Linked by Christian F.K. Schaller on Tue 23rd Mar 2004 19:25 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Computer graphics have long been dominated by bitmapped images. However, the free software community has taken an innovative lead by adopting scalable graphic formats on its desktops. Inthis article I cover the history and rise of scalable graphics on the desktop from my angle - as a proponent of its use in the GNOME platform. This article mostly focuses on SVG's progress from a GNOME point of view, both because GNOME has progressed the furthest and because I am most knowledgable with GNOME's efforts. I will however mention major landmarks in other projects where appropriate.
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Corrections
by Torsten Rahn on Tue 23rd Mar 2004 22:55 UTC

There are some points in this article which I'd like to correct:

"SVG movement continues as the W3C released its SVG 1.1 recommendation Jan 14, 2003. This was timed well as the KDE project wished to further incorporate SVG in its desktop with its Crystal SVG icon theme by Everaldo Coelho."

We started work on converting Crystal to CrystalSVG in May/June 2002. At that point of time we aimed for using SVG in our default icon theme as soon as possible (ideally by KDE 3.1). Although we had the SVG-icon engine working right in time for KDE 3.1 we considered the risk too high to ship an SVG icon engine which wasn't very thoroughly tested and which would eventually create slowdowns and crashes (like those experienced in Nautilus) for some users in our _default_ theme. That's why we enabled the bitmap engine only and shipped KDE 3.1 with bitmap icons instead. More than 150 icons of these were rendered using ksvgtopng in various sizes from SVG's. SUSE 8.1 was the first distribution to use these bitmap icons rendered from SVG sources. Actually a few dozen SVGz's made their way into kdelibs by that time (and were at least shipped in the KDE3.1 source tarballs IIRC).

> In fact, most of the theme is still not available as SVGs

and as this theme is the _default_ theme (and therefore requires the highest number of icons in use) this comes to no surprise. I still have to see a Gnome SVG theme which covers all possible default icons either ... In addition KDE makes more use of icons than Gnome does.
Unfortunately Everaldo created quite a lot of icons in Illustrator using some stuff in AI that doesn't export well to SVG so there is still some work to be done to convert those remaining ones.

> These traits make KSVG the perfect tool to provide
> SVG rendering for KDE's web browser, Konqueror, but
> not so good for on-demand rendering of SVG icon themes.

While I didn't check the performance claims (KSVG has got various aims in addition to performance) I'd just like to mention that for rendering icons KDE doesn't use the full blown KSVG but a subset of KSVG which is optimized for icons (you don't need text in icons e.g. -- actually you even must not use text in icons at all).

And of course you forgot as well to mention that KDE 3.2 is the first desktop ever released which uses SVGs at least partially in its default theme ;-)

Greetings,
Torsten Rahn