InkScape Moves To GitLab
Written by David Conrad   
Monday, 12 June 2017

The open source vector graphics editor, Inkscape, has moved to GitLab. One reason for the move was because its existing Launchpad code platform and repository system was off putting to new contributors and made working on Inkscape harder for existing developers.


Inkscape, which is free and open source and a member of the Software Freedom Conservancy, is professional quality vector graphics software which runs on Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. Its distinctive features is that it uses SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) as its native format and it is used by design professionals and hobbyists for creating a wide variety of graphics such as illustrations, icons, logos, diagrams, maps and web graphics.

The Inkscape project began in 2003 as a fork from Sodipodi which in turn was based on Ralph Levien's Gill, the GNOME illustration application which, from its inception in 1999 aimed at supporting all of the W3C SVG standard for Vector Graphics, the specification of which first appeared in draft in 1999.  Sodipodi started a collection of SVG clip art which helped inspire the Open Clip Art Library but it folded shortly after four of its  developers, Ted Gould, Bryce Harrington, Nathan Hurst, and MenTaLguY left to form Inkscape due to disagreements that was partly about openess to third-party contributions but also technical. In particular the Inkscape developers wanted to focus development on implementing the complete SVG standard.

For its first four years Inkscape's bug tracking system was hosted on SourceForge. Then it moved to Launchpad, the project hosting services developed and maintained by Canonical. Now the project has moved in order to take advantage of more advanced code management, by way of Git rather than Bazaar, which in turn would encourage more contributors. This conversion has been a protracted process but this month Inkscape board member Ted Gould, who was one of the original Inkscape developers and has continued to be an active contributor, completed the conversion and uploading process involved in moving the project from the Launchpad platform using bazaar, to the GitLab platform using git repositories.  




As the announcement of the move to GitLab explains:

This transition has taken the project a year or more to plan carefully which platforms would host the Inkscape project and how to technically convert the codebase with the minimal amount of data loss. Tools exist to convert from bzr to git branches, but a lot of testing and experimentation was conducted to make sure this large project would translate correctly.

During the decision about which platform would host our git repositories, we discounted staying on Launchpad itself as its git support was very weak compared to other platforms and the project doesn't appear to be actively developed. Another option was GitHub, which is a very popular project host and pretty much the defacto platform for many developers. This platform lost some points because it's entirely proprietary and there existing a very solid Free Software competitor in the form of GitLab - which was the final decision for the project's new platform.

As Nikos Vaggalis reported in GitHub Victim Of Its Own Success back at the beginning of 2016, when some users voiced discontent at the lack of support GitHub accorded open source projects, GitLab saw an opportunity for self-promotion as a viable alternative repository for Git-based projects and its big plus point for many potential users was being completely open source.

Inkscape has been involved with Google Summer of Code since 2005 and is part of this year's GSOC program. This is one indicator of an active and healthy open source project and it is to be hoped that the move to GitLab will encourage more people to join in the project's development. 


More Information

Inkscape moves to GitLab

Inkscape on GitLab

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Last Updated ( Monday, 12 June 2017 )