KiCAD – Development of a Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) tool to develop Printed Circuit Boards
KiCad is an open source software tool for the design of schematics for electronic circuits and their conversion into printed circuit boards (PCBs). The KiCad project aims to provide developers around the world with a universal, professional tool to freely design PCBs and exchange schematics without the restrictions imposed by proprietary software, and thus encourage and facilitate the exchange of designs and knowledge. Furthermore, it will incite more designers to share circuit designs directly or through open repositories, such as the Open Hardware repository, thus generating opportunities for companies and individuals around these designs. Apart from directly benefiting the electronics design community, KiCad is of great educational value, providing academics and students with a powerful tool to teach and learn real-life electronics through the design of actual circuits in the context of their studies. In addition, because KiCad is free software, students wanting to pursue developments outside of regular lecture times will be free to do so. The KiCad project was started by Jean-Pierre Charras, a researcher in the field of electrical engineering at GIPSA-LAB in France. CERN plays a major role in the KiCad effort and has already contributed extensively in the tool-development and direction.