KiCad is Still a Shitshow
Six months ago, I designed a schematic and circuit board in KiCad. Yesterday, I tried to open it and got a list of errors so long that it didn’t fit on my screen from top to bottom. The reason is that KiCad loads the footprints of the parts you use from Github, so when (not if) the KiCad devs change how they store footprints, your install of KiCad breaks. In other words, installing KiCad gives the KiCad devs permission to break your workflow for no reason.
I fixed my KiCad package list by writing a little python script that goes through the KiCad github repo and generates a new footprint list based on however they happen to be organized and whatever they happen to be called today. Copy that over my previously working footprint list, and the error message went away.
However, since the last time I used it, my install of KiCad has stopped rendering in CVPCB. No error message or anything, just doesn’t render the copper layers, parts, etc. I got part of the ratsnest, and that’s it.
Clearly, the thing to do is to install the newest version of KiCad from the developer’s PPA.
Nope, that returns a 404.
Clearly, the thing to do is to install using the script the devs wrote to install and build KiCad.
Nope, the script fails because they use a version of WXWidgets that like no one else on earth uses.
So let’s recap: No method of installing KiCad works, and just LEAVING YOUR WORKING INSTALL ALONE is not sufficient to ensure that it continues to work.
Since I’m designing a small PCB, CadSoft’s Eagle is looking more and more tempting. Limited PCB sizes aren’t a problem if you’re making something small.