Psychology of KiCAD

I have recently learnt KiCAD, I did one PCB only which I ordered using JLCPCB. Anyway, there are things I can’t get my head around:

It is funny that every necessary feature in KiCAD is based on some python plugin, I can see that most people are really happy which sometimes bugs me, and v6 appears to be far away, indeed!

Curved tracks are missing, and most features are constantly moved onto a Triag list, which makes me think where KiCAD is heading these days. I like the software and the community around it, but sometimes missing stuff gets to me like anyone else, I don’t want to leave the software, at the same time it hurts when I see that some basic features are simply based on python scripting where scripts are well known for their notorious reputation of getting broken at any time, especially when you need them. I heard some people saying that KiCAD is like Altium, they are simply liars and ignorant, others say that KiCAD is better than Eagle, etc… All I can get my head around is that KiCAD is free, you can take it as is or simply leave it, but what to do if you really like it and don’t want to leave it!

Kicad is free, so my time playing around with workarounds for most of my projects is not significant, personally I have never had to use the python plugins,

Try a nightly if you want to feel of whats going to be in V6, I moved there after a clearance issue annoyed me in 5.1, knowing that these projects may be stuck to that version unless I massage them.

If your laying out some extreme high density flex-rigid pcb, well the price of those higher end packages are in your price range. If your never more dense than small pitch BGA, and not full flex-rigid, kicad will let you get there with a few speed humps.

Kicad is not like altium, It will not be for quite some time, but it seems development is more active that altium from what I can glean, Eagle, I cannot speak on, I just know that the pricing models always annoyed me.

e.g. some of my workarounds in the past, curved traces using the free angle routing, and spirals using graphical elements on copper layers.

The dev team is also open to feature requests, but as its only people volunteering time it takes time, there are options to pay to have functions built in if you really do need it, and cannot wait. (essentially hiring a dev)

Hi there,
Well a good start for you would probably be to stop using insulting terms like “simply liars and ignorant” & accept that KiCAD, unlike the other software you mentioned is FREE because it’s open source & being developed by a team of volunteers at NO cost! As for your claim that some features you need are only provided by plugins that break, I can only speak for myself as a retired Electronics Engineer who has used KiCAD to design boards from simple analogue circuits up to quite complex RF circuits & would not use any other software or have never had it crash or break on me!
Why not give us some examples of what it is you are looking for?


Really? Many modern applications have some kind of embedded language. Your web browser runs an embedded language too, don’t you know? Just because a part of the application is implemented in a different language doesn’t make it more unreliable. The same practices governing testing and releases can make them as reliable as possible.


I have been using PCB software for decades now and I can partly (!) understand your criticism.
I startet with 4.02 and since then I could have collected a big heap of things I would like to have or have different in KiCad.
However, I remember times when commercial PCB software was unaffordable to me and I was happy to find paint SW that would do the job in a very frustrating manner !

KiCad 5.x was a dream - no it was science fiction in those days. And today I get this for FREE and for any operating system. And dont forget: its done by people who will not get rich doing this.
Whenever I get frustrated about KiCad I remember all this and then I am happy about what I have today :slightly_smiling_face:

But as far as I can guess from the forum information about V6.x it may be worth waiting for you !


So one example from last year due to Python 2/3 differences is proof that all plugins are unreliable? How much do you understand about software development?

Please no need to be anxious in your answers, this is a friendly discussion, not a challenge to prove someone they are wrong, nor a 3rd world war.

I also wanted to say is that anyone that comes here and complain about sth, all what members tell him is that you have to thank God for the bread you have on the table, as God has given this for free, and if you complain, God will stop putting bread on the table. Okay, thank you God.

Why is it that we always have to defend KiCAD this way? Because it is free, no one can complain, complaints are a human nature after all? Why not say that free software can/should become better than paid ones in future? This is the soul that we should speak of, not defend ourselves saying it is free, take it or leave it.

How can you curve the tracks then? Instead of defending, plz put a solution.

Somebody else can answer that. I’m only challenging your sweeping statement that plugins are unreliable in general. If you had wanted to find out how to curve tracks there was no need to denigrate scripting languages in the first place. It’s not just Kicad you are passing judgement on but the whole concept of scripting with the words you have chosen.

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sure, you are a challenge solver only for the scripting world :smiley:

I have no idea what you mean by that. I don’t know anything about how to curve tracks so it’s not out of spite that I’m not answering that question. Perhaps your should ask yourself whether your approach of attacking practices and participants in this forum is helping to get you solutions.

I am not sorry for attacking scripting the curved tracks, as this should be a built-in feature … You have to allow yourself understand this as well, scripted curved tracks was a scripting misuse, generally speaking.

How curved tracks should be implemented is a matter others can discuss, but you did make a sweeping statement about scripting and that is what I responded to.

volunteers? are you kidding? seriously you are retired of everything, not just engineering! CERN now pays for KiCAD development, and this team should do much better than what they are currently doing, at least there are 4~5 full-time developers working oin KiCAD, and these developers use any library they meet to get the job done which makes compiling KiCAD on your own a real hell.

Please read another metadiscussion, for example Y-axis: perplexed, and make a decision about if it’s worth continuing this way. You have used personal attacks without showing actual knowledge about the KiCad project and development. For example

isn’t true, nor




CERN is the main contributor:

It doesn’t say CERN pays for KiCad development. The wording there could be enhanced, I admit. It’s possible to give donations to the project through CERN, though, and some of their employers contribute to KiCad development. But it doesn’t mean that CERN pays them for developing KiCad.

We all wish there would be 4~5 full-time developers working on KiCad!


I see, I hope things get better on the development support and donations. I assume will also donate this project then regardless there is an assigned full-time team or not.

Scripting is used to enhance the capability either via automation or additional capabilities.

It could be said that an eCAD tool should have something like curve traces built in if it is to be taken seriously (especially for HV or flexi stuff) and as a result this is why it exists for v6 (and it might already exist).

So how do you do curve traces at the moment? (either 5.1.x or 5.99) via maintained plugin and the best one at the moment is the RF-Tools plugin set

There are a lot of plugins that are broken and won’t be updated (the one you linked to to push your stance is a good example, the BGA fanout one is another).