I saw the presentation at KiCad and Reid Landsrud asked for feedback about the KiCad library and tooling in general to help customers.
KiCad is fairly extensible, and I would love to see a different tactic from Digi-Key. Instead of spending endless hours of schematic/footprint design, I think the focus would be to integrate KiCad to the Digi-Key Search/Inventory facility. I.e. an extension to KiCad that would take the “Manufacturer” and “MPN” from the part, try to find it from the footprint name (probably ask user if missing, can’t be found, ‘obsolete’ or ‘not in stock’) and populate the Digi-Key metadata into the attributes. Furthermore, the tool can (optionally) be actively connected to digikey.com and continually calculate “cost of design” at user-settable quantities of the board, something rather important when we have budgets.
As a user of KiCad and a (small, but long time) customer at Digi-Key, not only does it fit better with my workflow (separating the schematics and PCB layout phases), but also provides support for parts that I make myself, from third-parties, or from the KiCad standard library, which is nowadays evolving quickly both in size as well as in quality. I would also think that such solution would convince the “atomic part” proponents (I used to be there) to change their mind.
I am primarily a programmer, and my gut estimate of getting the above to a “good enough” level is less than a man-year for one solid programmer, or an external consultant, to make it happen.
Hope this feedback is useful.