Wednesday, May 20, 2009

sK1 vector graphics editor is now available for Ubuntu

At the last Libre Graphics Meeting I met Igor Novikov, who is the lead developer of sK1. sK1 is a vector graphics editor, just like Inkscape but with a different focus. While Inkscape is oriented to the SVG format and is ideal for web design, sK1 targets professional designers from the prepress world. So sK1 supports CMYK, multiple pages and separating colour plates. To quote wikipedia:
sK1 is an open-source illustration program for the Linux platform that can substitute professional proprietary software like CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator. Unique project features are CorelDRAW formats importers, tabbed multidocument interface, Cairo-based engine, color management etc.

The multipage feature is very handy for designing booklets with vector graphics or presentations, which you could project with impressive (former keyjnote). Under the hood Inkscape and sK1 share Uniconvertor, for importing, exporting and converting vector graphics. Uniconvertor was developed by the sK1 team. (sK1 is a fork of the Skencil project.) Another difference from Inkscape, is that sK1 itself is developed mostly in python. So you could in a way it use as a python library.

sK1 is being developed under Mandriva and it is hard to install on Ubuntu (especially for graphic designers). I noticed that Vladimir Osintsev was preparing a package for Ubuntu. I contacted him and invited him to work together on it within the Debian Python Package Team. So hopefully sK1 will become available in Debian and Ubuntu (from Karmic).

As some of you can't wait and like to use sK1 with the current Ubuntu releases, I decided to add sK1 for Jaunty and Intrepid to my PPA:
deb jaunty main

To add the key of my PPA to your system, type the following in a terminal (replace jaunty with your ubuntu version):
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 7B0FB2CA

You can read my PPA page for more information.

Disclaimer: this is the development version of sK1 and the packages have not been tested by a critical mass. In case you have problems, you should report them on the sK1 forums. The packaging is not perfect yet. For example there will be no entry in the start menu. This will be fixed in a next release. I've sent Igor from sK1 the necessary files to resolve this issue. So for now start sK1 by typing "sk1" in the run dialog (Alt+F2) or in a terminal.

As a final remark: you need to remove your ~/.sk1 folder, otherwise sK1 might have troubles starting up.
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