Compiling Kicad on Ubuntu

Edit Dec 29, 2017: added cmake flag enabling external pluginsEdit Aug 28,2018: added cmake flags for skipping more recent stuff like spice. Also added libboost-all-dev to list of packages installed These instructions don’t work on ubuntu 18.0 or the recents linux mints (since they’re based on ubuntu 18). This is due to wxpython gtk2/3 issues. end edit Aug 28, 2018 In my last post, I mentioned that compiling Kicad is something most would not be willing to do. Most of the scripting in this blog will not work in version 4.0.5 which the most recent as of this writing. I recommend to install either the nightly or build yourself. If you just want the latest verion of Kicad, then you can find nightly builds in the Kicad Downloads Area Well, this post is about the steps needed to run your own compiled version on Ubuntu 1. These steps worked for me on a freshly installed VirtualBox Ubuntu install. The scripting support in the latest source based kicad has progressed a bit beyond the released Kicad. There are one or two APIs that have appeared and the scripting window has some IDE’ish features added 2. I do want to make some C++ changes, so I have the need to compile. I was also helpful to step through execution to understand some of the APIs

VirtualBox Ubuntu install

These are my notes from installing Ubuntu VirtualBox.
  • create virtual machine
  • linux – ubuntu 64
  • 4 GB ram
  • virtual disk image
  • file location and size to 32GB
  virtualbox settings->storage->controller IDE->empty = set to ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso start machine install ubuntu
no install updates
erase and install
write the changes to disks – continue
set time zone
set keyboard put in login details install it will want to reboot. do that now.
it will say to remove the install medium. VirtualBox seems to do that automagically At this point you’ll have a clean install of ubuntu. Take a snapshot so you’ll have it later. in VirtualBox manager in the upper right. click snapshots
click on the blue camera and take a snapshot start the machine again
go the the devices menu at the top-> shared clipboard -> bidirectional
devices menu -> insert guest additions
click run on the popup
give your password start an xterm

Build Kicad

Based on a list here: with some additions: Edit Aug 28, 2018. Here is the cmake line that I have been using recently. It turns off the spice and oce stuff.  You still need to install do something like the other lines listed below.

End edit.

sudo apt-get -y install libwxgtk3.0-0v5 libglew-dev libcairo2-dev libbz2-dev doxygen libssl-dev libboost-dev libboost-thread-dev libboost-context-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-iostreams-dev libboost-locale-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-all-dev swig python-wxgtk3.0* git cmake libwxgtk3.0 libglm-dev libcurl3 libcurl3-dev python-dev
mkdir kicad
cd kicad
mkdir build
mkdir install
git clone -b master
cd build
make install
  If you install into something other than /usr/lib; if you use prefix as is shown above, you’ll need to do this:
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=`realpath ../install/lib/`
This is for Ubuntu 16.04.1. If these directions stop working, please leave a comment below.

  1. I have basically stopped using the Windows platform. Adobe Lightroom and Autodesk Fusion are the only reasons I bother with it at all. Sorry.

  2. it’s very possible that the IDE stuff is a freebie due to using a more recent Python component.

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