How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21

How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21

Are you among those who want to learn how to install KiCad on Linux Mint 21 and make the most out of this industrial design automation software? 

Before you learn to install KiCad on Linux Mint 21, there’s something you must know. KiCad has announced on its official website that they are not officially supporting Linux Mint. This does not mean that you can’t install the software. To clarify, it simply implies that the KiCad project is not reassuring you that you won’t face any distribution-specific issues.

Most importantly, by the time you are done reading, you will have KiCad installed on your Linux Mint 21. As a plus point, you’ll have an even better understanding of KiCad.

What is KiCad?

If you do not already know then, KiCad is an advanced open-source and free-to-use software. So, what does KiCad do? It is a highly efficient and reliable tool for creating and maintaining electronic boards. In a nutshell, the main purpose of this software is to design electronic schematic diagrams and PCBs.

What are The Components of KiCad?

KiCad comes with a variety of software components. Some of these are tightly integrated with one another to assist in the PCB design workflow. The table below shows 8 components you can get with your KiCad download.

  • GerbView – Viewing Gerber and Drill files
  • PCB Editor – Creating and Editing PCBs, exporting 2D & 3D files, and generating fabrication output files
  • Symbol Editor – Making and editing Schematic symbols, and also used to manage symbol libraries
  • Footprint Editor – Creating and editing PCB component footprints. Also used to manage footprint libraries
  • PCB Calculator – Used to calculate components, electric spacing, track width, color codes, etc.
  • Schematic Editor – Creating and editing schematics, generating BOM files, and simulating circuits with SPICE
  • Page Layout Editor – Setting up and editing worksheet files
  • Bitmap2Component – As the name suggests, converting bitmap images into symbols or footprints

How to Use KiCad?

Using KiCad is as easy as 1,2,3… but only if you know why you have KiCad in the first place. KiCad is normally used with two sets of shortcut keys:

  1. Accelerator Keys – used to create a similar effect as tab menus. After entering commands, click the left mouse key to execute the command. (Commonly used to input an order with delayed responses).
  2. Hotkeys – These execute commands at the position of your cursor instantly. They work the same as accelerator keys with the left mouse key. (Commonly used to enter commands without disrupting workflow).

How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21

Now that you know what KiCad is and how to use it, let’s install it on Linux Mint 21!

Install the Latest Version

Open your Linux Mint Terminal and ensure your system is updated using the following command.

$ sudo apt update
apt update

Install the packages that need upgrading. If you already have the latest updates, you can skip this step.

$ sudo apt upgrade -y
apt upgrade

Install KiCad Software With apt Package Manager

Now that you have the latest version installed. It’s time for the main event! Run the following command to install KiCad using the apt package manager.

$ sudo apt install kicad -y
install kicad

Run KiCad Software Directly from the Terminal

Now that you have the latest version installed. It’s time for the main event! Run the following command to install KiCad using the apt package manager.

Note: You can also run KiCad by searching for it in the Linux Mint menu.

$ kicad
How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21

That’s it! You got your open-source and free KiCad for Linux Mint 21. Congratulations!

Possible Errors While Installing KiCad on Linux Mint 21

There is a common error that can pop up while installing KiCad. Don’t fret! Let’s have a look at it:

How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21

What you can do is, go for the command:

$ sudo add-apt-repository –yes ppa:kicad/kicad-6.0-releases

Which is a normal course of action for many people. However, sometimes not even that works, and you get more errors.

How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21

In this particular case, there is an issue with the “sources.list” file. The recommended workaround is:

Go to the Ubuntu sources list generator site and select the country, desired branches, update list, and any third-party repository you want. Just click Generate list and replace the old “sources.list” file with the new one you just downloaded.

At this point, you know exactly what KiCad is, what are the 8 components of KiCad, and how to use the software. Since Linux Mint 21 is currently not supported by the KiCad project, it can become difficult when you run into errors. Either way, the software is free to use, and you can accomplish a lot if you know what you’re doing. The tutorial above was made with consideration given to errors that might up. Therefore, you can easily install KiCad on your Linux Mint 21 long as you follow the aforementioned steps. 

If this guide helped you, please share it.

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