If you use a photo editor to crop or convert your images, or to improve brightness, color balance and contrast, then you probably don't need a professional image processing suite. There are tons of web-based graphic editors that are available for free. However, if you are looking for self-hosted, open source solutions, you should definitely go in a different direction. Here's a list of four open source, self hosted online graphic editors.
Over the past few decades, the software that enables us to be productive with our computers has become increasingly sophisticated and complex. Today's UI designers are faced with the challenge of devising graphical user interfaces that are easy to grasp and use, yet still provide access to a wide range of features. Here are some ideas about the nature of GUI complexity, followed by a couple of thoughts on simplicity that might just surprise you.
As an answer to someone asking whether Unity will require a working OpenGL stack to operate in Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal", Mark Shuttleworth announced that Canonical would offer an optional, QT-based, "2D" implementation of Unity. Here is a video, too.
Nowadays smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers are all siblings. They use the same UI paradigms and follow the same idea of a programmable and flexible machine that's available to everyone. Only their hardware feature set and form factor differentiate them from each other. In this context, does it still make sense to consider them as separate devices as far as software development is concerned? Wouldn't it be a much better idea to consider them as multiple variations of the same concept, and release a unified software platform which spreads across all of them? This article aims at describing what has been done in this area already, and what's left to do.
"GIMP 2.8 has been talked about for more than a year and back in January there was a GIMP 2.8 release schedule by Martin Nordholts that had set the final release for the 27th of December. That date has now passed and, sadly, this major update to this leading open-source graphics program is still not close to being released."
"Adobe Flash Player 'Square' is a preview release that enables native 64-bit support on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows operating systems, as well as enhanced support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 beta. We have made this preview available so that users can test existing content and new platforms for compatibility and stability."
As Nvidia falters, Advanced Micro Devices' ATI graphics unit is on the rise, spurred by "radical" shifts in the market, according to Mercury Research, which tracks the market for GPUs or graphics processing units.
KDE SC 4.5 is about to be released and KDE SC 4.6 is being discussed. However, Martin Graesslin has revealed some details about what they are planning for KDE 4.7. According to Martin's blog post, they are looking at OpenGL 3.0 to provide the compositing effects in KDE SC 4.7. OpenGL 3.0 provides support for frame buffer objects, hardware instancing, vertex array objects, and sRGB framebuffers. Read more here
Fraunhofer's FIT . . . has recently appeared on the YouTubes, where we must say it looks pretty darn good. Not only does it not require special gloves or markers, this thing also works in real time and can support multiple users (and multiple fingers).
The open-source Mesa/X.Org developers have been working on LLVMpipe, a Gallium3D driver that accelerates OpenGL and other state trackers on the CPU rather than any GPU driver to provide a better software rasterizer via LLVM optimizations. Unfortunately, it's still slow and can barely keep up with games.
Now this is an interesting article, written by Lukas Mathis. He makes the interesting case that the gesture-based interface, as seen on the iPad and many modern smartphones, is actually more akin to the command line interface than the graphical one. He also offers a number of solutions for that pesky problem of gestures being anything but discoverable.
Ah, Jakob Nielsen. Anyone who has ever been involved with serious document design or web usability will know his name. If you've never heard of him, the best way to describe him would probably be this: he's the Richard Stallman of usability. He has a set of very clear ideas about user interface and document design, which more often than not get in the way of beauty. He has performed a usability study, with real users, on the iPad.
"What if all software was open source? Anybody would then be able to add custom features to Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Apple iTunes or any other program. A University of Washington project may make this possible." Yeah I know, odd headline - couldn't find anything better.
You may remember that back in November last year, I wrote about the lack of a decent Paint.NET-like application for Linux (or, more specifically, for Gtk+ distributions, since Qt has Krita). As it turns out, this compelled Novell employee Jonathan Pobst to code a Paint.NET clone in Gtk+ using Cairo. Version 0.1 is here, and it's remarkably advanced for something so young.
"The venerable GNU Image Manipulation Program is undergoing a significant transformation. The next major release, version 2.8, will introduce an improved user interface with an optional single-window mode. Although this update is still under heavy development, users can get an early look by compiling the latest source code of the development version from the GIMP's version control repository."
Every now and then on OSNews, we discuss typography and language. Despite the fact that many think it's not relevant for computing - it most certainly is. Whether you're browsing the web, reading email, or chatting over IM - the most common element on your computer screen is typography. Today, I want to discuss something we barely have in my native language: small capitals.
"Imagine that you are a super-successful movie director, who's been given hundreds of millions of dollars and lots of whiz-bang technology to make a cinematic epic. Sounds good? Not once you are told that people will have to watch it on fuzzy old black and white television sets. Something similar happens to the text that appears on your computer screen whenever you log on to a Web site. The site's owner has so little control over the fine details of what you will see that the typeface in which the text appears is bound to be distorted. Pity the poor designer who struggled to perfect it."
For as long as I can remember, I've been having issues with scrolling in Windows and its applications. When scrolling via dragging the scroll blob, it seemed as if Windows had the annoying habit of randomly resetting your scroll blob to its starting position, which irritated me to no end. It took me a while to figure out, but I finally know when this behaviour occurs - now I just need to know: why?!
NoStarchPress sent us in the newly released "Book of Inkscape", written by Dmitry Kirsanov, who is also one of the core developers of Inkscape.
OSNews takes a look at the technology powering the latest generation of touchscreen personal computers. Have the stars finally aligned to give the touch interface the combination of price, precision, sensitivity, and software support to make it attractive to the mainstream PC buyer? And if so, what does that mean for the elusive Tablet PC? We take a look at a Dell Studio One, which is powered by NextWindow's optical touch screen technology. (With video)