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The KiCad GAL new release


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today you can see another release of the KiCad GAL, that can be considered as a release candidate 1. It may still contain some bugs and is still missing some minor features, but the main purpose of the release is to make some tests and receive a feedback. I will be grateful for every opinion that I receive. The way of compilation changed a little, but now it is more like an usual KiCad build (I removed the KICAD_GAL switch from CMake):
bzr branch lp:~cern-kicad/kicad/kicad-gal
mkdir build
cd build
I am asking you to build the release version not without a reason - on my PC the debug version is about 4-5 times slower. If you want to test it under Windows, you may try to cross compile it using the recipe at http://www.ohwr.org/documents/251 (or I can put the binary somewhere on the web). In the meantime I am going to work with Kerusey Karyu to make it possible to build it using a modified version of Brian's KiCad WinBuilder (https://launchpad.net/kicad-winbuilder) under Windows.

Similarly to the previous release - you may switch the backends anytime, using the View menu or hot keys Alt+F9 (standard KiCad rendering), Alt+F11 (OpenGL with shaders) and Alt+F12 (Cairo).

The main changes include an introduction of shaders to the OpenGL GAL backend. The shaders are compliant with GLSL 1.20 which is 7 years old right now, so I guess any even not-so-recent GPU can cope with that (including my notebook's integrated Intel GPU with open source drivers under Linux). The second change is that we got rid of most of the deprecated GL calls, replacing them with vertex buffer objects. At the same time shaders were introduced, both combined resulted in a huge performance boost. I invite you to take it for a test drive with the most complex PCBs you have. I was testbenching it with a 12 copper layers PCB that you can find at http://www.ohwr.org/attachments/download/2187/wrs.kicad_pcb (please do not pay attention to the wrongly placed labels, the plugin we used to import the board is incomplete). The Cairo backend obviously is not that fast, but its main purpose is to generate documents using vectorized graphics (eg. pdfs).

The smaller changes compared to the previous release are:
- dynamic display of netnames on tracks & pads
- switching display modes for zones
- high contrast mode
- zoom & grid settings are working

At the same time that I am going to remove bugs that you may find (hopefully not), I would like to add some smaller features:
- obeying the display settings for showing netnames (tracks & pads)
- 1px width lines for outline drawing

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Kind regards,
Orson, CERN

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