Are you aware that KiCad's code base is not of the highest quality?
Yes, before embarking on this project we conducted an in-depth study of
the code base of KiCad and other open source EDA packages. We are very
much aware of the places in the KiCad code base where a serious clean-up
would be useful. Fortunately, thanks to the work of many competent
programmers, these areas are becoming less and less numerous. We also
plan to help in that domain. The main KiCad developers are also
conscious of this problem and are working hard to improve things. Having
said this, if you can criticize KiCad code it's because it is open
source. Nobody knows if the code for proprietary EDA packages is better
How is this activity staffed at CERN?
There are two main contributors at CERN: Maciej Sumiński (Orson) and
Tomasz Włostowski. Orson works on KiCad officially, along with some
other projects. Tom works on KiCad in his spare time. Of course, it
would be better to do more, but this is what we can afford now. We
sometimes can have external contractors work on KiCad thanks to the
of KiCad supporters. We hope that our example will be followed by other
organizations, so that manpower is not an issue for KiCad anymore. Then
the issue will be to properly organize this manpower and to ensure only
high-quality code makes it to the main
You seem to be a hardware-oriented section. Are you competent for this kind of work?
We are lucky to have several very competent C** developers in our
section. Our team is mostly made of electronics engineers and computer
scientists, with lots of experience in complex projects, both hardware
and software. But ultimately, the best way to evaluate the quality of
our work is to look at the code we contribute to KiCad.
How aligned are you with the main KiCad developers?
Both Orson and Tom have commit access to the main repo, which means they
are actually part of the main development team. We have a great
relatioship with the rest of the team, and with the project leader
(Wayne) in particular.
I am a student, how can I support KiCad?
There is a list of packages prepared for students looking for a
challenge. Have a look here and contact us once you
decided to undertake a project.
KiCad at CERN
How is KiCad supported at CERN?
There is no specific support at CERN for KiCad, yet. The program is just
not yet in a good enough state for our large and professional designs.
That is why we are contributing to the
currently there are no specific libraries or other support.
How should I install KiCad when at CERN?
Please have a look at the official KiCad
website about download instructions and so. That
should be self-instructing.
Which CAE programs are officially supported at CERN?
The officially supported CAE programs are
Here the CERN electronics design office can also help you for making the
PCB layout and building your prototypes. Please contact
about this, or you can have a look at the somewhat outdated DEM
pages that still describe all the services you can
get when using Altium or Cadence. With KiCad you need to do everything
on your own (order PCB, assembly files etc.).
KiCad on ohwr.org
Which designs on the Open Hardware Repository are made in KiCad?