The lagging fortunes of XaraLX

About a year ago the source code and linux port of XaraLX was announced to much fanfare and excitement. Unfortunatly things haven’t developed that well as time has gone by. First of all Xara has had limited resources to devote to the project themselves and there has been little in the form of a developer community formed from the outside. What I learned to my suprise today is that part of the reason for this is because Xara depends on a binary blob called cdraw/gdraw which is similar to pixman in Cairo. This among other things keep most distro’s from shipping it. Not sure what will happen with XaraLX now, but one hope would be that someone sat down and ported the XaraLX code from cdraw/gdraw to Cairo. And through that make it a truly free software application. Xara is interesting and should have a chance to fullfill a need alongside Gimp and Inkscape.

Nokia 800

A little later than the rest of the herd I got my Nokia 800 today. It is a worthy upgrade to the 770. Especially with Tigert’s Plankton theme it looks and feel very snazy.

My main frustration though from the 770 is still there, and that is that when entering new streams to the internet radio I have to have the actual stream uri, the playlist uri which is the most easy/common to find is not supported. That said finding the place to enter such uri’s is much easier now compared to the 770.

One feature we look to get into Pitivi is a Nokia 770/800 output profiles. So if you want to prepare a video to take on a trip you just choose the Nokia 770/800 profile and it will get transcoded into a video using the optimal combination of codecs and imgae size/framerate to play back on your device. New release of Pitivi out today btw, so be sure to check it out.

Miguel on ODF vs OOXML

Miguel has a very interesting blog entry discussing the ongoing ODF vs OOXML ISO debacle. Since he linked to an email I sent not long ago regarding SVG I felt a bit compelled to comment on that part of his essay. I agree that it is weird to attack OOXML on its lack of use of SVG when OpenOffice don’t support it, but instead use its own OOD format. On the other side just because ODF fucked up in this area doesn’t mean OOXML need to repeat the stupidity. Of course if they do end up using SVG then it would be a bit funny as suddenly for graphics at least OOXML would be a better and freer standard than ODF is :)
Miguel also points out the size of SVG as a problem with SVG, to which I agree, but the solution I have advocated for a long while within the librsvg community is to aim to support the SVG Mobile profile as it is for the most part the sensible subset of SVG we are all looking for. Speaking of librsvg it is in maintenance mode currently. Caleb who pushed many of the major changes for a long while has gone AWOL unfortunatly and Carl Worth is naturally putting most of his energy into Cairo itself. Dom is still around maintaining and holding the fort, but lacks the possibility to take librsvg the last steps to match the SVG Tiny profile. So if anyone out there is interested joining the librsvg team to flesh out the remaining holes in librsvg to actually conform fully with one the W3c SVG specs then please drop by #librsvg on Gimpnet or join the mailing list.


#1 André on 02.01.07 at 05:00

I think not only Pitivi but Thoggen would benefit from predefined output profiles for (mobile) devices.

#2 luis on 02.01.07 at 05:02

Playlist works fine here, fwiw.

#3 pachi on 02.01.07 at 05:08

It looks like Xara would open source Cdraw/Gdraw, and that it’s part of the great speed claimed for XaraLX. Do you know how that opensourcing is going or whether it’ll take place?.
I’ve found this thread about the issue quite interesting:

#4 erik on 02.01.07 at 05:33

XaraLX beats Inkscape any time. Not because it has superior features but because it was made by engineers for customers. It wasn’t made by engineers for engineers like Inkscape. I’m exaggerating slightly but this is true. XaraLX has got superior usability for non-expert users and it’s simply more polished. At least I’d love getting it on a default installation of my favorite Linux/FreeBSD flavours…

#5 ralpht on 02.01.07 at 06:25

My understanding was that Cairo lacked some of the features that Xara requires (I think one of the Xara guys said this; can’t find the reference now). I have wondered if it would be possible to use Anti-Grain Geometry to implement GDraw — it would be fairly straightforward to get some of the basic functionality going, but there isn’t much documentation on GDraw, so doing a pixel perfect reimplementation probably isn’t reasonably possible.

#6 Alexandre on 02.01.07 at 22:38


There is no such thing as XaraLX anymore. In fact they renamed it to Xara Xtreme for Linux last summer.


“It wasn’t made by engineers for engineers like Inkscape.” — you couldn’t be more wrong. Inkscape’s core team includes two professional designers. Please get the facts before you talk, not after.

Just to make sure you really know what you are talking about:

Please note that I’m by no means against Xara.

#7 Stoffe on 02.04.07 at 02:59

@Alexandre: Maybe those designers are suffering slightly from a very common ailment in development, namely not seeing misfeatures due to using the program too much. It happens a lot, when you are using and developing a program, you start to subconsciously work around UI problems and even bugs, and stop noticing them altogether. Not saying that this *is* the case, but perhaps Inkscape could benefit from external usability studies from designers with little or no experience in the program. It’s a great program, but I do find it unintuitive at times. Not that I’m a designer. :)