Some years back, when I wanted to design my first pcb I had a look ad KiCAD and gEDA. I just wasn’t able to make a board. Not just the Interfaces suck but also tutorials were rare and not very helpful. Then I got Target 3001! from a C’T CD and got my first board made within two hours. By the recent stir about KiCAD by Chris Gammel and Dave Jones I thought I’d give it another try.
Well, same shit as 6 years ago. At least I thought so I asked myself maybe I, as a hobbyist am not the target of these packages. Okay but who should use it the when not hobbyists and small companies?
Right now I’ve decided to write down my complaints to get off some air. I just would love to use OSS and not be limited by wtf moments all the way to a simple power supply design.
1. Why cant a footprint be automatically linked to a certain element?
2. Why do I have to see a Netlist if I don’t want to?
3. Why isn’t there a button to switch from Schematic to Layout to 3d-mode and instead there are 3 totally inconsistend programs with no clear naming system?
4. Is KiCAD an anti-thesis to good user-interface design?
5. Am I the one idiot who does not get it?
6. Why are there still (totally inconsistent) libraries and not one big database instead?
7. Why is there an autorouter? Wasted programming time – if hobbyists are the target they will rarely design PC-mainboard-level complex boards.
8. Why is everything so inconsistent?
9. Why does my mouse not do what I expect? (left-click->select, left-drag->move, right-click->menu and so on)?
10. Why don’t I have the skills to make a PCB-CAD program myself?
Really why is that? Are all these projects so engineer-borne and they do not get, that the user-interface is straight out-of hell? All these tools have so many functions but they all got the basics wrong: consistency, clarity, straightforwardness. When I start up KiCad I have no idea what to do. I don’t say, that eagle is better, its more like the grumpy grandfather of those programs. It seems, that all of them follow some kind of late 80ties paradigm: the user has to take a weekend-seminar to get his work done. I have spent 4 hours with tutorials now and my learning experience was not “aha, that how its done” but “whaaaat? thats how its done?”.
So until this is fixed I am stuck with the not perfect, but orders of magnitude better Target 3001! from an C’T CD.
Sorry for the rant guys, I’m just a bit angry at the moment…