MacOS Barely Usable


#1

Previously used KiCAD on Windows, everything worked well, even the nightlies.
Just started using KiCAD on MAC OSX 10.12.6 on macbook pro 2016 with 5K display using the nightlies.

Starting a new project and currently working in Eeschema.

It takes 0.7s to rotate an LED symbol clockwise 90 degrees, everything is so laggy.
Selecting parts, half the time doesn’t select probably because I release too soon, the other half, very slow.

Using the scroll wheel to zoom in and out causes horrendous lags. Not only that but somehow it ends up zooming to unpredictable levels when only 1 mouse scroll is triggered and inertia disabled, because it keeps zooming and I move the mouse, it ends up zooming not where I was originally pointing to zoom with 1 scroll wheel trig. So the zoom completely doesn’t work, useless.
Why is it that when I press CMD+scroll wheel it scrolls viewport horizontally?
I have 2 scroll wheels, horiz and vert, both are scrolling horizontally.

Button tool tips take a very long time to show up, I think 2 seconds, 0.5s -1s should be used, when you’re working and need a quick reminder, 2 seconds must as well be 10 seconds.

Anyone else familiar with things I’m experiencing?


Setting a non-connected flag is awfully slow
#2

Not familiar at all, running on a 2017 Macbook (slim, low power, no fan, retina screen) and a nightly build from 2017-08-21 works fast and great.

I suspect it might have to do with the 5K display high resolution demands? Just wild guessing… so you might want to run some profiling with some of the OSX “Instruments” to see what is going on behind the scenes?


#3

Have you followed this official suggestion?


#4

Ys, I’ve set KiCAD to low resolution mode, restarted, no change, also disabled toggling to CPU-GPU in system pref nergy settings, thus forcing high end graphics card use, no change.

Any of you tried using a mouse with a scroll wheel?


#5

I’m using KiCad 4.0.6 on OS X 10.9.5 on a non-retina MacBook Pro, and I haven’t noticed any performance problems. KiCad seems quick and responsive to me. (I have 16 GB RAM, and an SSD.)

That said, there are some issues. Templates don’t work on OS X. Control-click to right-click doesn’t work in OpenGL mode. The binding for the trackpad is counterintuitive (I’d much rather have two-fingers to scroll and pinch-to-zoom.) And I’m always encountering minor little bugs that made KiCad seem unpolished. Since I haven’t used KiCad on any other platform, I don’t know how many of these bugs are OS X specific, and how many are KiCad in general.

But with an external mouse, KiCad seems quite usable on OS X for me, even though it isn’t perfect.


#6

Everything is pretty damn laggy for me too, but I got a maaaajor improvement using openGL rendering in pcbnew instead of the default one. I mean really really big difference. Will try the lowres setting. I’m on new MBP and 5K screen on the side… :slight_smile:


#7

pcbnew works OK, it’s schematic that’s horrid.
The 5K makes everything 4 times slower compared to built-in retina display.
Panning around on Windows gives me 20 pixel lag at most, hard to see, but on 5K it’s easily 1 full screen width.

Zooming also has a rubber band effect when you stop scrolling, I have all these kinds of inertia disable, so I suspect it’s just the screen catching up due to lag, rather than the rubberband/inertia effect, seeing as how I disabled inertia and do not see it anywhere else.

I’m told on devchan that eeschema uses XOR rendering which isn’t supported on mac, that’s why it’s additionally slow. Should be better when they get around to porting eeschema to openGL.


#8

Yes, the behaviour of eeschema is similar to me. It feels the same as pcbnew before I found the OpenGL option so I guessed it might use something not natively supported on OSX. Horribly hard to use :sob:


#9

eeschema is not using OpenGL

Has anybody raised a bug report on Launchpad? There are few developers using Macs


#10

Update, I was trying to use pcbnew and just could not work on it, ended up making a few boards on windows.
I remember complaining about horrid macOS speeds before, found my old thread and tried the different Toolsets.
1 = slow, 10 = fast

PCBNEW:
Legacy: 6
Modern Accelerated: 10
Modern Fallback: 3

EESCHEMA:
Modern Accelerated: 10
Modern Fallback: -10!!!

At least now I can use KiCad again :slight_smile:


#11

The fallback canvases really don’t get along with Retina displays. Fortunately it’s not an issue as all Macs with Retina displays support the accelerated canvas.


#12

Hmm, funny, when on my rMBP 2012 the modern toolseti in schematic and PCB renders the app if not the mac entirely useless; beach balling and system stuck for seconds at the time. This is when the display resolution is set to highest (1920x1200). With the display set to “scaled” the beach ball is mostly gone and the system is “just” very laggy. Fallback restores it all to normal behavior also at the highest resolution. So entirely opposite to your findings.

On my iMac 2011 I have no problems at all.


#13

What anti-aliasing settings are you using on the rMBP 2012? (I’m using “Supersampling (2X)” – you can find it in Kicad’s Preferences dialog).


#14

Oh, good call! I had it set for 4x. Now on 2x the “Modern Toolset” is a good citizen, yay!


#15

I’m deciding whether to go with Eagle or Kicad. This will be my first adventure with a PCB design tool. I’ve been doing software for a very long time with everything from PIC18xx boards to big iron, bare metal to operating system device drivers to GUI apps. I understand electronics well but I’ve never layed out a PCB. I’ve read the the Kicad Like a Pro book (Feb 2019 release).

I’ve got plans for a project to use the new Sparkfun Artemis module (a bare Cortex M4F with integrated BLE on a 4 layer board that is FCC certified) that has hidden soldering pads, so I need to create my own PCBs to integrate sensors, etc. with the Artemis module which will be soldered to my custom PCB with either a heat gun (from the bottom side), or by using a relatively inexpensive reflow oven. My plan is to build several of these boards as prototypes and see where it goes from there.

Bottom line - I need to decide on a schematic/layout tool, and soon.

I am a hard core MacOS user. I plan to use a newish 5K Retina display with the latest MacOS. Yes, I’m a MacOS bigot - Windows or Linux is not acceptable to me.

With respect to Eagle - free or $100/year doesn’t bother me, so that’s not a major decision factor. That said, I would prefer open source instead of Autodesk’s pay model, as long as the open source software doesn’t cause me grief.

This thread concerns me. I will not accept a Kicad on my MacOS system that is slow or buggy or both. I will not settle for a lower resolution than what my 5K monitor is capable of. Any advice would be appreciated.


#16

Quite a bit difficult project for a beginner. I don’t mean you won’t achieve it, I just mean you will deal with some difficulties with either program. The thought about “with the other program it would be a piece of cake” will came up many times.
You’ll find a lot of help in this forum.
But I guess you’re going to make a shield for the Artemis and not an Artemis board.

I have never tried Kicad under MacOS. My last mac was a powerbook 1400, time ago. But I exchange my projects with clients with Mac in a seamless way. Updates to schematics, layouts or libraries are made at both sides. Never a problem.

And years ago I decided to use Kicad over Eagle for many reasons. I tried both. There is a free Eagle version you can test.

Now I’m a Kicad fan so my opinion is biased. Kicad offers everything I need to make a professional board. A few times with a workaround or a script. So does Eagle. For me Kicad is vey intuitive, for others it isn’t.
Buggy? No more than other tools. And many times bugs are solved in less than one day.

I hope you don’t mean you can bear privative software causing you grief and being slow or buggy or both :wink:


#17

Both kicad and eagle have their good parts and their strange behaviours. To be honest they are on about the same level and i suspect this to stay like that for quite some time (I am using eagle at work right now so i sadly know that from experience).

I however doubt that kicad will come to altiums level any time soon (if that happens then the managers of altium were asleep and forgot to innovate.)

So in the end it will kind of depend on personal preference and in what you expect the future will bring. (As well as who you expect to work with as exchanging data is much easier if everyone involved is on the same software. Something to remember is that kicad can import eagle projects reasonably well but the other way round is not possible.)


Additionally: check the date of this topic. Most of it is about an earlier version of kicad whose problems are most likely fixed.


#18

Pedro and Rene - thanks for your responses.

My concerns about using Kicad vs Eagle have nothing to do with features or my ability to understand and use the software successfully. My needs will initially be fairly simple. My first attempt will be a 2 layer board that can be thought of as a shield, except that it will be much larger than the diminutive Artemis module that is only 10mm x 15mm in size (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/15484).

Asked another way, here is what I’m hoping to learn:

Are you using the latest Kicad software on the latest MacOS? What is your experience?


#19

You are asking about macOS performance and I can offer the following assessment. I am using Kicad 5.1.4 on macOS 10.13 ( I have not updated to 10.14 for other reasons). On a 2013 MBP with an external screen this is an excellent and responsive system. I have also run it on a slightly antique 27” iMac also on 10.13. This is slightly less responsive but still very usable. I would expect that if you have some reasonably current system, you shouldn’t have any problems. Python scripting works well on macOS but there are a few tweaks that might help (search this forum).

I have not come across any show stopping bugs in this version. Sure, there is the occasional unexpected behaviour but generally, this software is robust and reliable. In this regard, I don’t think it is significantly different to Eagle. I have been using Kicad since 4.0.4 and the latest iteration is certainly a very different and much more capable program.

Why not download a version and try it out? You can download a variety of example files and investigate if it works for you.

There will be a significant learning curve with either program and you will probably hit a few bumps on the way. There are lots of good tutorials for Kicad (see the FAQ) but remember that there have been lots of (positive) recent changes, so look out for those that target the current version 5.1.x.

Also, look at the support network. I think that this forum is one of the most friendly and helpful forums that I have ever been involved in and that is something that is difficult to put a value on.

Best if luck (whatever you chose to do)!