Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Introduction To Inkscape And Its Future

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the patches-from-the-blue dept.

Graphics 206

WarriorC writes "Bryce Harrington, Inkscape's founder, wrote an article introducing his brainchild and where its development is heading (see: Illustrator-killer). Some screenshots of the latest CVS version are included." It's also a nice glimpse into an "unorganized" but nonetheless successful open source process.

cancel ×

206 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Speaking of Vector Graphics program (5, Informative)

JoeShmoe950 (605274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317515)

Another interesting Vector Graphics program is Flash 4 Linux; http://f4l.sourceforge.net/ Although in Alpha, it is quite usefull. Its a flashlike program (very similar interface to flash studio), and it is quite far along. It does animations and everything (I believe it doesn't have full flash script abilities yet). It can create flash files.

Re:Speaking of Vector Graphics program (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317738)

Although a very good looking and interesting project that F4L one, looking at its CVS commits, it seems abandoned. Last changes were made 8 months ago! :(

Re:Speaking of Vector Graphics program (3, Informative)

jaaron (551839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318022)

Yes, and speaking of other open source vector graphics programs someone should also point out that Inkscape is a fork of Sodipodi [sodipodi.com] . And if I understand the story correctly, Sodipodi was based on earlier efforts called "Gill" for GNOME Illustrator. I'm not sure why the Inkscape team forked Sodipodi.

Re:Speaking of Vector Graphics program (4, Informative)

ZaMoose (24734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318142)

I believe politics (both development and global) played a roll in this. The primary developer on SodiPodi was being a bit authoritarian and capricious in the ways he incorporated changes, etc. and some people didn't care for that.

Re:Speaking of Vector Graphics program (1)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318207)

Not to mention the different GUI - Inkscape uses MDI, which is a must under MS Windows (all those windows and no "always on top" feature makes Sodipodi completely unusable under Windows). Mmmm, MDI...

Re:Speaking of Vector Graphics program (1)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318260)

Eh, correction. It doesn't completely use MDI, but at least it keeps the main toolbar and menus in the same window as the actual graphics...

Too much caffeine and too little sleep...

Reasons to fork (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318239)

Well, I think the main motivations were to change the code to C++, to rely on third-party libraries if these were actively maintained and (I think) were available on different platforms, to get an interface more HIG-compliant and to make emphasis on a small core with extension capabilities.

But you could read it better in this [inkscape.org] pages [inkscape.org] of Inkscape's wiki.

Cool (4, Insightful)

Mind Booster Noori (772408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317519)

This is really good... But wouldn't it be better if there was a Gimp plug-in to add vectorial drawing support?

integrating (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317546)

This is really good... But wouldn't it be better if there was a Gimp plug-in to add vectorial drawing support?

An integrated enviornment would be nice but with all of the other features to be added to gimp is it practical to add this to the list.

Re:integrating (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317604)

Does the To Do list appear to be getting shorter? If not, then you probably ought to hold off. If so, then add it.

Personally, I think vector support in Gimp should be secondary to raster support. Let Inkscape be the other way around.

Re:integrating (1)

Mind Booster Noori (772408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317737)

Don't forget that you can do plug-ins to Gimp without being part of the Gimp project. If it turns out stable and they like it, they add it. The idea isn't to have the Gimp team to add this functionality, is that someone creates this plug-in. At least if it was up to me, I wouldn't start a project like Inkscope if I could just do a plug-in to The Gimp that would do the same thing...

Re:Cool (4, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317652)

Better vector support in GIMP would be nice, but I think that the Vector vs Raster is too radical a difference to incorporate nicely in one package with a good UI. I think the workflow for most web artists is draw in vector (Illustrator etc) and then finish the image in raster (Photoshop etc).
A vector drawing package on a par with commercial offerings would be a huge addition to the free software world, and UI is very important in that area. Sodipodi is pretty good, IIRC.

Re:Cool (2)

Syzar (765581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317735)

Well, Inkscape forked from Sodipodi. And IMO Inkscape has evolved lot in UI-area. I don't know if it was just me, but Sodipodi's UI is awful.

Re:Cool (3, Insightful)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317989)

Please god no. The thing about that article that got me interested in Inkscape is the fact that the developers, and more importantly, UI designers are artists themselves, so clearly they want to build a UI that's focused around getting work done, and it sounds like they're doing a good job of that.

While I keep reading that the Gimp's interface was greatly improved with 2.0, when I've tried it, it felt as kludgy as ever. The Gimp does a lot of cool things, but create a smooth workflow it does not. For that reason alone, I feel it's better that this be a stand alone project. It allows them to build a much lighter system aimed at doing one thing and one thing well.

In general, if you're working with vector graphics, you're not really going to care about immediately working with raster. That said, I do think it'd be cool if someone could take the Gimp and strip it down to a very focused UI like Inkscape seems to be doing, creating a set of interlocking common programs like Adobe currently does with their Creative Suite. However, for this type of work, the plug-in-replacing-an-app mentallity is exactly what needs to be avoided because while it may work, an artist will usually be much happier with a lighter program aimed at doing what they want it to do, not ten thousand features they'll never need creating a cluttered and confusing menu system and obscure keyboard shortcuts.

Re:Cool (2, Informative)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318252)

No, vector graphics are a different enough beast, that you need a completely different set of tools for dealing with them. What you really want is for gimp to be able to import external SVG things and convert them to an arbitrarily scaled bitmap representation in a layer. From what I've seen, gimp 2.0 can already do that.

Though, It would be nice if gimp could regenerate the layer automatically when the source SVG file changes. I don't think it can do that yet.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317520)

fp!

i love inkscape. (-1, Troll)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317527)

that blue chick in the catsuit is *sooo* hot...

ooooh (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317530)

this could definitly be a nice new toy to have. I like using photoshop and gimp for my projects but to have them retain their charactistics like in their example of a triange would be a great help for some of the projects I am working on.

Free Toys (1)

The-Dalai-LLama (755919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317678)

I'm all about the "free" as in "speech" idealism, but since I can't read a line of programming it's a little less important to me than "free" as in "beer".

I haven't gotten to play with Sodipodi yet, but I'm glad that there are free alternatives to Illustrator. Now that I'm not in junior high anymore, the coolness of using cracked programs has lost much of its appeal and I'm grateful for the chance to use legitimate apps that, at least pretty well, approximate "the real thing".

The Dalai LLama
... broke-ass-not-wanting-to-pay-seven-hundred-duckets -for-illustrator-mofo...

SCOFeeTroll standin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317534)

Don't forget to pay your $699 lisencing fee, you cocksmoking teabaggers

Trivial? (5, Interesting)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317538)

"...one of Inkscape's distinguishing features is that it stores its drawings in a web-friendly XML format"

Isn't that a fairly easy change to make to current open-source vector-drawing utilities? Serializing the output to XML instead of a binary format doesn't seem like the first feature you should mention when describing the advantages your program has over others... Then again, it is open source.

Re:Trivial? (4, Informative)

Bishop923 (109840) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317809)

It isn't serializing the data, it is actually creating a Scalable Vector Graphics file which is an XML based language that you could then use on a web page or in any app that can read it. Think png vs psd.

(Yes I know that PSD is a published format...)

Re:Trivial? (3, Informative)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317918)

The feature is that it stores its drawings in SVG, not any random XML format. That's a bit harder, and far more useful, than just using an XML format instead of a binary one.

Come on, you only needed to read just a sentence or two more of the article to get the explanation.

Re:Trivial? (2, Funny)

rdewalt (13105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317959)

I'm surprised that one of the first features isn't "Fully Skinnable Interface"

Unlike a certain OS video editor that the name of escapes me, which had -THAT- as its very first Feature element. Yeah, that makes me leap into inspirational fury.

Re:Trivial? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318067)

> "...one of Inkscape's distinguishing features is that it stores its drawings in a web-friendly XML format"

You did not read the sentence fully.

It is:

"...one of Inkscape's distinguishing features is that it stores its drawings in a web-friendly XML format -- SVG"

And that is huge. Inkscape is an SVG editor.

What makes this a killer? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317545)

Or to state more appropriately, what is Inkscape going to do to get marketshare from Illustrator that the GIMP hasn't already tried and failed to do when attempting to grab Photoshop marketshare?

Re:What makes this a killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317623)

Well, at least they got the multiple document interface right.

Re:What makes this a killer? (1)

beatleadam (102396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317649)

Two seperate questions and issues here.

What makes this a killer?

This looks like a very good, well-featured Open-Source project that is providing users everywhere with a Choice in what they install on their computers.

Or to state more appropriately, what is Inkscape going to do to get marketshare from Illustrator that the GIMP hasn't already tried and failed to do when attempting to grab Photoshop marketshare?

No this is the real question and one that begs an answer. One possible answer to this is that as it takes money to make money...Marketing is therefore the answer.

Re:What makes this a killer? -----AMEN (1, Flamebait)

Steve_Jobs_HNIC (513769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317657)

a-fukin-man, I'll believe "Illustrator-killer" when I see 3D objects, texturing, lighting, SWF animations, etc.

The latest version of Illustrator CS [macaddict.com] will kick Inkscape's dick in the dirt.

Look... I'm sure Inkscape is great n'all, but "Illustrator-killer"???

Re:What makes this a killer? -----AMEN (1)

FudgePackinJesus (444734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317848)

If Inkscape or Sodipodi causes true believers like Everaldo [everaldo.com] and Jimmac [musichall.cz] find no reason to hop on their Macs then there you have it.

Re:What makes this a killer? (3, Interesting)

quinto2000 (211211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317668)

Gimp actually has a fairly closed development structure, and I don't think it would be accurate to say that they're trying to steal Photoshop's userbase. They seem to have their own goals and interests, and seem to be pretty stubborn about them (especially interface decisions).

Re:What makes this a killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317726)

Someone should maintain a GIMP fork that has a useable interface, just to see everyone switch over from the original. Hell, maybe I should.

Its called The GIMP 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317803)

The GIMP UI is "bad" folks have remained awfully silent after this version came out. The CVS version is kicking ass too.

Re:What makes this a killer? (3, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318076)

What's Photoshop's market share on Linux? I've not seen any figures.

Re:What makes this a killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318078)

Or to state more appropriately, what is Inkscape going to do to get marketshare from Illustrator that the GIMP hasn't already tried and failed to do when attempting to grab Photoshop marketshare?

Make an interface that doesn't suck.

The GIMP and Inkscape should copy Adobe's interface as closely as possible...and then back off just enough to avoid legal troubles.

Re:What makes this a killer? (2, Insightful)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318182)

what is Inkscape going to do to get marketshare from Illustrator that the GIMP hasn't already tried and failed to do when attempting to grab Photoshop marketshare?
1) There is no GIMP marketshare because GIMP is free. This might change with the buyable version at WinGimp.com [wingimp.com] .
2) This is one tool less missing on a linux desktop. The list of "missing apps" got rather short recently ....

Cool (1, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317565)

It's a great discussion on how, when you've got the right players and attitude, Open Source can really work.

This bothers me (3, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317574)

Following our policy to "Patch first, ask questions later", we integrated the new feature as soon as practical, without wasting time arguing about it on a mailing list

The patch in question, a boolean operations patch, is said to be PD in the article. But this attitude is a major landmine for GPL (or any other free license) projects.

At least Linus wants folks signing patches now. But how much damage has been done to the various Free projects we all rely on? How can anyone guarantee the pedigree of any of the code on my linux box with a "go ahead and paste it in!!" attitude?

Anyhow, I call this Kinkscape since I use KDE. You may know it as Ginkscape.

Re:This bothers me (3, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317615)

So...which is worse? Not reading the article and commenting, or reading the article and only reading what you are looking for?

Right before your quote, "We quickly double-checked that the licensing was clean, that the code was the author's original work, and that it indeed implemented the feature as promised; it passed on all counts.".

Did ya miss that on your way to bash these folks?

Re:This bothers me (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317713)

I wasnt bashing these folks, I was bashing this cavalier attitude that 99% of the project maintainers on sourceforge have. If one subroutine is suspect, the whole project is suspect.

Ie; if the SAMBA team wasnt prepared to prove (and no doubt they are, this is for the sake of argument) that the code was indeed their own original work, and none of it was copy/pasted from the leaked Win2k source, then it's a timebomb ticking on all those servers.

The SCO fiasco crap could have easily ended if Linus could produce some sort of audit trail, send it to SCO, and say "here's who contributed what, go take it up with the author".

And, I mentioned that they checked the code was indeed PD. It was beside my point.

Did ya miss that on your way to bash me for karma?

Re:This bothers me (3, Interesting)

schemanista (739124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317966)

The SCO fiasco crap could have easily ended if Linus could produce some sort of audit trail, send it to SCO, and say "here's who contributed what, go take it up with the author".

Linus did [groklaw.net] say that.

"It's not our side that isn't identifying the code. We'll work damn hard to identify everything they care to name," Torvalds said. "In fact, the source control system is out there in the public, and it identifies the source and the reason for patches," mentioning the BitKeeper repository he's used for the past two years to keep track of code in the heart, or kernel, of Linux

...

No. I allege that SCO is full of it, and that the Linux process is already the most transparent process in the whole industry. Let's face it, nobody else even comes close to being as good at showing the evolution and source of every single line of code out there. The only party that has had serious problems clarifying what they are talking about is SCO, and now when details start emerging like with RCU, it's clearly about IP that they had nothing to do with, and don't even own. I'm sure that they are confident that they own the collective work of Unix, but that's a separate thing entirely legally from being the actual copyright owner of any specific section of code.

How much more of an audit trail do you want? The SCO-job was gonna happen. One way or another.

Re:This bothers me (1)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318170)

The SCO fiasco crap could have easily ended if Linus could produce some sort of audit trail, send it to SCO, and say "here's who contributed what, go take it up with the author".

Linus does not need to do this, because the authorship of every piece of Linux is trivially easy for anyone to look up for themselves.

Every file in the Linux kernel has a copyright notice. This provides both an identification of the author(s), and a legal claim that the author(s) own the code.

In addition, the version control system of Linux records who submitted each revision ever made to the kernel, does it not? What more could one possibly want?

Re:This bothers me (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318194)

And, I mentioned that they checked the code was indeed PD. It was beside my point.

So...your point was something completely unrelated to the article you posted to?

Okay

( And for future reference, not all of us understand PHB-ese. You might not want to use acronyms unless they are more well known than the words you are replacing. ie: dns, www... )

Re:This bothers me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317633)

Anyhow, I call this Kinkscape

And that sir, would be incorrect as Inkscape uses Gtk+ (a la GNOME, etc.).

Re:This bothers me (4, Informative)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317648)



The patch in question, a boolean operations patch, is said to be PD in the article. But this attitude is a major landmine for GPL (or any other free license) projects.


Perhapse you missed in the paragraph above the one you quoted:

We quickly double-checked that the licensing was clean, that the code was the author's original work, and that it indeed implemented the feature as promised...

Re:This bothers me (1)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317709)

but this isn't the only major problem with "paste first, ask later." i mean, a quick check is unlikely to find (a) any of the bugs that the original author missed (b) anything malicious that the original author didn't want you to know about.

call me paranoid, but i think these are valid issues.

Re:This bothers me (1)

EMH_Mark3 (305983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317840)

It's not like they pasted it in, compiled it and released it right away.. Code was pasted, fixed, tested, tweaked, expanded, tested again, debugged and finally released

Re:This bothers me (0, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317843)

No I didn't miss anything, I mentioned that they checked it was indeed PD.

Which raises another question. Legally speaking, would an email from an anonymous guy on the internet hold up in court as proof that that person wrote it?

Say, for instance, SCO managed to produce a significant amount of code that existed in the linux kernel - an obvious copy. Would linux be able to pull out an old archived email from "BigDaddy23@hotmail.com" that says "I wrote all this, honest injun!"? And if he doesn't even have that, could every kernel hacker in the world wind up in front of a judge trying to prove a negative (I didn't write that!)?

I bring this up because the SCO thing is merely the tip of the iceberg. More of this shit is coming. I have no doubt there is stolen code in various OSS projects. But who pays the piper when it's found and the project is called out?

I'd sure like to see the author of the code in question be accountable, not everyone who's ever contributed to or even used the project.

Re:This bothers me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318012)

Not to mention all the f/oss software in proprietry software we are not allowed to review!

Re:This bothers me (2, Insightful)

flossie (135232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317827)

Following our policy to "Patch first, ask questions later", we integrated the new feature as soon as practical, without wasting time arguing about it on a mailing list

The patch in question, a boolean operations patch, is said to be PD in the article. But this attitude is a major landmine for GPL (or any other free license) projects.

You have completely misunderstood what the author of the article was saying. The questions he was referring to are the developer questions - "should we include this feature?", "is this the best way to implement this feature?", etc.

He explicitly emphasised that licence issues can be a problem and that was the first thing he checked when the patch was submitted.

Re: This bothers me (0, Redundant)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317978)


> Anyhow, I call this Kinkscape since I use KDE. You may know it as Ginkscape.

Lucas fans call it "Binkscape"

Hog farmers call it "Oinkscape"

Teletubbie fans call it "Tinkie-Winkscape"

etc.

Dogfood (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317588)

Seems like an excellent example of a smooth, scalable project.

Not that easy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317611)

It's not that easy to kill off Adobe Illustrator. For example just take a look at Illustrator's type options - it has probably more of them than other good layouting programs!
Good luck and success nevertheless, Bryce!!

does he know any other program? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317612)

from TFA:
Basically, you can create a copy of a given object that inherits its properties, so that if you change the original, the clone is also modified accordingly. [...] This feature actually comes straight from the SVG spec, so is a capability required for SVG compliance, but nobody knows of any other drawing apps that have a drawing operation quite like this.
You are kidding me, right? You can find it in almost any commercial vector program...

Re:does he know any other program? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317903)

No. Nowhere can you edit an object on the canvas and see all 100 of its clones update. The closest you can get is Flash "symbols" but they are not editable side-by-side with their instances, so it's not quite the same thing.

Inkscape Rocks!!! (2, Interesting)

carlback (46333) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317618)

I use inkscape all the time as a jump start for any svg based graphics i build.

my job right now is creating svg based graphs and data visualizations and inkscape is by far the best product I've used (illustrator, sodipodi, xmlspy and even vi) for creating the base graphic before i have to build all the data driven elements.

now just let me link in a .css or use a style block for styles and i have a 99.999% solution.

Re:Inkscape Rocks!!! (1)

Feyr (449684) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317852)

maybe you can tell me what a good replacement to visio is? open source?

and no "dia" doesn't qualify

Anyway to import Illustrator files??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317658)

I have some .ai files that I would like to convert to svg. Does anyone know if this is possible?
thanks

It's in the CVS version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317750)

Grab the CVS version and import your files. Don't forget to report any bugs encountered in the import.

Re:Anyway to import Illustrator files??? (2, Informative)

MrLee (173753) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318200)

Illustrator from version 10 on can save in SVG format and Inkscape reads them in perfectly!

I'm waiting for milestone 9, EPS, PDF export (3, Informative)

elwinc (663074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317670)

according to the roadmap, [inkscape.org] pdf and eps export will arrive at milestone 9 (inkscape 0.43). The project has currently completed milestone 4 (inkscape 0.39, though .38 is what sourceforge has for download). It'll start to get real interesting for me when I can make .eps and .pdf objects

Re:I'm waiting for milestone 9, EPS, PDF export (3, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317715)

You don't need to wait. You can currently "export" (print) to Postscript/EPS. Convert that to PDF, and you're done.

Going the other way is what I'd really like to see. That is, import ps and PDF into Inkscape.

Open Source Clip Art (1)

Sinful_Shirts (784047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317676)

There's also a new Open Clip Art Library established to collect and promote SVG clip art for use in any of the open source drawing tools Good idea, but it looks like they still have a lot of work to do.

Since OS News gets /.'ed all the time... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317684)

Scalable Vector Graphics and the Open Source Community

Inkscape is a program for viewing, making, and editing two-dimensional vector drawings. This is different from "raster" drawing, as in MS Paint, Photoshop, or The GIMP. In those tools you're essentially just "painting" destructively on a canvas. By "vector" drawing I mean that when you create a shape like a rectangle, it retains its identity. You can easily go back and resize it, change its color, or move it around without disturbing the rest of the drawing. Vector drawing is what you'd be doing in Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, Dia, Visio or even PowerPoint.

There have been a number of popular Open Source vector graphics tools such as tgif, idraw, Sketch, and xfig, but one of Inkscape's distinguishing features is that it stores its drawings in a web-friendly XML format -- SVG. SVG, an acronym for "Scalable Vector Graphics", is a W3C standard that is gaining support worldwide, in proprietary and public software alike.

The Open Source community is now adopting the SVG format for everything from desktop icons and company logos to web page animation and artistic Illustration. Inkscape (by way of Lauris Kaplinski's popular Sodipodi project) is derived from Gill, one of the first Open Source SVG editors, and so follows a long history of serving the SVG needs of the community.

In the five years since Raph Levien began work on Gill, a huge range of features and capabilities had been added to the codebase. Node editing, alpha blended gradients, object alignment, text handling, localization and more had augmented the basic underlying drawing capabilities to make the tool potentially useful for real drawing work. However, there was one glaring omission for which we and scores of users had been seeking a remedy...
The Contribution of Boolean Operations to Inkscape

I read the email again just to be sure.

"I've been sent a new patch that implements boolean operations... The license is public domain. It's been uploaded to the patch tracker." -- Bulia, November 2003

This was very cool. Boolean operations are a way of taking two shapes and combining them together in various ways to create a single resultant shape. Users of Adobe Illustrator might recognize them in the "Pathfinder". The four basic operations are Union, Difference, Intersection, and Exclusion. It's an absolute requirement for creating any artistically sophisticated drawing, and it's lack had held the tool back.

Once before, someone had contributed a patch to add boolean operations, but that patch relied on a polygon clipping library provided under an incompatible license. There's little more frustrating than having a solution in hand, only to be hamstrung by legal problems. Even though it was an important feature for us, we regretfully postponed development of it into the distant future on our roadmap and proceeded with other work.

Here in my inbox, unsolicited and totally unexpected, was the answer. We quickly double-checked that the licensing was clean, that the code was the author's original work, and that it indeed implemented the feature as promised; it passed on all counts. Fred's boolean patch had arrived right as we were releasing Inkscape 0.36, so as soon as that release was out the door we merged his patch and started working with it.

Following our policy to "Patch first, ask questions later", we integrated the new feature as soon as practical, without wasting time arguing about it on a mailing list. We figure that the best way to evaluate an idea is to code it up and see how it works in practice. A working feature now is better than a perfect implementation that still isn't done. Along with that, maintaining a low barrier to entry for new developers is vital; we don't want anyone to give up on contributing out of fear their contributions won't be accepted.

Inkscape, Page 2/2
One of the first areas of focus was to add menu items and keyboard shortcuts for the commands it provides. Mentalguy had just recently finished up a massive redesign of the user interface, and so knew the exact place to slip it in. Likewise, Bulia had been hard at work creating a thorough set of key mappings for giving experienced users fast shortcuts for productivity, and found appropriate keys to map the new commands to. Mentalguy's attention to menus, coupled with Bulia's shortcut key work demonstrate the value placed on usability for this tool. Both men are artists at heart, so place great importance on making the tool as useful to real users as they can.

Once the basic functionality and usability of the newly merged booleans code was established, other users started testing the feature in real world situations, and identify and shake out bugs with us.

Meanwhile, the development team turned their own focus deep into the code itself. With Fred's help, they isolated and repaired lingering quirks and bugs. Our more mathematically inclined developers dug into the algorithms in search of ways to relate them to similar functionality elsewhere in Inkscape. By the time we released 0.37, the booleans code was solid.

Even better, Fred stayed on and worked with us to optimize the code's performance and derive new and exciting features on the foundation he built -- such as commands for offsetting, division, and simplification of paths.

In many Open Source projects, such a windfall would be rare, but Inkscape has been fortunate to receive many major advancements from the contributions of newcomers. This is evident when one has used the program for a bit and notices that beyond just having all the usual drawing capabilities, there's a huge number of thoughtful-yet-modest behaviors hidden away, that combine to make Inkscape a pleasure to work in. Grid and guideline snapping uses a tunable "gravity" style rather than absolute snapping. Objects can be nudged a pixel at a time, for when you need to get that shape just right. The zooming and auto-scrolling of the canvas are direct results of feedback from users and their ideas of how things "should" work. There is even an XML editor built in, for those power users who like to see exactly what they're getting; this tool allows direct access to the drawing's underlying DOM model. SVG is XML, and Inkscape is not ashamed of that fact.
The Future

Work continues strong on Inkscape. A very interesting new feature that will appear in the 0.39 release [http://inkscape.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?R eleaseNotes] is clones. Basically, you can create a copy of a given object that inherits its properties, so that if you change the original, the clone is also modified accordingly. As an example, consider creating a flower with eight cloned petals rotated around the flower's center; tweaking the original petal causes all the cloned petals to similarly change. This feature actually comes straight from the SVG spec, so is a capability required for SVG compliance, but nobody knows of any other drawing apps that have a drawing operation quite like this.

Another feature still in progress is ECMAScript (better known as Javascript), currently being developed on a branch from the main codebase by Ishmal. This promises to provide document-level scriptability, including simple programmatic animation.

There's also a new Open Clip Art Library [http://www.openclipart.org] established to collect and promote SVG clip art for use in any of the open source drawing tools.Sweating and farting nervously on the verge of mental meltdown, ELQ reloads each of her precious OSNews pages, making sure all is well. Fifty Internet Explorer windows are open in Windows XP, it's gridning the hard drive to death. ELQ's cable modem and NIC activity LEDs are nearly solid from the raw frenzy of almost constant browser reloading. Eugenia's eyes twitch rapidly from window to window with Mercurial speed to make sure that any rogue comments do not escape her attention, always hitting her refresh buttons with pinpoint accuracy. No logical order for checking, purely random and impulse driven by raw Mediterranean temper, stopping for the occasional savage bite from a pork loin still affixed to the bone, Eugenia's eyes never leave the monitor.

"N-n-n-n NO! No TIME for Dance Dance Revolution, oh but it's been so long! I cannot allow the BASTARD flooders' comments to be seen. MY DOMAIN IS SACRED!"

Hair is frizzled and days unwashed, asscrack just barely half wiped in a frenzy to return to her monitor, having taken a large shit earlier. No time to flush! Her armpits are over-ridden with pubic hair, her fat flaps reek of B.O. and yeast from days of neglect and hour upon hour of sweating. Relentless sweating.

"Cannot to be keeps up this pace! I may be need to go to hospital for exhaustions" she pants in desperation, wiping the sweat from a matted hair lock with her week-old t-shirt offering.

The hour of judgement approaches! Comment number 45 in thread 374 is clearly of anti-Greek sentiment! It reads "Eugenia continues to post yet another story that's simply ripped off from other websites. How much longer can this continue? It's my opinion that she has poor editorial skills. I think they should be revoked."

Eugenia erupts in raw hatred, simultaneously ripping a 120 decibel-at-1-meter fart into the back of her chair. "Nobody is to be attack my site!" Eugenia blasts away at 10 words per minute in a barely-coherant broken English. She's on a mission. After several hours, the words on the screen are completely shattered and in disarray, they make no sense. Eugenia is impressed with her English progress and submits her lousy retort. Relaxing only for several seconds to savor the rush, she continues her patrol, sleepless into the night. And we hope to build in Inkscape strong support for browsing and using this library.

The latest contribution that I think will have widespread and exciting ramification's was brought to Inkscape quite out of the blue by Mike Hearn. Mike's project, called AutoPackage [http://www.autopackage.org], seeks to solve the perennial problem of easily installing software on Linux. It wrappers the underlying RPM, Debian, etc. systems with a friendly GUI front end, similar to what's used on Windows. Mike's hoping Inkscape can help be a good proof of concept for his work, and we're looking forward to gaining an extremely easy installation mechanism for non-technical users.

I know how rare it is for a project to get very much outside participation, and it emphasizes just how remarkable and invaluable each of these contributions are. To me, this type of sharing is what makes Open Source so cool. Fred's Booleans patch was the first of many such contributions for Inkscape. And who knows what surprise new feature will show up in our mailing boxes tomorrow!
About the Author
Bryce Harrington is a founder of the Inkscape project, and a long time open source developer. Professionally, he's a senior performance engineer at the Open Source Development Labs. He wishes to give thanks to all the 'scapers who lent an eye to reviewing and contributing to this article.

+1 informative? Moderators on crack *again*. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318039)

Taken from the "repost" above:

Hair is frizzled and days unwashed, asscrack just barely half wiped in a frenzy to return to her monitor, having taken a large shit earlier.

Yeah, that's "informative."

Fucking idiot moderators.

I need it (3, Interesting)

InternationalCow (681980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317687)

Apart from showing nicely how the "hive" model of software development can and *will* work (although I am not sure whether patch first, ask later is always a good idea), this development has me hoping that people who, like our group, use Illustrator and Photoshop for scientific illustrations, can finally escape vendor lock-in. For relatively simple illustrations (we always keep illustrations as simple as possible for reasons of clarity), Adobe's solutions are really overpriced. Licensing issues have us worried anyway since it is almost impossible to keep track of all the licenses we're supposed to have... Anyways: we're on a budget and are always looking to open source alternatives. We have our students on OpenOffice and lots of touching up is already done with the Gimp. If we can now do other illustrations with an open source tool that is equivalent to Illustrator, well... And we would be happy to contribute to the effort financially as long as it is cheaper than buying Adobe :)

Why SVG? (2, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317694)

What is the problem with EPS? No one in OS seems to be putting any great efforts into supporting one of the most important file formats in the world. There is not a single decent EPS editing system for Linux (decent: imports and exports EPS and can cope with TrueType fonts). But SVG, there's plenty. Why? What's the advantage? Does nobody use Linux for designing logos for use in the real world?

TWW

Re:Why SVG? (1)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317730)

In all fairness, you can export EPS as a number of other formats (such as PostScript). It has, as far as I know, no inherent value as a file format. SVG is widely compatible with browsers and software, however.

Re:Why SVG? (2, Insightful)

noewun (591275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317774)

It has, as far as I know, no inherent value as a file format.

Um, dude, it is the standard file format for vector graphics in the print publishing world. Saying it has no inherent value is like saying computers don't need solder.

Re:Why SVG? (4, Informative)

farnerup (608326) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317832)

SVG is a lot easier to support than EPS.

The EPS format is just a set of comments around a PostScript program. Now, postscript is a complete programming language. People have implemented things like ray tracers and web servers in postscript, and there is nothing to prevent you from putting things as complex as that in your EPS files

Even if your program had a complete postscript interpreter, how would it translate an arbitrary program to something that makes sense in a gui?

Re:Why SVG? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317900)

milestone 9 mentions EPS and PDF. Version 0.43 I believe.

Re:Why SVG? (4, Interesting)

dmoore (2449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317986)

EPS is an output file format. It is not meant to be an intermediate file to be edited. For example, SVG keeps track of what objects are "grouped" and their relationship to each other. EPS just contains the lines, curves, characters, etc to be displayed.

The correct solution to your dilemma is to write good import and export filters for EPS into the SVG editor. Naturally, there are times when you would want to edit an EPS file, but such cases should be avoided. You almost always want to go back to the original program which created the EPS and edit in its native format. When this is impossible, you want the ability to convert EPS to SVG. That can currently be done with pstoedit [pstoedit.net] , but unfortunately the SVG plugin is not free software.

Autopackage! (3, Interesting)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317710)

The latest contribution that I think will have widespread and exciting ramification's was brought to Inkscape quite out of the blue by Mike Hearn. Mike's project, called AutoPackage [autopackage.org] , seeks to solve the perennial problem of easily installing software on Linux. It wrappers the underlying RPM, Debian, etc. systems with a friendly GUI front end, similar to what's used on Windows. Mike's hoping Inkscape can help be a good proof of concept for his work, and we're looking forward to gaining an extremely easy installation mechanism for non-technical users.

Mmm... I'd love it for two of my favorite open source projects to come together.

Re:Autopackage! (2, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317899)

There are already nightly builds of Inkscape CVS available for autopackage 0.5.1 here [navi.cx] . To those who haven't used autopackage before, download and run that file.

Note: there are known issues with certain (rare) setups which have a non standard umask and X security settings. If you are on a stock Red Hat/Fedora install all should go smoothly (let us know if it does not). If you have tweaked your umask or have X security too restrictive (programs run as root must be able to connect) things will break.

If you want to test inkscape quickly and you are on x86 Linux, this is an easy way to do it. Just be careful. autopackage is in beta. If it breaks you get to keep the pieces.

Request Features here. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317724)

If you like inkscape, but you find there is a feature you need is missing, request it here. [sourceforge.net]

The Inkscape developers have implemtneted loads of cool features already, and you can help it make it even beter.

You can even contribute patches if your feeling bold.

Also, here is the Roadmap on their wiki [inkscape.org] .

Oy – first the GIMP. . . (1, Interesting)

noewun (591275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317748)

Now I have to sit though more crap about an "Illustrator killer". I have no love lost for Adobe, but this kind of marketing hype ends up making those who sprout it look stupid.

There is a reason Adobe owns the market for graphics applications; despite their best efforts (cf. application bloat and corporate arrogance). Photoshop and Illustrator are still the best combo out there for bitmapped/vector graphics.

Mod parent down, is Abode fanboy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317845)

Here is the post rewritten, in a way that would get -1, troll instantly.

Oy - first OpenOffice.org Writer

Now I have to sit though more crap about an "Excel killer". I have no love lost for Microsoft, but this kind of marketing hype ends up making those who sprout it look stupid.

There is a reason Microsoft owns the market for office applications; despite their best efforts (cf. application bloat and corporate arrogance). Word and Excel are still the best combo out there for word processing/spreadsheets.

Stop Moderating up the Abode trolls, you will only spawn more.

Re:Oy – first the GIMP. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317892)

other than the guy who submitted the article to /. where does it claim to be a illustrator killer? All it claims is to be a vectorial art program, which it is.

Re:Oy – first the GIMP. . . (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317929)

You, Anonymous sir, are correct.

My bad.

Re:Oy – first the GIMP. . . (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318178)

So, by your rationale, no project should be even mentioned anywhere until it's better than any non-Open Source project that overlaps its space?

Re:Oy – first the GIMP. . . (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318269)

My statement was specific to calling Inkscape an "Illustrator killer."

web-friendly XML format ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317789)


he's kidding right ? SVG died when us web developers realised to draw a few animated cubes took 100k of source code, at least flash is small filesize due to its binary format , why should i care its not human readable jpg isn't , neither is swf

SVG is on the same shelf as VRML in my toolbox

Re:web-friendly XML format ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318024)

Judging a format on the base of its file size is stupid, to put it mildly. You can always save your files as SVGZ (gzipped SVG) and get nice small binary files. Inkscape supports reading and writing SVGZ transparently.

Boolean operations (1)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317810)

Boolean operations are features found on fairly high-end graphics editors, at least the ones I've used. To my knowledge, even PSP8 doesn't support boolean. Looks like a nice product; hopefully the sum of it's cool features will make it worth using in place of, or in addition to, the GIMP.

I'd be more interested in... (1)

Ratchet (79516) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317830)

... a Corel Draw killer. Sure Adobe makes some nice tuff, but in my opinion Draw is better than Illustrator in just about every aspect.

Re:I'd be more interested in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317868)

And Visio is better than both.

And you know it's true. Don't be a hater.

Re:I'd be more interested in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317984)

I'd be more interested in ... a CorelDraw killer.


Well, seeing as how well they've handled all their other lines of business, I'd say that the most successful CorelDraw killer will be Corel itself.

In the beginning, it owned graphics on Windows boxes. At the time, Mac Illustrator was at version 6 and Windows was stuck at 4.1 - which was incredibly dated. It wasn't until they made it to version 7 of Illustrator that there was platform parity. During those years CorelDraw could have really cleaned up. But their sprawl and focus on every other business venture and failure to make earlier versions of Draw play nice with service bureaus left CorelDraw to be considered a hobby tool. It's never escaped this perception.

Illustrator isn't killing CorelDraw ... Corel is.

Sad but true (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318242)

Corel could clean up if they went cross-platform with the draw suite. They were too focused on making their office run in java.

I'd drop $150 on a corel draw for linux in a heartbeat.

In my background (0, Flamebait)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317871)

I have found Macromedia (previously Aldus) Freehand [macromedia.com] extremely usable and with a generally less klutzy interface. The only problem I have is exporting text to Photoshop, as Photoshop refuses to recognize any fonts (and this is on the same machine!). Converting the text to paths fixes the problem*.

My main concern is that because Adobe has the very profitable Illustrator, they are not making the changes to Photoshp that they need to. All vector-based software converts the vectors into pixels (since it needs to be viewed on the screen) - and for most printing applications, vectors don't exist, it's just made into an image and still limited by the printer's resolution. Why aren't vector graphics integrated into Photoshop? Photoshop 6 and beyond have started to integrate them a bit more but it is extremely primitive and about 10,000 times easier to simply do it in Freehand, cut, and paste as pixels or paths in Photoshop. An image is an image is an image. Photoshop should be able to do vectors. It takes a lot of work for code but being able to apply filters to vectors would be simply amazing. Think of the way Photoshop applies filters to text currently: The text can change and the filter is simply re-applied. (The text is basically vectors anyway). Freehand does this to some extent but "blurs" by creating more vectors (and it's therefore not as natural as Photoshop's blur, nor as realistic).

However, the main thing that I see as a problem here is that the /. community thinks that GIMP is an acceptable substitute for Photoshop. For a lot of people yes, but these are the people that use about 5% of Photoshop's feature set (and don't need to spend $799 on an image editing program). For anyone doing anything remotely professional GIMP is completely inadequate, and developers should be sure to get both the feedback of "Regular Users" as well as professionals using that software. Gimp looks like what sendmail would turn out to be after consulting with a grandma who knows email because she uses Outlook Express. Bottom line: Don't use GIMP as a measure, it's not that good!** [slashdot.org]

* Which is what you should be doing anyway, especially if dealing with third parties that may not have your font.
** From the replies it seems a lot of people just need "simple" solutions for image and vector editing. For basic tasks, GIMP is fine (changing sizes, cropping). I have no qualms there.

Not another Photoshop troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318000)

Stop complaining and report some bugs already. If 5% of the photoshop trolls on this site reported bugs and stopped spreading FUD Adobe would of gone out of business.

That Troll link you posted applies to the mac version only, which a poor port. The native linux version is a lot better.

So stop trolling and start bug reporting [gimp.org] and Helping [gimp.org]

CVS Version already "in production" use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9317923)

my companys designer already uses it [niij.org] for various stuff he does (websites, posters, ads, icons, etc) and he frickin' loves it.

to be honest, i've never been into vector graphics myself (i'm a photoshop user myself) but this thing really seems to make things easy - there are so many assisting tools which help you to achieve thing you want.

and it uses svg. i'm drooling baby.

What about Sodipodi? (1)

suso (153703) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317971)

"There have been a number of popular Open Source vector graphics tools such as tgif, idraw, Sketch, and xfig, but one of Inkscape's distinguishing features"

Ahem! What about Sodipodi? I think it's very worthy of recognition. I guess their developers haven't done enough to promote it.

Re:What about Sodipodi? (3, Insightful)

darksmurf (190761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318065)

A good number of the developers on Inkscape used to work on Sodipodi but left for various reasons. Read the mail lists for the details.

The Inkscape project is (as I understand it) flying past Sodipodi in features partly because it has a more liberal feature inclusion process.

Bryce deserves a good bit of credit for that.

Re:What about Sodipodi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9318116)

It is worthy of recognition, hence the comment in the article that credits it as being part of inkscapes history (Inkscape forked from SP)

"Inkscape (by way of Lauris Kaplinski's popular Sodipodi project) is derived from Gill, one of the first Open Source SVG editors, and so follows a long history of serving the SVG needs of the community."

Re:What about Sodipodi? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318175)

I believe Inkscape is a descendant of Sodipodi. At least it was started by a bunch of Sodipodi developers. You'd think they'd have forked the code when they went their own way rather than starting over.

The Open Source Office is here, and getting better (2, Interesting)

SteamyMobile (783822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9317994)

This is yet another component of the Open Source Office. Right now, OpenOffice.org and Evolution together provide a great deal of functionality, and programs like this one are going to fill in. When OpenOffice 2.0 comes out, with good KDE integration [openoffice.org] , everyone else will be trying to catch up with Linux on this. Here at SteamyMobile, we already use all Open Source office products.

-----------
Mobile porn faq [steamymobile.com]

As a user, I'm disturbed (0, Troll)

mveloso (325617) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318071)

"We figure that the best way to evaluate an idea is to code it up and see how it works in practice. A working feature now is better than a perfect implementation that still isn't done."

What they're saying is "we'd rather introduce features that don't quite work and fix them later instead of making sure the feature works and make sense before we add it to the app."

This is why open source gives some people the heebie-jeebies. With Photoshop, Illustrator, etc the vendor waits until a feature works, then releases it. It may not have all the bells & whistles that people want, and it does get refined as time goes on, but they do wait until its perfect (in its current state) before releasing it."

The user is not a guinea pig that you can f*ck around with.

How bout we shut up about killing? (4, Insightful)

Rhesus Piece (764852) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318156)

Although the poster seemed to think so,
I really don't believe the Inkscape folks
are trying to make an Illustrator Killer anymore
than Linus is trying to make a Windows Killer.

Like most OSS developers, they are just trying
to make good software that is free and does what
they want it to do.
When people start calling them ___ Killers,
then we get all the crap about "But Gimp can't
compete with Photoshop!" and suddenly
they get compared and deemed poor because they are
not as good as the best product in the world
in that particular field. Of course not,
they're younger, less complete, impeded by
patents, and worked on for free.
Judge absolute worth, not relative worth,
and if a free product isn't good enough
for your purposes, buy the one that is.
Let's just avoid characterizing things as
Davids to the commercial Goliaths, k?

Inkscape or Sodipodi? (1)

krygny (473134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318218)

I recently, for the first time, went looking for an SVG editor and found both Inkscape [sourceforge.net] and Sodipodi [sourceforge.net] . They seemed so similar and even seemed to share some of the same code (IANA programmer) and I couldn't figure out which project has the most critical mass. 'twould seem, Inkscape.

Missing important features (3, Informative)

PastaAnta (513349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9318289)

Last time I tried Inkscape I was surprised that no support for Layers could be found. IMHO Layers is an essential feature in any decent modern graphic editor. And what is the deal with the "Spiral" tool as a main drawing tool? Does anybody ever have a need for a spiral drawing tool? In my eyes it seem like the featureset is more determined by the inherent capabilites of the SVG format rather than the needs of the users.

But OK, OK... it may be because my need is for technical drawing tool more than an artistic drawing tool. You may also read the opinions in the The Grumpy Editor's diagram editor followup [lwn.net]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>