I tried Kicad and found it pretty much unusable. It's probably good for very basic stuff, but found it to be lacking functionality.
That is so not true. You just have to follow the one of the video tutorials.
It has quite a few of the advanced features such as real time Design Rules Check, 3d modelling with 3d components.
I guess on your board Dave, you haven't put in the actual 3d models, that is why it is unpopulated.
Kicad has 2 autorouters, one is built in and not very good, the second one goes to a web based 3rd party auto router and I am sure it would be better than any of the other autorouters in the other packages.
But really once you get used to doing the routing it is actually better and quicker to do it yourself.
The best thing about Kicad is that it is open source.
I know I don't need to explain this but I will anyway.
If you are a programmer and you don't like something, you can change it and rebuild it in Windows. ( I must admit I haven't built it myself but have communications with people who do).
To reiterate the good things about open source are:
- It's free.
- No licence activation stuff to do.
- No false limitations.
- You can make your own changes.
- You can understand how it works through the source.
- You can find tricky bugs by going through the source.
- You can access the actual coders without going through a whole series of hoops designed to protect IP and a companies legal rights.
- The warm feeling that any help you give the project will go back to other people trying to make there own boards.