Having just come from a much later version of EAGLE to Kicad 4.0.7 because of EAGLEs dimension restrictions, I’d say you’ll be fine with 4.0.7 for the time being.
See the FAQ topic about using nightlies, it’s somewhat relevant for RC1, too. But it’s quite stable. Your situation is such that there should be no big dangers in using 5 RCs - if you’re prepared for some bugs and out-of-date documentation. I suppose “new to PCB design” also means you do this for hobby, not for work. I have used nightlies for work, there have been some issues, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
If you’re just beginning and know nothing about KiCad up-to-date documentation may be important to you, especially because library handling has changed, libraries may not come automatically for your platform yet and in general it’s not the easiest part of KiCad to understand for a beginner. At least wait for installer/packages which include the new libraries. But on the other hand if you now start with 4 and soon migrate to 5 there may be problems which library changes… Oh well…
It’s for my thesis and involves AC-DC and DC-DC converters (with very recent MOSFETs) with filters, some controllers… It really just needs to work Also it’s a onetime project I probably won’t need to use CAD after this for quite some time.
It’s also more of a convenience things, I can easily install KiCAD on my OpenSuse PC, but university offers Eagle 6.5 only which means just for the PCB I would have to switch to another PC. Also, I like OSS
If it is one off, and you are new, the more important thing is to choose the path most traveled.
ie what do your colleagues and tutors know, who can you ask when you get stuck ?
Especially as smps are one of the most critical layout circuits
Wayne Stambaugh has sent a message which has not yet appeared in the mailing list archive. He says: “Things have quieted down quit a bit so we should be close to an rc2 release.”
And: “Hopefully, there wont be a lot of critical bugs and we can roll out v5 by the end of April.”
It looks like RC2 will be actually packaged for more major platforms than linux, so it will probably be “released” in the proper sense of the word instead of just tagged. The nightly build have been and will be ahead of the RCs but they haven’t included the component libraries. I believe the released RC will be a complete standalone installation, at least I hope so.
I wasn’t sure if it is a lull or just the effects of Easter
edit 15 commits last night, so it was Easter
Thanks a lot for the advice. Since everyone uses Eagle 6.5 I went with that to make things easier for my supervisor and colleagues and even more important, to make it easier for me to ask questions like you’ve said.
Currently using Kicad 5rc2 nightly (April 10 release), and must say that I won’t go back to v4!
Wow! Such a nice upgrade. More functionality, much more user friendly!
The only problem is with jumpers with built-in bridges: these cause DRC errors. Freeroute can’t route the board anymore. My solutions is (for now) to use the jumper without built-in bridges, route the board, and then replace the jumper with the built-in bridge.
Looking forward to the official release!!
Apart from v5 having a much more logical and consistent UI, a lot of the GitHub bug fix commits must actually also apply to 4.0.7
My experience is that 4.0.7 used to crash far more than recent Nightly builds. Also many Windows 10 users are having problems with 4.0.7 since a Windows update.
Still back up your work frequently.
Last call for rc2
And the GitHub activity has slowed to a trickle
Good news for those of us waiting on v5
just a quick note for anyone wanting to install from nightlies
to install the symbol libs / pcb footprints etc after running the setup exe
cd C:\Program Files\KiCad\share\kicad git clone https://github.com/KiCad/kicad-symbols.git library git clone https://github.com/KiCad/kicad-footprints.git modules cd modules git clone https://github.com/KiCad/kicad-packages3D.git packages3d
And admin access as he suggest to put the libs into a system directory.
It might be better to put the libs into a user writable directory and point the environment variables to that location (kicad main window -> configure paths)
This assumes that the fp-lib-table and sym-lib-table that come with the lib are used. (This is also the case if one puts the libs into the system location. Even the linux packagers will not update the tables!)
That is not working for me, even though I have manually removed the Windows environment variables settings and untick the box in the installer for setting them
edit: I have found that manually creating Windows Environment Variables works, but you need to be Administrator to do this
You should be able to set your user environmental variables using the control panel.
No admin required. (https://superuser.com/a/25038)
I have been writing a HowTo/FAQ which should help with environment variables. It’s mostly meant for the possibly soon coming KICAD_CONFIG_HOME feature but includes the library paths, too. Here is a preview: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Rq8i2Ay7qpGpffaj-AQmE-Xp88ikHhgyt0Ygpi8717o/edit?usp=sharing
I want feedback but please not in this thread.
New information about v5 status, beginning with this dev mailing list message: https://lists.launchpad.net/kicad-developers/msg35785.html