Saturday, August 30, 2008

Linux Illumination

The first thing that dawned on me was the reason folks make so many Linux distributions, besides saying wouldn't it be nice if. After trying out a few different distros I always wish certain features from one distro were present in this other one. Of course there is the language or culture centric thing. It's like climbing a mountain and putting your flag on it. Hey, who's the guy who climbs Mt. Everest and removes all those flags so that other climbers can have a so called "I'm first" experience? You will notice that you use the same applications over and over again. A distro with those apps means you don't have to install them yourself. If you find your favorite apps are wrapped in your favorite desktop GUI, you almost have a winner. Almost?!? Yeah, the packaging system is not .rpm or .deb or whatever. So, while you are throwing together stuff you appreciate, you might throw in some snazzy artwork, useful utilities and a digital flag to rename your mountain (GNU-buntu?!).

I am partial to this also having missed Xubuntu I went and installed Xfce desktop on my Ubuntu. ooh.....Life is very sweet indeed............
That's Xfce sporting a pen drawing I scanned in using the Xsane plugin in GIMP, then imported into Inkscape. Don't let the spare look of Xfce fool you, a right mouse click on the desktop and I've got menus galore. So, Gnome has some things I like and Xfce has things also. The two are compatible so I am able to blend some functions. I just like uncluttered looks and feels.

If you are into focused distros some are more multimedia oriented. Dyne:bolic is my dual-boot partner, I really didn't need to install it as the live-CD is quite handy. Grafpup of the Puppy Linux lineage is worth a look and I like Wolvix also.

And if you are especially into doing art, using Linux and opensource software to do it, check out It is a newer site, not over run with old pros. If you are beginning to explore your digital art potential, this is a good starting place. There is a forum and tutorials and great encouraging attitudes and people petting penguins.

What's new? I got this new job and part of the training involves learning various CAD software. I am into Unigraphics NX4 right now. It's a pro 3D modelling application with off the chart functions, but learning to think in 3D will help me figure out K-3D on my Ubuntu box. K-3D has a simpler user interface than Blender 3D, so I hope to do something with it, someday.

There is so much Linux out there, but it's the applications that make it useful. You will use the same apps no matter which Linux you choose. That should make choosing a little easier, right?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Linux with sunglasses, Dyne:bolic

Most Linux news concerns the big picture. What corporations and systems admin are talking and doing about Linux. And what seems to be the interest of the masses. So, articles are rampant about migrating from XP and the grunts of wireless laptop owners. The one unavoidable thing for most is that if you want Linux, you have to install it or get some savvy geekologist to do the task. This includes configuring, adjusting and bracing yourself for learning a different world view. Yeah, things are different in Linuxville. While most versions of Linux have evolved from the same approach, there a few of note that have taken a different approach. Dyne:bolic is one of those and if you don't play with it you'll never appreciate it. I am writing from within it using a web browser called Bon Echo, which is Firefox. Smooth and stable it all is and the install was painlessly simple, just copy a file from the CD to the root ("/") directory, booting the CD finds the copied file and initiates it. Since I already had Grub and QGrubeditor, I edited Grub using the info from the Dyne:bolic manual and now am dual-booting Ubuntu and Dyne:bolic. It had Abiword which is very cool but I wanted Open I downloaded it from the website on the Dyne:bolic page and installed it by moving the file to the module directory and rebooting. Imagine downloading directly to the module directory and rebooting instead of all the hassles of Synaptic and Synaptic is easy. OK, so you don't have the complete catalog of a Debian based distro, but Dyne:bolic is meant to be portable, run on older and lean machines, be as complete a multimedia distro to be used in "any" part of the world. So, this is not a review so much as it is an endorsement. Get it, load it, play with it, use advised, it is not billed as cutting edge, but it is not fodder for the mainstream, or driven by the hype market either, yet it does the same things as the high priced spread with high usability.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rediscovering Dynebolic Linux

My last post had me ready to dig into Wolvix. I started having problems with my computer, but I don't know if it was the CD, the CD drive, the downloaded ISO or what. Actually I have a stack of CD's that I have burned and not spent much time with. So, I set aside Wolvix for now until I can figure out what's the problem. In the mean time I am rediscovering Dynebolic Linux. Dynebolic? What's that? It's not in the Distrowatch top 100 any more, but that doesn't make it not cool. Distrowatch has to do with hits and inquiries, not popularity. But you should talk about Dynebolic because it's got some unique features. Like Puppy Linux, the packaging system is a bit different. What got to me is that to install it to disk, you just copy the "/dyne" folder from the CD to the root directory of your file system (Linux, XP, Beos, there's a few), set up Grub the bootloader and you are in there. Now don't copy that folder to the folder called "root" in Linux like I did or it won't work. It's the "/" or top of the file system, the one with the system folders in it. The included manual tells you how to edit the Grub configuration file, it is easy but scary.

Every Linux has got some mystique about it and the developers of Dynebolic are for sure Rastafarian. There purpose is very clear, Dynebolic is free software, multimedia focused and made to run on anything. The artwork is very spicy and the desktop has Windowmaker and XFCE which makes it very flexible and low on resource use. I won't hold you in suspense........
I don't know about Windowmaker shown here but XFCE is cool no matter what. The artist has other artwork on her web site and you could add your own, anytime. Multimedia, that's graphics, TV streaming and editing, internet broadcasting and officeware. There are modules instead of packaging like .deb or .rpm, that have different focuses like games. In a good way once you have settled on one Linux distro, you don't really need another and if I had seen Dynebolic first it would have been questionable about the need for Ubuntu or others. All my needs are here, office, graphics, internet. If you put this on your big jump drive, you could use it anywhere and never install it ever. So this Linux covers a lot of ground, but some will say stuff is missing. If you only use a jump drive or the live-CD there are no worries, the hard drive install might need some security tweaks. I don't know mon, Distrowatch says it's from Italy, but Rasta is from Jamaica. Dynebolic is revolutionary in concept because it is simple to move between PC's and install without reformatting. But, if all you care about is the applications, yes they work well. If you are curious dig into Dynebolic Linux, "don't worry mon, be happy"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Only in Linuxville

As you guessed Linuxville is a virtual place and virtually anything can happen. I already talked about looking into setting up an artist website and like pulling Indiana Jones out of retirement, the Linux exploration will continue.

The latest thing to happen is the GRUB bootloader was giving me hassles. So to all you wonder workers and especially to Gparted developers, if it would not put you out too much, put some GRUB utilities along side of Gparted. When you install another operating system on your hard drive GRUB does not always update itself, the added OS does not always recognize previously installed GRUB. And to top it all off, when GRUB is installed you only get 10 seconds to choose your OS before the default one boots itself. Or you GRUB developers could build-in better GRUB tools, make us all happy. Gparted is a very handy hard disc management application that is actually a mini-live Linux CD. It does all the partition and format stuff, even for Microsoft formats. The Gparted ISO is free folks!! Download it, burn it, boot it!!!!!

So, what brought up all this fixin and tweaking? Wolvix!! What's Wolvix? Wolvix is a smallish Linux, based on Slackware. It's 483 MB is one half the size of mainstream distros, yet you get all the standard applications. It even comes with ISO tools so you can make an even smaller live-CD if you'd like. The desktop of choice is XFCE which is light weight and fast (a relative term). You could install it onto a large bootable jump drive and really have a portable office or art studio. Yes, it has both GIMP and Inkscape. Ya want ta see.............?
This is just after adding some color to the standard grey desktop, hey, the howling wolf silhouette is missing. All the standard wallpapers are grey.
I downloaded sky/clouds wallpaper, the icon bar automatically disappears, of course.
Here, Abiword, GIMP and GQview is open. I think the screenshot app crops out edge details.

What's a Ubuntu guy doing installing Wolvix? Well a couple of things. If you are using the live-CD it does not make much difference, however installing a full size distro onto a small partition is problem. A smallish Linux distro allows you some room to add only what you need. Wolvix is pretty complete, it even has Open along with Abiword. Why, I don't know. And what's Slackware compared to Ubuntu? Slackware, which is the base for Wolvix is one of the oldest Linux distros there is. It has a rep for stability and for being command line driven. Slackware is up to date and it has the modern GUI desktops, but still is slow with modern conveniences. It just recently acquired Slack-apt to resolve software dependencies. Ubuntu is Debian based. Debian is almost as old as Slackware but is more popular and development has flourished. The Slackware/Wolvix software repositories are not as flushed as the Ubuntu ones. You have to realize though, there is no difference except packaging format for the same application running on either. Linux is Linux is Linux and opinions and mileage may vary.

Our Linux class is taking to exploring some of the various live-CD Linuxes. As you guessed Wolvix is my choice. This version is called Hunter 1.1.0 with 2.0 coming soon. My view of Linux? The many versions of distros have wrappers, arrangements, utilities, and tweaks to attract many different audiences. But in all, the same applications can be had on most any distribution. This means you can find one that best fits your hardware and experience and/or purpose and be assured the same applications are there. Then after all the OS smoke and mirror shows are over, you can settle down to the everyday life in Linuxville.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Linuxville Embassy changes ahead

I've been told that my compass has spun in the art direction of late to the demise of Linux exploration. My main problem is time and head size. I just can't wear all those hats with the liberty I had in the past. I got a real 9 to 5'ver now and keeping an eye on my parents and my wife's also, oh, and did I mention the new grand-daughter? What's a guy to do?

I'm contemplating a real web site for the artist side of things. That is going to take some time and will also require some looking into some new Linux applications for web design and HTML. HTML is the "hyper-text mark-up language", the reason they are called "web" sites. Of course with web design is all the trappings, fonts, clip-art, it should be an experience. Then after you spend so much time looking around, the time has come to settle down to get some real work done. There are plenty of web sites that "look around in Linux". Besides by now I know you all can "google it" or "yahoo it". Your Linuxville guide might offer a brief rundown here and there are always occasional flashbacks.

I do have some realizations you could ponder. Linux has many marketable qualities, one being that it will run on older hardware. I say this is great if you are going to use that PC for regular stuff like email, net surfing, tinkering and putt-zing. I would say don't even bother to install, just run off the live-CD, use web based email and save to a jump drive. This is a totally portable appliance like setup you can use anywhere. If you want to do heavier work, you should consider the best hardware (Linux compatible of course) you can get, all the memory you can put in the PC and keep an ethernet cable handy (just in case). You can get the most out of Linux if your machine is able to utilize it. This is true for XP and Vista also. I am doing graphics and I did notice a performance hit on my Linux machine using Inkscape. A graphics card upgrade and system memory upgrade will fix that. The more complex the drawing, the larger the drawing, you need more memory for crunching numbers and formatting on the fly. We won't even get into what avid gamers need, they are like hot-rodders at the races. Still, I am not looking for extreme technology, just to raise the bar a little.

For once the hardware at work has more umph than my home system. It's twice as fast and has a wider and larger screen. Seeing more image on the desktop is very cool, too bad it's an XP machine. Linux is still exciting but I am moving into an appreciation phase on the other side of installation. To all you people still dipping the big toe in Linuxville waters, don't be fooled by the penguins, the water is a balmy 75 degrees, always.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stepping back from the edge

I was doing a sight survey of all the digital graphics on the web. There are droves of pros and pro-want-a-bees racing toward the cutting edge of graphics. This is driven by mostly the film and game markets. Computer realism has developed to the point that real-life-looking animation has turned 2D cartooning into just another genre. Go to any movie, you judge. Soon there will be actors who only exist virtually, they will be copyrighted personas. The mix of human and animation is getting old school, remember Roger Rabbit and what about Hellboy? Look at games these days. They keep getting more life like every year. Look for immersion simulations of every description. Are we trying to develop a halo-deck aka Star Trek or be digitized onto the game grid like in Tron?

Well, this virtual-reality stuff is exciting, it is a vibrant and highly skilled industry. I am sure many art schools are bending over to train creative folks to do all this stuff................
"Oh, shall I be a doctor or an 3D animation specialist when I grow up?" No matter what, the smell of blood on the cutting edge is sooooooooo attractive.

I take a deep breath and step back from the edge. Maybe my older inner man is talking. I am not one to be fighting to decide which cliff we all jump from. Oh computers are wonderful things, but for some applications you don't need a "Beowulf cluster", server farm or a graphics card more powerful than the motherboard itself. You don't need a doctorate or even a BS in graphic art, programming or a carnal knowledge of gaming. And you won't be shunned or banished for not using Photoshop or Illustrator. It is rumored the $10,000 military spec screwdriver doesn't perform any better at turning a screw than my $10 Home Depot original. And how much specialized physical therapy do you need to twist your wrist, or click the mouse?

So I ask all you resourceful folk of the entrepreneurial mind set, what can you do with the technology you have now? Then, what's become of the art world if galleries, museums, interior designers, etc. only accept as art, art from certified art school graduates? What if good art comes from people who are not trained professionals or from folks who are not full time artist?

There is a lot of room in the world for every person to create art, but as to making a living off that art, that's another question. That involves other people seeing value in your work. Art production is one thing, marketing and selling is another. For sure artist have to be personable enough to deal with people and skillful enough to create a marketable product.

My last word to you diverse digital adventurers is the two "N's", Niche and Name. Even if you are well trained to do everything, most likely there is a niche that well suits your creations. Be it a wide berth or a narrow specialty, that niche becomes synonymous with your name. Folks will see your name and know what to expect of your work and your reputation, if it precedes you .

So much to learn and do, we shall see what develops, see ya!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Filling the blank canvas

Culture is such a funny thing, even in Linuxville, schools of thought, conventional wisdom, what you need to know and taboos. You get raised up a certain way, shaped by family life and peer pressure. If you get the chance to peer beyond the small bubble, it's a whole different world, for a while. This was my life in and out a small suburban village outside a big city. I got a break from the peer pressure noise in college. I discovered free jazz and met people from other cities and country's, got to talk about ideas that didn't involve chasing girls, doing drugs, drinking beer or even obsessing over sports. I wore my dashiki every chance I could, played my saxophone and conga drums in a drum and dance troop, wrote poetry I hope no one remembers. I bought a vibraharp and a thumb-piano. But my restless exploring mind didn't stop to take time to learn these toys. In the deep recesses of my mind I wrestled with forms and shapes and expressions, what to put on the blank canvas, for I was also a painter. Acrylic paint was just the thing, it dried fast and didn't stink of turpentine. There was so much to resolve and painting just could not keep up with the flurry of images, my imagination so frustrated, my hands not so skilled. Leaving college, I got into electrical drafting, well, it paided the bills. I learned a different kind of drawing, pushing the artistic dreams into the background. I let my new learned skills season and shape my ideas. I would often get scolded by other artist for not working on my art. So for years I kept notebooks, sketching and working out the dreams in my head. My main problem was the media. I was still thinking of acrylic paint, wire and clay and other tangible junk that artist use. One day at work I got to maintain a wide plotter. I marveled at how the little image on my computer screen could come out so big on the plotter. So I chanced to scan in a drawing from my notebook and plot it out rather large. It was ugly but it proved a concept. Today there are wide inkjet plotters that print the same quality as that letter size photo printer on your desk. So, we found the medium that's suitable and an output that's versatile and sufficent, all we need is content. This is where the problem begins, the blank canvas or screen. My notebooks have become a starting point, I guess. You can imagine, being a draftsperson for so many years has had to have some effect on my techniques or style. And to top it all off, since I was not totally schooled as an artist professional, I am somewhat free from constraints, though there is much I don't know. Yes, you have to forget all your training to remember what you actually learned, that's suffering. Something comes to the top, pushes through your mind, pulses through your hands. You become resourceful, you find a way to express it. With me the computer has grown up just in time, it is the right tool for me. Then I don't have dreams of going where other digital artist seem to be going. I have a view to which I can apply these tools, somewhere between simplicity and complexity. I see every room has six surfaces, every house and building, multiple rooms, all waiting for somebody's art. Why not mine?

Monday, August 11, 2008

bells and whistles or chiming in and pucker a tweet

Wouldn't it be great if you could get all you ever imagined in a drawing program and all you had to do was click the icon. It doesn't happen in the real world and it won't happen on your desktop. Besides, if you take the human element out of drawing on the computer, you wouldn't need the human and you couldn't call it art. You'd call it math, science or programming. But still the most complex iteration of code could never equal the subtle expression in a line under control of the whims of thought, emotion and imagination of the human mind and articulation of the hand. Mimic maybe, but never equal. In art we call "workflow" the process that gives form and direction and the final result. Process can be computerized but there is no one program that does it all well. So, we have bit-mapped software and vector software. I am learning to use both on the same projects to make up for what the other lacks. You learn to import and export parts of a drawing to work on it with the most advantageous tools. Bit-mapped programs have erase as well as undo, then you can trace the bit-mapped image back into the vector program and integrate it back into place. It is like a sidebar to explain a point in detail, then getting back to the main story. Gimp and Inkscape work great together. In Inkscape, I think the object fill is so limited, even if you can get it just right you can't alter it much once in place. But if you design your fill pattern, export it as a bit-map into GIMP, make tweaks and adjustments, import it back into Inkscape, trace the bit-map, now you can do a Boolean operation to fit the object to be filled. Yeah, it is a pain to go back and forth, but they say artist must suffer to get great art. And just think, because it is all on your computer you don't have balled up sheets of paper all over the room, reminding you of frustration and anguish. Trial and error is replaced by discovery and recovery. Don't forget to save your work often, "to back up is the beginning of wisdom."

What's so cool about computers is if you come across a color combination you really like, you can save the picture and use a color picker tool to find out what that color is. Gimp has a built-in color picker tool and there is a stand alone application called Gcolor2 in Ubuntu Linux you can download. This app will tell you the numerical value of the color many other applications understand as well. Then if you need companion colors that harmonize or compliment, Agave is the application which suggest which colors work well together.

So, to dispel the notion that computers replace the artist, automatically producing output that can't really be called art. Computers are tools, they require skilled manipulation and imagination, just as would any art materials and media. Computers do nothing without an operator and without an artist, be it a programmer or pixel pusher, can not make art. If you are stuck on traditional artist media, that is fine. But the technology to produce/reproduce art works has progressed to a great degree. You have to ask which is the original art work, the graphic file or the finished printout or copies?? Digital changes everything. In drafting, we see a machine like precision and clarity of details. You can have that in art but I'd rather not. I like the hand drawn and the opportunity to discover the story. If it looks like a square I don't want to measure it or know if it's true, the impression of squareness is enough, that's art.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

sorting and collating pixels

If you are a pro graphics person, whatever your title or stick I'm sure you have much love for Photoshop or Illustrator or any number of MS platform applications. The ease of use and of access is great stuff for anyone, but wait. You have to fork over so much dough to own these applications. Art materials have always been a pain for me, my extra moneys were always slated for more immediate needs. So, though skeptical about open source and Linux, I had to give it a shot. GIMP, the long time graphic champ has won over many converts. Having never owned Photoshop, I haven't been plagued by not having it. I've enjoyed the freedom of not having learned it first. Gimp is OK for photo work but photos are not my area of interest. I like to draw. Here's a shot of GIMP on my desktop..........
GIMP has lots of fancy filters, scanner control, format conversion and a scripting language so you can customize it even further. Then I checked out a few other pixel blasters like, Gpaint which looks and feels like MS Mpaint and mtPaint which is an older Linux graphics editor. Then there is KolorPaint and Krita which are part of the KDE desktop suite. The one I find really useful is Xpaint. This is also an older graphics editor but I think it is more useful if you want to draw. It looks like this.........
The interface is older but it is fun to draw stuff on this application. Again, my focus is on digital fine art graphics. But you could do all sorts of graphics and the tools are free. I'm going to throw in Inkscape too because it is a wonder. If you want to get into scalable vector graphics but can't afford Adobe products, Inkscape can stand up on it's own. And it looks like this........
So, I am learning to use what I have at hand, pushing pixels and slinging vectors with free graphics tools. It is much the same as with any art medium, you might afford the best paints and photo processing services or you can pound your own pigments, mix your own photo chemicals.
To the artist the process learned to get ideas into an artistic form is a pain but once the workflow ceases to be a hindrance, all sorts of things can happen.

I go to the library, they have for a smallish city, a big mostly MS oriented computer section. There are a dozen Linux books and a few open source software books. Yeah, you could use Photoshop and Illustrator books and convert them for GIMP and Inkscape work. But the books they have are not for new beginners, amateurs, and would-be artist. They are also focused on photography. So, in that light, digital fine art is still a new thing in the art world, in spite of all the digital media in the world. I really have to thank folks who do video tutorials and post them on the internet. If you want to do other than cartoon or game art, photo or film editing or even web design and desktop publishing, free and open source graphics applications can propel you into a whole other world.
If you are looking at your 11"x8 1/2" page printer, thinking this is the limit for your art, you need to rescan the horizon. Us draftsman have known of wide printers/plotters for years now. You could send your scalable vector file to a service that will print it out for you in larger formats. Some plotters have come down in price so you can own one if you have the resources. That desktop photo quality printer on your desk is but a sample of a larger world. Some of these wide plotters will also print on canvas instead of paper, some inks have archival quality. This is all factual info of the possibilities of digital art. It blows the art market based on the rarity of one of a kind art work, out of the water. It's something to think about as you stroll through the Linuxville countryside.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The road to Linuxville, bumpy for some.

It has come to my attention that folks are still struggling with installing Linux. Mostly it is the laptop brigade and those who insist on wireless. No big deal, you slap in the CD, boot-n-go, right? Gosh I hate logistics, but maneuvering your way to total access and mobility on a Linux desktop is part science and part art (ooh, I said art!). We will start with realizations.

The major influence in the computer world, both software and hardware is Microsoft. Almost everything is seasoned to their liking. This is apparent when you want something different. Hardware is made with Microsoft in mind, that is where the money is, the same is true with drivers that support the hardware.

Chances are you did not intend to install Linux when you bought your computer, otherwise Linux installation would have been a factor in your choice. If Linux were pre-installed all of your problems would have been dealt with. There are lists that show successful operation of Linux on various hardware combinations with various distributions of Linux. They are called Hardware Compatibility List and the major distributions have them. Laptops are a special case so go to and to see how others have faired with your brand of laptop. Decide wheither you want to dual-boot (have choice of running either MS or Linux) or you want to wipe MS and install Linux.

Oh, you lost, misplaced or trashed the documentation that came with your hardware. This is the beginning of problems for servicing any computer difficulty. You need to know brand names, model numbers, serial numbers, version numbers or at least have a listing on hand. My tip for the day: . This Belarc program will give you a listing of everything on your computer, hardware and software. It runs in MS Windows, don't know about Vista. Armed with this you can now enter the Linux exception zone to see if there are known problems that others have encountered for the same or similar hardware as you have.

This is where you get your Google on. Wireless, thanks to Microsoft influenced hardware and hardware driver companies, is a problem in most Linux distributions, but there are exceptions. Lucky you if you have hardware that works well, if not find a geek, a nerd or a techie who has dealt with wireless problems. Local Linux users groups might have a few. User forums on your distributions web site might help. General Linux web sites might point you to info. Computer stores and Tech squads are more than likely Microsoft oriented, little if any Linux experience. You can always ask.

Don't forget, you can run the Linux live-CD, save to a jump drive. And you can buy Linux and purchase a service arrangement if you really need it. Take my word, if Microsoft were not dominate in the computer world, you'd be scrambling to install it too.

Your investment in Microsoft software is wasted on Linux. While you can run some in Wine or virtual machine, it is not 100%. Linux has software to do what MS Windows apps do. If you have specific stuff that only runs in MS Windows that you must have, consider dual-booting.

My main wish is that people wouldn't insist within themselves, that they are so smart, they can figure it out and be a little patient with ones who tend to do the same yet are trying to help. Geeks and gurus are still rare, most are a range of average intelligence. This is why users groups are important, we can share info and cluster to come up with solutions.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Setting up shop in Linuxville

Things are progressing nicely here in Linuxville. And I am getting into doing digital stuff with Ubuntu Linux as my only operating system. And I am putting my artist genes through a good work out with tools freely available with my Ubuntu install. So my encouragement to all you would be artist is to check it out. Yes, yes, I know about the predominance of Adobe and Corel and all those powerful and highly regarded in the industry applications. I know you will buy or "borrow" a copy to have the industry standard. But consider the opportunity you have here. Free applications that do the same thing and because they are still being developed as we speak, you can have a say as to what you would like to be in it. You can make it compete and be better, did I say it's free? I am still having a CAD shortfall but I can do some useful things with Qcad. Scribus, which I just installed is very skilled at brochures, news letters, etc, etc, etc. The GIMP even has color separation extensions for print publishing. Then there is my favorite tool/toy, Inkscape, with which I am having a load of fun honing my talents. Are there problems? Yeah, some applications have propriety file formats that are not so easily transferable to other applications. I got rid of Krita but I think it was more a KDE thing, Xara Xtreme I really like but its version of SVG in not compatible with Inkscape's SVG. Come on folks, this is not very open source now is it? What good is it to run on the Linux platform if you can't co-operate with other applications. If SVG is a standard, it should be SVG in any application, not some specialized version of it.

My nameplate work is moving along, here is more progress..........

These were done using GIMP to scan the drawing and Inkscape to do the rest. I have other things in the works, but I don't want to spoil the unveiling.

My studio is relatively clean, no paints, no stains, no splatters, so digital art is greener in a sense. What does the future hold? I might hook up my digital tablet which is far too sensitive for me and try to do something with that. Also I need to explore output devices like a wide color printer/plotter to at least do poster size printouts. I am trying to imagine what would be the perfect artist studio machine. I don't have a clue, but I seen some stuff. How about a laptop you put together yourself similar to a desktop. Look at this.......... I didn't know there were barebone laptops and I think there is a more bang for your buck factor here. I am sure other hardware makers have barebone offerings.

There are other things artist must consider. Like whither or not to become a formal business or not. Ubuntu Linux does have and other apps to handle the paperwork. My hope is that I am not over whelmed by the business end and distracted from doing the art. I can see that wearing many hats require a lumpy head, no one person does everything well. We will have to see what services are out there to off load. Looks good from here.