Re: Why Inkscape is not in GNOME-Office??

SZERVAC Attila <sas 321 hu> writes:
>> On Sun, 8 Aug 2004, J.M. Maurer wrote:
>> >  Q: Why Sodipodi & Sketch (Skencil) are "office" application
>> >
>> >  (
>> >
>> >  )
>> >
>> >  but Inkscape is not ?
>> >
>> >  drawing programs are essential "office" components, today.
>> >
>> >  If GNOME Office keeps `Vector Grachics' section (Sodipodi & Sketch
>> > (Skencil), Inkscape is also an important, good choice for GNOME
>> >Office
>> > Users
>> That page is really old, and does not reflect the current situation.
>> Currently, "GNOME Office" consists of AbiWord, Gnumeric and GDA
>> >*only*.
>> We hope to update that website as soon as possible.
> ohh, oops, okay-okay, i'm waiting for GNOME Art Suite! :)))
> THANK You 4 Your advice, Bryce, J.M., Charlie & dear GNOME-Office list.
>  `apt-get install gnome-art' ! :-)

On Sat, 7 Aug 2004, Jody Goldberg wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 05, 2004 at 10:19:08AM +0200, SZERV?C Attila wrote:
> >
> >  Inkscape 0.39 entered to sarge.
> >
> >  It is Killer. Maybe  sketch [skencil] killer too.
> >
> >  Why Inkscape is not in GNOME-Office??
> It has not asked to be part of gnome office.
> We can evaluate it on it's
> 1) merits
> 2) use of gnome office technologies
> 3) whether a drawing app is office-related or art-related

Since Inkscape started, I've had the opportunity to chat with a number
of people, both developers and users, on the topic of integration with
other applications.  We've also received numerous feature requests from
users for interoperability.  These range from cut-and-paste, to file
format compatibility, to even more elaborate interrelationships such as
plug-in functionality.

On multiple occasions I've heard the idea of an 'Art Suite' posed.  The
idea generally identifies Inkscape, Gimp, Scribus, and perhaps one or
two other tools such as Blender or Dia.  The rationale for making them
into a suite revolves around improving interoperability including cut
and paste, common file formats, etc.  Note though that several of these
apps are not GNOME apps (Scribus is Qt, for example).  Also, we haven't
really talked about this much with the other apps.  But this is an idea
we've heard much about.

As can be expected, we have had many users ask about interoperability
with OpenOffice (mainly for cut-and-paste).  This is particularly ironic
since OOo doesn't really support SVG, plus already has a drawing
component, but there you go.  Interoperability with Flash, Illustrator,
and other proprietary tools have come up in user requests.

In a few cases there has been the question of Inkscape being part of
GNOME Office.  It sounds like the desire here is for Gnumeric and
Abiword to gain a drawing plugin via Bonobo, which would help users of
those apps.  We're not really certain why this would help Inkscape but
in general I don't think anyone from Inkscape is opposed to the idea
(interoperability is a Good Thing).  In weighing the requests from
users and the interests of the developers, it has been viewed as a
longer term priority; other things like layers, text-on-path,
extensions, etc. have been more pressing needs.  That does not mean that
we could not do it today if a couple developers popped up that wished to
focus on implementing it.

The one concern that a few of us have is that we're uncertain about the
extra dependencies that would be added if we were required to adopt a
bunch of GNOME Office libraries.  We have a process for reviewing,
testing, and adopting (or rejecting) new dependencies.  An important
consideration is whether they're available on Windows and Mac OSX, and
if they have clean, stable APIs.  As Alan mentioned, we've been slowly
evaluating and adding libraries (including several low level GNOME
libs), but we think it is important for Inkscape users that we do this
with care.  For 0.40 we're adding a number of new libs and are already
spotting problems (i.e. one core dev on OSX can no longer compile the

Now, it's likely the GNOME Office libs have no problems, but we just
haven't really analyzed them in detail yet so we don't know.  But the
concern is less about the particular libs and more about the process -
being given a list of required libs that must be added to Inkscape in
order for it to be acceptable as a GNOME Office application leaves some
distaste in the mouth.  Those may be great technologies to have, but
maybe not, or they may be okay but require a lot of work to integrate
them for low value, so we like having the option of picking and
choosing, and are concerned that this freedom would be diminished or
lost by becoming a GNOME Office application.

At one point someone identified Inkscape as a possible presentation
component for GNOME Office.  It is certainly true that people have used
Inkscape's 'Inkview' component for doing presentations - I myself used
it for my OLS presentation.  But I don't think there's any desire to
turn Inkscape into PowerPoint!  ;-)

I think there had also been talk at some point about SVG-output from
GNOME-Office applications, with the assumption that something like
Inkscape would be needed for that.  In truth, I don't think this is the
case.  SVG is a standardized format, so in theory the application could
use rsvg, cairo, or other SVG renderers, and expect to be able to
interoperate with tools like Inkscape.  Where they don't, well, that's
going to be someone's SVG compliance bug. ;-)

A while back we briefly looked at the bonobo bits in the codebase.
They're not hooked up now, but could presumably be resurrected if
someone was interested in working on it, especially if they were more
experienced with Bonobo than us.

One of the conclusions we arrived at when looking at Bonobo was that
Inkscape needed to present a better organized internal API (called AST),
that other applications could connect to.  This happens to be something
we need in general for Extensions, and is an area we've been putting
time into and plan to put additional work into over the next few
releases.  After that is done, adding a Bonobo interface should
conceivably be quite straightforward.

Anyway, so if all GNOME Office really cares about is getting a drawing
component for Gnumeric and Abiword, Inkscape will probably be there
eventually (sooner if someone pops up to help).  If the desire is to
fill in a list of apps for GNOME marketing purposes, no issue there.  If
there is a desire to make Inkscape use certain libs or to be able to
have say over the development priorities, that would probably not be
well received.  If the desire is to assist Inkscape in some other
fashion, that'd be wonderful, just let us know; the project's been
humming along well so far but there's still much needed.


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