If you really, really need Adobe Illustrator, you can use Wine or CrossOver. If you don't, a number of options are available, the most popular among them being Inkscape, which I've used as needed for a couple years now. It's a good program, and among the available open-source vector graphics apps, it's right up near the top of the heap for feature completeness, quality of implementation and lack of bugs, but it's not without its problems.
First, it's slow. The memory footprint—especially when a large illustration is loaded—is heftier than The GIMP's, an app that is not noted for its modest memory usage and speedy response when editing complicated projects. The slowness quickly becomes apparent when using Inkscape to work at the coffee shop on my less-than-top-of-the-line laptop instead of at home on my holy-crap-it's-HAL graphics workstation. When you're in a groove trying to create and polish something, having to wait for the program to catch up really, really sucks.
My second beef with Inkscape (and really, I only have the two), is the interface. Now, I'm willing to go a long way to learn an interface, and in theory, I like Inkscape's two-fisted approach. After all, I'm the guy who prefers Blender over other the legal, licensed commercial 3-D and compositing systems I have in my shop because of its two-fisted approach—relying on hotkeys for the commands and the mouse for manipulation makes the work flow fast. The problem I've always had working with Inkscape though, is that its command map is about four miles long, and most of the common functions still require two key combinations. Although I like the concept, the implementation takes a long time to learn, and the keystrokes aren't organized in a manner that lends itself to deducing different functions easily by experimentation.
The ideal situation would be to get a program that's just as well thought out as Inkscape, just as bugless, but that has a faster work flow and a smaller footprint. A fuller feature set would be nice too, but I don't begrudge a project at 0.46 for not yet having all its features in place. Still, a few extra tools to take it up into the class of high-end professional illustration software would be nice.
Enter Xara Xtreme, which almost does this very thing. Until last year, Xara X was a professional, closed-source, Windows-only commercial app that garnered excellent reviews in PC World and won a number of awards both for its performance and its habit of underselling the rest of the market. However, when Adobe bought up Macromedia and then Microsoft announced its intention to enter the graphics market in a signature Microsoftian way (that is, with the intention of squeezing out all the small players, marginalizing Adobe and capturing the market using substandard products with ultra-slick marketing and ubiquitous sales placement), Xara saw the writing on the wall and figured it needed a way to stay in the game. Somehow it needed to cut costs, turn out a superior product and capture market space being neglected or deliberately marginalized by the two big kids fighting over the playground.
Companies like MySQL and SugarCRM have used the open-source development model to great effect—maintaining a freely accessible GPL tree and then offering value-added packages with proprietary code, support and other goodies as the mainstay of their businesses. It's a strategy that, when conducted properly, results in everyone winning—the people the company employs get to keep their jobs, the community developers get a fun challenge and a hell of a résumé entry, the broader community gets to use the free version of the product, the clients that need the value-added services can purchase it for far less than the competition, and the company gets to continue existing and (hopefully) turning a profit.
Xara decided to pursue the same strategy, with only a modest change in terms of its goals. It wants to take over the world—it says so right on its Web site. It correctly notes that there are a dearth of pro-level graphics apps for Linux and Mac, and that the few goodies there are for Mac actually may go away, depending on which way the bricks blow off the Adobe building, and Xara thinks it can do something about it. So, Xara pulled the GPL judo and is hoping it sends it to the top of the stack, at least where artists are concerned.
Because of this, Xara has an excellent incentive to play nice, and that's exactly what it seems to be doing. Xara has positioned itself well strategically with regards to the GPL—both to protect its business model and to protect it from the kind of trolling that SCO recently engaged in against, well, everyone. As such, Xara will accept code only from developers who explicitly (and in writing) permit this arrangement, thus covering everyone's backside.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SourceClear Open
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide