Kicad6 installation process and why the Kicad experience generally tends to suck

Github/gitlab is not the problem.


not at all trying to berate anybody here // … new K6 docs are excellent, thank-you

You still don’t get it…

Or you choose not to. I see only overreactions and suggestions against contributing (= the community) because you cannot deal with git.

You have bothered to learn how to make symbols and footprints and you keep suggesting that.

The other side suggests to learn that tool, and help instead of complaining. And once again i am asking NOT to discourage anyone because you are not able to do so. Most of your replies are about how bad libraries are, and how git makes you feel.


I don’t mean to say that the documentation is in perfect shape – there is a lot to improve and constructive criticism is helpful. But what has been updated for v6 should be accurate!

woah, not trying to discourage nobody here - just trying to give feedback on the frustrating aspects from a very unsavy user … I’m only asking for some kind of dumbed down overview of the full pre and post install process // on this page: … so, we can know what to expect up front - that’s all …

I agree my choice of language in the title seems very poor in hindsight, my apologies don’t mean to come off like that

  • I’m obviously not being clear I’m stating that I don’t understand the role Git plays with kicad and asking what it’s for - thought that was clear

It’s the file system I still also don’t get but that’s a side issue

I was told in K5 that the automatic re-dating of pro files wouldn’t happen

  • was gonna take out last three lines but forum is restricting my edits

My reply was not about you, and I haven’t tagged the user, i only replied to that comment.

And to clear some things, that statement is also not true. FWIW, people learnt git while getting involved.

so, am I right in thinking that git is really for developers mainly and not for the ordinary user ?

Short answer: As a user you can ignore Git and the file structure. Although the latter conforms to conventions established for the OS, and is visible in the configuration for libraries.

Eventually all this will settle down. Nobody asks what Git has to do with how Libreoffice (or many other packages) is maintained, or what the file structure of Libreoffice looks like, although I know the general outline from Linux norms.

Also packagers will appear for the major distros. In the beginning authors/developers have to do their own packaging, but eventually this will be taken up by a cadre of specialists.

If people are curious what a packager does, here’s what the build files for openSUSE look like:

and the spec file that specifies how the package is built:

That depends, git is a different tool and if you get to learn it you can then see the benefits.

You can use it with kicad for your designs, and also to contribute back if that interests you. (and more of course…)

ok, where can I read about these benefits pls ?!

my only experience with git was through brief mentions and downloads from the guy who coded my arduino’s and used it to store revisions … for some reason I have a gut feeling it can be used to similarly in kicad to save project snapshots yes/no ?!

but can’t find any info on that either, so for now I use the “save-as” command in the project menu, which I’m sure is silly as it’s adding nested backup folders on each iteration … trying to figure out the right way to do this - part of why I’m asking about git

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Here’s a FAQ explaining what a VCS does and what it could do for you if you adopt it as a tool for your own projects:

But a lot of people do fine with other setups.

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The biggest usecase is software development as you describe. It can also be used for snapshots of your kicad projects (I use it for this and very much like it!), but this is not required.

Git is not at all related to the topic you started. Git (the revision control tool) and gitlab (a web interface) are used for KiCad development: the application itself, the documentation, and the libraries (symbols/footprints). ML9014 does not like git and thinks that git has been harmful to the KiCad library. @Aris_Kimi is an active KiCad librarian and disagrees.

I think that summarizes it :slight_smile:


thank-you for that git/gitlab bit of info gkeeth //
I’ve learnt lots on this thread … I appreciate the effort


Back from GIT.

This question has been self answered… personal methodology.

I maintain my own libraries. I don’t particularly like the Kicad ones, but I will in no way complain about them. I am extremely grateful for their existence. They are a great starting point for modification.

These, for example, are my personal thoughts on symbol libraries:

  • I sometimes don’t like the size and shape of the rectangle.
  • The pins are too long for my liking.
  • The pins are sometimes in the wrong location for what I consider to be an easily readable, aesthetically pleasing schematic.

I repeat, these are purely personal. Ask @Aris_Kimi and you will receive a different reply. Keep this thread open long enough and you will get 500 different replies. :slightly_smiling_face:

@kicadian , you mention best/recommended practices.
IMHO, after re-reading this thread, I think you are just trying too hard to find the “perfect” everything.
Kicad is a CAD tool. Like other CAD tools, if you look hard enough, you will probably find at least five ways to do anything. Which way is best? That depends the phase of the moon, planet alignment and who you ask. :slightly_smiling_face:

Back to GIT.
I don’t bother. I use a hard drive and a thumb drive backup and if I lose the lot because my house burns down, well, I will have more important things to worry about. :slightly_smiling_face:



thanks jmk, invaluable … I’m going to start a related thread after doing more searching

back on topic … I finally found what i was looking for all along

at the very bottom of the docs page :

the introduction page (… a good start)

somehow I had never scrolled down there (my bad perhaps) …

still, why not put it at the very top please !!

better yet, it should also be on the home page IMO

I would love to fill it in with badly needed info … but I digress

again, thanks to all developers for their hard work !!

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kicadian – I suspect you are on the right track already, but let me comment that one of the most important Kicad topics to get clear on is how Kicad (schematic and pcb) finds libraries. As with many software packages (such as programming language build systems and IDEs), this is accomplished with “paths” of some kind, so the key piece of the puzzle is understanding where these paths are stored (environment variables, initialization files, project settings, user preferences or whatever).

For Kicad, it’s not rocket science – just paths pointing to where libraries are. But it’s maybe not the most prominently presented information, and the complete picture is not necessarily visible at a glance.
The doc you pointed to for Kicad 5: Library management in KiCad version 5 … goes a long way to describing that for Kicad 5.x, and I absolutely would not want that to disappear any time soon. It is marked for Kicad 5, and hopefully a Kicad 6 version with appear (or maybe exists already).

The flip side of this is establishing, based on the available path mechanisms, your own regimen of directory and file locations for your own “all projects” libraries and “per project” libraries.

This is fundamental to feeling in-control with Kicad.

You may also be interested in a thread of mine that relates to this topic, and particularly the role of kicad_common (kicad_common.json in K6): Kicad_common 5.x 6.x details please? - #2 by qu1ck

As a side note, your questions about github may relate to a previous experience with earlier version Kicad where I believe the Kicad application itself knew how to visit github and fetch library updates. That is, github was being used to distribute updates for the kicad libraries ad hoc, rather than library (official) updates only happening through updating the application. I’m not sure what happened to that functionality, but whatever the convenience was, it left some sense of not being entirely in control of what libraries Kicad could actually be expected to use.

Thanks for informing us about that book and course, looks interesting, possibly to recommend to others. FWIW, your link is misspelled. Should be: techexplorations dot com

thanks gwideman, I think this may well explain my confusion. I tried to understand Kicad5 as best as I could but I just found things overwhelming - especially with the git stuff which was way over my head … coming from expressPCB where things couldn’t be simpler (of course, an altogether different tool set) things turned immediately into a big headache for me

I eventually “got” how Kicad5 works, I just wished that it was more clearly stated up front (then and still now) - like in the intro box on the home page, hidden at the bottom … I stupidly wasted countless hours trying to figure out whether the problem was on the Mint side or Kicad … stupid amounts of time wasted on poor managerial practices that could have been spent doing actual work

I hope the Kicad dev team will re-consider the placement of the Introduction box on their home page … and spending the time to fill-in the info … which should possibly include links to threads where this is discussed even

thanks for the links you provided

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