How to Install KiCad on Linux Mint 21 LTS

KiCad is a free software suite that makes it easy to design and simulate electronic hardware. It has an integrated environment for schematic capture, PCB layout (including 3D rendering), manufacturing file viewing, and SPICE simulation, all in one place! The software is a powerful tool for both experienced engineers and beginners alike. Developed over 25 years ago, this program has been continuously improved upon by its dedicated team of developers who work around the clock to ensure that every user can get something out of their time spent using it! KiCad offers a wide range of features, making it easy to create complex designs with high accuracy. The software is also constantly being updated with new features and improvements, so users can always be confident that they are using the best tool for their needs. If you are looking for a powerful and user-friendly electronic design and simulation suite, then KiCad is perfect!

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install KiCad on Linux Mint 21 LTS release series by importing the official LaunchPAD PPA and installing the most up-to-date version using the command line terminal.

Update Linux Mint

First, before you begin, perform a quick update to your system to ensure all existing packages are up-to-date to avoid any conflicts during the installation.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Install Required Packages

The following dependencies will need to be installed to install KiCad successfully. Most of these packages are already on your system, but running the command can help ensure they are installed.

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common gnupg gnupg2 apt-transport-https -y

If you skip and encounter issues, return and just run the command.

Import KiCad PPA

The first step is to import that KiCad PPA maintained by the “KiCad” team. Currently, you can import one of three PPAS, the 5.1 release, 6.0 release, or the 6.0 release nightly build for those that want the latest development upstream version.

Note that you cannot install KiCad 5.1 and 6.0. You can only choose one version, and the nightly version has its installation so that it can be installed. Besides whatever release version you require, it is recommended to install the 6.0 release.

See also
How to Install GIT on Linux Mint 21 | 20

First, import the GPG key needed for all the repositories.

If you have issues importing the GPG key, please see the end section on GPG troubleshooting at the end of the article.

sudo gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/kicad.gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys FDA854F61C4D0D9572BB95E5245D5502FAD7A805

Example output:

gpg: keybox '/usr/share/keyrings/kicad.gpg' created
gpg: key 245D5502FAD7A805: public key "Launchpad PPA for KiCad" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1

Import one of the following options.

Import KiCad 5.1 Release

echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/kicad.gpg] https://ppa.launchpadcontent.net/kicad/kicad-5.1-releases/ubuntu jammy main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kicad.list

Import KiCad 6.0 Release

echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/kicad.gpg] https://ppa.launchpadcontent.net/kicad/kicad-6.0-releases/ubuntu jammy main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kicad.list

Import KiCad Nightly

echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/kicad.gpg] https://ppa.launchpadcontent.net/kicad/kicad-dev-nightly/ubuntu jammy main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kicad-nightly.list

Now, update your repository list to reflect the new additions.

sudo apt update

With the setup complete, execute the installation command to install.

Install Stable Release

sudo apt install kicad -y

Install Nightly Release

sudo apt install kicad-nightly -y

How to Launch KiCad

The best method is to use the following desktop path to launch KiCad.

Taskbar > Other > KiCad {application type}

Example:

Once you open KiCad, you can begin with your projects. For users new to KiCad, their documentation page contains multiple PDF documents for each version and is recommended to download and keep handy.

Example:

How to Update/Upgrade KiCad

Updating KiCad can be done using the command line terminal with the following standard commands you would have used at the start of the tutorial to check your system for updates.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Most newer Linux users usually set up some automatic updates or rely on the notifications from their desktop, especially from a Windows-type background. You should always check using the terminal at least once a week to ensure you are not missing any updates. The terminal method will grab all available updates, ensuring your system is up-to-date.

How to Remove/Uninstall KiCad

The removal of KiCad is straightforward. For users that want to remove the software entirely, use the following command.

sudo apt autoremove kicad* --purge -y

Note that this will delete all data, including all database data added with the –purge flag. Do not use the purge end flag if you wish to keep the data.

Next, remove the PPA that you used initially to import KiCad.

Remove KiCad 5.1/6.0 Release

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kicad.list

Remove KiCad Nightly

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kicad-nightly.list

How to Fix Broken GPG Import

Users that have installed Linux Mint for the first time or have not imported a GPG key before using the command line terminal will often have issues importing GPG keys from LaunchPAD PPAs due to the directories not being created. This is an easy fix. Use the following command that will, in turn, generate the directories.

sudo gpg --list-keys

Example output:

As above, the necessary directories have been created. This can be skipped, and use the following GPG import command below. If you have any issues with directories missing for this and any other PPA GPG key in the future, just run the above command.

See also
How to Install Linux Kernel 6.1 on Linux Mint 21 or 20

Comments and Conclusion

If you’re looking for powerful and user-friendly electronic design software, KiCad is the program for you! With its integrated environment and wide range of features, KiCad makes it easy to create complex designs with high accuracy. The software is constantly updated with new features and improvements, so users can always be confident using the best possible tools.

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