LibrePCB 1.0 Roadmap

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May 15, 2023

As mentioned in the previous blog post, I’ll give you a short update about the status of the upcoming release which is currently in development.

Time for 1.0!

The original plan was that the next release after LibrePCB 0.1.7 will have the version number 0.2. But thanks to the NGI0 grant I’m now able to spend much more time for LibrePCB, allowing to include more features in the next release than initially planned.

While the lack of important features in version 0.1 – like slotted pads or thermal reliefs – still represent a show-stopper for LibrePCB in various projects, I’m convinced that the features now planned for the next release will make LibrePCB usable for much more PCB projects out there. I think this big step should be represented by the version number so it will be bumped to 1.0.

File Format

As the major version bump indicates, the next release introduces a new file format revision for libraries and projects since various extensions are needed for the new features. But no worries, the libraries and projects created with LibrePCB 0.1.x will automatically and smoothly be upgraded to the new file format. More information on this topic will be provided in the release notes.

Implemented Features

Beside many small improvements, the following major features have been implemented within the last few months and will be contained in the next release for sure:

  • Thermal relief pads in planes (#1160)

  • Plated and non-plated slots (#1071, #1076)

  • Rounded and custom footprint pad shapes (#1102, #1103)

  • Configurable automatic stop mask and solder paste on pads (#1137)

  • Fiducials and other pad types (#1142, #1143)

  • Automatic, minimal THT pad annular rings (#1097)

  • Locking placement of board items (#1144)

  • Adding text labels & polygons to schematics (#806, #810)

  • Movable name/value labels in schematics (#1085)

  • Custom placement of symbol pin text label (#971)

  • Optionally show pin numbers in schematics (#1149)

  • IPC D-356A netlist export (#1081)

  • Fully configurable colors (#1086)

Highlight: 3D Viewer & STEP Export (#1156)

At least visually, the coolest new feature is the 3D board viewer! Packages can be extended with STEP models which will be visualized in the 3D viewer. In addition, the whole board can be exported as a STEP model for importing the PCB into a mechanical 3D CAD.

Planned Features

There are still many issues planned to be resolved in the next release, including the following major features:

  • Keepout zones

  • Blind/buried vias

  • MPN management & assembly variants

  • Unified production data files generator

At least that’s the plan for now, but as always plans might be adjusted if priorities change or unexpected issues occur 😉

Due to the large amount of work still to be done, it’s hard to estimate when the release will be ready. Probably you shouldn’t expect it before August this year. I hope you are as much excited about it as I am 😀

Anything Missing?

Do you think there is something very important missing from the list of planned features? Please let us know! However, note that complex features like hierarchical sheets or schematic buses are not planned yet by intention since these would heavily delay the next release.