Going to Libre Graphics Meeting 2014

LGM2014 will happen April 2-5th in Leipzig, Germany and this will be my fifth year attending. In fact LGM 2010 in Brussels was my first international conference ever, and convinced me that I wanted to make open source professionally.

I’m very excited about this years program, because once again we have managed to combine bleeding edge developments in open source software for graphics and visuals, with a wide range of connecting fields: open hardware, design, art activism, free cultural works, research and education.

Personally, I especially look forward to:

  • Richard Hughes: Building an OpenHardware Spectrograph for Color Profiling in Linux
  • Johannes Hanika: Wavelets for image processing
  • Manuel Quiñones: GEGL is not GIMP – creating graphic applications with GEGL (workshop)
  • Libre Graphics Magazine: Beating the drums, Why we made gender an issue

I am also hosting a BoF session on visual programming of libre graphics tools. Curious to see what comes out of that.

If you are interested in open source and graphics, don’t miss Libre Graphics Meeting.
Register now (it’s free and open for all)!

Can’t go to LGM, but would still like to contribute? Please consider donating to our travel fund.

I would like to thank the GIMP project for sponsoring my trip to LGM2014.

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Libre Graphics Meeting 2013: We want you

Are you interested in the overlap between technology, art and design; and free, open, libre tools that join these domain? Do you use Libre Graphics software like GIMP, Blender, Krita, Inkscape, Scribus, MyPaint (and similar), and want to meet the people behind them?
Are you a developer of free and open source software in the areas of photography, graphics, page layout, design, publishing, typography, animation or video?

Come to the 8th annual Libre Graphics Meeting, from Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th April in Madrid, Spain!

Registration is open (no attendance fee, sponsorship possible), and presentation & workshop proposals are accepted until 15th of February (2 weeks from today!).

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Piksels and Lines – Libre Graphics Research Unit seminar in Bergen

Last week I was so lucky as to attend the 3rd Libre Graphics Research Unit (LGRU) meeting in beautiful Bergen, Norway.

The meeting was titled Piksels and Lines and had “a particular focus on improvements, interoperability between and fringe use of F/LOSS graphic bitmap and vector software, as well as generative software used in performative contexts.”

The meeting was structured into three different areas: Seminar, Workshop and Performance.

Seminar

The attendants that were invited for the meeting each did a presentation of their choosing. They were recorded and are available in the online archive of the seminar. The video quality leaves something to be desired, but the audio is generally good.

The presentations I found particularly interesting were:

I gave a presentation titled MyPaint and cross-application workflows. It was an introduction to MyPaint as a creative tool, how it combines raster and vector (piksels and lines) concepts, and my perspective on interoperability between libre graphics applications.

 

 

Workshop

I had hoped to hack some code for one of my existing ideas during the workshops. That did not happen. Instead I ended up hacking specifications. Maybe that is just as good. Hacking one can always do later, hashing out and documenting ideas has to be done while it is fresh.

First the results of some discussions with Øyvind Kolås, the GEGL maintainer:

A journal for GEGL: transaction log over changes made to a GEGL graph. Specification. Discussion. This feature would allow for applications based on GEGL to:

  • Implement non-linear histories (undo/redo), and a timeline of the changes
  • Store the history in a document like OpenRaster
  • Share the history between different applications
  • Let multiple applications to work on the same document at the same time

A strategy for improved file format support in GEGL, and using this to improve  file support and interoperability in libre graphics applications. Proposed plan.

Executing this plan would move a lot of the existing file format support from GIMP (PSD, XCF, OpenRaster) down into GEGL so that it can be reused across applications. And would then let GEGL provide image support plugins for GdkPixbuf and QImage – so that at the very least – previews will work everywhere.

 

Chatting with Egil Möller, creator of Sketchspace, also resulted in:

A web based system supporting a continuous work-flow from free-hand
sketch to finished product. Concept and mockups

“Imagine starting from a freehand drawing or imported raster image and gradually refining this into a technical document with illustrations, UML-diagrams or even running code or a 3d model.”

Refining here means that the user guides the tool to transform freehand sketch into vector paths, then into vector shapes, then into something domain-specific and formal like UML – by adding additional data like annotations, strengthening of lines to “disambiguating” the transformation.

Needless to say, this is more a visionary thing. Realizing this would involve finding good solutions to a fair amount of computer vision problems.

Making GEGL available for use in web-based applications. Proposal.

More on the concrete side: allow GEGL to be used in interactive or batch-oriented web applications, or in native applications based on web technologies (Javascript, HTML5 user interfaces).

Some of the discussions also resulted in me writing down the strategy for GEGL integration in MyPaint and the related ideas/plans for how to improve the performance of the MyPaint brush engine.

Now we just need to implement all the stuff… Contributions welcomed!

 

Performance

Since Piksel, with a long history in generative performance arts, was the hosting organization it was not surprising a project in that area materialized.

A workshop session hosted by media artist Brendan Howell called Demonstrating the Unexpected came up with the idea of the Piksels & Lines Orchestra (PLO): think of the collaborative use of our traditional libre graphics software as an orchestra. The applications, from MyPaint to Scribus, are instruments; the people using them players; a performance the use of these instruments. Can we create an experience for an audience based on this framework? How would it sound? How would it look?

Architecture diagram - no need for them to be dull looking.

Having plenty of code-crafting people available, the next afternoon it was decided to spend a couple of hours realizing a prototype. The LGRU blog has the details. We recorded video of our initial performances with this prototype as well, but that has sadly not made it online yet…

 

Thanks!

Thanks a lot to Piksel and LGRU for sponsoring my attendance, and the EU Culture Programme and Bergen municipality for funding activities that support libre graphics and free culture!

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MyPaint and goats at LGM2012

Already covered in the news from LGM was the release of GIMP 2.8, and that GIMP 2.10 will be fully GEGLified. The goat-invasion branch which has most of that work, the result of 3 weeks of pippin and mitch on a couch hacking together, has already landed in master. This means that GIMP now has support for high bit-depth workflows for most operations. Finally.

Putting the goat in MyPaint

During LGM I started working on using GEGL in MyPaint. I have already mentioned this idea several times, so it was time to stop talking and get hacking.

As a first step in making use of GEGL I wanted to replace the current surface implementation with one based on GeglBuffer. Since GeglBuffer already provides tiling, and can store any buffer data supported by Babl this turned out to be easy. Øyvind (pippin) added the semi-quirky pixel format we currently use* in MyPaint to Babl, and I was able to get a rough working GEGL based Surface implementation the first evening.

The MyPaint brush engine working on top of GeglBuffer

* RGBA premultiplied alpha, in 16 bit unsigned integers with  2^15 being the maximum value.

The next couple of days went to moving to the GeglBufferIterator API instead of gegl_buffer_{get,set} to have zero-copy access to improve performance, and improving GEGL and GEGL-GTK so that some of the hacks in the initial implementation could be removed.

Most of the work is in the gegl branch of MyPaint. A simple test application, mypaint-gegl.py, is included, and you can read README.gegl for how to try it out. Warning: only intended for curious developers at this stage.

A lots of work remains to be done for MyPaint to be able to fully use GEGL. The progress is tracked in two bugs, one for MyPaint work and one for GEGL issues. Because one cannot combine PyGObject with PyGTK, it will likely not be possible to fully integrate GEGL in MyPaint before porting to PyGI and GTK+ 3.

Oh, in case the goat references are lost on you – check the GEGL page on wikipedia.

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Workshop & BoF schedule at Desktop Summit 2011 published

We in the the organizing team have now published the schedule for pre-registered Workshop & BoF sessions at the Desktop Summit 2011 in Berlin.

There is still time to register for ad-hoc sessions, and we will have two dedicated “hacker rooms” where you can sit down with like-minded people and work on what you like!

See the webpage for more information.

 

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Registration open for Workshops & BoFs at the DesktopSummit 2011

As a member of the local organizing team for the Desktop Summit 2011 in Berlin, I’m glad to say that you can now register your workshop or BoF session. These sessions take place during the last 3 days of the conference, and complement the presentations that take place during the 3 first days: The Workshops & BoFs sessions are hands-on sessions where people get together to discuss and work on issues face to face.

Short excerpt from the news entry on the webpage:

All forms of hands-on activities that aim to further the Free Desktop are welcomed. Examples of such sessions include BoF, project and cross-project meetings, workshops, hacking sessions and training/teaching sessions. Each session is self-organized and it is up to the hosts and participants to decide if the session is to be loosely oriented around a set of topics, or have a well-defined agenda.

The organisation committee would like to schedule as many of these sessions beforehand as possible. We expect over 1000 visitors and scheduling helps to ensure minimal overlap with other sessions and allows us to provide a clear timetable for the visitors.
The remainder of the rooms will be scheduled via the wiki but we urge you to pre-register and get a proposal in before the deadline, July 3rd!

I will be proposing a session or two of my own very soon, I suggest you do the same! Use this link

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MyPaint and OpenRaster talks

One of my goals for this year was to give a presentation at a conference. And I can now say that I have achieved that goal.

I gave a talk about MyPaint at Libre Graphics Meeting 2011 in Montreal, Canada: MyPaint – the past, the present and the future.

[hdplay id=1]

Download in Ogg/Theora

I will also be giving a lighting talk at the DesktopSummit in Berlin about OpenRaster. It looks like this will be on August 7th at 14.00, but you should of course come for the whole week. Just look at the awesome program!

 

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Going to Libre Graphics Meeting 2011 in Montreal!

So, it is confirmed, I’m going to LGM 2011! I was at LGM last year, and I expect this year to be just as good. Hopefully I’ll also be giving a talk this time, about MyPaint and/or OpenRaster.

If you are interested in free and open source graphics software, or the production of freely licensed graphical works, you should go too! See the press release for more information, or go straight to submit a talk proposal. If you cannot be there but still want to show your support, please consider donating.

I guess this means I should order the tickets soon…

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FOSDEM 2011

Last weekend I was in Brussels for my first FOSDEM.

Friday I attended a planning meeting for this years Desktop Summit. Several things were on the agenda, the most pressing being the website and the call for papers which both should be finished in the coming month. I was tasked with organizing the call for BoF/meetings/devrooms. In a broader scope, I see my role as making sure relevant non-KDE and GNOME projects know they are welcome. People involved in such projects are welcomed to submit talk proposals, or apply for space for a BoF/meeting just like a KDE/GNOME project, but for anything to come out of it we need to communicate this properly.

Didn’t go to a lot of talks, but I had plenty of good discussions in the “hallway track” and in the evening events. Especially good was meeting up with Claudio Saavedra to discuss Meego Input Methods and the Gtk+ integration he is working on. I hope I was able to help him a bit in getting started.

Attended the Libre Graphics Meeting planning dinner sunday evening. I don’t know if I’m able to make it to the conference yet, so I did not have that much to contribute, but I let them that Libre Graphics projects are welcome to the Desktop Summit. And that I might try to organize a MyPaint workshop at LGM.

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Meego Conference 2010

Like most of my colleagues at Openismus I was present at the first Meego conference in Dublin. As usual, I’m probably the last to blog about it. See for instance Friedrich’s post, Andre’s post or Chris’ very detailed post.

The conference was held at the Aviva stadium, a huge sports stadium just outside Dublin center. Untraditional venue choice, but it was quite nice and the organization was very good.

The conference schedule was packed; 2 days with 5 parallel tracks and the third day done unconference style with some 7 parallel sessions (btw, all the talks are available online). Many of the technical talks I went to were a bit on the light side in my opinion, which is forgivable considering how new the whole Meego thing is (or maybe I just chose badly). However, the keynotes and some less-technical talks (and some discussions in the “hallway track”) gave me much better understanding of what Meego actually is and aims to be.  Which is arguably just as important.

The schedule was fairly packed in the evenings as well, with opening reception and  “Openismus conference dinner” at the closest pub the first day, party at the Guinness Storehouse the second and a Ireland-Norway friendly in football (which Norway won!) the third. In addition, the official conference hotel had a “hacking area” available 24-7, which was pretty popular.

To give Meego a little boost,  all the participants were given a Lenovo Ideapad S10-t3 tablet netbook/laptop. In exchange we had to install Meego Netbook Edition 1.1 on and promise to develop cool applications for. Lucky me also got a Nokia N900 so I can do development for that form-factor as well. 😀

What is Meego? (my interpretation and some musing)

At least Intel seems to have a very clear vision of  Meego as an open operating system and software platform that will make it easy for people to deliver new and innovative products in the embedded/mobile/space.

Meego explicitly targets a broad range of device classes, from set-top boxes to in-vehicle-infotainment to handsets to netbooks, a very bold move. Personally, I think the key to succeeding in that aspect is to attract the vendors with expertise in each device class and have them drive development. The project has done a decent job at that so far with Intel, Linpus, et.c. for netbook, Nokia for handset, the GENIVI consortium for IVI and so on.

Another thing the Meego project explicitly supports is for vendors shipping devices to do customization. This is basically a prerequisite to be able to attract them at all (as they naturally want to differentiate their products), but brings additional challenges in delivering a consistent platform and brand. The compliance specification work presented at the conference leads me to believe that the project is on the right path here though.

As an application platform Meego is based around Qt (with Qt Quick). This is a decent platform, but what is most lacking in order to attract application developers is probably shiny, attractive devices, and people using them. Hopefully they will be here soon…

All in all, I like what I see. Time will show how well the project succeeds, there are certainly exciting times ahead!

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