Sunday, June 10, 2007

[Linux] Inkscape vector drawing program

I recently found this vector drawing program for Linux as a lightweight and libre alternative to Illustrator:

It looks very promising and it renders graphics and fonts very well with very nice effects (if properly installed). It can even render Latex math formulas using Effects->Render->Latex formula. And the nice thing is -- it converts the formulas to vectors, so no bitmaps are used, giving an amazing quality improvement to text in the drawings.

I am using Gentoo and I had to enable the plotutils use flag and re-emerge pstoedit in order for Latex rendering to work in Inkscape. The next thing I'd like to get working would be to have some easy way of specifying a Latex preamble so I could use my macros and commands when typing the formulas. A larger space for typing the formulas would also be part of my wish list.

Before Inkscape, I have been using draw, which is quite decent and has a good EPS export, although its rendering capabilities are far from Inkscape's, and it doesn't support reading SVG as of this time. can render Latex formulas if you use OOoLatex - and it even supports a user-defined preamble. However, the formulas are in bitmap format only.

The main reason for my attempt to switch to Inkscape is that the effects (such as many options for stylized strokes) and rendering are way better than Open office draw. However, OOoLatex still is superior in certain features, for instance you can edit the formula and correct mistakes, something impossible with inkscape 0.45.1

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