KiCad License | Software Usage

Hello Team KiCad,

I am posting this question to verify the usage policies of the KiCad Software. How do I get in touch with the concerned authorities to know if i may use the software for training purposes. I am a Software Developer working for a company in germany and I would like to know if my trainees are allowed to download the software for free and use it only for training purposes. In case , i am required to purchase a license for all the Trainees, i would be happy to get in touch with the concerned team. Any help in this regard would be appreciated. Please advise.



Thank you so much for your response. I have gone through the terms , however, i do not find relevant information to the question i have posted. I would like to know if my Trainees may use the software for free and for educational purposes.

Basically, yes. The GPL is mainly about software code changes. You are expected to ‘give back’ so everyone else has the benefit that you ‘tagged along on’. As you describe it, that use is openly encouraged. That’s how the user base grows and the project along with it.

Yes. KiCad is free to download, install and use for anyone interested in the project.

Your students may use Kicad to make their own projects, make PCB’s, either for personal use for others, or even commercial projects.

As said before. (The source code of) KiCad itself is licensed under GPL (and this is not the snare microsoft has mislead many people to believe). When you just want to use the software, you do not even have to concern yourself much with this licensing.

When Using KiCad, the license for the libraries is more important.

What does this mean?

KiCad libraries are licensed in such a way to ensure free use of library data for commercial, closed, and non-commercial projects without restriction. KiCad does not wish to exert any control over designs produced using the library data, or force users to reveal proprietary information contained in their designs. Neither do we wish to force users to attribute the KiCad libraries within their design .

Use of the library data in a project does not (by itself) require that the design or any files generated from the design are licensed under the CC-BY-SA 4.0 License. You are free to use the library data in your own projects without the obligation to share your project files under this or any other license agreement.

However, if you wish to redistribute the KiCad libraries, or parts thereof (including in modified form) as a collection then the exception above does not apply. Redistributed library collections must be shared under the same license agreement. Under these circumstances, the libraries must also retain attribution information, including the license documents which are distributed with the library files.

There is a lot of effort going into KiCad to keep the codebase clean and free of conflicts. For example about half a year ago all Icons for the coming KiCad V6 were re-designed from scratch and one of the main reasons was because the license / ownership of the old icons was not entirely clear. There is also a rigorous checking procedure for all contributions to KiCad’s libraries to make sure that no copyrighted material (such as 3D models) sneaks into KiCad, so it can remain free to use.

If you have a budget to purchase licenses for your trainees, you may consider donating some of that to KiCad (Icon at top right corner of KiCad Website), but donations are entirely voluntary.

1 Like

Thank you so much for the clarification.

Thank you so much for providing a detailed clarification.

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