Newbie question. Does it make sense to start to learn with KiCad 5 (on linux)

I am new to pcb design. So I guess I will not make anything final in the next weeks. Nevertheless a certain stability in the software is necessary to learn it. Does it make sense to start to learn with KiCad 5. I am on arch linux.

many thanks

In my opinion: yes. It’s so much better. And you would have to re-learn menu structures etc., and the component library systems aren’t compatible. I think you will save half of the work if you go straight ahead to nightly builds and then to 5.0.0 which will be released hopefully within some weeks. There’s one big con, though: the documentation isn’t up-to-date.


I agree with eelik. Especially if you are working on a home project (i.e. not commercial)

My experience is using Windows10.

About a month and a half ago I decided to try Kicad (4.0.7). I loaded it and made a simple schematic and started on the PCB. I found there were two “canvases” (basically a canvas is an interchangeable interface). I found the legacy canvas awkward and the advanced canvas could not do all one needed to do.
I ended up uninstalling 4.0.7 (my recommended if you have already installed it) and installed V5. V5 as stated is sooo much better and I’ve been running the nightly’s with absolutely no issues.

However I have read some folks were / are having issues with Linux. You might search the forum for those issues and see if they apply to your installation.

Good luck.

BTW I have my first design ready to go to OSH Park as soon as my testing is complete.

Really, what is the status of v5? Is RC2 stable enough for production use, apart from documentation? There were postings about unexplained slowness, but I am not sure they referred to RC2.

Philosophically I would not use an RC-anything for production.

In Windows10 I’ve not seen any slowness. My design is small but I downloaded the Olinux design and played with it a little, again no noticed slowness.

Thank you for the info. The way I’ve been reading the postings leads me to believe that V5 is still kept @RC2 only because the translation of the documentation from English to other languages is not complete yet and not because there are any technical issues with the software itself.

My best guess is that V5rc2 is stable enouth for almost everybody.
As your first goal is a learning experience, you do not want to do that twice, and the differences between V4.0.7 and V5 are apparently quite big. (I have to have some V4.0.7 boards fabbed before I am willing to switch to V5 myself).

My advise is to start with V5rc2, from what I have heared it is pretty stable.
I don’t know how fast you learn, but by the time you are ready to have a PCB design fabed the official V5 will probably have been released.

The “getting started with KiCad” guide is a very good start in the workflow of KiCad, but it is written for V4.
At least the library management has changed significantly, and I do not know how valid it is for V5.

The question is what to you mean by stable?

If you mean: No further changes will be made that change the behavior of kicad (Especially the way how it saves the desings) then it is guaranteed to be stable.

If you mean with respect to bugs: the final release will have fewer bugs when compared to rc2.

KiCad 5 documentation repository look under master for whichever file format suits you.

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many thanks for all the answers.
just installed it from the arch aur repository now, should be a 5rc2 nightly build.

I would not advise a beginner to learn 4.0.7 these days. The old 4.0.7 has far more bugs as there have been no fixes back ported for a long time.
One caveat to this is that it is not advisable to upload V5rcX projects to the world until the actual release, V4 users would have problems with them.

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It would be interesting to hear if someone has any reason why one should start with version 4 instead of 5.

I looked into the documentation linked above, but only the Getting Started guide. It’s not completely up to date but better than I thought (maybe I have been fooled earlier by the copyright years which I checked to know where it was going). The small errors there should be easily cured. So it’s not a hindrance.

I can’t come up with any reason to start with v4 except when a newcomer has some helpful friend at hand who uses v4 only and can teach it. The multiuser corporate settings are of course a different thing.

Few days ago someone explainded here that what currently are nightly it is not rc2 yet. That KiCad designers selceted the way of nameing versions in which rc2 means “we are going to rc2 and here is our next step” and not “we have rc2 and here is step after rc2”.
Reading it I assumed I will wait for rc2.
Do during these few days rc2 was released?


And there is a package for debian:

I don’t know what ‘debian’ means.
After writing here I read other thread where I understood that other packages are in preparation now and then will be officially announced “We have RC2”.

Please let me know about what exactly software you speak here?
Starting form KiCad|Download|Windows except stable 4.0.7 I cen see only nightly:
But there I don’t see nowhere rc2 in packages names (I understood previously that versions going to rc2 have rc2 in names. I went up in this directory but under Windows I don’t see enything with rc2 in names. So I went more up to debian (as it was written that debian rc2 is ready) and there are not. So it looks that I am searching in wrong place and rc2 (and going to rc2) files are probably somewhere else.
From posted here link for debian I also don’t know how to travel from there to windows. I don’t expect there ready rc2 as I read that it will be soon but may be there are some “giong to rc2” packages.

So where it is you all are speaking about?

There hasn’t been a specific Windows package released for the version which was tagged RC2 (8 days ago, according to the code repository: After the RC2 checkpoint was announced the nightlies kept coming, so the latest nightlies are RC2 + bugfixes. At the moment, when the features etc. are freezed, only bugfixes go to the nightly builds until the final 5.0.0 has been released and the main code base has been opened for feature development. After that the nightlies aren’t safe or stable for everyday use; right now they are almost as much as the final 5.0.0 will be. Whether or not RC3 or the final 5.0.0 will be tagged soon is quite much irrelevant for those who want to use the latest code on Windows.

(Tagging means just putting an extra mark to some specific code commit. That’s what happened with RC1 and RC2, but Windows packagers didn’t release packages with those names.)

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in V5rc2 the “rc” stands for “release candidate”. Every KiCad V5 is still in the “nightly” builds and not official (yet), but I’ve read a bunch of posts that it is more stable then V4.0.7.

But I just had another idea:
Keep it simple for yourself, and just start somewhere, without bothering too much about version numbers.
You will probably get V4.0.7 if from a “normal” installation pocedure.
Then start with the “getting started with KiCad” which is also written for V4, and you can learn a lot about the way KiCad works.

One of the big changes in V5 is the way libraries are managed. So don’t spend too much time on the library management in V4. But if you use V4 or V5, it is still KiCad and >80% or >90% will still work the same, or very similar. (I’m guessing here, I haven’t used V5 yet, because I have to finish some V4 PCB’s before I will switch to V5).

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My suggestion would be use kicad version 4 but switch to the open gl canvas in pcb_new