So I’m curious what O/S you were using and the install procedure. I too think KiCad would be a very useful addition to the pi software collection. I’ve got a couple of two layer interface boards I’m getting ready to work on. Nothing really heavy duty.

The Dell Inspiron 1501 I’m on now (Linux Mint 19.1) has a Turion 64 X2 1.8GHz and 512MB RAM. With an Integrated Graphics Options ATI Radeon® Xpress 1150 256MB HyperMemoryTM (integrated). It does OK with KiCad V5 for old hardware. Dell made good PCs (2006) back in those days.

Many thanks for the ongoing information. If you’re setup with Raspbian I’d like to try to duplicate your installation and report back.

Best - Scott


I never used my RasPi with a slow SD card; a known bottleneck; it still was nowhere near as fast as my dedicated Intel I7/Windoze 7 PC.

I don’t think I remember that it was that simple.

I may try tomorrow to bring the bits out of the box and power it up again.



Just get a real computer. Pi is great for many things, but it’s a really really really shitty desktop and this is an absolute waste of time.


The difference between OpenGL and OpenGL ES is not so much old vs new, but differences in the state machine — for example, GLES doesn’t allow drawing commands outside of Begin/End pairs, while regular OpenGL is a bit more lenient here.

Converting the GL canvas to GLES should be fairly straightforward and wouldn’t lose compatibility with desktop operating systems (OpenGL is mostly a superset of GLES), but it would require someone to track down whether all rendering paths still have the correct state.


Thanks, that would be helpful and interesting.

Best - Scott


I’ve run LibreCAD on the pi for several years and done 100’s of drawings. Some quite complex. It works perfectly. So I wouldn’t throw the pi under that bus that quickly as a viable platform for graphics based applications. As for “real computers” I have 11 of them. One learns things by trying different approaches to include hardware platforms. Knowing they aren’t all optimal.

Best - Scott


Would it be of any value to try a compile/build from scratch for Raspbian? Perhaps just for the KiCad main to see if something can get running. I’m assuming the OpenGL ES routines are in place on the pi. I could experiment with this endeavor if it stands a reasonable change of success. Many thanks.

Best - Scott


Unless you’ll manage to find an OpenGL 2.1 (with shaders support) wrapper that works on top of GLES, it makes no sense. A PC that can run KiCad very smoothly is a cost of ~100$ these days.



Despite this the question is asked relative often. People do it for the fun of it. Why not try. If it can be compiled and run, many will be happy, even if self-deceptively or for no rational reason.


Tom - I’m a big fan of used PCs and older hardware. Especially Dell which are very cost effective PCs. As previously mentioned, I do have KiCad 5 running on my Dell under Mint 19.1 Works fine. Given my experience with LibreCAD running on the pi, I’m curious if that can be duplicated with KiCad 5? At least we’re beginning to understand what software is required. A step forward. Many thanks.

Best - Scott