fq1pha- How to persuade the boss to install KiCad (General)

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How to persuade "the boss" to let you install Kicad

Some KiCad users are hobbyists, "playing" on their own computers. Not all! If you want to use KiCad at work, you will probably have to convince some network administrator to allow you to have it on your system.

This page tries to help you with the task of persuading your administrator. Please write in, if you have additional points to help the next person.

The case for Open Source

1) Not only are there no fees to pay, but your organization is also spared the hidden costs of the time and trouble the sysop must go to to learn and arrange compliance with the restrictions which are imposed by the owners of proprietary software.

2) You do not have to accept the risk of lawsuits for inadvertent violation of restrictions buried in the 20 pages of legalese which you read before clicking "Yes, we accept these conditions" during the install process.

3) Open source software has much lower costs… in time (and money) in respect of the upgrade cycle. I have time to edit this KiCadHowTo.org page because I am waiting, yet again, for Microsoft to force upon me (for a different machine) today's "essential upgrades" to their bloated monsters. Open source software doesn't, in my experience… and almost everything I do is done with open source software or similar… require you to endlessly apply upgrades… and endlessly expose yourself to the risks of doing that. Sure… open source software offers you enhancements from time to time, if you choose to move forward. But you are quite safe continuing with a product if the version you have meets your wants.

4) You are not exposed to the risk of license fees increasing unacceptably, just as your organization has become committed to a proprietary product.

5) There is less risk of the product being withdrawn from the market. Microsoft decided to withdraw Outlook Express, and everyone had to "upgrade" to a different product. If an open source product provider tires of supporting it, anyone can take the product over, and extend its life.

6) Any specific good open source product has been around for a while, and has an active user community. If the product was doing Bad Things to systems, you will be able to read about it via an easy Google search. Use the WayBack Machine to check that the product really has been around as long as it claims…. but if you use that to check the 1999 form of my http://www.arunet.co.uk/tkboyd/ele.htm remember that beginners deserve some charity!

7) In the discussions digested here, the following point was made…

Hmmm… various thoughts arise from that, which I'm sure you will have without help! Except to remind any disgruntled individual that you can have a lot of fun by "dropping a dime" on your professor or employer, if your institution is violating intellectual property rights. And maybe get a few unsatisfactory people in the IT department fired along the way. Unless, of course, that you too subscribe to the view that theft is okay.

(And finally, perhaps not a point to raise… "Who said only open source code messes up systems?" That's just an argument against installing anything!)

Who is using KiCad already?

This page is new. I hope this section will grow.

For want, for now, of anything better… I'm using KiCad! Whoop De Do. (But if you use the WayBack machine, as mentioned a moment ago, you will see that I've been publishing on the web for over a decade. I may know something about using computers by now. For ten years, my day job was running the computers at a secondary boarding school, 400 pupils. It was early days for networks in schools. I bought a network system primarily on the argument that the provider was aware of the need for users to be "locked down" to just their own "corner" of the network. They assumed carelessness on my part when I reported that a 14 year old had hacked into the passwords file. Until I took him to a trade show and he told the man on the booth the man's password. What I would give to track LE down, know what he is doing today! (His parents contacted the school, said they just couldn't afford all of the fees for L to do A-level work… and the academic staff were never asked if he had talents worth subsidizing. Not all the stupidity at that place was in the students. I couldn't have hacked the password file. The system was good… just not good enough for LE.)

Hall of Fame

McMaster University, Ontario, Canada has a Student Branch of the IEEE . It is a student club open to all students on the McMaster University campus.
The IEEE branch used Eagle for years but gradually more and more students are switching to Kicad. The IEEE branch is also organizing trainings on PCB design, usually once per semester.

WallaWalla University use KiCad in Engineering Electronics classes, in addition to Mentor Graphics. They have realized that students can use Kicad on their own PCs, without having to pay the fee that a different package would entail.

A.N.Other Professor of EE contributed the basis of the following. I've made him anonymous just in case it might get him in trouble…

I use KiCad in a 3rd year Embedded Micro class at xxx University in the UK. I recommend KiCAD to students as they can run it from a USB memory stick and it doesn't have to be included in official IT build images.

Just point the installation path to your USB stick when you install. Simple as that. Then to run just click on KiCAD.exe on the USB stick.

If you can't beat 'em, go around them! <^_^>

National Institute of Industrial Technology, Argentina.

National University of Technology, Bahia Blanca, Argentina. The institution is "open source software - friendly".

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As I said… this page is new…. I don't imagine these are the only places… they are just a few which I've managed to get posted here… so far!

Hall of Shame

The many, many institutions where the IT department isn't interested unless they have a "support" infrastructure to send money to, so there is someone to whom the buck can be passed, should a user be unhappy. They (the IT department) don't have to pay the annual fees, after all.

Extra shame adheres, in my view, to any institution spending taxpayer money, if they can't demonstrate that the total COA of alternative products is not justified. The "easy" answer is not necessarily the right answer. While it must be remembered that "free" software is not without its costs, including the spending of money, it must also be remembered that not everything that some ivory tower academic wants is something he or she needs.

Please write in, if you would be willing to endorse KiCad as network friendly. I think you can guess the sort of information which would be helpful…. how long have you used it? who uses your network? what OS do you run? what server and anti-malware software is it "playing nicely" with?

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