Last night I tried to use inkscape to do some graphic design type work. Here's my (point format) review from start to finish

  • It's not 64 bit clean. It doesn't even start on an IA64 box, and it's something to do with glib and quarks and string lists which will take more time to track down than I have, unfortunately. The code is huge; the build directory ended up hitting the 600mb mark. The best I can do at this stage is offer one of the developers a login.
  • Once working on my ibook, I was pleasantly surprised with everything but the colour chooser. There is no eye-dropper tool that I could find, and no way to store a palette of colours either, so I was forced to remembering and typing in RGB colours. If you copy and object and then edit it's colour properties, it defaults back to black. The gradient tool is fairly non-intuitive, giving strange names to stops. This was frustrating. Everything else, however, worked great.
  • The inbuilt bitmap tracing tool was really nice.
  • I was quite impressed with the final output. It looked great on the screen.
  • I needed a PDF. So I exported to to postscript, and it just looked wrong. For a start, the alpha transparency doesn't export to postscript at all, so things that were looking grey on the screen were just black. On one piece of clipart, the export had dropped a few bits leaving white gaps in the picture. It seemed to have rasterised some of the output, especially the stuff I bitmap traced, making it look really dodgey.
  • I imported the SVG into Illustrator, hoping it would save better PDF's. Illustrator also ignored the alpha transparency, but, more worryingly, when constraining the artboard to a particular size in Illustrator the Inkscape output seemed to be about 4cm larger than the (supposedly same) artboard size. I don't know who is right, but I trust Illustrator. I can't be sending wrong sized artwork to a printer, because they will just crop the overflow.

All said, trying to use Inkscape to quickly get artwork into PDF format for printing hasn't really worked all that well for me. I've had to use Illustrator to tweak the final output. With a few UI enhancements (which are happening in current dev versions) and a first-class export to PDF it would put a strong link in the linux-as-a-desktop chain.