Here at the Linuxville chateau, I work on an antiquated laptop of Win95 vintage. It is under powered for the stuff I want to do but adequate for most. It is because I have installed Ubuntu Linux, ver. 9.10 works well, I have slipped past the world of commercial chaos into a sublime state of nerdvana. Besides being free and easy to use I have also discovered Open Source software, standard with Linux, to meet most of my needs. Open Source Software is often found in both Linux and Microsoft platform versions, sometimes Mac versions.
My quest is this, can a digital artist use only open source software, be productive and survive in an Adobe products on Microsoft and Mac PC driven world?
What, you can't be serious, you need Photoshop and/or Illustrator, or............!?@%#, these are what the pros use!!
My main programs are GIMP and Inkscape. I've heard the barks, GIMP doesn't have this and doesn't do that. The truth is they don't mention what GIMP does do and have because they already do that in Photoshop which they bought, own and use, no need for GIMP. I say if I need those things, I know where to find them, thanks. Over the years, I also see that GIMP has/is acquiring some of those not there things. The same with Inkscape.
I had a thought, digital graphics is about tools. In Photoshop a paintbrush works like this, in GIMP the same way. In Illustrator the same as in Inkscape. The tools are all the same. There are differences in the interface, tool options, but the biggest difference is in the file formats. File formats are how one company builds and keeps a user base. If you don't use a certain file format, you can't communicate with that user base. This is why folks push for across the board open formats that anybody can use regardless of the originating software. DOC., PDF., JPG., PNG., are all standard formats. I mentioned "Doc." because this presents the problem. DOC's is a Microsoft standard file format. It is under Microsoft's control, depends upon their permission to use it. They can and have changed it over the years. When a file format enters the public domain, it can be used to control access or gather and maintain a user/customer base. Another area where this is apparent is FONTs. Linux even has an add-on for MS standard fonts. When things hit the public domain, it is nice to have a wide margin of liberty.
My next thing is define "artist". If you went to art school and trained with Adobe products, because they are what pros use, are in the industry, etc; be happy, use what you know to do what you do. Just don't say "you can't do that!" Some artist use water color only, some oil paint only, draw with a No2 pencil. I use GIMP, Inkscape, just discovered SK1 (like Inkscape). There are a few others, but as I said it is about the tools. So for me as an "Artist", it is about using Open Source Software to do art.
How am I doing? You can see some of my works at http://www.lorainartscouncil.com/Arnold-L--Johnson.php
This is the art I do. You might do realistic stuff, cartooning, fine art type painting, vector illustrating, digital finger painting or math generated what ever, 3d.
If you are curious about digital art via Linux and Open Source Software - http://www.linuxgraphicsusers.com/forum/
The folks in the forum are a great mix of pros and noobys.
And by the way, my penthouse main machine (up stairs) is a desktop with the latest Ubuntu 10.10 and assorted artistware. Not top shelf by any means but more power makes the tools work better.