For businesses that deal with graphics, the applications are among some of the costliest to purchase. And when you are purchasing on a large scale these applications can quickly eat up your software budget. Fortunately there are solid, open source applications in the graphics department. One of those applications is Inkscape, which covers the vector graphics editor space and does it so well that a business would be remiss in overlooking it as a solution.
- Platforms: Linux, Windows (2000, XP), OS X, FreeBSD
- License: GPLv2
- Cost: Free
- Additional information
Who's it for?
Inkscape is for any business that needs vector graphics but doesn't want to pay the steep price for competitive products. If your primary goal is the creation and editing of developer-friendly scalable vector graphic (SVG) files, most users will have a hard time telling the difference between a file created by the free Inkscape and the $699.00 Adobe Illustrator.
What problem does it solve?
Inkscape helps allows you to create image files that are normally associated with costly application suites without decimating your budget. Inkscape is adept at helping you to create these images with a much shallower learning curve than Adobe Illustrator.
Another problem Inkscape solves is one that has been created by applications like Illustrator. The average (and above average) user has grown used to the idea that a feature-rich graphics application must be a space and memory hog. Inkscape refutes this idea by being lightweight in both space and resources required.
- Lightweight: The Inkscape download is less than 50Mb.
- Cross platform: Run Inkscape on Windows, OS X, and Linux.
- On canvas gradient editing: Edit gradients on the canvas, in real time, without having to open the gradient editing tool.
- Select by touch: Draw a freehand path across objects to select them.
- Flood fill tool: Inkscape now has a bucket fill tool
Currently Inkscape is still in beta release (the current release is .47) so it is prone to bugs and crashes. This will cause many businesses and enterprises to hesitate to deploy. And although the learning curve is not as steep as you will find in Illustrator, Inkscape is still a Vector Graphics editing application which, by nature, means it is not as simple to use as, say, The GIMP or Photoshop.
Bottom line for business
Inkscape is the ideal solution for any business needing to cut costs but not features. And when you are looking at users who might suffer under the weight of a steep learning curve, the choice between Inkscape and Illustrator is made even easier. Add to that the lesser system requirements and you have all of the justification you need to make the switch (or the choice) from Illustrator to Inkscape.
Have you encountered the scalable vector graphics editor Inkscape? If so, what do you think? Rate the unit and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of Inkscape in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review above.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.