The big news with Xara is finally coming out today. :-)
Xara has ported their product to Linux and will be Open Sourcing it.
For more details, see http://xaraxtreme.org/. A press release is coming
out, and is appended to this message.
Charles Moir has been talking with me about this privately for the past
couple months. His interest is to see Inkscape and Xara be
in collaboration rather than competition, and I've been sharing ideas
(such as the XAR/SVG project) along these lines. I've suggesting that
merging inkscape and xara codebases would probably be impractical, but
it might be possible to take the best bits of both and create something
better than either, down the road. It seemed wisest in the near term
for them to release what they've got, and to focus on making it work on
Linux, which they've now done. :-)
The key question for us is how we want to relate to Xara when the code
is released. Would it make sense for us to share code with Xara?
Should we merge, or remain distinct? They'd be open to sharing svn
repositories if we'd like (I mentioned we've been looking to upgrade
from cvs, and they already use svn)?
Anyway, check it out (a Linux binary preview is downloadable, and
there's also a pretty sweet movie) and share your thoughts.
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 16:29:31 +0100
From: Charles Moir <[hidden email]>
To: Bryce Harrington <[hidden email]>
Subject: Xara Open Source announcement
It's happening any time soon. FYI this is a copy of the press release we'll be sending out to Linux press. Note comments about Inkscape lower down. Hope OK with you (I don't think this has anything that I've not already passed by you).
The XaraXtreme.org site is also up and the FAQ has a few mentions of Inkscape.. Again nothing new I don't think. The FAQ will likely be updated to take into account feedback I've already got from some people.
Some of the other links won't work until we've completed updating the website later today.
PS I've not contacted any of the developers you passed to me, mostly because we're just not ready to do this yet (spending all our time getting this stuff ready), but I hope to do that soon, and do intend that these be some of the first people we'll invite to get access to the codebase.
PPS I spoke to a Stephen someone from newsforge recently, he was doing a story on the Uber-converter. I put him in touch with Eric, but he came back later asking for your contact details, so we gave him your email address I think. Hope OK. He maybe in touch.
11th October, 2005
Xara announces Xtreme Open Source
Xara plans to shake up the Linux, Mac and Open Source world with three major announcements.
1) A new product Xara Xtreme - the fastest most versatile graphics software available
2) Plans to create Linux and Mac versions
3) Plans to Open Source it.
"Few companies can take the announcement that Microsoft intend to get into their market, lying down." says CEO Charles Moir.
Xara, developer of popular Windows graphics software, is making a move to defend themselves against Microsoft moving into their market, and at the same time is attempting to change the graphics landscape.
Firstly Xara is announcing the release of a new product, Xara Xtreme. It's built on Xara's history of developing successful, award winning and innovative graphics software for 15 years. This is a new cross-category graphics application that can handle photos, business graphics, drawing and illustration needs.
Charles Moir, CEO of Xara, said "It absolutely knocks the stuffing out of Adobe and the new Microsoft product. In terms of ease of use, shear flexibility and performance. Adobe has tried for 10 years to get close to our performance levels and cannot. Microsoft are not going to be able to either. I guarantee it".
Xara Xtreme is available for Windows now, at just $79
Linux and Mac versions
Secondly Xara plans to create Linux and Mac versions of the graphics application. Charles said, "Many of our users are Mac and Linux enthusiasts who, often reluctantly, use Windows to run our software because it's only been available on Windows. For years we've had requests from Mac and Linux users to create versions for their platforms. Our plans are to change the graphics software landscape forever, and that means we have to be cross-platform"
The Linux desktop has come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so. But there is scarcity of really slick, finished applications, especially in the graphics arena. Our goal is to create the greatest general purpose desktop graphics application that has ever existed and for this to be a first class Linux and Mac citizen.
Ironically, given the percentage of graphic professionals using Macs, there are few, if any, high quality, high performance, low cost Mac graphics applications. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop dominate, but those can cost more than a new Mac. That's outrageous. With Macromedia being acquired by Adobe, choice for Mac users just took a turn for the worse. We can help address that."
Thirdly Xara intends to make the new software Open Source. Charles said "We're going to a place that Microsoft and Adobe cannot go. The Open Source world is the acknowledged largest threat to established giants such as Microsoft. We felt it was necessary for us to shake up the graphics world a bit, and making one of the most powerful, easiest to use graphics applications Open Source should do the trick."
To stand any chance of establishing a following in the Linux world you have to make the product free and Open Source, so despite the risks involved, that's what we're doing.
We have a load of technology that's better than anything Microsoft or Adobe have. By making this Open Source (GPL) we believe we can help the Linux platform compete in the mainstream graphics arena better than it ever has before.
We used to develop for alternative platforms, such as the Acorn RISC computer in the 1990s, and so fundamentally Xara Xtreme is based on a cross-platform core.
Of course, we are aware of Inkscape, an existing Open Source vector graphics program that has an active developer community, but is far from complete. We've been in discussion with Inkscape people, who have enthusiastically welcomed us. Our short term goal is to create a fully working Xara Xtreme as it exists now. After that we've agreed to work with Inkscape to determine how best to create a 'best of both world's' product.
Xara Xtreme, made Open Source (released under GPL) and available on Linux will make a huge difference to the platform. We believe it will significantly accelerate the acceptance of the platform as an alternative to Windows. Down the road, combine the best of Inkscape and Xara, and you've got something that has the potential to disrupt the established world that is dominated by Adobe and Microsoft.
Graphics desktop applications are a cornerstone of any modern desktop OS. We have what we (and many others) believe is the best desktop graphics application there is. By making it Open Source, by making it available on Windows, Mac and Linux, we hope to change the graphics software landscape forever"
Xara has been working on a new cross-platform version (Linux, Mac and Windows) for some time and have a simple viewer (Linux only) demonstration available. You can find more details here: http://www.xaraxtreme.org/download/
Xara has been developing low-cost mass-market software since the early years of the Microcomputer era, in 1981. It has focused mostly on publishing related software products, starting from Wordwise, a hugely popular Word Processor in the '80s, to desktop publishing software (Impression) and graphics products in the '90s for the Acorn RISC computer. Xara's first Windows product, Xara Studio was quickly snapped up and marketed by Corel in the late '90s. The rights were acquired back from Corel and it has since evolved into Xara X and the most recent Xara Xtreme.
Xara has particularly strong technology and innovation history. It pioneered many of the graphics technologies and techniques used by industry today. It was the first to introduce vector anti-aliasing, the first with vector transparency and graduated transparency, the first vector feathering. Many of its User Interface techniques have been adopted by the industry. The graphics engine that is at the core of Xara Xtreme still remains the world's most powerful.
The technologies used to create Xara Xtreme have been developed by Xara over the years and incorporates many pioneering features. It has been modelled on the successful Xara X? (sold for $179) as used by many professional graphics and illustration artists but has been significantly re-engineered to open it up to third-party plug-in developers.