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Old 07-31-2004, 08:43 PM   #1
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sodipodi vs xfig vs inkscape - which to choose

Dear friends,

I am using Linux for some time now, mainly for technical tasks like servers, firewalls and real-time programming in C and other tasks in Tcl/Tk, but I still have not switched completely yet to Linux on the desktop. I want to and need to do so, because Windows is really a dead end to me.

The reason that I have not been able to switch completely is CorelDraw. I cannot remember ONE day for the last 10 years that I have not been using it at least once a day.

These are the main purposes I use Corel for:

- fancy signs: color blended backgrounds and fonts. Font stretching and align text along paths

- cards and invitations: imported bitmaps, fonts, blending bitmaps, transparency, lenses, graphic objects, color blends.

- logos, business cards: same thing

- technical illustrations: graphic objects, lines, curves, object stretching, arrows

- creating layouts and symbols for front panels, meter scales. Exact dimensioned objects, object transformation (move, scale, mirror, rotate)

- objects to be used as elements for graphical user interfaces

- technical drawings, for building, woodworking, metalworking etc. including dimension lines and scaling, no 3D

- mandatory in any case: export ability in .jpg and/or .gif, exact measurements of objects (I need to know whether a button is exactly in 4:3 format, or whatever) I need to import the drawing I make into Writer somehow. Object welding and trimming.

To start with the technical drawings: I can imagine that this is too much to expect from a vector drawing program. Corel is not really intended for this either. I used Corel mostly for convenience, because I know it so well, but I am happy to give this ability up and use a different program. Those exist for Linux, I believe.

Also, I don't need the features in CorelDream or CorelTrace. (Have you ever successfully traced anything in Corel? I did not!). Photopaint is something quite different! I know the Gimp is a replacement for that! Oh, and I stuck with Corel 7, more features I don't need. I was happy to use 7 including known bugs instead of upgrading to a new version with more features and unknown bugs.

I am also willing to sacrifice the hundreds of drawings I have made in Corel. Maybe someday an import filter will show up. If the Corel format is known, I might even want to try to write it myself.I am also not afraid to invest a significant amount of time to learn a new program so I really *master* it.

Until a few months ago, I thought the situation was hopeless. Although OpenOffice Draw and Karbon are *nice*, and they show the principles of vector drawing, they are no substitute for Corel, because of the demands I have.

Fortunately, I see more and more that packages like Sodipodi, Xfig and Inkscape are being mentioned. I only have tried Sodipodi yet. It is promising, better than anything else I have seen so far.I haven't tried Xfig or Inkscape yet.

What I would like to know from a really experienced user, experienced in vector drawing, is which package he or she would prefer, given my demands as outlined. If no clear statements can be made, any story of your experience is welcome as well.

The reason that I ask instead of installing and trying everything myself? Corel (or whatever program) is a *tool*. You can't learn to *master* a tool by installing it and playing around with it for a weekend or so. You'd need to do some serious work with it, get accustomed to it before you can value the program. If I can use other people experiences instead of spending a few weeks on it myself, I would be more than happy.

I am looking forward to your reaction.

Old 08-06-2004, 11:00 PM   #2
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Inkscape is basically Sodipodi done right. Much more convenient interface, more stable, more features, more documentation. It's being developed by people who actually use it, and it shows. It has all you need for moderately complex vector drawings, but there are a few missing pieces (layers, text on path) which will likely be filled in one of the next versions.
Old 11-21-2004, 04:50 PM   #3
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Bonaire, Leeuwarden
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A follow-up on the subject of finding a replacement for CorelDraw.

After strepetaa's advice I installed Inkscape, and simply started to use it. It is great! The user interface is very intuitive, and not difficult to learn at all. For all CorelDraw users: it is different to use, but not necessarily worse or more limited. On the contrary, some features are simpler like transparency, edit more cloned objects at the same time. Maybe the best proof to show the endless capabilities is that even if you can't find a way to do something, you always can edit the object's XML code directly.

During the past few weeks I have constructed some more or less complicated drawings without any difficulty or whatsoever.

I haven't tried to import and handle bitmaps yet, but I am sure that even when Inkscape cannot carry out the task, Gimp will.

Exporting bitmaps is easy and fast, you can leave the export dialog open, by just selecting the object, and entering the correct filename you can perform the export. That is about 4 mouse clicks. It is no limitation at all that only PNG format can be exported. The rendering quality of the bitmap is perfect, and ImageMagick takes care of converting PNG to any format you can dream of, including resizing or recoloring.

For the technical drawings I have switched to QCAD which is satisfies all my needs in this area as well.

Summarizing, I happy to tell that now at home Linux is my primary desktop machine, and within a few weeks the situation same will be the same at my office



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