[Scribus] Libre Graphics Meeting - A Recap

PLinnell mrdocs
Wed Mar 22 11:46:12 CET 2006

Hi all,

For those who were not able to attend and/or also wondering about the 
quietness on IRC or the ML over the weekend, below is far from 
complete summary of the Libre Graphics Meeting held this past weekend 
in Lyon, France.

First, this was the first ever meet of all the Scribus devels in the 
same place with the exception of Franz who could not attend. 

This meeting came about from the generous offer of Dave Neary from the 
GIMP team to bring in other graphics app developers such as Inkscape 
and it soon snowballed into a larger meet. Dave and the local Linux 
LUG group did a fantastic job organzing everything and a great time 
was had by all. 

One of the first presentations was by ?yvind Kol?s aka pippin from the 
GIMP team demoing working code using GEGL,babl and gggl , the next 
generation of image libraries for the GIMP and other applications. 
Most impressive is the way ?yvind used oxide and bauxite, which are 
built from these components. 

For end users, GEGL, babl and gggl are a means to break the current 
limits in GIMP with 16bit and larger bit depths available, along with 
the ability to support other color spaces like CieLAB and CMYK. When 
can we see this in cvs ? The GIMP devs I spoke with said as soon as 
2.4 is released.

Next up was Marti Maria from littlecms and now HP. He gave an 
excellent presentation connecting how we see as humans with the 
nature of digital color in computing. Suffice to say, Scribus is as 
good as any at demonstrating littlecms' capabilities. Little known is  
indeed littlecms is used in the color management firmware in a number 
of high end HP specialty printers. We're hoping we can have that 
presentation on the docs site as a primer for beginning with color 

Gerald Friedland gave a demo of SIOX or Simple Interactive Object 
Extraction, which is in the current development version of GIMP. 
Simply put, SIOX is a clever new way of selecting objects in an image 
in a way which otherwise takes many manual steps. If you have a 
chance to get the latest GIMP beta, it is worth it just to see this 
in action. Who says open source folks do not innovate ? 

Cedric Gemy, better know for his new book on GIMP 2.2 in French 'Gimp 
2 efficace' gave a demo of Tuxpaint in French. If you can read 
French, his new book is probably the most comprehensive book on GIMP 

Jon Phillips from Inkscape gave a talk on Create and how open source 
graphics applications are working to share things like brushes, color 
swatches and other image oriented media.  

Xara has been open sourced - a very bold move for a commercial 
graphics application company. Xara is an illustration application 
which has tremendous rendering speed on the canvas among other 
assets. One of the principal reasons for open sourcing the "crown 
jewels" as they put it, is to port Xara to Linux and MacOSX. 

It was obvious from the interaction with other teams and developers 
that not only the Xara folks were very much welcome there, but also 
they have taken the open source development model to heart.

The Blender folks had a number of small talks and demos, but owning to 
other meetings none of us had much time to participate. 

One of the best parts of this meet was the time spent outside of the 
presentations to be able to meet and interact with other teams. 
Examples: Marti Maria from Littlecms gave us some hints on making 
Scribus more robust when handling corrupted icc profiles. We also had 
the chance to meet Carl Worth who developed Cairo. 

Sunday afternoon was a chance to meet with the Inkscape team and we 
looked over our mutual future plans. Jon Cruz from Inkscape showed 
off a drag and drop debugging tool, which should help us with Scribus 
to make drag and drop work easier with a more diverse group of 

Similarly, we outlined how Scribus uses Ghostscript to import EPS and 
PS files with high fidelity. Adding this to Inkscape should be 
feasible without a major rewrite of Inkscape. The collaboration 
between Inkscape and Scribus teams has been good and should be even 
better in the future now we have met face to face. More to come later 

If there was one area lacking was simply time to meet and exchange 
with everyone there. We had less time to meet with some of the GIMP 
team than hoped, but we did have some informal one to one chats and 
we are much more attuned to future plans and wishlists. 

The GIMP team has been often unfairly criticized, in my opinion, for 
perceived shortcomings and unwillingness to address long standing 
feature requests. To the contrary, my sense is they are very well 
aware of these requests, but they are a small team indeed, not much 
larger than Scribus. 

That said, what I saw and heard gives me confidence that the GIMP will 
see major additions to its feature list in the future. The plans they 
outlines for future versions are ambitious.

Other folks there included one of the Krita developers and folks from 
the Tango Project. 

One great surprise was to meet Nicholas Spalinger and Victor Gaultney, 
creator of the award winning typeface Gentium, which has been 
re-released under their newly written Open Font License. A few of us 
over a dinner had a chance to learn a great deal about Gentium, 
typography and future plans for enhancements and additions. 

The Open Font License has been carefully researched and written to 
maintain both openess and type creators desire for artistic 
integrity. This license avoids the kind of ambiguity discussed a few 
months ago on the list here about font embedding and the GPL. 

Summing up, the meet exceeded everyone's expectations I suspect. The 
atmosphere was fun, collegial and less a show and tell, than a chance 
for lots of face to exchanges.  

Attendance was roughly double the number anticipated. The simple fact 
this kind of event took place is a testament to the capabilities and 
maturity of open source graphics applications. Five years ago when 
Scribus was launched, one could hardly imagine an event like this.

Already, it was decided amongst the teams to meet again next year and 
work is underway already on a venue. Discussion and plans will take 
place on the Create list on freedesktop.

I'm sure I missed some important bits, but maybe we will see you there 
next year...


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