gent − GUI to generate a PCB picture from an RS-274X description


gent [option...] [file...]


The settings, such as colors, can be changed in the GUI. To find out where they are saved between sessions, use: gent −init
To restore all defaults, and ignore the saved settings, use the −no−restore option.


gent is a graphical application to read printed circuit board description from as set of description files, and generate a picture of the design. The description files should be in RS-274X format (also known as the Gerber extension of RS-274D), a subset of the Excellon format (for the drill holes), and a subset of the Centroid format (for components).

This program is currently in the pre-alpha stages. The available code is not suitable for end users yet. This manual page is not complete.


−out path

redirects the standard normal output to the given file. On MS Windows, you will need this to get any output from e.g. −help or −init.

−err path

redirects the standard error output to the given file. On MS Windows, you will need this to get any non-GUI error messages.

−std path

redirects both the standard normal and error output to the given file. Using both −out and −err on the same file instead is not good, it will cause one to overwrite the other.

−locale locale

explicitly selects a localization string locale. Currently (partially) supported is: "nl".


shows a splash screen when starting up.


does not show a splash screen when starting up.


ignores any saved settings, reverting to the built-in defaults.


suppresses saving any changes to saved settings.


prints the path to the file where the settings are saved.


provides initial active plane. Normally for single-stepping.

−alpha N

set alpha blend (0-255) for layer colors. Default is 255=opaque.

−dimap N

restricts outline detection in dim-file to aperture #N.


show/hide canvas view panel.


show/hide layers control panel.


show/hide Gerber parser control panel.


do/don’t show a splash screen at start-up.


show/hide 3D preview panel.


show/hide control tweaks view panel.


prints the help summary.

−ih N

glamshot image height, in pixels.

−iw N

glamshot image width, in pixels.

−load file

preloads file into parser control panel.

−pose path

path prefix for POV-Ray export templates.

−povexe file

path to POV-Ray executable.

−snap file

snapshot output file.

−spread X/Y

adds point to the deck plot’s bounding box. (X,Y) are canvas pixel coordinates.

−thick N

PCB thickness in microns (default is 1600 = 1.6mm = 0.062").


verbose mode.

Qt Common Options
These come with use of the Qt 4.5 widget library.

sets the application GUI style. Possible values are motif, windows, and platinum. If you compiled Qt with additional styles or have additional styles as plug-ins these will be available to the −style command line option.


sets the application stylesheet. The value must be a path to a file that contains the Style Sheet. Note: Relative URLs in the Style Sheet file are relative to the Style Sheet file’s path.


restores the application from an earlier session.


prints debug message at the end about number of widgets left undestroyed and maximum number of widgets existed at the same time


sets the application’s layout direction to Qt::RightToLeft


sets the back-end to be used for on-screen widgets and QPixmaps. Available options are raster and opengl.


tells Qt that it must never grab the mouse or the keyboard. (Qt with QT_DEBUG only.)


running under a debugger can cause an implicit −nograb, use −dograb to override. (Qt with QT_DEBUG only; only under X11.)


switches to synchronous mode for debugging. See Debugging Techniques for a more detailed explanation. (Qt with QT_DEBUG only; only under X11.)


will make the Direct3D paint engine the default widget paint engine in Qt. This functionality is experimental. (On Microsoft Windows only).

X11 Common Options
The X11 version of Qt supports some traditional X11 command line options.

sets the X display (default is $DISPLAY).

−geometry geometry

sets the client geometry of the first window that is shown.

−fn font

defines the application font. The font should be specified using an X logical font description.

−bg color

sets the default background color and an application palette (light and dark shades are calculated).

−fg color

sets the default foreground color.

−btn color

sets the default button color.

−name name

sets the application name.

−title title

sets the application title.

−visual TrueColor

forces the application to use a TrueColor visual on an 8-bit display.

−ncols count

limits the number of colors allocated in the color cube on an 8-bit display, if the application is using the QApplication::ManyColor color specification. If count is 216 then a 6x6x6 color cube is used (i.e. 6 levels of red, 6 of green, and 6 of blue); for other values, a cube approximately proportional to a 2x3x1 cube is used.


causes the application to install a private color map on an 8-bit display.


sets the input method server (equivalent to setting the XMODIFIERS environment variable)


defines how the input is inserted into the given widget, e.g., onTheSpot makes the input appear directly in the widget, while overTheSpot makes the input appear in a box floating over the widget and is not inserted until the editing is done.


Gent returns non-zero only on fatal internal errors or invalid command line parameters.


Command line argument errors are reported to standard error output. User problems while using the GUI are normally displayed in localized modal dialog windows.


No environment variables are used to configure the application part of this program. The linked libraries (for Qt, and X11 under Linux) may have environment variable dependencies.


Note the file paths given here are for Ubuntu, and may be different on other platforms.

− for the desktop menu


− copyright and such


− this manual page


− the executable


− the settings saved between runs for this user

− where the update check looks for the current version and release number

See option −init for the system-specific, per-user file used to save settings between sessions. This is also displayed in the Help>About dialog.


This is the pre-alpha-version, 0.1. The first alpha release will be 0.2-1. Versions will go to 1.0 after alpha and beta. It is available at as source (via CVS), as an Ubuntu/Debian package, and as a Windows XP MSI file.


Gent tries to follow the GUI guidelines and Qt samples in the Qt 4.5 documentation, the Gnome guidelines for the ".desktop" file, and the WiX recommendations for the MSI installer.


See project wiki at SourceForge.


Plenty. See wiki ’To do’ page, bugs in tracker, and ’XXX’ comments in source.


gent ’:/dat/demo/demo.cmp’


tinco at SourceForge