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RE: [XaraXtreme-dev] Moving to Cairo (was Ping)

> From: Carl Worth
> Sent: 21 February 2007 00:43
> Some people, (speaking from personal experience), have just 
> mentally filed away the Xara source code as, "that might be 
> interesting if it becomes free software at some point". So it 
> would be useful to know if the CDraw source release will 
> never happen. Assuming it will not, then some of those same 
> people might update their opinion to "definitely not 
> interesting" or "it might be interesting to work to make the 
> the software become free".
> Over the past year, while the release plans of CDraw have 
> been quite uncertain, (license file states intent to release 
> source, but no other visible signs are given), there's been 
> very little motivation for anyone to invest work into freeing 
> the xara code, (since what would be the point if CDraw were 
> made free shortly after thereby eliminating most of the value 
> of that work).

To clarify, for those that haven't read all the posts. Because Xara has
been acquired it puts a different light on the situation. The intention
was always to release CDraw when the time was right and the product had
enough developer traction. But it's no longer our decision.

So please understand we are now part of a larger, public company, that
has never created any open source or Linux products and so getting a new
definitive answer on the future of the Linux version will take a little
longer. But I'm trying to get a definitive answer as soon as I can.

> > I know Inkscape have often mentioned a 
> > desire to move to Cairo for similar reasons. And so the 
> > sentiment that 
> > Xara Xtreme is useless without CDraw is plainly just not true.
> Yes, inkscape has been quite interested, and inkscape has 
> actually been progressing nicely on this front. It's got 
> cairo-based PDF export code now, (which is motivating some 
> improvements in cairo's PDF export quality), and very 
> recently, there have been very promising experiments at using 
> cairo to render the main "canvas" of inkscape itself. So 
> that's just plain happening, (as I imagine it would also 
> happen for Xara if it were free).

Well Xara IS free enough to do the same things Inkscape are trying to do
- to use Cairo for export and for the main rendering engine.

That's the exact point I've been saying. If we can't release CDraw (and
that's not certain one way or the other yet), my point was that the
program is far from dead or useless. And just as Inkscape are trying to
replace their engine with Cairo, so the same can be done with Xara.

And that's a way to create a completely free, functional and useful
product. Yes there will be some limitations - e.g. no direct support for
the advanced fill types, but those are the same restrictions Inkscape
and SVG already has (because SVG doesn't support them anyway), and so
these are not showstopper issues.

(If I haven't said it already, we've long intended to add a
'compatibility' mode to Xara that disables the 'incompatible' fill types
so making it much easier to create artwork that is fully vector
compatible not just with SVG, but practically everything else that has
the same restrictions (Illustrator, PDF, SVG, even Flash and now even
XAML. Internally we call this 'simple mode').

> OK. Let's see what happens. I know cairo and I'm willing to 
> help anyone that wants to do this and needs assistance from 
> someone that knows cairo.
> I've even made available a version of the xaralx code that is 
> freely redistributable under the terms of the GPL alone, (no 
> additional permissions granted), as it does not include the 
> CDraw binary.


> With these two in place, the program 
> stops generating internal errors at startup and actually 
> runs. It basically just doesn't draw anything,


Ha - excellent. This is good. More than that, we'd help support this,
because, as I say, this is one way to solve the problem and create an
entirely free Xara Xtreme without the problem of CDraw.

More than that, because no one wants a fork, so I'd say we'd help make
this happen in the official SVN builds. i.e. we create a branch, or just
the modify the main version, so that it can be used with Cairo instead
of / as well as CDraw.


> Oh, and I haven't gone through the paperwork necessary to 
> contribute co-copyright to Xara (or whomever). If this work 
> ever gets to a point where that would be interesting, and 
> someone would want that, please ask me.

Yes we find this interesting and we'd support this work. It's a way of
solving the CDraw problem in the short term until I get some definitive
answers about its future.  It's a way to create an entirely free Xara
Xtreme, so there'd no longer be an excuse about 'it's not free so I
won't work  on it'. It's way in which all the Linux Distributions can
take it without question.

It's not the perfect solution, but it is a very good answer and a good
way forward right now.