Libre Graphics Meeting stories: colour management

7:26 pm freesoftware, gimp, inkscape, libre graphics meeting, scribus

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Continuing the series of articles I started last week (part 1, part 2), the next fall-out which has come from past Libre Graphics Meetings is the movement towards colour management everywhere over the past few years.

Let’s look back to where we were 3 years ago. Outside of Scribus and CinePaint, there was essentially no colour management in free software graphics apps, in spite of the existence of a high quality color management library, little cms.

In 2005, that story started to change a bit – the GIMP started conserving ICC profiles in JPEG files and allowing the user to see the list of ICC profiles with the 2.3.2 release, in July 2005. Scribus added support for soft proofing in version 1.2.3 in September 2005. Krita released version 1.5 with support for color profiles in December 2005.

In the first Libre Graphics Meeting, one of the most popular presentations was by Marti Maria of little cms, who gave an overview of what color management is, how ICC color profiles fit into the picture, and finally what applications need to do to integrate color management support. One of the outstanding memories I have from the conference was Carl Worth of Cairo being very excited about the conference, and in particular about meeting Marti.

Since 2005, things have changed significantly.  Color management support has been completed for the GIMP in 2.4.0. Inkscape added support for ICC profiles in 0.44, in June 2006, soon after the first Libre Graphics Meeting in Lyon, and this support has been further improved in the recent 0.46 release.

And since, color management has become almost ubiquitous – via the “ICC profiles in X” spec, all applications who support the spec (including, at last count, the GIMP, Eye of GNOME, Krita, UFRaw and Inkscape)  get soft proofing for your screen when X contains the ICC profile atom.

I’m not so presumptuous as to attribute the advent of color management to the Libre Graphics Meeting, but at least in the case of Inkscape, the work started at the conference. And for other developments, the bridges built and conversations started during LGM and other similar conferences has played a significant part in improving the state of affairs.

One Response

  1. daniels Says:

    Yeah, colour management awareness has really spiked too. It really needs to be fixed for good lower in the stack (read: in X).