Install on Debian

Basic Information

The information further down about the available KiCad packages might not always be fully up to date and correct due ongoing development. For getting an overview about the current most recent version for the KiCad packages within the various Debian releases please have a look at

Please note that Debian stable releases don’t get updates for existing packages except security updates. Packages within the Stable releases usually get newer and recent versions through backports repositories. KiCad is here no special case.

To be able to install versions from a official Debian Backport repository you need to extend your sources.list configuration if not yet happen. If you are running Debian Buster please create a file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/buster-backports.list if you don’t have an similar entry already.

# /etc/apt/sources.list.d/buster-backports.list
deb buster-backports main contrib non-free

If your system is still running Debian Stretch create a similar file (if not done somehow already or created by the installer similar) /etc/apt/sources.list.d/stretch-backports.list like above except the content is pointing to stretch-backports.

# /etc/apt/sources.list.d/stretch-backports.list
deb stretch-backports main contrib non-free

Once you’ve added one of these files you need to update the database of the package managing system so your preferred package manager is knowing about the new added source and the package versions from there.

sudo apt update

For more information about backports you might want to visit the Debian Wiki site about Backports and / or also the Backports website.

For more flexibility the various KiCad packages are provided by also various binary packages you might want need to install beside the kicad main package that is containing the KiCad applications. For example there are existing dedicated packages for the footprints, symbols, templates and 3D-models and also KiCad documentation related packages which aren’t necessarily automatically get installed (depends on the configuration of your system) if you install the kicad package.

If you are looking for all KiCad related packages you can search for them simply by your preferred package manager tool, e.g. by apt.

apt search kicad

For a useful working with KiCad you will need to have installed the following packages: kicad and kicad-libraries and sometimes also the package kicad-demos. Typically these packages get installed automatically if you haven’t changed the system default on installing of recommended packages. Please don’t install the package kicad-common directly, it’s a transitional package and will go away, it can get removed if you’ve installed this.

You can get more information about the relation between the various kicad packages in Debian please have a look at a graphic on the Debian wiki page for KiCad packages.

KiCad packages within the Debian releases

Debian Old-Old-Stable (Codename Jessie)

Warning The Jessie release isn’t supported any more and wont get updates, please upgrade your system to at least Debian Stretch!

Debian Old-Stable (Codename Stretch)

Old-Stable (Backports)

Version: 5.1.6

sudo apt install -t stretch-backports kicad

Please ensure you have updated the local database of the package management system before installing!

Tip Keep in mind that this version can’t provide all functions of KiCad as the required packages for this are too old in Stretch or not available! Especially the support for Python scripting is limited to Python 2! Some external AddOns wont work.

Old-Stable (Release)

Version: debian_oldstable package

sudo apt install kicad

Debian Stable (Codename Buster)

Stable (Backports)

Version: debian_stable_backports package


Please ensure you have updated the local database of the package management system before proceed.

sudo apt install -t buster-backports kicad
Stable (Release)

Version: debian_stable package

sudo apt install kicad

Debian Testing (Bulleseye)

Version: debian_testing package

sudo apt install kicad

Debian Unstable (Sid)

Version: debian_unstable package

sudo apt install kicad

Debian Experimental

There might sometimes some pre versions of upcoming releases available in experimental. These are usually no nightly but a RC (Release Candidate) versions!

Build KiCad from Source

You can find the instructions to build from source here. If you use Debian stable with actual packages from Backports or you working with the testing/sid release you can compile your own version of KiCad. Since summer 2018 the required ngspice library libngspice for schematic simulation is also available in testing/sid and also by Stretch Backports.

Ensure you have installed some build dependencies at least before you try to start own builds:

sudo apt install cmake doxygen libboost-context-dev libboost-dev \
libboost-system-dev libboost-test-dev libcairo2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev \
libgl1-mesa-dev libglew-dev libglm-dev libngspice-dev liboce-foundation-dev \
liboce-ocaf-dev libssl-dev libwxbase3.0-dev libwxgtk3.0-dev python-dev \
python-wxgtk3.0-dev swig wx-common