Gran Canaria: Registration & call for participation open

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For those who missed the next last week, the Gran Canaria Dasktop Summit website got updated last week – and with it, we opened registration for the conference. This is the organiser’s way of knowing who’s coming, and the way for attendees to reserve accommodation and request, if they need it, travel assistance.

We also concurrently opened the call for participation. Since we’re already a little late organising content this year, we’re going to have a pretty short call – please send abstracts for GNOME-related and cross-desktop content to guadec-papers at before April 10th (midnight on the date line, I guess).

The procedure is going to be a little unusual this year because of the co-hosting of GUADEC with Akademy – a GNOME papers committee headed up by Behdad will be choosing GNOME-specific content, and a KDE equivalent will be choosing Akademy content, and we are co-ordinating on the invitation of keynote speakers and choice of cross-desktop content.

The thing that got me excited about this conference last yearn and the reason I was so enthusiastic about combining the conferences, is that cross-desktop content. The Gran Canaria Desktop Summit has the potential to be the meeting place for free software desktop application developers and platform developers, as well as embedded and mobile Linux application developers. We will have the people behind the two most popular free software development platforms coming together.

The conference is an opportunity to plan the future together for developers working on the kernel,, alternative desktop environments like XFCE, application platforms like XUL, Eclipse’s SWT, desktop application developers and desktop-oriented distributions. I’m looking forward to seeing proposals for presentations from all over the mobile and desktop Linux (and Solaris) map.

So to your plumes! We’re not expecting abstracts to be works of art, but we are looking for thought to be given to your target audience and what you want them to get from your presentation. Compelling, entertaining and thought-provoking content will be preferred over “state of…” presentations, or other types of presentation better suited to blog posts. Knock yourselves out!

Libre Graphics Meeting fundraiser update

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With little fanfare, this year’s Libre Graphics Meeting fundraiser has been progressing nicely.

Click here to lend your support to: Support the Libre Graphics Meeting and make a donation at !

In the three weeks since the announcement of the launch of the campaign, we have raised almost $3,000 in community donation – mostly smaller than $50 – from 71 individual donors. Much of the credit for the campaign this year has to go to Jon Phillips of Creative Commons, Inkscape and OpenClipart fame.

The campaign has started earlier this year than last year, when we were really caught unawares by our difficulties in getting sponsors, and has lacked some of the frenzy of the last campaign, but Jon has been doing stellar work keeping the fire burning, and ensuring a regular stream of donations from supporters of projects related to Libre graphics.

It is hard to overstate the importance this conference has to the communities working on projects like Inkscape, GIMP and Scribus, among others, and to overstate the progress we have made because of these conferences in the past few years in the realm of graphics applications on Linux.

It’s useful to point out that in the Linux Foundation desktop linux surveys, the most popular applications which companies and individuals want for Linux are graphics applications – Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier, Autodesk AutoCAD, Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Visio are the top 6 applications which people are missing on Linux. This conference is all about encouraging the development of applications destined to fulfil those needs. Also worth noting, when asked whether they wanted the applications above ported to Linux, or they wanted to use equivalent Linux applications where possible, a large majority want to use native equivalents, rather than ported commercial applications.

For any of you looking for a good cause which will go directly to supporting high quality applications that you use, I’d encourage you to contribute to the Libre Graphics Meeting. The conference is only as worthwhile as the people attending it, let’s ensure that we get a critical mass once again and provide energy and momentum to all of the participating projects for the coming year.

Congrats on 2.6.0!

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Congrats to the GIMP team on the release of the GIMP 2.6.0. This is the first version to depend on GEGL, which makes it a major milestone for GIMP historians. GEGL can optionally be used for colour operations, and an experimental GEGL operation tool exposes the power of GEGL operations to the user – in a future release, these will hopefully be available as configurable effect layer modes. There are some other pretty impressive new features described in the release notes.

This also represents a very quick release cycle – under 1 year since 2.4.0 – which is good to see.

Correction (for the record)

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I just listened to LUG Radio 5×15, including my interview about LGM this year. And I have to make a correction. I have tried, but I cannot find any way to drag & drop or copy & paste a curve from Inkscape into the GIMP. I can go via the intermediary of an SVG, since importing gradients and curves from an SVG drop or load is supported in the GIMP, but I can’t figure out how to drag & drop elements from the Inkscape canvas into any other application – when I hit the edge of the window, it just starts scrolling. And cut/copy & paste isn’t any more successful.

Any Inkscape people out there able to set me right?

One interesting drag & drop thing I love showing to people is dragging a chart created in Gnumeric into Inkscape – the drop is a proper SVG, and you can ungroup & manipulate individual elements from the chart in your favourite vector graphics application. Which is nice.

Libre Graphics Meeting stories: colour management

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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.

Libre Graphics Meeting stories: Shared resources

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Graphics applications have lots of associated files that we call resources or assets, which help the artist achieve what he’s looking for.

Some of the resources which are used by an application like the GIMP are paintbrushes, patterns, gradients, fonts, colour profiles and palettes. On top of this, you can add things like clip-art and probably others that I’ve forgotten which are important to other types of application.

Three years ago, pretty much none of this data was shared between applications. The GIMP had long been using very simple formats for its data, designed to be easy to write and easy to parse. Some other applications, for example Krita, adopted the same file formats for some of the formats, and thus created some de facto  standards for things like dynamic bitmap brushes and patterns, but there wasn’t much sharing going on.

Through the Create project and the shared resources spec current practices and formats were documented and attention brought to what we could share. The OpenICC spec proposed a way to share ICC device profiles throughout the system for colour management. In the first and second Libre Graphics Meeting, progress has been made on improving the situation of shared resources. Today, you can share patterns between the GIMP, Krita, and Cinepaint. Palettes (or swatches) can be shared between Inkscape, Scribus, the GIMP, Krita and Cinepaint. Gradients can be shared between Krita, the GIMP and Inkscape among others.

Some areas where work would be useful would be in defining a shared access point for clipart to be used by all applications, and have the various applications (including ship with a clipart browser which allowed applications to easily take advantage of the work of the Open Clipart library, and finally splitting out all of the resources which can be shared into a separate package, which would be installed in one place and used by everyone. But already, we have come a long way in being able to share all of the resources you expect among lots of different applications, in large part because of the collaboration that has happened at the Libre Graphics Meeting.

Almost $2000 in 2 days campaigning

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I woke up this morning to find out that we are fast approaching the $2000 level in our fundraising campaign! As I write this, we have now raised $1780 in the two days since the campaign opened on the 2nd of April, bringing us to 9% of our goal amount, with 14 days left in the campaign.

As of tomorrow, the community will be listed on the Libre Graphics Meeting website as a silver sponsor, the same level as Google, Intel and the Free Software Foundation,  and as we continue to pass the sponsorship levels, we will move the community to Gold, and then to Cornerstone sponsor levels.

I am deeply in awe of the generosity of the people who are donating, and deeply impressed by the passion of the user community of these applications which we’re helping improve by hosting this conference.

Thank you all very much!

Update: One hour after posting this, Sebastian Bober pushed us over the $2000 mark – we’re now at over 10% of our objective!

Libre Graphics Meeting stories: SIOX

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Throughout the two weeks of our fundraising campaign for LGM 3 in Wrocklaw, I will be writing entries regularly about past LGM and GIMP Conference successes, which I hope will go some way to explaining why I think this conference is so important.

The first in the series comes from Libre Graphics Meeting 1 in Lyon. A few months before the conference, Gerald Frieldland, author of SIOX, sent me an email:

Sven Neumann encouraged me to ask you about this: If you are interested, I would also like to give a talk about the current development of the SIOX selection tool in GIMP. I think people will find a talk about SIOX especially interesting, since we are trying to create a more generic tool that could be integrated into other free graphics (plus video) tools, too.

David Odin replied with an enthusiastic “Yes, please!” – “The siox tool is a bit magic, and is thus suited for a talk”, and we duly scheduled him a spot on the first day of the meeting.

For those who don’t know, SIOX is the plug-in which allows you to intelligently select foreground or background objects in the GIMP by drawing inside the object.

Rui Campos of Blender posted a review of the first day, which included this comment:

One of the most interesting talks for me was SIOX, it started at 11:00 and it was focused on a nice API that gives the ability to extract the foreground from a still picture in very few steps, but with very good results.

It would be really good to have it integrated into Blender as a Node in the new node editor, perhaps some coder can pick it up ? It is only 600 lines of code in Java, the source is Open Source and is available at the project website.

That sounded promising, but imagine the surprise of everyone when the following appeared in Rui’s review of day 2:

By the way, on SIOX integration, check this screenshot, thank Brecht for a long night no sleep ….


Talk about rocking collaboration!

Since then SIOX support has been added to Inkscape as well. It would be great to see a gstreamer node based on it too so that it could get included in diva and PiTiVi (hint, hint).

Support the Libre Graphics Meeting!

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Libre Graphics Meeting, 8-11 May 2008

Support the Libre Graphics Meeting and make a donation at !

In only two years, the Libre Graphics Meeting has become a hugely important meeting place for free software graphics developers. With surveys showing that the main gaps in the Linux desktop offering now are graphics applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, Visio, AutoCAD), the conference becomes even more vital to the advancement of the free software desktop.

A few weeks ago, I got a heads-up from the Libre Graphics Meeting organisers that we weren’t doing so well on the sponsorship front as we have in the past. The major cost center for the conference will be subsidising travel and accommodation for volunteer developers who could not otherwise attend.

And so, today, we launch a fundraising campaign! With the help of Pledgie and the GNOME Foundation we have set an ambitious but necessary target – we hope to raise $20,000 in community donations over the next two weeks.

For those who appreciate the projects that this conference supports (including Inkscape, Scribus, GIMP, Blender, Krita, Open Clipart, …) and have been looking for a way to support them, then please give generously. And spread the word! To get the word out, embed the following in your webpages:

Support the Libre Graphics Meeting and make a donation at !

Thank you all for your support.

What was I smoking?

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That’s the only question I can think of when I come across this gem, from the wiki page collecting demos for Libre Graphics Meeting 2006 (I’ve put an archive of the old LGM page back online, minus the MySQL database which had the news items):

So, you’re an artist, and your favourite program (or combination of programs) isn’t in the programme. Why not offer yourself up as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of demos?

In Greek mythology, Deimos was the god of dread or panic, which seems strangely appropriate.

The word demonstration comes from the latin demonstrare, to explain completely. Monstrare in turn comes from monstrum, meaning “divine omen or wonder”. So we can think of a demonstration as a demystification.

The word shares its roots with monster, meaning something we don’t understand.

So demonstrations are dreadful affairs where we demystify monsters.

If you feel up to the task of scaring off other people’s monsters with a big flashlight, sign up here to give a demo. It could be as simple as using Blender to create an animation, or as complicated as drawing a square in the GIMP.

Can’t remember what I was up to when I wrote that, but it must have been late…

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