Thank you. I do check Eagle files into version control so that I can annotate project progress, but I can't help but scrutinize the line-by-line diffs before submitting, and it's exasperating because they're so noisy.
> would anyone use this over KiCad?
I use KiCad and mostly like it-- it can do everything. But the biggest problem [with KiCad] is there doesn't seem to be a coherent/opinionated workflow about how you manage parts (part libraries).
By "managing parts" I mean the associations in your "project" between the schematic symbol, its footprint, its 3D model, and perhaps even datasheet, spice and vendor info. Keeping this stuff straight is a major pain in the ass and it's stressful to add new parts.
These are hard problems and people have wildly different ideas about what's correct. The fact that LibrePCB is signalling improvements in these areas makes me want to give it a spin.
There does seem to be some initiatives lately to make this stuff easier (eg SnapEDA, UltraLibrarian, EE Concierge, and others). But to really make it work, EDA vendors need to standardize together or find a way to work with "everything".
Yes. KiCAD in general isn't bad, but the part management tools in KiCAD have very strange user interfaces. Footprints are in directories while schematic symbols are in archive-like files (or is the the other way around). The user interface reflects this, which is confusing.
KiCAD, like most open source, has a large number of annoyance-level problems. Schematic capture isn't bad, but it's strange in some places. For example, the dot that shows a connection between two crossing wires is a separate object which can survive deletion of the wires. Most schematic capture programs, such as LTSpice, do better.
There are really two PC layout programs, one using OpenGL and one using some other interface. Each has some features the other doesn't, and you have to switch modes between them.
There's an auto-router, and due to some IP dispute it's not fully integrated. The auto-router isn't bad if your board isn't extremely tight.
This has changed in the newest version, I think. Library management has also been updated somewhat.
I used to end up not bothering with making new components. Luckily, for my projects, it was mostly ICs that were missing. So I'd use one of the generic n-pin components (connecters/pin headers), add short wires and labels to all the pins while looking at the datasheet, and then give it the appropriate IC footprint when moving to PCBnew. Smells but works.
They really need to focus on this issue, and make it a main focus over other features. If I haven't used kicad in over a month, I have to look up how to create parts again, and can never remember since schema and pcbnew have such different workflows. I am 100% fine with schematic symbols being divorced from footprints, in fact I like that better, but the workflow to create them should match up.
It boils down to the fact that the number of users of these programs is small.
In a CAD program, there are enough features that some feature has exactly one, or worse, zero users.
This means that the most used features gets streamlined over time, but everything else remains "quirky".
Circuitmaker uses octopart libraries and maintains its own footprint libraries. When any user creates a footprint in a public project it becomes part of the public (git-based) library for the part.
I get it that some designers want to do all their own footprints and make everything their own, but for someone getting ramped up having easily accessible parts libraries dramatically reduces the amount of tangential knowledge one must have to make usable PCBs.
I'm definitely going to try this out. I am a big fan of Circuitmaker but obviously using something that is 100% open source is a big benefit.
The Kicad approach makes it easy to add new parts with known footprints but you still need to make them for non standard parts. Also if a component has a kind of standard footprint, but needs eg bigger pads for some reason, you also need to figure that out.
Eagle is a faff be user everything has to either be copied from another library, or you need to make it yourself. But once thaf library is done, it's pretty portable. I'm an Eagle user and am used to it; I can make parts fairly quickly now.
There are also parametric component generators (library.io) which takes a lot of the stress out of it.
Though yes, I was initially confused by the post layout too.
It's quite flexible as you can add jumpers of any length and orientation that way, the only inconvenient is that jumpers aren't marked on the silkscreen but it's fine for home-made projects.
Though you have got me wondering whether anyone has put a crumb of high temp superconductor in a smd resistor package yet and if so, for what purpose.
Off the top of my head, I could think of one use, which would be to trigger a transistor to switch on and off some high power superconducting circuit when the small bit of superconductor gets cold enough to start superconducting.
In case you don't have time to watch the video, here are the slides: https://archive.fosdem.org/2018/schedule/event/cad_librepcb/...
But creating or generating own high-quality libraries is surely the better way forward. See https://github.com/LibrePCB/librepcb-parts-generator
Should anyone encounter this error with the app closing when attempting to open the library manager, it can be solved through a symbolic link in the local application lib path.
Assuming LibrePCB is installed in ~/LibrePCB:
$ cd ~/LibrePCB/stable/lib
$ ln -s libssl.so.1.0.0 libssl_conf.so
Its what i use, but i cannot give a comparison with others as i have not used them in years.
The paid version is obviously better than the free version.
Should I jump ship to this or is this something I should keep an eye on?
However, that was over five years ago and was on a Windows machine.