Running KiCad 5 with Docker

I upgraded to Ubuntu 22.04 and the appimage for KiCad 5.1 would no longer work. So I built a Docker image to run KiCad 5.1 without disturbing my KiCad 6 installation. Here are the steps to do that in case anyone else needs it.

Building the KiCad5 Docker Image

Create a file named dockerfile with these contents:

FROM ubuntu:20.04

RUN apt-get update && \
    apt-get install -y nano sudo keyboard-configuration software-properties-common

RUN add-apt-repository --yes ppa:kicad/kicad-5.1-releases && \
    apt-get update && \
    apt-get install -y kicad=5.1.12-202111050916+84ad8e8a86~92~ubuntu20.04.1

# Replace these with your login name, user ID and group ID from your host machine.
ENV USER_NAME=devb UID=1000 GID=1000

RUN mkdir -p ${HOME} && \
    echo "${USER_NAME}:x:${UID}:${GID}:Developer,,,:${HOME}:/bin/bash" >> /etc/passwd && \
    echo "${USER_NAME}:x:${UID}:" >> /etc/group && \
    echo "${USER_NAME} ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL" > /etc/sudoers.d/${USER_NAME} && \
    chmod 0440 /etc/sudoers.d/${USER_NAME} && \
    chown ${UID}:${GID} -R ${HOME}


# Uncomment the program you want to run in the container.
#ENTRYPOINT ["eeschema"]
ENTRYPOINT ["kicad"]

Build the Docker image and name it kicad5:

docker build -t kicad5 .

Running the KiCad5 Docker Container

The Docker container can access the local host’s X11 display and KiCad libraries when it’s run using the following command:

docker run --rm -e DISPLAY=$DISPLAY \
   -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix \ 
	 -v /usr/share/kicad:/usr/share/kicad \ 
	 -v /home/devb:/home/devb \  <== Change this to match the login account in dockerfile.

At this point, you should see the KiCad 5 main window.

For convenience, you can alias this command in your .bashrc file like so:

DCKR_X11="docker run --rm -e DISPLAY=$DISPLAY -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix -v /usr/share/kicad:/usr/share/kicad -v /home/devb:/home/devb"
alias kicad5="$DCKR_X11 kicad5"