Sunday, August 31, 2008

SVG Open Summary

I just got back from SVG Open 2008, and wanted to give some quick highlights. If, of course, there are points that anyone would like more detail on, please feel free to ask. Overall I think it was a very good event, and I'm excited about the momentum with SVG.

One of the first points is regarding SVG and comics. John Bintz had asked me to see if there was any interest. Before the first day was out, at least three different people had come up to me and mentioned them in one way or another, with at least one person telling how such an interest is what drew them into SVG to begin with. So I would take that as a big "yes".

Probably the most encouraging aspect was the renewed activity I'd seen regarding the W3C efforts. SVG 1.2 Tiny looks on track to being finalized soon, with an upcoming Test Fest in Canada as one of the final steps. Both the SVG Working Group and the newer SVG Interest Group show a focus and strong activity.

Even though Inkscape has not even specifically addressed 1.2, they are still very interested in including Inkscape in the testing and report. Among other things that could help us see some opportunities on where to improve next. It definitely could help with establishing more communication, and could help raise Inkscape's profile. So if there is anyone around the area in Canada in September who could show up for that, please let us know. And if we don't have anyone local who can make it, they still were interested in us running the tests and getting the results over to them.

That brings me up to the SVG Interest Group itself. If anyone is "interested" in SVG, then they should look at the info and charter and see if they should join (I've already submitted the request for myself). Aside from the IG itself, they're hoping to have community resources and activity grow out of some of the IG's efforts. So participating with those efforts and growing community would be great.

The working group mailing lists have been revamped, and I believe they are now open for the public to join. Doing so to help track what's going on was strongly encouraged. The implementers' mailing list is probably going to be renewed also, so people might want to watch for it too.

About SVG itself, many different uses are out there and touched on. Two big areas of activity are in mobile phones and Mapping/GIS. Sometimes use of SVG is not apparent, so it's hard to say all the places it might be. Another place shown was television related program guides and control. One company showed their SVG interface for fabrication machines, and even took a few hours to come up with a Lego Mindstorms driver so they could demo a mini version of monitoring and control.

One presentation I found insightful was how one of the experiments in the LHC was using SVG for visualization of results and detection passes. There are even parts online for it, including a live XSLT result sample.

Work on SVG Print and SVG Layout are two areas we should keep our eye on, as those are addressing quite a lot that we want to work on supporting. Also when I asked about <multiImage> support (a key feature that would help UI artists) and described the use cases, others pointed out a facility in CSS3 might solve the problem in a more general way, and that I should definitely follow up on that.

Another stand-out presentation was Zack Rusin's one on KDE. He went over history and development, and then showed several demos of the latest KDE where most everything is done via SVG. The night before he had mentioned to me that many of the KDE artists used Inkscape and loved it.

That's all for the moment. I'll probably point out a few things in detail later on, and one at a time. But until then feel free to ask for more details on anything there.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

At SVG Open

Just a quick post about SVG Open.

I managed to get through my keynote and my CMS presentation without too much blowing up. The main problem was that despite the fact that I practiced timing earlier, once I was giving the talks the parts covered by slides took up all my time, and I didn't get to switch to the live demo bits I had prepared.

I'll have to take the time afterwards to write all up, but there has been a lot of good things going on. One thing I was asked about by Inkscapers was any interest in doing comics. By the end of the first day at least three different people had come up to me to mention Inkscape with comics. There is also some good work on accessibility that we'll need to look at integrating sooner if possible. Oh, and there was early mention of non-affine transforms and a few other nice things.

One of the things on the W3C front is the fact that they are winding up finalization of SVGT 1.2 and are about to hit a testing phase. The SVG Working Group is going to be running an implementors test thingie (my technical term) soon in Canada I was asked if Inkscape might have anyone local who could participate. Or if at the least we might run through the SVG 1.2 Test Suite and submit the results.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Wacom villain found and fixed!!!

After many months of toil and frustration, I finally tracked down the root of my problems with the Wacom tablet on Ubuntu. It was quite frustrating, since the tablet worked fine if I ran from a live CD, but failed once I installed to the hard drive. Everything else worked but the tablet. So I suffered and found work-arounds.

After compiling and installing new Wacom drivers yet again and another round of fruitless poking, I stumbled across a reference to a similar sounding problem. There was a post by some end user that was completely non-technical and involved talking about his admin and things that he had done when I hit a mention of the culprit...

It was the dreaded, the insidious, the crafty...


It turns out that the mouseemu software normally used to make a touchpad on a laptop more friendly had turned evil in this case. It perhaps was handling the touchpad fine, but it also got greedy and grabbed the external Wacom itself. The simple fix was to just go into Synaptic and remove mouseemu there. Voila! Happy-happy Wacom time!!!!

So if a tablet is showing up properly in the low-level view, but stops responding... it might be the tricky mouseemu.

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