Thursday, June 26, 2008

Krita: Gimp Killer, almost

My recent endeavor to fix some of Gimps problems so far wasn't meet with much success. While the toolbar works and makes life easier, it won't make its way into the official Gimp, for reasons that fall somewhere between ignorance and bullshit. Not that there wouldn't be many plausible reasons to not include the patch, its far from perfect and misses quite a few disireable features,but the main reason seems to be that it "doesn't fit", without a clear explanation why and what would be the alternative.

Anyway, that dive into the Gimp also made me look at alternatives and to my surprise there actually is one and not just a "almost as good" one, but more of a "thats pretty awesome" one. Krita does basically everything that I miss in Gimp. It has configurable toolbars, layer grouping, layer cloning, layer locking, ability to dock docks to the image window, custom window management for docks, more Photoshop like brushes, natural brushes, support for higher bit depths and a ton more. The downside of all those cool features however is that its buggy as hell, not the crash kind of bug, but the annoying weird one. Some parts of the GUI don't maximize properly, some jump around because the pressure options for the tablet are constantly hidden and revealed depending on how far away you are from the tablet with your pen and all kinds of other stuff. Krita1.9 doesn't even start because it gets confused when libqt3-mt is installed. But all those annoyances aside, Krita is great and definitively heading into a direction that I like. It is no longer the me-too Gimp clone that it was a few years ago, but almost a serious Gimp killer.

While at the topic of graphic applications, there were some interesting videos of talks from the LGM2008.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A quick little update...

Time for another little update, this time one of the mixed sort. In the wake of the Debian OpenSSL fiasco I did a little security inspection of my own and quickly found something in makepasswd, however given that this other bug just celebrated its 10th anniversary I have little hope that anybody will care.

Another thing I did was analyzing a bit the annoyances found in Gimp, the results are here and as a first try to get into Gimp coding I implemented a toolbar for the image window, which works nicely, but if it will find its way into Gimp 2.6 only time can tell. At the moment it looks more likely that it won't, since GUI configurability is still missing and maybe more importantly, Gimp needs a *ton* of new icons to make this work, since no filter and many normal menu functions don't have icons or only icons not specific enough. Discussion is going on on gimp-devel. Anyway, if you are running SVN Gimp you can try it and it already works well enough for daily work.

And then there is the Xbox360 chatpad and the heatset, I got one and started working on it, so far it doesn't look to good with the driver. For the headset, getting sound from the mic or to the headphones is easy, but decyphering the sound format might get tricky. You can find some samples here and here. If you import it at 8bit PCM, Mono, 8192Hz you can understand the words in the sample, but it is extremly noisy. There is likely some compression going on or so, but that 1 second beeping in the silent recording is confusing me a little. One can send the sound sample back to the headphones and they will sound ok without noise, but they play at half the speed, which means that the headset expects half the Hz. When it comes to the chatpad I am still pretty much in the dark, I haven't managed to get any signals from it and it doesn't even send a "plug-in" signal like the headset. There is also a lack of a Windows driver for the chatpad, so just snooping USB data from Windows isn't going to work. Have to try around if I can initialize it by brute force. I also managed to collect some data for the wireless controller and wireless headsets, nothing final on that side, but they are sending out some data at least.