pcb-rnd knowledge pool


Why should you use pcb-rnd vs. KiCad?

vs_kicad by Tibor 'Igor2' Palinkas on 2018-07-24

Tags: insight, kicad, comparison, table, feature, features, datasheet

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Abstract: Datasheet-like comparison table of the most important features of pcb-rnd and KiCad, to help users choosing between the two packages.


This page is intended to help users to chose between pcb-rnd and KiCad by providing an objective comparison on various properties.

Major features
property pcb-rnd KiCad
scope printed circuit board editor printed circuit board editor, schematics editor
data model: footprint with no restriction yes (subcircuits) - footprint can host anything a board can no - (e.g. silk or paste polygon in footprint)
data model: layer concept flexible layer setup with type/location and positive/negative configured somewhat hardwired layer stack
native file format versions loads and saves any old version; user is in full control of the file format and version on save loads old versions, saves latest version, may require manual assistance on v4 -> v5 conversion
ability to load/save other EDA file formats kicad, eagle (xml and binary), protel/autotrax, geda/pcb, etc. from version 5: eagle xml import
Flexible Design Rule Checker (DRC) yes - modular, user scriptable with dedicated, stable API, DRC scripts are easy to share partly - python scripts that rely extensively on KiCad APIs
community and support active, helpful, small but growing large, the web is full of tutorials and resources
footprint formats various common footprint formats (including eagle xml/binary and geda/pcb), transparent format detection and load from version 5: eagle xml import
GUI support gtk2+gl, gtk2+gdk, lesstif - runtime selectable, dynamic loadable plugins (does not require opengl)
works down to 800x600
requires opengl 2.1
requires at least 1280x1024
scripting embedded scripting in 10 different languages (awk, lua, python, ruby, javascript, etc.) python
portability Linux, BSD, windows
and any UNIX system with motif (C89, no GNU dependency)
Linux, BSD, windows
(no official support for anything else)
license GPL2+ GPL3

Minor features
property pcb-rnd KiCad
translations English only multiple languages
installation size (data from Debian buster) small (below 10 megabytes) large (60..80 megbaytes for the base package, 70 megabytes of footprints, 4500 megabytes of 3d models)
hardware requirements takes a few 10 megabytes of disk space, runs fine on a PI board with 512 megabytes of ram, no gfx card requirement up to 10GB disk space, <=1GB ram, gfx card version requirements per card vendor
software requirements a C compiler; optional : gtk or motif for GUI, libxml2 for eagle C++ compiler, vxwidgets, libgl*, python, boost