The Open Source desktop app sector is gaining another player, as the Xara Project speeds towards a 1.0 release. The Xara Xtreme project is focused on building an Open Source version of a commercial-standard vector graphics. The team just released its Xara LX 0.5 for Linux, and is available under the GNU Public License.
“Linux needs a top-tier commercial-standard graphics program,” the team wrote in the release announcement. “The Linux desktop has come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so, but it still lacks any vector or general purpose graphics program to genuinely compete with Windows and Mac commercial products. And although desktop Linux is evolving at a rapid rate, the platform is behind in the graphics market. We intend to change that,” the team added.
So what can Xara 0.5 do now? The list of functionality is pretty impressive:
–Opens and renders all the XAR files we’ve tried. Rendering 100% complete.
— Text now renders
— Object delete cut/copy/paste/duplicate/clone using menus or Ctrl-X,C,V,D,K
— Drag objects around, plus scale, rotate, shear. Plus numeric control via Infobar
— Right click drop-copy while dragging
— Magnetic object snap. Grid snap and grid display.
— Zoom tool
— Push tool (middle mouse button also works to push the page around while in any tool)
— Group and ungroup (Ctrl-G, Ctrl-U)
— Undo/redo using toolbar, icons or Ctrl-Z / Y
— Shape editor for editing and creating shapes
— Pen bezier path tool
— Transparency tool
— Blend tool
— Text tool, including ability to set the font
— Freehand tool (No brushes yet)
— Shadow tool
— JPG/PNG import and export
— Layer, color and bitmap galleries
— A choice of document templates
Upgrades to Xara Xtreme 0.5
The Xara Xtreme 0.5 features include the crucial “save” and “export” functions of designs as bitmaps, as well as improved UI features (which include combo boxes, toolbars, drop down menus, buttons and sliders) The latest Xara also sports an integrated Help Desk.
Other late additions include:
- New auto package installed
- Bitmap import Bitmap Gallery
- Color gallery
- Layer gallery and operational layer system
- Guidelines, guide snap and magnetic object snap
- Simple color editor
- Status line and progress bar and
- Clipviews – for path clipping
Download Xara Xtreme 0.5.
Can Xara Do Battle with Desktop Graphics Giants?
“The graphics world is becoming increasingly dominated by giants, to the detriment of the users, said Xara Inc.’s CEO Charles Moir told Linux Electronics last fall.
Moir pointed to 2005’s acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe and continued posturing by Microsoft to enter the graphics market. The Open Source world is the acknowledged largest threat to established giants such as Microsoft. We felt it was necessary for us to shake up the graphics world a bit, and making one of the most powerful, easiest to use graphics applications Open Source should do the trick.”
Under Moir’s definition, an Open Source version of Xara Xtreme means the source code is made available so that anyone can use it, modify it, develop and extend it. But while the Open Source license allows users to do what they want by giving them complete freedom, it prevents commercial competitors taking advantage of the Xara technology.
Xara also last fall announced its sponsorship of an Open Source project for a ‘universal vector graphics translator’ to help facilitate the conversion between various vector graphic file formats. The dubbed “Uber-converter” would be a universal vector graphics translator that can convert between numerous different vector formats, and is produced by Eric Wilheim and Scratch Computing.