Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

After almost four years and a half of development, Inkscape 0.91 (an open-source vector graphics editor) was finally released a few days ago. The new version includes over 700 bug fixes, a new Cairo-based renderer, OpenMP multithreading for all filters, major improvements for the Text tool, a new Measurement tool and more.

Inkscape 0.91

Inkscape 0.91 includes significant performance improvements thanks to a new Cairo-based renderer which is faster on most drawings. Also, the rendering of SVG drawings is now cached, resulting in important responsiveness improvements.

Furthermore, the latest Inkscape uses OpenMP multithreading for filters (filters use all available processor cores for computation), which provides better performance when editing drawings that include large filtered objects on multi-core systems.

Besides the new rendering engine, Inkscape 0.91 also ships with new features, like a new Measurement tool (can be activated by pressing the "M" shortcut) which updates live with measurements of length and angles as you pass over objects:

Inkscape 0.91

The Text tool has received special attention for this release:
  • text size default unit is now in points (pt) and is customizable (px,pt,pc,mm,cm,in,em);
  • text toolbar shows full list of font style variants for that font;
  • files with text in em units read correctly;
  • font substitution warning dialog.
Inkscape 0.91

Other changes in the latest Inkscape 0.91 include:
  • a grayscale display color mode has been added;
  • the tool control bar for the Node Tool features a new dropdown to insert new nodes on the selected segments extreme values;
  • the gradient toolbar allows selecting and modifying gradient stops, invert, repeat and link gradients; also, gradients are sortable by color, name and usage and they can be renamed in Fill/Stroke;
  • new Symbol library (along with a new symbols dialog) and support for Visio stencils;
  • support for real world document and page size units (e.g. millimeters);
  • a new library (libdepixelize) was developed for Inkscape to automatically vectorize raster images specialized in Pixel Art. This was integrated in a new "Trace Pixel Art" dialog (Path > Trace Pixel Art);
  • file formats:
    • new Flash XML Graphics (FXG) export;
    • new Synfig Animation Studio (SIF) export;
    • new HTML5 Canvas export;
    • new Visio (VSD) import format;
    • new internal CorelDraw (CDR) import format;
    • EMF and WMF input/output filters have been completely rewritten and are now cross-platform;
  • new extensions: guillotine, isometric grid generator, bitmap crop, extract text, HSL adjust, replace font, N-Up layout, Voronoï diagram and Hershey Text.
  • more.

Inkscape 0.91 has way too many changes for me to include in a single article so check out the official release notes for more information.

Below you can watch a video which demonstrates the 10 most exciting features in Inkscape 0.91:

10 most exciting features in Inkscape 0.91 from Alexandre Prokoudine on Vimeo.

Install Inkscape 0.91 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Ubuntu / Linux Mint users can install the latest Inkscape 0.91 by using its official stable PPA. To add the PPA and install Inkscape, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:inkscape.dev/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install inkscape

Download Inkscape

Download Inkscape (binaries available for Linux - Ubuntu PPA and OpenSUSE only for now -, Mac OSX and Windows, as well as the source code)