Report of Libre Graphics Meeting 2015

We have been back from Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 in Toronto for 2 weeks now. It is time for a report! 🙂

About the event itself, this year was very nice, as usual, though it felt a little empty compared to the previous 2 years we also attended. Not sure exactly why is that. Are most contributors European-based? Apart from this:

* We could hang out with the rest of the GIMP team, and that’s cool…
GIMP Breakfast on Sunday

* Nearly the whole GIMP team made a small road trip to see the Niagara falls…

ZeMarmot at Niagara falls
ZeMarmot at Niagara falls

* Of course, we also had our annual GIMP developer meeting, to discuss directions of the project…
Gimp bird-of-a-feather meeting

* And we discovered once again several awesome projects during various presentations. I won’t name them all, and unfortunately we also missed a few talks (I was especially sad to miss “Goodbye FontForge” by Dave Crossland — because with such a title and because Dave is a reference, this looks like it was a must-see; and “Web Sites on a Stick: EPUB and the Web Converge” by Liam Quin, a GIMP contributor, and we heard his talk was very cool). But from what we saw, I’ll raise:

  • Creating textbook-grade SVG illustrations for Wikipedia: a talk about contributing to Wikipedia with SVG images. It was interesting to see nice possible outputs of SVG. Yet what really hit me was the low support of SVG in browsers (like: it is supported nearly everywhere now, but apparently most advanced feature are not). So apparently SVG images contributed to Wikipedia are actually re-rendered as bitmap (text layers are hidden, advanced layout features would get wrong rendering on most browsers, embedded links are not working, etc. Well that’s if I got it right, tell me in comment if I misunderstood! This is sad.
  • imgflo: the cool work of Jonnor, GIMP, GEGL and MyPaint contributor, about imgflo, his project of an image rendering server through HTTP API. These are the kind of projects which will help GEGL go forward.
  • The List powered by Creative Commons: a talk by Matt Lee from Creative Commons about a smartphone app project to request and share photographs. Well I’m not sure if this project will be a success, and I heard a lot of people saying they did not believe in it. But I think the basic idea is still there: we should be able to gain more contributions to Libre Knowledge projects (Wikimedia, OpenStreetMap, Creative Commons projects…) by giving them more “game-like” exposure. This is actually a thought I had slightly before knowing this project, when I met people who send all their data to Google with games like “Ingress” (if you read, you know who you are!). I think we should be able to do the same thing with Libre Knowledge projects. For instance, if instead of sending all your coordinates and personal behavioral data to Google, you had a similar Free Software smartphone game to improve OpenStreetMap data automatically, wouldn’t that be awesome? Well if anyone has such a project, do not hesitate to contact me! Especially if you are into UI, then I’d leave you this part and I’d take care of the engine. 🙂
    Of course, I’m not really sure this was the actual direction taken by The List, but it could be an interesting experiment.
    Also we already told about it, but we remind that Matt Lee is running a crowdfunding as well right now for a comedy movie, “Orang-U: An Ape Goes To College”.
  • Allowing Mistakes to Happen: this one was really funny. Antonio is a glitch artist, a field I didn’t know about. Basically while we are looking for bugs to fix them, he is looking for bugs… to use them for art! I know, right?!
    Glitch Art
  • Towards Open Textile and Garment Production: very awesome, an Open Textile Production line project. The idea: the knowledge of making clothes is mostly lost in western countries, and unfair in the rest of the world (bad work condition, dangerous even, bad pay, old material because slaving human workers is cheaper than getting modern machines, etc.). Not to mention the uniformization of fashion. So the idea is to get back control to our own fashion in the same idea as Hackerspaces/fablabs. Here for an awesome video. We also saw one of these hacked knitting machine a week later in OpenTechSummit in Berlin.

    Made In the Neighbourhood (ft. a clothing printer, OpenKnit) from Gerard Rubio.

These are mostly the talks of less known projects and which I didn’t expected (well, excepted imgflo one’s, but it’s always cool to remind it!). Which is good: I prefer to find unexpected things, it’s less boring. 🙂
Of course, if you were rather expecting news of the big projects from my report, I’d suggest to have a look to the slides of the State of Libre Graphics [pdf] (the first talk of LGM), which are pretty self-explanatory (about Blender, GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, etc. even our awesome LILA is there, and the brand new website project by Patrick David about Free/OpenSource photography).

And finally we presented our own project, ZeMarmot.

LGM-2015-ZeMarmot Talk
“ZeMarmot in a dense blizzard (due to bad camera settings)! ..At the Libre Graphics Meeting, 2015”, by Tom Lechner, CC BY-SA 2.0

You can have a look at ZeMarmot’s slides [pdf] (actually the ones for OpenTechSummit, slightly updated, but similar).
And here for the video of the talk shot by Peter Westenberg (Free Art license):

The presentation and the teaser (shown publicly for the first time this day) got well received, with applause, so this was a nice start. 🙂

Also we remind that we are still in the middle of ZeMarmot’s crowdfunding, in order to a cool animation film out, and improve (code contribution!) Free Software (GIMP, Blender…)
Support ZeMarmot