I use Inkscape to create vector files that ultimately are converted for use with computerized paper cutting machines - these are either converted vinyl cutters or special purpose machines designed for use by home hobbyists to make scrapbook pages, cards, etc. The users are amateur crafts people, not professional artisans nor skilled computer users. Unfortunately, the software they must use to drive their cutters is almost universally Microsoft based. Not to generalize, but most of these users are women, and most are barely comfortable turning a PC on and using it for email.

I participate in several forums for these hobbyists, frequently answering questions about how to use PCs in general. I've recommended Inkscape, but many of them find the learning curve too steep, preferring proprietary software that comes with their machines - very limited in what it can do, but stone simple to operate. Photoshop is a stretch for these people, and things like Illustrator totally beyond what they want to learn (or pay for). I've also recommended Linux distros like Ubuntu, but this is a different audience - if it doesn't turn on and work by itself, they look elsewhere. Like all too many PC users, if their machine gives them any problems, they dump it and buy a new one - with the latest Microsoft disaster. Apple loses out on this market except for those capable of using Boot Camp to run their cutter software - plus their added cost.

I'm a retired computer scientist with 40+ years of experience with dozens of vendors and operating systems. I run multiple machines and like this one, often implement dual-boot Linux/XP (XP is where I draw the line - no VIsta or sons of Vista). Like many, there are a few MS-only applications I need to run, but the primary reason I bother to maintain anything Microslop is to test web sites I develop as a sideline - I develop with Firefox, but have to somehow make them render more or less the same on Internet Exploder. I've given up kludging to make IE6 work, but there are still too many users world wide who think Internet browsing means using the thing that came with their latest PC purchase. As a side note, this means not being able to use svg images on my web sites, since IE chokes on them.

Back to Inkscape - I'd love to see a scaled down version that implements a short list of features sufficient to create line designs (color is immaterial here - cutters only cut, not paint), save files in svg, and perhaps with an optional plugin to allow output to craft cutters. Some of these machines use HPGL, but too many require some variation thereof and would have to be customized for a particular machine. Not a huge audience, and one that would require some initial hand-holding, but once introduced to Inkscape in a gentle way, I predict they would be enthusiastic supporters and want to grow into using more advanced capabilities. I know there has been some interest here in an HPGL output option, but there needs to be a means of specifying additional information - i.e., cutting speed, knife pressure, etc. that are generally unique to the cutter being used. I do correspond with some advanced users who use Inkscape like I do, but they tend to be skilled artists in another life and very skilled in the use of computers in general.

Sorry if I offended any of the Inkscape or Linux community, but I've long held the belief that machines need to accommodate to the user's, not the other way around. Assuming a basic knowledge of Unix skills and vocabulary in order to use a device makes support a lot easier, but severely restricts the user base. Much as I hate Microsoft, if you're willing to pay for the excess hardware and willing to eat anything they but on your plate - they do make it easy for machine-phobic users to make simplistic use of their PCs. So does Apple, but it costs more.

</soapbox mode>


On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 1:19 PM, john cliff <john.cliff@...155...> wrote:
On 24/01/2010, Jack Armstrong <jackcarmstrong@...155...> wrote:
> Inkscape is implemented on a very wide collection of platforms -- as it is
> open source, anyone can download the source and compile it for their own
> system. A number of people with the skills to do this have prepared compiled
> versions and made them available. Occasionally, there are some features
> and/or plugins that require libraries that are not available on all
> platforms, but the Inkscape open source community almost always moves in to
> provide substitute code to make them work.
> Like Linux, Inkscape has a large community of highly technical users - the
> good news is they volunteer thousands of hours to improve the program - the
> bad news is they don't always play well with others who lack their technical
> backgrounds and skills.

Do you have any actual examples of this that as I think we do pretty
well at not being 2 camps that dont communicate. The dont play well
bit may be true for a lot of linux projects, but we make quite a
concerted effort to make it not true for inkscape.

> In both camps, that situation is improving as
> volunteers provide more and better documentation and forums like this one
> become more active.
> Jack
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 4:40 AM, Tobias Schulz <PropperDX@...961...> wrote:
>>  i am running inkscape on windows 7 64bit. no problems.... but iam not
>> sure
>> if its *officially* supported.
>> tobias
>> Am 24.01.2010 08:42, schrieb Jerome Gunderson:
>> Does Inkscape support Windows 7 ?
>> Jerome

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