deviantArt Plugins Released!

I’m please to announce that version 1.0 of the deviantArt stash plugins for Inkscape and Gimp are released.

It’s a Big Deal

This is a BIG deal my friends and I’m very excited because not only do we have this functionality, but we have it FIRST, before ANY proprietary software package. That’s right, the stash API was only announced last week and here I am giving you the keys to brand spanking new functionality right from within your favourite art creation applications!

We can do something with art that no other software can do today… send your artwork (with or without sources) directly to your deviantArt account… then once uploaded it can (at your option) open up the web browser so you can look at the artwork, send your friends a link or publish it further in your main galleries.

Oh and you can submit from the command line using the da-submit command.

Where do I get it!?

You can get the goodness from the source tarball or from my ppa if you’re using Ubuntu 10.04/10.10/11.04 by following these steps:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:doctormo/deviantart-plugins
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp-plugin-dastash inkscape-extension-dastash

Please report bugs in launchpad, if you would like to make these plugins available for other platforms, please do let me know. If you know someone who will sponsor these packages into Debian, also get in touch. Because this is the sort of functionality that should be available directly from the software center.

How do I use it?

Simply go into either Inkscape or Gimp…

Open up an XCF gimp file and from the Image menu, select ‘Publish to’ > ‘deviantArt Stash’:

Open up an SVG file and from the Extensions menu, select ‘Publish to’ > ‘deviantArt’:

A small window will appear, fill in the title and maybe a few keywords and press ok… If this is your first time uploading you will get a pop-up asking you to authenticate:

Log in and now wait as your image is saved as a png, and then the png and source files as sent to deivnatArt. Inkscape might give you a warning that the extension returns (saying you weren’t authenticated) you can safely ignore it. You should still get the webpage pop up in your web browser showing your your new devination:

Now you can edit the piece in the browser and publish it to one of your galleries and give it a good CC license too. Don’t forget that the sources are made available by default, so be sure that’s what you want to do.

With Thanks To

A big shout out to Gilles Dubuc and Mike Halpert from deviantArt who made sure that bugs were fixed and I was given help trying to fix some of the problems with OAuth. Thanks LGM for hosting an awesome event that allowed the project to happen.

If you have any questions or thoughts, please add a comment to this blog entry…

LGM: Day 4

Michael Terry and AdaptableGimp

Michael (not our mterry, but the other one) Terry presented a wiki based system for presenting artistic tools in gimp within a workflow structure. This means that all the tools that you need to achieve an action are displayed in order and there are instructions linked from each tool in how to use that tool in that workflow.

The best parts of this FANTASTIC functionality is that as well as downloading instructions from the wiki and an xml list of tools, you can create new Tool Sets within Gimp and they are automatically uploaded to the wiki. This allows all users to collaborate on gimp workflows.

This is the sort of workflow based tool use that I really enjoy seeing. It emphasises the task you want to achieve and makes education as shallow as possible. Imagine a method of embeding the documentation/tutoral right into the UI of your software, this is what this does. checkout their website.

Using PinPoint for Presentations

Pippen talked about using a very light tool to show very awesome presentations. Check out the source code and if you know how to package things then get this packaged so we can use it in Debian.

Features include animated transitions, simple text format you can write by hand, lots of options, comments that appear on the presenters screen, running commands.

Talking about Economics

One of the lighting talks talked about economics. He suggested that incidental development was the way to go. Sighting mozilla, wordpress and other projects as examples of this economic model working.

Hardware is as Important as Software

There was a very interesting talk about Fabrication and Hardware by Jon Phillips. He talked a lot about how China develops open hardware and processes through a methodology which isn’t as restricted. He also suggested that if we don’t get a handle on the hardware situation we will be left with closed and non-modular hardware which is mass-produced but inflexible for innovative product development and distributed production.


Party Time! See you all in Montreal until 3am! Thanks to all the sponsors and all the really interesting people who I could spend some time with.

Ubuntu Art: March

One of my many jobs in the community is to bring you lovely Ubuntu planet readers some of the wonderful art works that are created using Ubuntu and the FOSS tools we have in the repositories, all these works come from the Ubuntu deviantArt group. These are my picks for the month of march:

If you or someone you know is a good artist and would like to show off their work in our featured gallery. Do join up at our deviantArt group’s front page and start submitting work to the favourites and the galleries.

The Ubuntu Desktop Consumer Product

It’s Thanks Giving day here in the USA and what better day than to ask a question about consumerism: Is the direction of Ubuntu gearing it’s self for simple consumer grade computing?

Disclosure: I’ve always held out hope of getting inkscape included by default in Ubuntu.

A clue is in the recent planned removal of Gimp from the Lucid CD, if you look at the size of gimp and all it’s dependencies on the CD, you find lots of fat, so it’s not a surprise that it’s under pressure to be removed. Although devels explaining the removal with hand waving that F-Spot is to be the replacement was surely a bad political misstep, even if it’s probably a reasonable technical move.

The problem for me is a lack of regard for what I like to call: “The involved user”, people who are not just consuming data from their computers but are involved and get the feeling that their involvement is welcomed by default. This has always been something that distinguished FreeDesktops like Ubuntu, they contained not just programs for viewing interesting things, but all the tools required to also make a great deal of them.

This is what Walter Bender of Sugar labs would call “Making the mountains of learning available and visible to clime for everyone, even if only a few end up doing so”. That’s why we bother to make careful selections on what goes on the CD, those applications are the chosen few that will shape and mould the users understanding of the capabilities and user expectations of the system.

The mountain that is the drawing arts was just painted pink and a Someone Else’s Problem field was set up, rendering the entire artistic field invisible to new users. How do new users discover that they can make artworks with their computers? No solutions have yet been devised to solve this discovery problem. I’d like to point out that even windows has MS Paint, people who want to paint have a clear simple method for doing so on their computers and then they figure out that there must be better tools and are motivated to find them.

I think this simplified direction stems from a perception that Ubuntu should not be “for human beings”, but for the lowest common human possible (“Linux for Neanderthals” anyone?). This is at best a caricature that the devels have set up in their minds, imaginary people that we convince ourselves must be served in order to fix bug #1. These are the common people who only ever retouch the red eye in their photographs and never do anything creative like stick the head of their aunt onto the body of an donkey as an April Fools joke. These are the people who are not and will never be interested in a computer more functional than a television, and more fool those that present these users with any sort of creative outlet.

What makes this journey down to common denominator interesting is that this simple user case is and will be solved by other products. ChromeOS, Android and iPhone and is already looking to take the market of all those people who just want to go online and never want to do anything useful, and they’ll probably be doing it better than Ubuntu. Does Ubuntu really want to strip anything interesting and unique away from it’s default selection, so the only thing we’re left with is a rather bland bare bones base that we will always have to install extra programs on top of?

Surely the art of the computer is not just to provide a google-box for the sofa generation, but to furnish people with the tools and just as importantly the visibility that these tools exist and are available to everyone. Perhaps the problem I have with the direction being taken is not anything technical, but is a lot more to do with the myopia that surrounds a certain expectation about what the council estate users will want from their computers.

Perhaps in the end, if we can’t have tools like Inkscape, Audacity, Gimp and OpenOffice installed by default, then perhaps we should have a good mechanism that clearly shows their availability and install them through it, it was talked about at the session that we should have the software center provide this featured app list, perhaps that will work. And for poorly connected nations such as those in Africa, perhaps we should master a second CD to send to them. One that contains all the debs that complete their systems and give them creative tools as well, instead of struggling to decide what to include on a single CD and causing headaches for anyone not on the list of designated target consumers.