Xtreme Illustrations

Not only is Xara Extreme a Linux-compatible alternative to Inkscape, but now it even has its roots into the Open Source community as well.

Despite the niggling bad points, I'm thoroughly impressed with Xara Xtreme, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a proper pro-level graphics app on Linux. Although squirrelly with imports and extremely large canvas sizes, for most projects, this program will serve nicely. It's suitable for design, for translating photos into vector-based paintings, for creating animation characters and for designing all kinds of Web graphics, print graphics, logos and mock-ups. The gallery on the Web site makes it clear that, with two months of use, I've still scratched only the surface of this deceptively simple program. Well worth the download, Xara Xtreme requires almost no time to learn and produces professional results, even in the hands of the most novice professional.

In the graphics space, this is how programs should be designed. Hooray for Xara for its decision to open source its project. Let's hope, in the long run, that decision pays off as handsomely for the company as it already is for this community member.

Dan Sawyer is the founder of ArtisticWhispers Productions (www.artisticwhispers.com), a small audio/video studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been an enthusiastic advocate for free and open-source software since the late 1990s, when he founded the Blenderwars filmmaking community (www.blenderwars.com). He currently is the host of “The Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour”, a cultural commentary podcast, and “Sculpting God”, a science-fiction anthology podcast. Author contact information is available at www.jdsawyer.net.