Fri, 20 Jan 2006 16:13:54 +0000

Constant, OSP aims to test the possibilities and realities of doing design, illustration, cartography and typography using a range of F/LOSS tools. Since 2006, we investigate the potential of F/LOSS in a professional design environment. We do not expect to find (or offer!) the same experience as the ones we are used to. In fact, we are interested in experimenting with everything that shows up in the cracks. More about OSP OSP members Harrisson Interview: You need to copy to understand Graphic designer and teacher based in Brussels. Started to use as much Open Source software as possible on his Macintosh as part of a research project The Tomorrow Book at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. By now his practice runs on F/LOSS entirely. Pierre Huyghebaert http://www.speculoos.com Exploring several practices around graphic design, he currently drives the studio Speculoos. Pierre is interested in using free sofware to re-learn to work in other ways and collaboratively on cartography, type design, web interface, schematic illustration, book design and teaching these practices. Along participating in OSP, he articulate residential spaces and narratives through the artists temporary alliance Potential Estate and develop collaborative and subjective mapping with Towards and others Brussels urban projects. Ludivine Loiseau http://www.ludi.be/ crashed into Open Source on board of an OSP truck on the way to Poland. Is part of the Speculoos team, studied typography at the École Estienne in Paris Nicolas Maleve http://towards.be Systems- and software developer from Brussels, currently living in Barcelona, with a long interest in the politics and practice of software. Uses Linux since 1998 and makes publishing- and distribution systems for collaborative work. Yi Jiang http://www.taidangao.org/ Shuttled between graphic design and non graphic design after studying in The Central Academy of Art & Design (Beijing) and a short stay at ENSAV La Cambre (Brussels). Till the day that she knocked at the door of OSP... Ivan Monroy López http://textzi.net Programmer, writer from Mexico. Studied at the Piet Zwart Institute Media programme. Interested in programmatic print, and niche publishing. His new zine is called ``print soapbox''. He will give you a copy if you just ask Femke Snelting http://snelting.domainepublic.net/ Graphic designer and artist based in Brussels, developing projects at the intersection of design, feminism and free software. John Haltiwanger http://drippingdigital.com/blog Working in programming languages, new media theory, and typographic design software, John strives for a balance between the practical, the aesthetic, and the boundary-breaking. And also: Alexandre Leray, Pierre Marchand, Stéphanie Vilayphiou, Seb Sanfilippo, ... [caption id="attachment_5850" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Left to right: Stéphanie Vilayphiou, Alex Leray, Ivan Monroy Lopez, Pierre Huyghebaert, Pierre Marchand, Harrisson"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_2444" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Left to right: Ivan Monroy Lopez, Harrisson, Pierre Huyghebaert, Femke Snelting, Ludivine Loiseau, Yi Liang"]Left to right: Ivan Monroy Lopez, Harrisson, Pierre Huyghebaert, Femke Snelting, Ludivine Loiseau, Yi Liang[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5847" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Left to right: Pierre Huyghebaert, Ludivine Loiseau, Femke Snelting, Yi Liang, Harrisson, Ivan Monroy Lopez"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5958" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Left to right: Antoine Begon, Pierre Marchand, Seb Sanfillipo, Stéphanie Vilayphiou, Alexandre Leray"][/caption] ]]>

Ok, it is time now.

Fri, 20 Jan 2006 16:59:06 +0000


Scribus 1.3

Sat, 11 Feb 2006 17:40:49 +0000

Of course, using software seriously for the first time is a disorienting experience in itself, but in this case the application responded in such unexpected ways that it left me sort of hopeless about the possibility that lets say... designing a book, or doing anything more 'subtle' would be possible. With the newest version, the next project might be a lot easier to acomplish I hope. Download available at http://www.constantvzw.com/downloads/]]>

Scribus Bug Reporting

Sun, 12 Feb 2006 17:00:04 +0000

http://bugs.scribus.net/view_all_bug_page.php It is somehow consoling to see those thousands of minor and major problems scroll by. We will be adding our own reports over the coming weeks (see below). ]]>

Bitstream Charter

Sun, 12 Feb 2006 17:39:47 +0000

Bitstream Charter, one of the few usable Open Source fonts around I know of, is currently published on myfonts.com with the following licence: http://www.myfonts.com/viewlicense?id=315 no modifications Florian Cramer explains what is really going on:
"That's true, but the license change refers to a newer version of Bitstream Charter. A copyright owner of a work is free to change the licensing terms any time, either rendering a formely free work proprietary or vice versa. But a license change can never be retroactive, i.e. it can't affect the licensing terms of a previously released version of the same work. (Same happened to SSH for example: The original SSH continues to be developed as proprietary software, whereas OpenSSH - included among others in Mac OS X and Linux - was developed on the basis of an older, free version of the original SSH package.) An older version of Bitstream Charter was donated to the X Window system and continues to be available under the extremely liberal MIT/X11 license. In Debian and Ubuntu, the font is part of the package "xfonts-scalable" which is in the fully free standard distribution. (...) The "Gentium" font is another interesting typeface that just has switched to a free license. However, the license is still under review by Debian. It's a classicist font that looks more conservative than Charter, but it offers a greater number of international glyphs."


Sun, 12 Feb 2006 18:28:06 +0000

The politics of typography] gentium font "Gentium was driven by the need for a free, attractive, legible, high-quality font for extended Latin (and Greek and Cyrillic) use. Nothing else was available that was suitable for publishing use, so I decided to give it a try." (from: interview with Victor Gaultney, designer of Gentium)]]>

Woven silk pyjamas exchanged for blue quartz

Mon, 20 Feb 2006 10:08:29 +0000

The Quick Brown Fox jumped over the lazy dog, this rather absurd text is set as default in Scribus Font Preview: scribus preview I wonder who decided to use this particular sentence, and why? Alternative pangrams to choose from: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/pangrams.htm]]>

freestyle, lecture on scribus

Tue, 21 Feb 2006 16:14:16 +0000

Lecture at Freestyle - FLOSS In Design, Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam screenshot During my 6 year freelance graphic design practice and 4 years study I gradually became aware of working methods in the general sense. In every aspect of my practice working structures developed, some are critically looked at, some are educated and some seemed to be accepted as they seemed to be litrally connected with my work. One of these structures I immediately accepted, is software because of their seemingly neutral qualities used for each design-solution. But did during these 10 years my work become more dependent on the possilities as presented through the programms? I was asked by Matthew Fuller to design the leaflet for this seminar using only open source software. As I didn't have any experience with open source software and I needed to use a Linux computer on the Piet Zwart Institute I made before I started two descisions: - the maximum amount of time I could spent on the design was 24 hours - I'd keep two diaries, a formal and an emotional one. The formal one was the recording of events and the emotional one the recording of my thoughts (as a frustration/happiness index). The following text is the offspin of these two diaries. 24H OF OPEN SOURCE actors: Roger Teeuwen, graphic designer; first experience with open source software Matthew Fuller, course director Piet Zwart Institute Femke Snelting, curriculum an research development Piet Zwart Institute Calum Selkrik (Cal), systems administrator Piet Zwart Institute Michael Murtaugh, mentor Piet Zwart Institute Todd Matsumoto, student Piet Zwart Institute 31 march 2004 11.00 Calum set me up, made an user account on a linux computer. I'm started with three open source programms: The Gimp (alternative Adobe Photoshop), Scribus (alternative QuarkXpress) and Sodipodi (alternative Adobe Illustrator) 1.jpg 12.45 Talked with Femke about the difference between open source and proprietary (copyright+), that new functions and opening the program language are the most potential area's. For example dreamweaver (which is not open source); connection of visual and code, in this programm the possibility exists to use ór a visual-based way ór a code-based of developing a site. As a user you can switch between the two. 2floss.jpg 13.11 So language and definition are essential in programme development. But why base the program you are developing on existing software rather than think about ways to redefine workspace or software alltogether? If the code is visible during the time you are using software the possibility to change and experiment appears. The connection between language, code and form becomes more explicit and therefor the user is more aware of the possibilities ánd more aware of the way his or her actions are defined through software. 13.15 Scribus is really inlogical when you are used to work with xpress. There is a disconnection between textinput and the textfield, but only when creating a textfield, after doing this it's defined and you can change and activate the field. A pdf writer seems to be incorperated, so publishing should be possible. This is one of my biggest concerns as a graphic designer! 3floss.jpg 13.24 Found a mail when doing some research which seems to be the start of the development of 'The Gimp'. Date: july 29th 1995 Suppose someone decided to write a graphical image manipulation program (akin to photoshop). Out of curiousity (and maybe something else), I have 2 questions: What kind of features should it have? (tools, selections, filters, etc.) What file formats should it support? (jpeg, gif, tiff, etc.) 4floss.jpg 13.42 In the Gimp there is an option to write scripts and to incorperate them in the programme! Computer litracy demands a new way of reading, the language is sometimes so specific and needs so much knowledge it's hard to find an answer for the question you formulated! 13.53 Need the the open source user manual for Scribus! The user manual isn't functioning! 5floss.jpg 13.58 During some kerning actions in Scribus the programm crashed! Of course I didn't save my document! 14.03 Selecting a text in Scribus really takes a while, and it feels unstable! 15.35 Imported my first picture in Scribus, also feels unstable! 15.38 Switching to Sodipodi, really looks like a stripped version of Adobe Illustrator: the functions and interface resemble. Why are visual elements not included when developing open source software? Every programme looks like a old copy of Microsoft Word. 6floss.jpg 15.49 I'm actually considering to use paper again to write idea's down! This work-enviroment feels so new and so inefficient! 15.59 What is software? A collection of definitions and functions which control your behaviour and actions? Or a way of structuring and capturing ideas? What should software be? 16.11 Switching to The Gimp. 16.30 Made my first collage, an open source collected image. 7floss.jpg 16.45 Thinking about the way software is presented when purchasing. Could there be some sort of a scedule or map which explains why open source is a legible option? As a visualisation of the pro's and con's of open source. 8floss.jpg 16.58 Needed Cal's help to print a document from Scribus. Printed at 17.21, turned out you need to make a pdf from the document and than run GGV PostScript Viewer and print from this application. So much trouble to print a document. Intresting though that Cal thought the document (which was only a test) had a meaning and was a design! If you need to put a lot of effort in making a print you seem to need a reward! 9floss.jpg 17.31 The Gimp crashed. Lost an schematic on how open source could be visualised! The programme name has (unstable) behind it, this is correct! 17.45 Partially remade the lost image, this is a way of learning a program! (not an appealing one though) 17.45 Back to Sodipodi and Scribus to remake the Gimp pattern as a test. It seems patterns and structures aren't as easy to create as in Adobe Illustrator or even Quarkxpress! A lot of features which I use a lot are ór really hidden ór not present. 17.54 Sodipodi crashed when attempting to step and repeat. So easy and so complicated! 18.06 I start to feel a connection with The Gimp, maybe because I get tired or maybe because it's the only application so far in which I'm succesful in my attempt to create a image... I do get constantly confronted with the different way of functionality. Got the feeling I could even be more efficient in Texteditor (Macintosh) than in all open source software combined! At least in terms of speed and meaning! Definitions of my existing work-enviroment: Proposal for a action based work-enviroment: Q: what do you want to do during this session? are you going to use text? what kind of typographic elements do you need? are you going to use images? are you going to use forms? pixel? vector? what would you like for a color today? what kind of sound would you like to hear? do you need a source of information? if yes what kind of subject are you interested in? repeat answer if you have multiple intrests Typographic: what kind of typefaces do you need? do you want to choose from a database? if yes: schreef or schreefloos, postscript or truetype what kind of sizes are you going to use? 14 april 2004 12.18 Cal helped me getting started. 12.19 Decided I'd focus on Scribus to design the leaflet because it's closed source rival Quarkxpress is the programme I use the most often. 12.38 Can't find scribus, need Cal. 13.06 Using terminal to start scribus (instructions cal). 10floss.jpg 13.45 Talked with Matthew about the time schedule, he suggested I'd finish the design today. I'll start with the information side first and concentrate on the typography! 13.54 Installed bitstream vera, one of the only open source typefaces I could find. 14.12 Can't seem to find a&u in scribus, seems no typographic subtilities are possible. Why the same typographic lack of possibilities as in Microsoft Word? Unbelievable that the 'alternative programme' isn't precise in the key element of a dtp programme, typographic refinement! 11floss.jpg 14.15 Interesting, I can make buttons in scribus which allow me to import or use other actions when activating. Could be a very interesting automatisation for correcting large amounts of texts! This is an example of a functionality which I hope(d) to find more often when using 'alternative' software. 14.45 Trying to link two textboxes. I figured out the difference between active and passive text boxes but the actual linking doesn't work (annotation properties)! 14.55 I actually think a programme like Scribus is much closer to a writer (programmer, etc.) than a designer, much more litrally a text-editor. It looks it's more the other way around, thinking through content about the format. 12floss.jpg 15.03 Because of the last statement I suddenly feel I understand the software more, and I'm more and more looking for functions which I use a lot in Xpress in Scribus and I'm much more succesful is my quest! 15.16 Are there connections or explanations possible which emphasise the 'cross-influence' between the different programms, so open and closed source combined? As a translation of the best of both worlds, the user specific elements of the closed source ánd the idea's and possibilities of open source. 16.13 Matthew suggests I should also think about the programmer/user relation (reacting on programme/programme and profession/crossover relations). 16.48 Trying to print the document, no luck, need Cal. Also found out that when exporting to pdf there is a fontproblem. Why is there always a problem with printing? Doesn't give me confidence for the final printing of the leaflet! 17.07 Pdf works, printing is possible. But it's impossible to print a different paper size than A4! 17.10 Talked with Cal about open en closed source programmedefinition-combinations, using his specific knowledge and using freshmeat.net 13floss.jpg 18.15 Talked with Femke about the combinations and concluded combinations between writer, programmer, artist, designer should be more self-explanitory. In the evening I tried to make combinations with 4 definitions. I ended with 12 programme-combinations and 12 definition-combinations. 15 april 2004 9.29 Starting up. 9.42 Continued working on definition-combinations. I've got two sets of definitions, programms and users. How can I combine these and make sure it's readable ánd on the other hand stress the difference in meaning? 14floss.jpg 9.46 I've got two sets of 12 combinations, the trick is now how to make the difference between programms and user-definitions visible. 10.10 Talked with Todd about the concept of the flyer and tested if the combinations were readable, and they were! The programms were much easier than the users but I think they should function as the bridge between the two. 15floss.jpg 11.11 Finished with both sides, need a print now. 11.15 When I export the document to pdf or postscript file the linked textboxes dissapear and gradients turn upside down! This is a reason not to use Scribus, really bad for you're confidence when making a 300 pages book if you know texts can dissapear and things can change! 16floss.jpg 11.17 Cal suggested that I should save the file as a postscript document and than use the viewer to check and print. 11.35 Cal updated Scribus in an attempt to solve the problem, have to wait a few minutes until its compiled and I can test it. 12.05 Seems linked textboxes are the problem, so i'll make them by hand, seperated! Which is a strange job, compare it to use typograpy in photoshop. I recognise this with second year students which I teach. The students without experience also use the programme they know best to do everything, even if the programme is not made for it. 12.13 Scribus isn't made for typograpy that's for sure, when I printed the document you immediately see a sort of 'Microsoft Word' feel. This lack of specific quality is problematic if it's aim is to be an alternative for dtp programms which do have these qualities. 17floss.jpg 20 april 2004 11.30 Today is the last day of the open source leaflet project. A few things remain to do, the corrections, the logo's and the final proof. I'm actually getting more and more used to Scribus, or am I getting sentimental? 11.55 Finished the corrections and scribus crashes! 11.56 Started again with the corrections. 12.35 Finished the corrections for the second time, but I can't finish the leaflet today because of a missing logo. 21 april 2004 11.45 Final corrections and importing the last logo. 18floss.jpg 11.55 Printing problem, the logo's seem to change into black squares when printing, they are visible on screen?! Maybe the problem is in the image boxes? Printing without image boxes. No change Maybe the problem is in the proportional scaling which I turned on? Printing with proportional scaling turned off. No change Maybe the problem is in scaling in general? Printing without scaled images. No change Maybe the problem is in textrunaround? Printing with textrunaround turned off. No change Maybe the problem is in the file format? Yes, there is a problem importing tiff, when using eps the problem is solved! Another Scribus mistery! 12.35 Printing final flyer, doing some last minute detailing. 12.42 Mailing the pdf to richard (V2_) and now cross my fingers that the printer can cope with the document! 22 april 2004 What I was afraid for becomes reality. When the printer test-prints the document a lot of problems appear: spaces become squares, numbers, points, comma's, dashes etc. dissapear! Following a transcription of the e-mail contact between myself and Jasper, responsible for prepress at the printer. 19floss.jpg __________________________________________________________________ From: Roger Teeuwen Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 14:47 PM To: Jasper de Koster Subject: Op verzoek van V2_ <> Dag Jasper, Hierbij opnieuw de pdf, hopelijk gaat het nu goed. Als ik hier print gaat alles ok! Groet en succes, Roger april 22 14:47 Hi Jasper, Attached again the pdf, hopefully it will work now! When I print in my studio everything looks ok?! Regards Roger _________________________________________________________________ On 22-04-2004 15:25, "Jasper de Koster" wrote:> Hoi Roger Nee, dit gaat niet goed. Het blijven vierkantjes, alle spaties. Via welk programma heb je dit gedistilleerd? Pagina 1 gaat wel goed, overigens. Kun je het omzetten naar lettercontouren in illustrator? groet, jasper april 22 15:25 Hi Roger No this doesn't work either. The spaces remain squares, áll spaces. Which programm did you use to destilate this? Page number one is ok. Can you convert the document to Illustrator and use lettercontours? Regards Jasper 20floss.jpg __________________________________________________________________ ---------- From: Roger Teeuwen Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 15:38 PM To: Jasper de Koster Subject: Re: Op verzoek van V2_ Wat ik trouwens niet begrijp is dat als ik bij mij op mijn laserprinter print alles helemaal goed gaat?! Beschadigd het document tijdens mailen? Print jij gewoon of draai je direct een film uit? Gr Roger april 22 15:38 Hi Jasper, What I don't understand is that when I print the document on my laserprinter at 1200 dpi everything looks ok. Does the document get damaged during mail? Do you print paper or directly to film? Regards Roger __________________________________________________________________ On 22-04-2004 16:19, "Jasper de Koster" wrote: Hoi Roger Misschien print jij niet via een laserprinter of belichter? Ik heb dit probleem nog nooit eerder gehad. Zowel op film als op onze laserbelichter worden alle spaties vierkantjes. De asci code van het spatieteken in Linux is kennelijk een vierkantje in postscript level 2. Ik probeer photoshop wel als deze pdf niet lukt. groet, jasper april 22 16:19 Hi Roger, Maybe you don't print using a laserprinter or a film-exposer? I've never had this problem before. In both the laserprinter and the film-exposer I get the same errors. The asci code for a space on a Linux is appearently a square in postscript level 2. I'll try photoshop if this pdf doesn't work. Regards Jasper __________________________________________________________________ ---------- From: Roger Teeuwen Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 16:35 PM To: Jasper de Koster Subject: Re: Op verzoek van V2_ Hi Jasper, Toch wel, hp laserwriter 5000 op 1200 dpi geeft geen probleem hier!? Heel erg vreemd... Hoe zit het met kwaliteitsverlies als je het photoshopbestand gebruikt? Gr Roger april 22 16:35 Hi Jasper, I use an hp laserwriter 5000 on 1200 dpi and I don't get any problems here?! Really strange.... How is the qualityloss when using a photoshop rastering? Regards Roger __________________________________________________________________ On 22-04-2004 17:59, "Jasper de Koster" wrote: Hi Roger Ik ben er nu uit. Ik maak een combinatie van de beste elementen uit de opties. De logo's uit de eerstaangeleverde PDF, het kopje uit het Tiff bestand, de tekst uit een PDF bestand, dat ik heb gemaakt door het originele PDF bestand als PS te bewaren en opnieuw te distillen. De fout ligt kennelijk in jouw distiller, want opnieuw gedistilleerd verdwijnen de vierkantjes (maar helaas ook de datum en de cijfers). gecompliceerd, dus Onderstaand "monster van frankenstein" PDF komt bij mij netjes uit de printer. En ook (hoogstwaarschijnlijk) mooi op film. groet, jasper < >april 22 17:59 Hi Roger, I've got the solution. I'll make a combination between the best of both options. I'll use the logo's from the pdf, the head from the tiff, the text from a pdf file which I made trough saving the original pdf file as an ps file and than destilling it again. I think the error is in you're destiller, because when I re-destille you're file the squares dissapear (unfortunately also the numers). So pretty complicated. The 'monster of Frankenstein'-pdf on the bottom does work on my printer and problably also on film. Regards Jasper trycombipdfandTiff.pdf 21floss.jpg __________________________________________________________________ ---------- From: Roger Teeuwen Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 18:21 PM To: Jasper de Koster Subject: Re: Op verzoek van V2_ Hi Jasper, Ingewikkeld! En nog een probleem, in de magenta teksten op de tweede pagina onderaan (sprekers en colophon) valt een en ander weg (leestekens en cijfers!). Vergelijk met tif. Helpt het voor een betere kwaliteit als ik je een tiff op 600 dpi stuur? Dus nog niet ok! Groet Roger april 22 18:21 Hi Jasper, Complicated! And another problem, in the magenta text on the second page at the bottom (speakers and colophon) information is lost (numbers and so on). Compare to the tiff. Does it help for the quality if I send you a tiff on 600 dpi? So still not ok! Regards Roger __________________________________________________________________ On 22-04-2004 18:35, "Jasper de Koster" wrote: Hoi Roger Oei, wat een klus Ik denk dat het niet veel uitmaakt. Het blijven gerasterde letters op die manier. Ik ga wel voor 70 lijns tiff die je eerder gestuurd hebt. Of ik gebruik voor sprekers en colophon de tiff, net als bij de tekst bovenaan. Tenzij jij nog een ander soort PDF kunt aanleveren... groet, jasper april 22 18:35 Hi Roger, My god what a project! I don't think it will make a difference. The letters will stay rasterised! I'll use the 70 lines tiff you sent before. Or I'll use the tiff for the colophon and speakers, just as the text on the upper side. Unless you can deliver me another pdf... Regards Jasper 22floss.jpg __________________________________________________________________ ---------- From: Roger Teeuwen Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 19:08 PM To: Jasper de Koster Subject: Re: Op verzoek van V2_ Nee, een ander soort pdf gaat mij niet meer lukken. Hoeveel minder van kwaliteit zijn gerasterde letters? Volgens mij moet jij beslissen of je het bestand verder gaat plakken en knippen, wat het beste resultaat is. Laat even weten waar je uiteindelijk voor gaat. Gr Roger april 22 19:08 No, I can't deliver you another pdf. How much does the quality decrease if the letters are rasterised? I think you have to decide if you'll use the 'collage' file or the tiff, which one the best result is. Let me know which you will use. Regards Roger __________________________________________________________________ Van: Jasper@Tripiti.nl Onderwerp: RE: Op verzoek van V2_ Datum: 23 april 2004 9:13:46 GMT+02:00 Aan: rtgo@xs4all.nl Ik ga dan voor de Tiff versie, omdat ik geen vertrouwen heb in de PDF. Er kunnen cijfers en interpunctie zijn weggevallen of veranderd. Dit risico wil ik niet lopen. Je kunt wel nog films controleren als je wilt, we drukken vanmiddag. groet, jasper april 23 9:13 Ok, I'll use the tiff, because I lost all my faith in the pdf. Numbers or spaces can dissapear or are changed. I don't want to risk this. You can come and check the films if you want to, we'll print this afternoon. Regards, Jasper __________________________________________________________________ So in the end, despite the efforts of the printer, the open source programme 'Scribus' was unsuccesful in accomplishing one of it's main goals. Beïng an altenative for existing dtp-programms such as Quarkxpress or Indesign. As a designer I need to be sure that the document I create is printable, if it isn't I can't use it as a tool. Through using open source software I did rethink the tools I use and the enviroment and work structures which are created by these tools. And I think this is an important issue which is crucial for all designers, artists etc. So I think one of the main goals of open source software development should be to make the programms formally usable, so designers, writers, artists will start using them. On the frontside of the leaflet I stress the combinations of different positions. The different positions become more and more interrelated and I think the real gain in development will be in exploring these combinations. So let's start thinking about the way a designer, writer, artist and programmer can contribute together from each specific perspective and knowledge to the development of the software.]]>

Inkscape Poster

Wed, 22 Feb 2006 22:41:42 +0000

stein poster Poster done with Inkscape, the context is the visit of Bob Stein at the Jan Van Eyck Academie Thursday 23 February, 15:00 The Jan Van Eyck Academie kindly invites you to: The Tomorrow Book Robert Stein presentation]]>

Broodthaers font

Mon, 27 Feb 2006 13:52:01 +0000

Mallarme in the font list. broodthaers Download here]]>

Community marketing?

Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:17:57 +0000

http://www.spreadfirefox.com/ Firefox "Calls All Firefox Fans" to work on posters, leaflets, e-cards, websites and videoclips in an attempt take more market share away from Internet Explorer. One of their most popular campaigns I've posted here, because it replicates so many cliches about women and computers, that it makes me seriously doubt this "community" approach: Femfox http://www.femfox.com On fora and blogs I find numerous people discussing whether this is the right campaign for Firefox (at least only partially busy asking if targeting men more than women is actually helpful, and whether it's possibly "pornographic" character would harm the American "market"). Funny alternatives to headless women in lace start to circulated too: firemalefox [Firefox blocks unwanted pop-ups] But still... do-it-ourselve publicity using conventional marketing strategies as the model and measure of success? Why is it so hard, after you have reinvented the software, to reinvent software marketing too?]]>

Linux Libertine font project

Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:21:49 +0000

The Libertine family font contains around 1500 "western" caracters among which cyrillic, greek, turkish and so on. The font looks classical, between Baskerville and Caslon style. The general impression is a contemporary looking 19th century font. Hints are good looking above 8 points, and is comfortable on screen. Good typography seems to be possible using it. Letters and fonts are two things in one: On the one hand they are basic elements of communication and fundaments of our culture, on the other hand they are cultural goods and artcraft. You are able to see just the first aspect, but when it comes to software you'll see those copyrights and patents even on the most elementary fonts. We want to give you an alternative: This is why we founded The Libertine Open Fonts Project. http://linuxlibertine.sourceforge.net/]]>

Alpha font

Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:42:47 +0000

Most amazing font so far, the Alphabetum font, for ancient languages. It is now possible to compose text with languages that disappeared 5000 years ago. I have to say all my respect for such a nice and usefull work! Thanks from university researchers that had to redraw all archeologic inscriptions found on sites. Now those texts can circulates. Juan-José Marcos' Alphabetum font is a large Unicode font covering more than 4000 characters in the most recent version. Although the full font is not free, costing €15 for individual registration, a demo version of the font lacking about 500 glyphs present in the full font can be downloaded for free. Coverage is provided for classic and medieval Latin, ancient Greek, Old Italic-Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian, Faliscan, Messapic, Picene-Gothic, Iberian, Celtiberian, old and middle English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Runic, Ogham, Ugaritic, Old Persian cuneiform, Phoenician, Linear B, Cypriot, Aegean numbers, old and medieval Nordic. http://guindo.cnice.mecd.es/~jmag0042/alphaeng.html]]>

The Open Font License

Mon, 27 Feb 2006 20:34:34 +0000

The politics of typography before applying SIL-OFL] The SIL-OFL is a free license specifically developed for (multi-lingual) fonts. These are the four freedoms guaranteed through the Open Font License (similar to other Free licenses): * Use: the freedom to use font software for any purpose. (freedom 0) * Study and adaptation: the freedom to study how font software works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access and rights to the source code is a precondition for this. * Redistribution: the freedom to redistribute copies of the font software so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). * Improvement and redistribution of modifications: the freedom to improve the font software and release your improvements (freedom 3), so that the community benefits. Access and rights to the source code is a precondition for this. Applying an Open License to your font is made easy with the Open Font License. See this FAQ to find out how it works.]]>

The politics of typography

Wed, 01 Mar 2006 18:56:00 +0000

Gentium and The SIL Open Font License are both developed and distributed by S.I.L., also known as The Summer Institute for Linguistics, apparently a subsidiary of the Wicliffe Bible Translators. S.I.L. has developed large-scale ethno-linguistic research projects such as http://www.ethnologue.org, an attempt to map all indigenous languages of the world. The S.I.L. site does not give much information about the protestant character of it's mission, so we had to look for it somewhere else. Marcio Ferreira da Silva (Universidade de Sao Paulo) about the activities of S.I.L. in Brazil:
"S.I.L.'s objectives are no different from those of any other traditional mission: the conversion of the indians and the saving of their souls. Their methods, however, are in some ways peculiar, incorporating a bilingual educational model which is an integral part of their evangelical strategy."
"The judicial and administrative references from the beginning of the seventies should therefore be interpreted as the coming together of the religiously dogmatic educational model idealized by S.I.L. and the indigenous framework put forward by the military regime. In the Indian Statute - a law passed in 1973 -, for example, there is explicit reference to teaching reading and writing "in the language of the group to which they belong", but nothing regarding the of official recognition of these languages as means of communication with these ethnically different minorities (...) Overall, the teaching of communication skills in native language, included in law in the seventies, is born of a purely instrumental missionary practice."

Fonts for human beings

Wed, 01 Mar 2006 20:34:11 +0000

The "user-friendly" distribution Ubuntu is distributing its font under the LGPL. I have not heard the same from other distributions. It seems that Redhat or Novell do not want to share their corporate identity with the rest of us. Ubuntu's founder Mark Shuttleworth, who sold his company Thawte(a company that issues security certificates) to become the first African citizen in space, supports free software. He understands the free in free software as in freedom but also as in free beer since the distribution is supposed to be always free of charge.
The team behind Ubuntu makes the following public commitment to its users: *Ubuntu will always be free of charge, and there is no extra fee for the "enterprise edition", we make our very best work available to everyone on the same Free terms. *Ubuntu comes with full commercial support from hundreds of companies around the world. Ubuntu is released regularly and predictably; a new release is made every six months. Each release is supported with free security updates and fixes for at least 18 months. *Ubuntu will include the very best in translations and accessibility infrastructure that the Free Software community has to offer, to make Ubuntu usable by as many people as possible. We collaborate as widely as possible on bug fixing and code sharing. *Ubuntu is entirely committed to the principles of free software development; we encourage people to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.
Although the community marketing of Ubuntu is sometimes getting on my nerves, a panorama of the tools for open publishing would be incomplete without Ubuntu-title.ttf.]]>

A double spread in scribus

Sat, 04 Mar 2006 16:08:57 +0000

Thanks to Philip May and Perl5 software that generated text, it was possible to realise a double spread of a "Babels book". Text is composed of the combinatory of the 26 letters of the alphabet, dot, comma and space, as described in Library of Babel, in Fictions Borges book. Those books are 410 page, 40 lines per page and 80 character per line. Capitals were added in the script. Those 2 pages were then set with Scribus. See the pdf Obviously, scribus needs a strong amelioration of its ergonomy. It took something like 3 hours to compose those 2 pages. Here is a Scribus Bug Report, encounted during the exercice: among other... But the pdf generator seems to work ok so far, it was very easy to export.]]>

Don't keep it to yourself!

Wed, 15 Mar 2006 21:53:17 +0000

http://www.orgdot.com/aliasfonts/ (c) 2001 http://www.orgdot.com: you can copy, use, modify and distribute this code and/or artwork for educational, commercial or recreational use. All we ask is that you include this copyright notice in the material you distribute. for compiled code, you will need to make accessible this copyright notice somewhere in the distribution, and/or via a link on the web. there are several reasons for this caveat - the most important being that open source is based on one main principle: what you find and use, others should also have access to. don't keep it to yourself! this software is provided by the author and contributors "as is" and any express or implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed. in no event shall the author or contributors be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption) however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of this software, even if advised of the possibility of such damage.]]>

Domestic manners

Thu, 16 Mar 2006 09:54:27 +0000

http://www.dustismo.com/ Domestic Manners, by Dustin Norlander. "This font is basically my handwritting. Why anyone would want to use my crappy handwritting for anything, I can't say. It would be a good way to forge a note from me I guess. Anyway, use it for whatever you want, its released under the GPL so change it if you need to. The name come from the book Domestic Manners of the Americans, by Fanny Trollope." 20041024-Dustismo_Roman.jpg Dustin Norlander has also released a series of font under the GPL license including Dustismo Roman, a standard serifed roman. "It contains all the characters you should ever need, accents and special characters. I created this to be used with linux, as there was definitely a lack of quality fonts available for linux. Since then Bitstream released their Vera serif and sans-serif typeface under an open source style license--oh well. I like this one, its good for whatever you need. Released under the GPL so go ahead and include it in your own personal Linux variation."]]>

LaTeX Project

Fri, 17 Mar 2006 14:31:31 +0000

The Art of Computer Programming. He understands “art” as the formal beauty and logical elegance of the source code. The software TeX which he wrote to typeset his books correspondingly implements a classicist post-Renaissance typography whose notions of beauty are embedded in Knuth’s algorithms for line spacing and paragraph adjustment. At MIT, Knuth initiated a project God and computers whose results were an exhibition of Bible calligraphies and, in 2001, a book Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About. In this book, Knuth remembers how as a student he read a computer program code that he found “absolutely beautiful. Reading it was just like hearing a symphony.” This was how he “got into software,” teaching it as an art rather than a science. The hacker credo put down by Steven Levy in 1983 that “you can create art and beauty with computers” has its roots in Knuth’s teaching. It ultimately means that a program is not a transparent tool for creating beauty—like, for example, a graphics program—, but that it is beautiful by itself. Both schools, highbrow academic computer science and more underground hacker culture, perpetuate a Pythagorean, classicist understanding of art as formal beauty. This concept blatantly lags behind modern concepts of art. Since romanticism and 20th century art, aesthetic understandings of art were not just about beauty, but included the sublime, grotesque and ugly as well. The same is true, implicitly at least, for the Greek and Roman antiquity whose highest art form, tragedies, were about violence and despair. Download the text here: http://pzwart.wdka.hro.nl/mdr/research/fcramer/wordsmadeflesh/]]>


Mon, 20 Mar 2006 22:50:14 +0000

Le Tigre, here, is not the translation of a Mac os in french, nor a No-Wave grrrrl band. It's a brand new generalist weekly french magazine that released its first issue 3 days ago. The big thing here is that this mag is entirely set on Scribus, and proove by fact that this FLOSS can be incorporated on a professionnal workflow. The 24 pages magazine took choice of incorporating no ads, and thus depends on the readers. www.le-tigre.net Articles are described as wide and various, but precise and entertaining, from comment of worldnews to science fiction. More once touched and seen in real!]]>


Tue, 21 Mar 2006 10:57:01 +0000

You can see why I am so excited about using the Story Editor in Scribus. It feels much closer to marking up HTML, which in turn is familiar to the pre-computer practice of writing type setting instructions. But looking at a Scribus .sla file in an editor, I realise that typographic markup is completely mixed with character data (how on earth does the story editor manage to pick out the right information!), which might explain why this idea could be obvious in theory but harder to achieve in practice. Part of the unpredictability of style-behaviour in Scribus (in fact, this is a problem with any text-layout programme I have ever used) I guess has to do with this mixing as I can imagine re-applying styles a few times will result in messy code. It feels quite similar to what happens when applying deprecated markup in NVU or Dreamweaver from the WYSIWYG editor, without cleaning up the source. Other problems might occur through irregular interpretation of cascading effects, but this is just a guess. Right now, Styles in Scribus operate way more confused and less sophisticated than even the simplest Cascading Style Sheet does. If Scribus would apply the web standards ethics (separating content from form ;-)), could it be possible to simply edit those styles in a file? Over the last few years many graphic designers have taught themselves to handle CSS stylesheets with grace, and it would seem logic to apply that logic / these skills to Desk top publishing too. In this way, Scribus could become more transparent and compatible with other media. Not only through the way it handles its file-formats (import-export), but also through how it connects different practices of design.]]>

It is in the air

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 17:41:00 +0000

Anyways, I am really happy to find many versions of the same issue: ... it is in the air. If Scribus could pull that off... it would make Open Source Publishing radically different and exciting.]]>

Xara Xtreme Xbecomes Xopen Xsource.

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 11:16:20 +0000

Opening the software to GPL is hoped to bring "consolidation" via FLOSS communities, inspired by the succesfull Inkscape model. The 2 societies are currently in contact to synchronise on a common file format, and to develop a converter which would enable to turn Xara (Xar) into SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics - around which Inkscape is constructed). This would give the ability for both sotwares to import and export numbers of other formats as well. The Mac OSX version is still in development. Xara Xtreme on the Mac We have a new cross-platform code base, WXWidgets based, that is cross platform C++ and should work on the Mac, but we're short of Mac developers and testers that can help progress this. If you're a Mac developer willing to help us please contact us. Our first stage goal is simply to get a working viewer to the same level as the Linux build. www.xaraxtreme.org]]>

decodeunicode.org project

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 11:34:07 +0000

Is an independent online-platform for digital type culture, initiated by the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Germany. The project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and has the objectives of creating a basis for fundamental typographic research and facilitating a textual approach to the characters of the world for all computer users. The website uses freely available data of the Unicode Standard 4.0.1 © The Unicode Consortium, 1990 – 2003, especially UnicodeData.txt (Some rights reserved. All texts and images on the website are protected by a Creative Commons License. You may reuse and redistribute them for any purpose other than commercial use.)

This font is a ripoff, said the Invalidity Division

Wed, 05 Apr 2006 08:40:01 +0000

Invalidity Division, sounds like science-fiction, doesn't it? Registered community design is not bad either. Time to start a jargon file...
[...]this time the dispute is over fonts; specifically Segoe, one of the typefaces Microsoft wants to use in Vista (the new Windows, "bringing clarity to your world"). Microsoft filed its "registered community design" for the font back in January of 2004, paid the required fee, and everything was great—until December. Just days before the end of 2004, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG sought a "declaration of invalidity" from the Invalidity Division (yes, that is it's real name) of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. As the owner of the Linotype brand, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen claimed that Microsoft's "new" font was a blatant ripoff of Linotype's own Frutiger LT 45 Light, which has been sold by the company for years. [...] "The typefaces of both designs have the same stroke thickness. The ratio from cap-height to descender height is equal. The proportion of character height to character pitch is identical. The type face in the specimen text does not show any differences." So they threw Microsoft's application out and ordered the company to pay all the fees incurred by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen.
Read online: http://arstechnica.com/news.ar... ]]>


Fri, 07 Apr 2006 14:44:06 +0000


Fri, 07 Apr 2006 18:46:25 +0000

The Tomorrow Book / Printing Party 0.1

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 21:35:50 +0000

printing on demandProduction line set up for the scanning, lay-out (in Scribus of course!), printing and binding of The Continuous Present On May 18-19 The Continuous Present was printed-on-demand at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. This publication was developed in the context of The Tomorrows Book, an ongoing investigation into the possible futures of reading, publishing and designing books. Tomorrows Book according to Harrisson:
  • Books are coded ensembles of codes (language, typography, softwares…).
  • Independance of thought depends on independance of the codes.
  • Tomorrows book depends on this independance.

A fish can't judge the water

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 21:54:51 +0000

Constant's contribution to OknoPublic01, May 26 2006 New media curator --- information architect -- theater maker -- science fiction writer -- data base programmer -- media designer or software artist: we use computer programmes to write, read, listen, publish, edit and play. More than often we do all these things at the same time and in connection to each other. But do we use software to think? ------ My physiotherapist used the following analogy to explain how humans use tools to negotiate the space around their bodies: "If you prepare a sauce..." she said, "and stir it with a wooden spoon... you will be able to feel at which moment exactly the starch starts to burn to the bottom of the pan". A wooden spoon might not be the kind of glamour and glitter a post human cyborg is looking for, but I think it is in this unspectacular way our daily operations with software help to make sense of our environment. It has become our natural habitat. We practice software until we in-corporate its choreography. We make it disappear in the background. A seamless experience. We become one with our extensions. Counter to this magic vanishing, with each possibility opened up by an operating system or software package, the space within which making can take place is circumscribed. Software is never politically neutral, nor are its aesthetics without colour: each product prescribes use, and results in specific forms, sounds and shapes. Software produces culture at the same time as it is produced by culture. It is shaped through and locked into economic models of production and distribution. This is obviously as much true for a wooden spoon as it is for Apple Quicktime Broadcaster but in software this "lock" is apparent in the crudest way possible. Fortunately no Anti Piracy Police is interested in my kitchen. Nor are the products of my cooking subject to Digital Rights Management. Do You Have The Right Plug-in Installed? It Looks Like You Are Writing A Letter! You Have Unused Icons On Your Desktop... PLEASE READ THIS SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY BEFORE DOWNLOADING OR USING THE SOFTWARE. Could we understand what software does to our work and working patterns without being able to step away from it? What if our work is not only made with, but also through software? What if our work IS software? Can we think ourselves outside it? ------ "someone can know how to type but not know how to read the words produced (...) just as someone can be able to read a typescript without knowing how to type" (Katherine Hayles - How We Became Posthuman) Because we want to be both typist and reader, Constant is committed to Open Source Software. Or more precisely: we are interested in the tension between those two positions. Constant is not a community of programmers. We do share a desire to adjust, reinvent, change and examine the instruments we use and we like to create situations which allow for that kind of reflection. Our decision to use and produce Open Source tools is therefore as much political, as it is in line with the nature of our artistic and intellectual interests. As each tool is scripted with use, we very much enjoy to be immersed in a milieu (or in fact: a stockpile of milieus) which emanates collaboration rather than individual authorship, which builds on exchange rather than on exclusivity. A milieu which supports biodiversity; a rich mixture of programmes and approaches. Of course we get frustrated sometimes using Open Source software; one does not always have the time and energy to not know what to expect. But it is a luxury to find other experiences than those we were used to; it offers an opportunity to rethink “user-friendly-ness” to start with. "Usability" might mean something else all together depending on who is using something, and what she is using it for. We are ultimately interested in making differences, glitches, misunderstandings and hick ups productive. Our work is, as much as the software we use and produce, “work in progress” and this means it’s cut-off points are not necessarily concealed. We like to cross boundaries, but we don't want to erase them. We traverse different worlds, we do not make them the same. In fact, we are interested in everything that shows up in the cracks.]]>

"instable", mais actuellement utilisée

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 22:37:22 +0000

scribus article The French weekly Le Tigre announces:
This week, we have an article about free softwares in "Le Tigre": http://www.le-tigre.net/No11.html There is a "encadré" about Scribus. You can see it there: http://rdereel.free.fr/letigre/011/scribus.jpg

Old News

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 11:25:23 +0000

Poppl Laudatio Condensed)?


* There is a lot of Freeware around, but hardly any fonts explicitly allow for re-modification or derivative works.]]>


Sun, 04 Jun 2006 12:25:18 +0000

blender screenshot A new kid on the block? Makers of 3D-modeling software Blender announce that they have developed a "solution for fast and flexible creation of 2D graphics and layouts for web site design and print". Its interface -no surprise - resembles Blender and other proprietary animation packages such as Flash; the website mentions upfront that the package does not offer output like CMYK or Postscript. Although a first quick try is not immediately convincing (but this could be because I am not very familiar with the strand of softwares DTPblender is based on), it could be interesting to radically combine web design and page lay-out. More after further testing. More information and download here: http://dtpblender.instinctive.de ]]>

How To Print A Booklet In 19 Easy Steps

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 13:36:22 +0000

http://wiki.scribus.net/index.php/How_to_make_a_booklet. To make this recipe, you need to open a terminal, shell or work in the commandline. If you have never done this before, have a look a this tutorial: http://linuxcommand.org/ You can of course print texts of any length, but folding and stapling more than 12 sheets of paper gets really hard so we suggest making booklets of 48 pages maximum. The tools mentioned are all available in most software repositories, and can be installed using Ubuntu's Synaptic. sample Download sample .pdf file; if you simply want to print this document, start the recipe at step 13. The text used in this example is available here: http://www.constantvzw.com/cyberf/book.... Ingredients
  • Linux operating system* [Debian / Ubuntu]
  • Browser [Firefox]
  • A text available under an open license
  • xpdf-utils (includes: pdftotext, pdftops, ps2pdf?)
  • Texteditor [Gedit]
  • Lay-out software [Scribus]
  • Font [Bitstream Charter]
  • psutils (includes: psnup, psbook)
  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Stapler
  • A piece of soft cardboard (side of a box for example)
Print A Booklet In 19 Easy Steps
  1. Choose any text that is available under an open license
  2. Download the text to your harddisk in .pdf format or copy the text into a text editor
  3. If you have downloaded a .pdf file, you need to convert the .pdf to a plain text file using the commandline: ~$ pdftotext infile.pdf
  4. Clean up the file as much as possible (remove unneccessary white lines, check whether any other corrections need to be made) in a text editor and save the document as .txt
  5. Open Scribus and start a new document with the following options selected: Size: A5, Number of pages: 48, Page Layout: double sided and Automatic Text Frames
  6. Import the .txt file in the Automatic Text Frame and do the necessary lay-out; add page numbers etc.
  7. Remove all empty pages so that you end up with a multiple of 4 pages (either 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44 or 48 pages).
  8. Save / export the document as .pdf with fonts embedded
  9. Using the commandline, convert the pdf file to postscript: ~$ pdftops -paper match infile.pdf outfile.ps
  10. Rearrange the pages so that when printed and folded, each page ends up in the right place (when your booklet has 8 pages, page 1 should be placed opposite of page 8, page 2 opposite of 7 and 4 opposite of 5). n is the amount of pages in your booklet. ~$ psbook -sn infile.ps outfile.ps
  11. Arrange two A5 pages next to each other on one A4 sheet (-2 refers to the amount of pages on the A4): ~$ psnup -2 -PA5 infile.ps outfile.ps
  12. Convert the document back to .pdf format (This seems a redundant step, but without it I had problems with placing, so...) ~$ ps2pdf infile.ps outfile.pdf
  13. Also use the commandline to print first the even pages (myprinter is the name of your printer, n is the amount of copies) ~$ lpr -P myprinter -o page-set=even -#1 infile.pdf
  14. When the even pages are printed, you need to re-arrange the order of the pages so that the first page comes last.
  15. Put the pages upside down back in the printer
  16. Now print the odd pages ~$ lpr -P myprinter -o page-set=odd -#1 infile.pdf
  17. Fold the pages from A4 to A5
  18. Fold the stack back open and place it on the piece of cardboard with the cover facing you. Click open your stapler so you can staple the stack in the middle
  19. Gently remove the stack (which is now stuck to the cardboard) and fold the staples back in.
FINISHED! *It should work on OSX too, but I have not tested this yet]]>

Printing Party 0.2 at Digitales

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 13:39:08 +0000

At this years' edition of Digitales, we tested out a recipe for producing booklets, using texts with open licenses that are available on line. The recipe was an excuse to discuss the relation between software and design, why it would be interesting for designers/publishers to consider using FLOSS tools and what the problems might be. After demonstrating the various steps in the process, here's me proudly showing the end result: showing the result folding + stapling screen recipe]]>

Exit Save-As-PDF for Microsoft users?

Tue, 06 Jun 2006 20:43:48 +0000

Save-As-XPS" instead. Adobe inc. owns the patents for creating and reading PDF-files, by now one of the most widely used formats to exchange documents between users on different platforms and programmes.
Adobe desires to promote the use of PDF for information interchange among diverse products and applications. Accordingly, the following patents are licensed on a royalty-free, nonexclusive basis for the term of each patent and for the sole purpose of developing software that produces, consumes, and interprets PDF files that are compliant with the Specification http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/support/topic_legal_notices.html
Adobe does not charge Scribus or Open Office for implementing PDF export in their packages, probably simply because these package do not make money off their product, and also: many day-to-day users might result in additional users of their high-end, and expensive products (Although apparently Adobe does not charge Apple for including this functionality?). Because Microsoft is making lots of money with Office, and the ability to do PDF export adds to the value of the package, Adobe has tried to make Microsoft (users) pay for this functionality already for a while. But in turn Microsoft simply decided to exclude the feature from their 2007 release.
In that sense, I can see Adobe's side, even though I don't believe that any file format, simply a way of storing someone else's content, should be protected. (Gregory Pittman, Scribus mailinglist)
It looks like Adobe will have trouble forcing Microsoft to pay because of Anti-trust laws and exactly because of them not sueing any other free and or open source use of their tool. It does give Microsoft the perfect excuse though, to move on with their own XPS-standard after all. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/05/microsoft_adobe_legal_spat/ http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/4509/53/ ]]>

Two Times Collaborative Type

Tue, 06 Jun 2006 21:43:22 +0000

Typeforge http://www.typeforge.net fontforge The Typeforge project was initiated by Portuguese type designer Pedro Amado, to create a platform for "open source collaborative type design". You are encouraged to share sketches, notes and ideas and work on collective projects. Good Fontforge tips + tricks too! Open Font Library http://openfontlibrary.org/ Based on the same principle as the Open Clip Art Library, this project simply aims to bring together copyleft fonts. The project has just started, hence their collection is rather small, but such a repository is so much needed that I think it could grow quickly once people start adding. ]]>

Watch this thread: Scribus mailinglist

Sat, 17 Jun 2006 09:47:28 +0000

Maintaining text with Scribus Imagine you could connect your desktop publishing software to a weblog or other content management system? Collaboratively edit, and lay out the results in Scribus? Printing publications "on-demand" from your database? If it would be possible to import and export correct xml files, it would be not just large publishing houses that could do such operations. Gregory Pittman shows his python script frameslist.py, and explains what it is capable of and what not. scribus/2006-June/thread.html#18471 Scribus in the Art Lab The use of open source tools in design education is not evident. Some feel it would deprive students of "real life" experience with "what the industry wants", others think it might make students more independent and self-learning. Tutors report on their motivations, methods and problems. scribus/2006-April/thread.html#16749 offtopic: microsoft must pay to adobe to include pdf exportcapability Sometimes issues related to desk top publishing, but not necessarily to Scribus itself are brought up on the list. This is a good way to learn about the politics of (design-)software. Here is the thread on PDF export troubles between Microsoft and Adobe that I reported on last week: scribus/2006-June/thread.html#18348 CMYK Processing in open source One of the issues that is hard to overcome, and returns time and time again on the list, is the problem of CMYK export. This is not a Scribus issue in itself (color separation of graphic elements is no problem; it is a feature missing from image processing softwares), but is obviously frustrating when you are working with pictures in your document. The reasons why and possible (future) solutions are discussed here: scribus/2006-March/thread.html#16421]]>

Coming Soon: Print Party

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 20:11:07 +0000

P P P Friday July 7 16:00: Printing Party at Quarantaine (Brussels), with Scribus get-together and festive booklet-printing demo plus Open Cola cocktails. More details in a few days! Find more P s with open content license at: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=p+oneletter&m=tags&l=deriv (Advanced search > Only search within Creative Commons-licensed photos)]]>

Print Party! Join!

Fri, 23 Jun 2006 12:59:42 +0000

Rendez-vous le 7 juillet a Quarantaine pour une bonne Print Party! Ce sera a 16:00, et ca durera jusque peut-etre 20:00. Ca sera en français avec accent, (et bequilles en anglais et en néerlandais), mené par la Constant Printing + Cooking Team. ppfly.png Ou l'on apprendra comment mettre en page, imposer et imprimer un booklet avec des logiciels libres! On pensait que c'était de la Science-Fiction, mais une fois encore les experts se sont trompés: il est possible de faire du graphisme avec du Open Source. C'est en fait assez proche de la cuisine! Si vous savez faire un gateau, vous saurez faire un livre. Pour accompagner cette performance, Kate Rich de Bristol fera des cocktails avec du Cube Cola. Et +Nurse+ nous jouera un mix inspiré sur platines ensoleillées. Quarantaine, c'est 43 rue Lesbroussart, 1050 IXL, Bruxelles, Belgique www.quarantaine.biz. On ne saurait trop vous conseiller de visiter!]]>

C'est parti

Mon, 10 Jul 2006 21:50:08 +0000

+nurse+ participate yes, harrisson everything you see I owe to... L'agrapheuse]]>

Freie Schriften im Portrait

Sat, 15 Jul 2006 14:00:07 +0000

Gentium and Vera plus a few surprises such as Kaffeesatz and Union (not under an open licence, but distributed by the Danish government for use in documents relating to Danish culture. Interesting concept...) http://praegnanz.de/essays]]>

Kaffeesatz + Tagesschrift

Sat, 15 Jul 2006 14:22:13 +0000

kaffeesatz font Kaffeeschrift was developed by Jan Gerner from Dresden for use in menus etc., hence the monospaced figures. It works well for titles and headers, but was not designed for longer texts (though it holds out surprisingly well) Download and try out here: http://www.yanone.de/typedesign/kaffeesatz/ tagesschrift font Tagesschrift is scanned and vectoralized handwriting; very nice atmosphere and a more than useful addition to the often rather dull set of open fonts available. Download and try out here: http://www.yanone.de/typedesign/tagesschrift/ Both fonts are available under a not too restrictive Creative Commons License; you can copy, distribute, display, and perform (now that's a nice idea! -> I think this would mean you can embed them in documents?) the fonts; make derivative versions and also make commercial use of them. If you distribute (the same or altered versions), you are obliged to attribute Jan Gerner / http://www.yanone.de]]>

If the design thinking is correct, the tools should be irrelevant

Sun, 06 Aug 2006 13:56:06 +0000

Interview with Pedro Amado (TypeForge) (Type) designer Pedro Amado is amongst many other things initiator of TypeForge, a website dedicated to the development of 'collaborative type' with open source tools. While working as design technician at FBAUP, he is about to finish a MA with a paper on collaborative methods for the creation of art and design projects. When I e-mailed him about open font design and how he sees that developing, he responded with a list of useful links, but also with:
"Developing design teaching based on open source is one of my goals, because I think that is the future of education."
This text is based on the conversation about design, teaching and software that followed. ______________________________________ You told me you are employed as 'design technician'... what does that mean? It means that I provide assistance to teachers and students in the Design Department. I implemented scanning/printing facilities for example, and currently I develop and give workshops on Digital Technologies – software is a BIG issue for me right now! Linux and Open Source Software are slowly entering the design spaces of our school. For me it has been a 'battle' to find space for these tools. I mean - we could migrate completely to OSS tools, but it's a slow progress. Mainly because people (students) need (and want) to be trained in the same commercial applications as the ones they will encounter in their professional life. How did Linux enter the design lab? How did that start? It started with a personal curiosity, but also for economical reasons. Our school can't afford to acquire all the software licenses we'd like. For example, we can't justify to pay approx. 100 x 10 € licenses, just to implement the educational version of Fontlab on some of our computers; especially because this package is only used by a part of our second year design students. You can image what the total budget will be with all the other needs... I personally believe that we can find everything we need on the web. It's a matter of searching long enough! So this is how I was very happy to find Fontforge. An open source tool that is solid enough to use in education and can produce (as far as I have been able to test) almost professional results in font development. At first I couldn't grasp how to use it under X on Windows, so one day I set out to try and do it on Linux... and one thing lead to another... What got you into using OSS? Was it all one thing leading to another? Uau... can't remember... I believe it had to do with my first experiences on line; I don't think I knew the concept before 2000. I mean I've started using the web (IRC and basic browsing) in 1999, but I think it had to do with the search of newer and better tools... I think I also started to get into it around that time. But I think I was more interested in copyleft though, than in software. Oh... (blush) not me... I got into it definitely for the 'free beer' aspect! By 2004 I started using DTP applications on Linux (still in my own time) and began to think that these tools could be used in an educational context, if not professionally. In the beginning of 2006 I presented a study to the coordinator of the Design Department at FBAUP, in which I proposed to start implementing Open Source tools as an alternative to the tools we were missing. Blender for 3D animation, FontForge for type design, Processing for interactive/graphic programming and others as a complement to proprietary packages: The Gimp, Scribus and Inkscape to name the most important ones. I ran into some technical problems that I hope will be sorted out soon; one of the strategies is to run these software packages on a migration basis - as the older computers in our lab won't be able to run MacOS 10.4+, we'll start converting them to Linux. I wanted to ask you about the relation between software and design. To me, economy, working process, but also aesthetics are a product of software, and at the same time software itself is shaped through use. I think the borders between software and design are not so strictly drawn. It's funny you put things in that perspective. I couldn't agree more. Nevertheless I think that design thinking prevails (or it should) as it must come first when approaching problems. If the design thinking is correct, the tools used should be irrelevant. I say 'should' because in a perfect environment we could work within a team where all tools (software/hardware) are mastered. Rarely this happens, so much of our design thinking is still influenced by what we can actually produce. Do you mean to say that “what we can think is influenced by what we can make”? This would work for me! But often when tools are mastered, they disappear in the background and in my opinion that can become a problem. I'm not sure if I follow your point. I agree with "the border between design and software is not so strict" nevertheless, I don't agree with "economy, process and aesthetics are a product of software". As you've come to say what we think is influenced by what we can make... this is an outside observation...
A technique is produced inside a culture, therefore one's society is conditioned by it's techniques. Conditioned, not determined" (LÉVY, 2000)
Design, like economics and software, is a product of culture. Or is it the other way around? The fact is that we can't really tell what comes first. Culture is defined by and defines technology. Therefore it's more or less simple to accept that software determines (and is determined) by it's use. This is an intricate process... it kind of goes roundabout on itself... And where does design fit in in your opinion? Or more precisely: designers? Design is a cultural aspect. Therefore it does not escape this logic. Using a practical standpoint: Design is a product of economics and technology. Nevertheless the best design practices (or at least the one's that have endured the test of time) and the most renowned designers are the one's that can escape the the economic and technological boundaries. The best design practices are the ones that are not products of economics and technology... they are kind of approaching a universal design status (if one exists). of course... it's very theoretical, and optimistic... but it should be like this... otherwise we'll stop looking for better or newer solutions, and we'll stop pushing boundaries and design as technology and other areas will stagnate. On the other hand, there is a special 'school' of thought manifested through some of the Portuguese Design Association members, saying that the design process should lead the process of technological development. Henrique Cayate (I think it was in November last year) said that "design should lead the way to economy and technology in society." I think this is a bit far fetched...

Do you think software defines form and/or content? How is software related to design processes? I think these are the essential questions related to the use of OSS. Can we think about what we can make without thinking about process? I believe that in design processes, as in design teaching, concepts should be separated from techniques or software as much as possible.

To me, exactly because techniques and software are intertwined, software matters and should offer space for thinking (software should therefore not be separated from design). You could also say: design becomes exceptionally strong when it makes use of its context, and responds to it in an intelligent way. Or maybe I did not understand what you meant by being "a product of". To me that is not necessarily a negative point. Well... yes... that could be a definition of good design, I guess. I think that as a cultural produce, techniques can't determine society. It can and will influence it, but at the same time it will also just happen. When we talk about Design and Software I see the same principle reflected. Design being the "culture" or society and software being the tools or techniques that are developed to be used by designers. So this is much the same as "which came first? The chicken, or the egg?" Looking at it from a designers (not a software developers) point of view, the tools we use will always condition our output. Nevertheless I think it's our role as users to push tools further and let developers know what we want to do with them. Whether we do animation on Photoshop, or print graphics on Flash that's our responsibility. We have to use our tools in a responsible way. Knowing that the use we make of them will eventually come back at us. It's a kind of responsible feedback.

Using Linux in a design environment is not an obvious choice. Most designers are practically married to their Adobe Suite. How come it is entering your school after all? Very slowly! Linux is finally becoming valuable for Design/DTP area as it has been for long on the Internet/Web and programming areas. But you can't expect The Gimp to surpass Photoshop. At least not in the next few years. And this is the reality. If we can, we must train our students to use the best tools available. Ideally all tools available, so they won't have problems when faced with a tool professionally. The big question is still, how we besides teaching students theory and design processes (with the help of free tools), help them to become professionals. We also have to teach them how to survive a professional relationship with professional tools like the Adobe Suite. As I am certain that Linux and OSS (or FLOSS) will be part of education’s future, I am certain of it’s coexistence along side with commercial software like Adobe’s. It’s only a matter of time. Being certain of this, the essential question is: How will we manage to work parallel in both commercial and free worlds? Do you think it is at all possible to 'survive' on other tools than the ones Adobe offers? well... I seem not to be able to dedicate myself entirely to these new tools... To depend solely on OSS tools... I think that is not possible, at least not at this moment. But now is the time to take these OSS tools and start to teach with them. They must be implemented in our schools. I am certain that sooner or later this will be common practice throughout European schools. Can you explain a bit more, what you mean by 'real world'? Being a professional graphic designer is what we call the 'real world' in our school. I mean, having to work full time doing illustration, corporate identity, graphic design etc. to make a living - deliver on time to clients and make a profit to pay the bills by the end of the month! Do you think OSS can/should be taught differently? It seems self-teaching is built in to these tools and the community around it. It means you learn to teach others in fact ... that you actually have to leave the concept of 'mastering' behind? I agree. The great thing about Linux is precisely that - as it is developed by users and for users - it is developing a sense of community around it, a sense of "given enough eyeballs, someone will figure it out" Well, that does not always work, but most of the time... I believe that using open source tools is perfect to teach, especially first year students. Almost no one really understands what the commands behind the menus of Photoshop mean, at least not the people I've seen in my workshops. I guess The Gimp won't resolve this matter, but it will help them think about what they are doing to digital images. Especially when they have to use unfamiliar software. You first have to teach the design process and then the tool can be taught correctly, otherwise you’ll just be teaching habits or tricks. As I said before, as long as design prevails and not the tool/technique, and you teach the concepts behind the tools in the right way, people will adapt seamlessly to new tools, and the interface will become invisible! Do you think this means you will need to restructure the curriculum? I imagine a class in bugreporting... or getting help on line... mmhh... that could be interesting. I've never thought about it in that way. I've always seen bugreporting and other community driven activities as part of the individual aspect of working with these tools... but basically you are suggesting to implement an 'open source civic behavior class' or something like that? Ehm... Yes! I think you need to learn that you own your tools, meaning you need to take care of them (ie: if something does not work, report) but at the same time you can open them up and get under the hood... change something small or something big. You also need to learn that you can expect to get help from other people than your tutor... and that you can teach someone else. The aspect of taking responsibility, this has to be cultivated - a responsible use of these tools. About changing things under the hood... well this I think it will be more difficult. I think there is barely space to educate people to hack their own tools let alone getting under the hood and modifying them. But you are right that under the OSS communication model, the peer review model of analysis, communication is getting less and less hierarchical. You don't have to be an expert to develop new or powerful tools or other things... A peer-review model assumes that you just need to be clever and willing to work with others. As long as you treat your collaborators as peers, whether or not they are more or less advanced than you, this will motivate them to work harder. You should not disregard their suggestions and reward them with the implementations (or critics) of their work. How does that model become a reality in teaching? How can you practice this? Well... for example use public communication/distribution platforms (like an expanded web forum) inside school, or available on the Internet; blog updates and suggestions constantly; keep a repository of files; encourage the use of real time communication technologies... as you might have noticed is almost the formula used in e-learning solutions. And also often an argument for cutting down on teaching hours. That actually is and isn't true. You can and will (almost certainly) have less and less traditional classes, but if the teachers and tutors are dedicated, they will be more available than ever! This will mean that students and teachers will be working together in a more informal relationship. But it can also provoke an invasion of the personal space of teachers... It is hard to put a border when you are that much involved. I am just thinking how you could use the community around Open Source Software to help out. I mean... if the on line teaching tools would be open to others outside the school too, this would be the advantage. It would also mean that as a school, you contribute to the public domain with your classes and courses. That is another question. I think schools should contribute to public domain knowledge. Right now I am not sharing any of the knowledge about implementing OSS on a school like ours with the community. But if all goes well I'll have this working by December 2006. I'm working on a website where I can post the handbooks for workshops and other useful resources. I am really curious about your experiences. However convinced I am of the necessity to do it, I don't think it is easy to open education up to the public, especially not for undergraduate education. I do have my doubts too. If you look at it on a commercial perspective, students are paying for their education... should we share the same content to everyone? Will other people explore these resources in a wrong way? Will it really contribute to the rest of the community? What about profit? Can we afford to give this knowledge away for free, I mean, as a school this is almost our only source of income? Will the prestige gained, be worth the possible loss? These are important questions that I need to think more about. OK, I will be back with you in 6 month to find out more! My last question... why would you invest time and energy in OSS when you think good designers should escape economical and technological boundaries? If we invest energy on OSS tools now, we'll have the advantage of already being savvy by the time they become widely accepted. The worst case scenario would be that you've wasted time perfecting your skills or learned a new tool that didn't become a standard... How many times have we done this already in our life? In any way, we need to learn concepts behind the tools, learn new and different tools, even unnecessary ones in order to broaden our knowledge base – this will eventually help us think 'out of the box' and hopefully push boundaries further [not so much as escaping them]. For me OSS and its movement have reached a maturity level that can prove it's own worth in society. Just see Firefox - when it reached general user acceptance level (aka 'project maturity' or 'development state'), they started to compete directly with MS Internet Explorer. This will happen with the rest (at least that's what I believe). It's a matter of quality and doing the correct broadcast to the general public. Linux started almost as a personal project and now it’s a powerhouse in programming or web environments. Maybe because these are areas that require constant software and hardware attention it became an obvious and successful choice. People just modified it as they needed it done. Couldn’t this be done as effectively (or better) with commercial solutions? Of course. But could people develop personalized solutions to specific problems in their own time frame? Probably not… But it means that the people involved are, or can resource to, computer experts. What about the application of these ideas to other areas? The justice department of the Portuguese government (Ministério da Justiça) is for example currently undergoing a massive informatics (as in the tools used) change – they are slowly migrating their working platform to an Open Source Linux distribution – Caixa Mágica (although it’s maintained and given assistance by a commercial enterprise by the same name). By doing this, they’ll cut costs dramatically and will still be able to work with equivalent productivity (one hopes: better!). The other example is well known. The Spanish region of Estremadura looked for a way to cut costs on the implementation of information technologies in their school system and developed their own Linux Distro called Linex – it aggregates the software bundle they need, and best of all has been developed and constantly tweaked by them. Now Linux is becoming more accessible for users without technical training, and is in a WYSIWYG state of development, I really believe we should start using it seriously so we can try and test it and learn how we can use in in our everyday life (for me this process has already started…). People aren't stupid. They're just 'change resistant'. One of the aspects I think that will get peoples' attention will be that a 'free beer' is as good as a commercial one.]]>

You need to copy to understand

Sun, 06 Aug 2006 14:43:28 +0000

Interview with Harrisson One of the co-conspirators in this open source adventure is a Brussels graphiste going under the name Harrisson. His interest in open source software flows with the culture of exchange that keeps the off centre music scene alive, as well as with the humanist tradition persistingly present in contemporary typography. Harrissons' visual frame of reference is eclectic and vibrant, including modernist giants, vernacular design, local typographic culture, classic painting, drawing and graffiti. Too much food for one conversation. _____________________________ You could say that "A typeface is entirely derivative", but others argue, that maybe the alphabet is, but not the interpretations of it. The main point of typography and ownership today is that there is a blurred border between language and letters. So: now you can own the 'shape' of a letter. Traditionally, the way typographers made a living was by buying (more or less expensive) lead fonts, and with this tool they printed books and got paid for that. They got paid for the typesetting, not for the type. That was the work of the foundries. Today, thanks to the digital tools, you can easily switch between type design, type setting and graphic design. What about the idea that fonts might be the most 'pirated' digital object possible? Copying is much more difficult when you've got lead type to handle! Yes, digitalisation changed the rules. Just as mp3 changed the philosophy of music. But in typography, there is a strange confrontation between this flux of copied information, piracy and old rules of ownership from the past. Do you think the culture of sharing fonts changed? Or: the culture of distributing them? If you look at most licenses for fonts, they are extremely restrictive. Even 99% of Free Fonts do not allow derivative works. avertissement Warning message when attempting to embed a font in InDesign The public good culture is paradoxally not often there. Or at least the economical model of living with public good idea is not very developed. While I think typography, historically, is always seen as a way to share knowledge. Humanist stuff.
The art and craft of typeface design is currently headed for extinction due to the illegal proliferation of font software, piracy, and general disregard for proper licensing etiquette. http://redesign.emigre.com/FAQ.php
Emigré... Did they not live from the copyrights of fonts?! You are right. They are like a commercial record company. Can you imagine what would happen if you would open up the typographic trade - to 'open source' this economy? Stop chasing piracy and allow users to embed, study, copy, modify and redistribute typefaces? Well we are not that far from this in fact. Every designer has at least 500 fonts on their computer, not licenced, but copied because it would be impossible to pay for! Even the distribution model of fonts is very peer-to-peer as well. The reality might come close, but font licenses tell a different story.
I believe that we live in an era where anything that can be expressed as bits will be. I believe that bits exist to be copied. Therefore, I believe that any business-model that depends on your bits not being copied is just dumb, and that lawmakers who try to prop these up are like governments that sink fortunes into protecting people who insist on living on the sides of active volcanoes. Cory Doctorow in http://craphound.com/bio.php
I am not saying all fonts should be open, but it is just that it would be interesting when type designers were testing and experimenting with other ways of developing and distributing type, with another economy. Yes, but fonts have a much more reduced user community than music or bookpublishing, so old rules stay. Is that it? I am surprised to see that almost all typographers and foundries take the 'piracy is a crime' side on this issue. While typographers are early and enthusiastic adapters of computer technology, they have not taken much from the collaborative culture that came with it. This is the 'tradition' typography inherited. Typography was one of the first laboratories for fractioning work for efficiency. It was one of the first modern industries, and has developed a really deep culture where it is not easy to set doubts in. 500 years of tradition and only 20 years of computers.The complexity comes from the fact it is influenced by a multiple series of elements, from history and tradition to the latest technologies. But it is always related to an economic production system, so property and 'secrets-of-the-trade' have a big influence on it. I think it is important to remember how the current culture of (not) sharing fonts is linked to its history. But books have been made for quite a while too. Open source systems may be not so much influencing distribution, licenses and economic models in typography, but can set original questions to this problematic of digital type. Old tools and histories are not reliable anymore. Yes. with networked software it is rather obvious that it is useful to work together. I try to understand how this works with respect to making a font. Would that work? Collaborative type is extremely important now, I think. The globalisation of computer systems sets the language of typography in a new dimension. We use computers in Belgium and in China. Same hardware. But language is the problem! A French typographer might not be the best person to define a Vietnamese font. Collaborativity is necessary! Pierre Huyghebaert told me he once designed an Arabic font when he was in Lebanon. For him, the font was legible, but nobody there was able to read it. But how would you collaborate than? I mean... what would be the reason for a French typographer to collaborate with one from China? What would that bring? I'm imagining some kind of hybrid result... kind of interesting. Again, sharing. We all have the idea that English is the modern Latin, and if we are not careful the future of computers will result in a language reductionism. What interest me in open source, is the potential for 'biodiversity'. I partially agree, and the open source idea contradicts the reductionist approach by giving more importance to local knowledge. A collaboration between an Arabic typographer and a French one can be to work on tools that allow both languages to co-exist. Latex permits that, for example. Not QuarkXpress! Where does your interest in typography actually come from? I think I first looked at comic books, and then started doodling in the margins of schoolbooks. As a teenager, I used to reproduce film titles such as Aliens, Terminator or other sci-fi high-octane typographic titles. terminator Basically, I'm a forger! In writing, you need to copy to understand. Thats an old necessity. If you use a typeface, you express something. You're putting drawings of letters next to each other to compose a word/text. A drawing is always emotionally charged, which gives color (or taste) to the message. You need to know what's inside a font to know what it expresses. How do you find out what's inside? By reproducing letters, and using them. A Gill Sans does not have the same emotional load as a Bodoni. To understand a font is complicated, because it refers to almost every field in culture. The banners behind G.W. Bush communicate more than just 'Mission Accomplished'. Typefaces carry a 'meta language'. compassion http://voice.aiga.org/content.cfm?ContentAlias=%5Fgetfullarticle&aid=2131398 It is truly embedded content Exactly! It is still very difficult to bridge the gap between personal emotions and programming a font. Moreover, there are different approaches, from stroke design to software that generates fonts. And typography is standardisation. The first digital fonts are drawn fixed shapes, letter by letter, 'outstrokes'. But there is another approach where the letters are traced by the computer. It needs software to be generated. In Autocad, letters are 'innerstroke' that can vary of weight. Letterrors' Beowolf is also an example of that kind of approach. beowolf http://www.letterror.com/foundry/beowolf/ It's a very interesting way to work, but the font depends on the platform it goes with. Beowolf only works on OS9. It also set the question of copyright very far. It's a case study in itself. So it means, the font is software in fact? Yes, but the inter-dependance between font and operating systems is very strong, contrary to a fixed format such as TrueType. For printed matter, this is much more complicated to achieve. There are in-between formats, such as Multiple Master Technology for example. It basically means, that you have 2 shapes for 1 glyph, and you can set an 'alternative' shape between the 2 shapes. At Adobe they still do not understand why it was (and still is) a failure... multiple master I really like this idea... to have more than one master. Imagine you own one master and I own the other and than we adjust and tweak from different sides. That would be real collaborative type! Could 'multiple' mean more than one you think? It is a bit more complicated than drawing a simple font in Fontographer or Fontforge. Pierre told me that MM feature is still available in Adobe Illustrator, but that it is used very seldomly. Multiple Master fonts are also a bit complicated to use. I think there were a lot of bugs first, and then you need to be a skilled designer to give these fonts a nice render. I never heard of an alternative use of it, with drawing or so. In the end it was probably never a success because of the software dependency. While I always thought of fonts as extremely cross media. Do you remember which classic font was basically the average between many well-known fonts? Frutiger? Fonts are Culture Capsules! It was Adrian Frutiger. But he wasn't the only one to try... It was a research for the Univers font I think. Here again we meet this paradox of typography: a standardisation of language generating cultural complexity. a Sketch for Univers by Adrian Frutiger Univers. That makes sense. Amazing to see those examples together. It seems digital typography got stuck at some point, and I think some of the ideas and practices that are current in open source could help break out of it. Yes of course. And it is almost virgin space. In 2003 the Danish government released Union, a font that could be freely used for publications concerning Danish culture. I find this an intrigueing idea, that a font could be seen as some kind of 'public good'. union http://www.identifont.com/show?BW8 I am convinced that knowledge needs to be open... (speaking as the son of a teacher here!). One medium for knowledge is language and its atoms are letters. But if information wants to be free, does that mean that design needs to be free too? Is there information possible without design? This is why I like books. Because it's a mix between information and beauty - or can be. Pfff, there is nothing without design... It is like is there something without language, no?]]>

Printing Party at Wizard of Os: Art & Copyright

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 19:56:05 +0000

http://wizards-of-os.org/index.php?id=2806 Workshop Organised by Cornelia Sollfrank and Nicolas Malevé Printing Party by Harrisson & Pierre Huyghbaert
FREEdom and OPENness – anything but marketing and ideology? Sharing, really? Culture from and for the Commons. One day before WOS4, an international group of artists, programmers and theoreticians will meet for a concentrated exchange of experiences within a workshop situation. The programme of the day includes a general discussion about terminology, it will address questions of authorship, it offers the possibility for knowledge transfer in a section about free tools for artistic and cultural production and discusses their meaning for the quality of an artwork and it tries to evaluate the practice of applying open licences to works of art. The meeting will be concluded by demonstrating a new model of open publishing (print on demand) as well as the use of free tools in design and publishing during the final “Printing Party.”

Maternal Politics

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 21:26:36 +0000

maternal1.jpg Maternal Politics, Irina Aristarkhova Text available on line: PDF lay-out: maternal_politicsb.pdf License: Date of publishing: 03-06-2006 (Digitales)]]>

Les nouveaux habits de la copie

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 21:49:45 +0000

habits.jpg Les nouveaux habits de la copie, Nicolas Malevé Text available on line: http://www.constantvzw.com/downloads/nouveaux_habits.pdf PDF lay-out: habits_quarantainec.pdf PDF cover: cover_robot.pdf License: Copyleft, License Art Libre Date of publishing: 07-07-2006 (Quarantaine)]]>

Manifeste GNU

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 21:57:01 +0000

manifesto.jpg Manifeste GNU, Richard Stallman Text available on line: http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.fr.html PDF lay-out: retrospective_readingc.pdf PDF cover: retro_attac_couvert.pdf License: Copyright © 1985, 1993, 2003, 2005 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA / Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved / La reproduction exacte et la distribution intégrale de cet article est permise sur n'importe quel support d'archivage, pourvu que cette notice soit préservée. Date of publishing: 10-09-2006 (Université Attac)]]>

Print Party 2.01 at Université Attac

Tue, 12 Sep 2006 19:42:42 +0000

Conditions of production and cultural consumption After Nicolas gave a brief history of how author rights have developed and how the free software and copyleft movements responded to its increasing restrictive use... nicolas_speaks.JPG ...while trying to be not to grim about the way copyright laws are currently used and abused... votez.JPG This poster by Act Up (questioning the geneology of ideas put forward by French conservative politician Nicolas Sarkozy) was banned, because photographers' rights were supposedly violated. ...Harrisson and Femke offered the audience a small tasting of publishing, designing and printing with Open Source tools. talking.JPG We used the opportunity to launch Retrospective Readings with a small edition of Richard Stallman's GNU Manifesto - twenty years later still worth (re-)reading. propaganda]]>

About Constant Verlag

Tue, 12 Sep 2006 21:16:26 +0000

Constant Verlag re-publishes material from the depth of the Constant Archives in A5 cahiers of maximum 48 pages. Some of those texts are available on line as well, others are just saved on one of our harddrives; some written in French, others in English or Dutch; recent or as early as 1997. In addition to material generated by Constant, we have started a sub-series Retrospective Readings, proposing you materials worth re-reading. Find all editions here: Constant Verlag If you want your own copy, visit us at a Printing Party or download the PDF and use this recipe. All texts are layed-out using open source software, and available under a free licence.]]>

Crash test: Travail mobile

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 08:30:47 +0000

Lay-out in Scribus Download low-res PDF Finished! Sketched and produced a seven page contribution to Open (Dutch bi-monthly on art in public space) + inside cover. Images were prepared in Gimp; pattern assembled in Inkskape and document lay-out in Scribus (v1.3.3.2); all on Ubuntu. - Importing outlines from Gimp, re-using them with multiple images / layers in Inkskape: flawless; selection editor + svg export in Gimp works well with vector options in Inkskape. Had some problems with transparency in PDF-export from Inkskape. - EPS export from Scribus, after a few trials and errors flawless too; including transparency of layers. - Lack of interaction with EPS-export is frustrating; default is to crop the document along its margins so all you can do is set margins to zero before export. - EPS can only export one page at the time... - Bleed is automatically cut off on export too, but making the document 3mm larger on each side, is a quick workaround.]]>

Print Party Berlin

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 08:33:17 +0000

orga.jpg A report from the whole day is here: http://www.stormy-weather.be/wiki/in... For Wizard of OS Constant Printing Team members Harrisson and Pierre Huyghebaert showed that designing and printing booklets with Open Source software is nowhere near Science Fiction. Wednesday the 13th of September, Pierre and Harrisson presented a Print Party during Wisard of Os 4. This event was taking place in Berlin. The critical panel, organised by Cornelia Solfrank and Nicolas Malevé at Tesla (former Podewil) gathered Laurence Rassel, Simon Yuill, Harrisson, Pierre Huyghebaert, Simon Worthington, Adam Hyde, Saul Albert, Gisle Froysland, Malte Steiner, Gordon Duggan, Eberhard Ortland, Hinrich Sachs, Aileen Derieg, Goran Djordevic, Gergers Petersen, Felix Stalder, Inke Arns, Jacob Lillemose, Annette Schindler, Dorothea Carl, Christian von Borries, … This compact presentation was focused on the imposition of a 8 pages leaflet, that we succeded in printing, using non graphical interface softwares on Ubuntu. This little operation replaced what used to be done by a 10000 euro software 5 years ago. matos.jpg laurence.jpg Text set on paper is Femke Sneltings "Open Source Software for design" and OsBlogs "How To Print A Booklet In 19 Easy Steps", resulting in a "meta" publication on Constant Verlag. gnu_manifesto.jpg]]>

Design Tools for Designers & 19 Steps to do a Booklet

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 15:38:15 +0000

osblog.JPG Design Tools for Designers, Femke Snelting 19 steps to do a Booklet, OsBlog Text available on line: OSBlog PDF lay-out: berlin_pp.pdf PDF cover: cover_berlin.pdf License: Licence Art Libre Date of publishing: 13-09-2006 (Wizard of OS - Berlin)]]>

When standards are political

Tue, 24 Oct 2006 14:15:24 +0000

James Love just posted this interesting report on Nettime: When standards are political -- ODF (the Open Document Format) Yesterday I attended a meeting hosted by TACD at Harvard's Berkman Center about a very important issue -- one that is both highly technical and political at the same time -- the battle over the Open Document Format (ODF). (See links: http://www.cptech.org/a2k/odf/odfwkshop20oct06/, http:// www.tacd.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument) The technical part concerns what ODF is -- an open specification for the formats of common documents such as those created by word processors, spreadsheets and presentation graphics programs. The political part concerns what ODF represents -- an end to the Microsoft monopoly in desktop applications that are used to author and manage these documents." Estimates vary, but Microsoft probably controls somewhere between 90 to 95 percent of the market for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation graphics programs. This means people use Microsoft software to create these documents, and also to store data. The source of Microsoft's monopoly is control over file formats, in a world where data needs to be shared. Lots of companies or even free software communities can create software to do these common tasks. Corel's WordPerfect office suite, Apple's iWorks, the OpenOffice.Org, and doc.google.com are just a few examples of "competitors" to Microsoft office, each controlling a tiny part of the small non-Microsoft market share. But as we all know, we need to exchange data. With everyone using email and the web, we need to consider if others can read our documents, and if we can read what we receive from others. By failing to document their own (periodically modified) file formats, and not supporting the file formats of competitors, Microsoft has been able to create a very compelling reason to buy, and buy again, Microsoft software. Documents created in (current versions) of Microsoft's software are the best way to read documents other people create using Microsoft's software. So long as everyone uses a reasonably current version of Microsoft's software, everything more or less works. You can try to avoid using Microsoft -- but at price. Documents might not look right. Sometimes the differences are small -- but sometimes they are almost unusable. For this reason, most of the entire computer using world now relies upon software from Microsoft. Other companies don't even bother to invest in competing products. There is very little choice or innovation in this product space. Some people say this is inevitable, but of course, this is not true. The lack of interoperability is deliberate -- the linchpin of Microsoft's monopoly. But if the public could embrace an open format for documents, the outcome would be much different. There would be more competition, more innovation, better products, cheaper prices, etc. And there is a highly relevant example -- the web. Web pages are build upon the foundation of open format - called HTML - for hypertext mark-up language. The standards for HTML are determined by the World Wide Web Consortium - which is not controlled by any one company. The formats are open, well documented, and designed to work with different software and hardware. It has probably been the most influential and important data standard in the history of publishing. There are now thousands of high quality and innovative tools to author web pages. Microsoft offers a few, but they were never able to establish a significant market share. Indeed, there is no "leading" tool for creating web pages. Instead, there is an astonishing variety of methods of doing so - ranging from bare bones text based html editing tools to incredibility easy to use blogging software - offered by a variety of companies, free software projects or even individuals. The "Open Document Format" (ODF) effort has been led by a large group of non-Microsoft software companies that are seeking to level the playing field for software tools to author and manage text, data and graphics. It is pretty new, only having been approved by ISO/IEC on May 8, 2006. So far, only a handful of products support ODF, including the much improved free software office suite called OpenOffice.Org, the online program docs.google.com, and some Linux only applications. Apple, Corel and Microsoft have yet to suport ODF. A handful of thoughtful government officials are trying to require software vendors, including Microsoft, to use this new open standard, in order to achieve a number of important public policy objectives, including: * More competition among suppliers of software, * Improved ability to manage archives of data, * Enhanced ability to use and re-purpose data contained in documents. The State of Massachusetts and the government of Belgium and Denmark have already put in place requirements that ODF be supported by software companies, and now other governments are beginning to consider similar initiatives. If they succeed, it could result in a revolution in the structure of the entire software market, and bring much needed competition and innovation to these important areas. Next year Microsoft will try to sell the public on it's latest file format -- "Open XML", which they are marketing as a "competitor" to ODF as an "open" data format. Open XML was described by one expert as a standard that only Microsoft could implement - similar to a job description custom made for a single job applicant. Next month in Athens, Greece, at the new "Internet Governance Forum," there will be proposals for global norms to support open standards for key aspects of information technologies, including but not limited to data formats. Many people are nervous about these issues, because Microsoft is investing millions to defeat them, and to attack personally government officials who Microsoft sees as too friendly to open standards, and to reward politicians and government officials who back Microsoft. This battle, which is often very difficult to follow at the level of the technical details, is quite important. For years we have tolerated the manipulation of data formats to maintain a monopoly that has imposed all sorts of costs of society, in terms of high prices, lack of innovation and poor quality software. One only needs to compare the innovation seen on web publishing to the dearth of innovation you see on the computer desktop. If ODF succeeds now, Microsoft will have to compete on the basis of prices and quality - rather than by being the only product that will not mangle a document. That should be a good thing for everyone in the long run. State and federal government agencies should be asked to require that software vendors support ODF.]]>

From a small but growing movement

Fri, 27 Oct 2006 14:40:43 +0000

Due to my recent task of teaching typography, I was looking around for courses and experiences in that domain. This drove me to Ellen Lupton's website, teacher at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA): www.designwritingresearch.org. There, in an impressive generosity, you can consult her current syllabi and exercices of hight quality courses. She's is also a responsive designers awared of the problematic of proprietary fonts in design. Her website host a free font manifesto page: http://www.designwritingresearch.org/free_fonts.html Lupton wrote several books on teaching typography. The manual "thinking with type" is a reference in the field. This book is accompanied by a rich teaching website: thinkingwithtype.com which gives number of exercices and "adaptative" syllabus. She's editor in Freefontmanifesto Blog]]>

Open DIN: Das Ist Norm

Thu, 02 Nov 2006 11:08:23 +0000

What does it mean, when a typeface is released in the public domain? What are the legal issues surrounding typography? How can a font be generated collaboratively, using open source software? What does it mean, an open standard and how can such a standard fit different contexts? DIN_Q To get our hands into these and many other interesting, but difficult questions, the Open Source Publishing team has embarked on a new adventure. In the coming year, we will be working on a new digital rendering of the classic DIN font with the aim to release it in the public domain. We chose DIN (often referred to as "the German Autobahn typeface") as a starting point for a few reasons. First of all, because it is one of the rare typefaces that was released into the public domain from the moment it was designed in 1932. While the original drawings remain freely available, various type foundries have copyrighted digital renderings (see: http://www.linotype.com/ and http://www.fontfont.com/). Secondly because its particular history brings up many questions about standards, their political implications and relations to use. In 1936 the German Standard Committee decided DIN should be employed in technology, traffic, administration, and business, with the idea to facilitate the development of German engineering and industry. Our point of departure is therefore far from neutral ground. Collaborators: Pierre Huyghebaert, Harrisson, Philip May, Nicolas Maleve and Femke Snelting.]]>

Skeleton, Corset, Skin

Fri, 03 Nov 2006 00:14:02 +0000

The Men of ArntzThe Men of Arntz Stroom Den Haag started their year long project After Neurath with a public symposium. After Neurath looked/looks at the relevance of 1930's philosopher and information activist Otto Neurath, and as you can imagine various familiar issues came up. More information about Otto Neurath: http://www.stroom.nl/webdossiers/webdossier.php?wd_id=3530772 The project is curated by Steve Rushton. Speakers: Frank Hartmann, Robin Kinross, Kristóf Nyíri and myself. My talk is here: corsetskinskeleton.pdf]]>

Design for the common good

Fri, 24 Nov 2006 23:08:53 +0000

Dutch Design Foundation Premsela organised 'For the common good', a conference around Pierre Bernhard (Grapus, Ne Pas Plier), who has been awarded the prestigious Erasmus price. Design critic Hugues Boekraad introduced the work of Bernard with a plea for reflexive design; in his perspective designers have the responsibility to build bridges between the private and the public, between the particular and the general. Communication between government and citizens, cultural production, cultural heritage... Pierre Bernhard than showed early Grapus designs for and with the French communist party, followed by a more recent Ne Pas Plier project on children's human rights. From the third presentation by Thonik (Thomas Widdershoven), a radical re-design of the Dutch SP (socialist party), it was clear that times have changed. Using advertising strategies in bold red typography, and avoiding complicated messages, their design can only be measured in terms of succes. VanDeJong ended the afternoon with presenting a long term educational project Anno, aimed at making Dutch history accessible for everyone. "It doesn't teach but it gives a fun experience". log SP old   = tomaat.png HB = Hugues Boekraad PB = Pierre Bernard DK = Dingeman Kuilman (managing director of Premsela) CS = Carine de Smedt (design theoretician (?)) TW = Thomas Widdershoven PJ = Pjotr de Jong (caution - these are my notes -- not a transcription!) DK: Piere, could you respond to the work of Thonik and VanDeJong... do you think there are differences, comparisons to make? PB: It is hard to compare -- time is different -- what we did than is today not possible; we need to think quick, and we risk not to think deep enough. To go to the symbol quickly is necessary -- we are under a lot of narration (tv, advertisement) -- with these kind of images you can stop those stories and start to think for yourself. DK: It seems public and private communication strategies are exchangeable. Is that true? PB: I think it was always like that... what we as Grapus tried to do (but those were different times) was to develop ideas between one election and another. The goal was not only to win. Deep politics is not only about electing people in parliament, but also to understand what the reality of the everyday is about. HB: In the campaign for the SP I think there is an absence of floating images. It is all typography and code with a symbol added. I like the symbol, turning the tomato from a negative symbol into a positive one... but in Grapus' work you'll always find a zone of free imagination. A space to identify with. This is not possible with symbols; those images are already stabilized. TW: I agree with both your analyses... Now I will need to convince my client to want this too ... PB: Well, I think the general aestetics of the red ... it is red and white and forms ... functions in a way as a floating image too. HB: I was referring to the horizontal quality of the communication. PB works with reciprocal exchange -- where the language of the city hall and the political party are mixed -- to bring in the language of the people you are talking to, in to the rhetoric of the design. Using the rhetoric of ordinary life. DK: Is it political work? CS: It is, all of the work always is. It is a great demonstration of the power of graphic design ... what it can be. Cultural commissions are currently treated like commercial. It is obvious that there is a difference between commercial and public commission. The question is... is the public domain not everywhere? If everything is politic... can we equal it to the every day life... can we apply those ideas to every field? PJ: Everyone should take their responsibility... not just the government. This time of receding governments is a great chance for other institutions to play a role. DK: is there a difference between commercial and 'public' clients PJ: Most of our clients are public institutions ... our way of working is the same... we are looking for the real message... HB: I do not agree. In a democracy the difference between public and private is holy. The public domain is the space of the law. The space of the common, of language. It requires a different way of working. In Holland ... the succes of graphic design ... developed in state owned corporations. Did they really differ in logic, aestetics? are they different? Or did it introduce the management models of the private sphere in public institutions... made way for later privatization of the public sphere? On a theoretical and practical level you need to make a sharp distinction. DK: what is the relevance of dialogue for a graphic designer? PB: Communication is a dialogue. With mass media... you need a lot of technique... and the main actor is the market. Even when they work with a graphic designer... it can be difficult. They think as commercial people ... as if their visitors are clients ... they are sure it is a good model. It is only for people who know. It is important to believe in the public, that they are able to understand messages and to feel the same things as we are able to feel. In commercial terms, the only possible response is buying, not a dialogue. DK: How do you balance dialogue and propaganda? CS: in France we need to look at the great models we had. To understand the process... society has changed... we have to find new ways... we must fight for graphic design to exist ... a thinking form of graphic design TH: we always tried to put commercial values in the cultural... branding, but playing with it. We try to bring in cultural values in 'commercial' fields. If the propaganda works, than you create space to play. PB: In the Netherlands you have a chance to make things happen, because you have a graphic design culture... we had great postermakers once... but advertising is dominant since the 70's. What you describe ... the equilibrium between propaganda and information ... it is in fact graphic design as Popart.]]>

Watch this thread: Free Font Manifesto

Sat, 25 Nov 2006 01:14:23 +0000

Why would a typeface designer want to give a font away? sparked off a series of comments worth reading. The discussion shows how much typographers struggle with 'open source' as an idea. It makes you wonder why Lupton decided to ask 'to give away a font' and not 'to share source' - the latter probably fits the typographic spirit better. A few samples:
"(...) this movement you start up has the potential to make look bad and selfish the designers who wish not to participate, possibly because they are independents and just can't afford to give away months, sometimes years of hard labour. I don't want to sound pedantic, but I think your initiative could use a fair amount of discretion, because this possibly has already done harm to the type community without you even realising it."
"To suggest that the world would be better if Latin "graphic designers" had more free fonts to choose from not only makes it seem like misers are in control here, but it also makes it clear that good thinkers do not exist out there."
"The whole P2P community is breeding a generation of lazy idiots who think they can get anything for free. May it be music or typefaces. Why buy good type, when you can get it for free."
but also:
"To say that an "Open Source" font initiative would put designers out of business, or dilute the value of legitimate 'commercial' fonts is simply trying to lock the barn after the horses have long since left. Where have they been over the past twenty years?"
Read full thread here]]>

Convert tiff to transparent PNG

Sun, 26 Nov 2006 16:39:26 +0000

We will start with a modest example taken from a real life situation. We, Femke and Nicolas, are working on an illustration in Inkscape. For this illustration, we have scanned a lot of notes we have written on paper. The scanned images have been saved in tiff. We have imported them in Inkscape and started making the composition. Half-way we realise that it should be a lot more easier to work with the same images but saved as PNG with a transparent background. As there is 165 images to transform, to do it one by one in Gimp sounds just frightening. This is where the wonderful Imagemagick software enters into play. Imagemagick is shipped with every major linux distribution or can easily be installed by the different package managers. It is also available on windows; and on MacosX via the Fink installer. Once there, Imagemagick gives you many tools to edit, resize, transform images. One of them is convert that takes a file in input and converts it into (nearly) any format. In our case, a simple conversion was not enough since we wanted also to transform the white colour into a transparent background. The following command did the trick for one image:
convert myfile.tiff -transparent white myfile.png
To apply it to a whole directory of images and keep the filenames, we had to include it in a small shell script:
for file in `ls | grep tiff`
  convert "$file" -fuzz 5% -transparent white "${file}.png"
  echo "writing ${file}.png"
The fuzz parameter makes it possible to give transparency to 'nearly-white' pixels.]]>

Who's Afraid of Adobe? - Not me, says the Mozilla foundation.

Sat, 09 Dec 2006 18:43:56 +0000

already mentioned in this blog, Adobe owns many of the (proprietary) tools used by designers nowadays: Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and after having acquired Macromedia, it also owns Dreamweaver, Flash, Director, etc. Monopoly rhymes with monoculture. End of life for the SVG player However, Adobe has not always been the enemy of free formats. A recent example being the viewer for SVG they released when Flash was still a product from a competitor. Logically the support for the SVG viewer is now discontinued, Flash having become an asset of the company. End of life. A complementary explanation could be that the SVG format is also read natively within a major open-source browser, firefox. Who needs a plugin anymore? If we applaud the development of the SVG support within firefox, we regret that the softwares that have been developed specifically for the functionnalities added to the Adobe's SVG plugin may end with the software itself or will need to be rewritten. As the source code for the SVG player has not been published under a free license, we end up in a paradox: the programmers that wrote code for the functionalities specific to the Adobe's player chose SVG because it was free and open, but the player was itself a black box. And now, part of this code will be locked in this box because the same functionalities are not present in the firefox implementation. The Adobe viewer will be removed from the download area of adobe.com and the license doesn't allow for redistribution. Why wouldn't Adobe donate the code of its SVG player to firefox? Wouldn't it be better than to simply drop it? An alliance between proprietary software giant and one of the open source biggest achievement may seem odd. But it is already happening for another product and it makes the news. Adobe announced it would donate the code of its javascript engine, under the name Tamarin, to the Mozilla foundation that is behind firefox. This reflects the renewed interest of the company for the open source software. What Cnet.com calls a "quiet effort to become more involved with desktop Linux". Contrarily to what has been said here and there, Adobe is not giving the code for the flash player to firefox but an important component that will help the open source browser to interpret more efficiently the javascript code and therefore boost the Ajax development. From JD on EP, a series of interesting comments:
Frank Hecker (Mozilla staffer) offers a great orientation to the Adobe engine and the collaboration, particularly oriented to those in the Mozilla community. "Note that Tamarin is not an open source version of the Flash player; it is simply the virtual machine embedded within Flash Player 9, and does not include all the other components that make up Flash (including the bits that display graphics and play music and video). Adobe will continue to develop and distribute the Flash player on its own as a product separate from Firefox itself... The current SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine (used in Firefox, etc.) will not be replaced, as it does more than just provide a virtual machine; rather the Tamarin code will be integrated into SpiderMonkey. On compilers, the current SpiderMonkey engine can convert JavaScript to byte code, but does not have the ability to convert byte code to native machine instructions; this is a major feature that Tamarin provides... Not only do we gain an important new piece of technology that's critical to our products, we and Adobe both gain the benefit of being able to more closely work together on ECMAScript language technology and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts; this in turn will allow both the Mozilla project and Adobe to put more resources into other areas important for future innovations." [via Mike Potter]
To summarize:
So this has nothing to do with putting Flash into Firefox. Firefox users will still require the Flash plugin to run SWFs. But contributing a high-performance virtual machine for a type-checked, object-oriented language is still a big deal!
"AJAX in Flash, with a Web 2.0 hype engine. May god have mercy on us all."
To end this post about Adobe and open source software, it is still worthy to recap some info about the alternatives to produce flash movies with open source tools: Open source flash on linux: http://osflash.org/linux?s=linux Flash from PHP with Ming: http://www16.brinkster.com/gazb/ming/index.html And last but not least, to throw an eye on this article based on an interview with Paul Betlem, senior director of engineering for Adobe, who explains 'Why Flash 9 for Linux is taking so long': http://applications.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/11/21/2138216&from=rss But why you would use open source tools to lock your software in a proprietary format will be the subject of another post. Thanks to Peter Westenberg to have sent me precious informations.]]>

I want a green apple

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 00:58:10 +0000

cool people to the rescue, Greenpeace thinks they might convince Apple to change their policy on toxic waste, production and short product cycle: apple150x60.jpg http://www.greenmyapple.org/ More in-depth information on computers and toxic waste by the Sillicon Valley Toxic Waste Coalition.]]>

Unlock + collect for output

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 01:29:17 +0000

image scripting, also brought up an interesting discovery plus a feature/plug-in for Inkscape. constant_web20_th.jpg Detail of illustration for Mute Magazine. Click to view .jpg or download complete zipped .svg file + images Lock layer It is often helpful to lock an object (in this case the glow in the background), so that when you move things around, you do not have to worry about whether it stays at the right place. Quickly done with Inkscape, but unfortunately not as easily undone. The only way to unlock, is to open up the document in an editor, look for the line describing the locked object, and then delete the line: sodipidi:insensitive. Pfff... Collect for output Inkscape does not embed images, but links to them. It is therefore fast to work with (especially when using many images and layers as is the case with this illustration) but not easy when you have to send out the file to a printer or someone else - there is no way to check whether one of the images is missing. Pim Snel wrote an extension to collect all bitmaps, create relative links to them in the Inkscape document and zip everything up in one go. Wonderful! A description of how to use the script at Jakub 'jimmac' Steiner's weblog.]]>

Tools of the trade

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 14:40:41 +0000

Conversation with Ricardo Lafuente Ricardo Lafuente looks at the way typography, (open source) tools and design economies feed off and into each other. In a few weeks he will publish his text here for you to download. In the mean time, read a few of the ideas we exchanged by e-mail. Comments are of course more than welcome! RL: I am interested in the way designer's tools, particularly the typographer's, from letterpress to software, have influenced/defined the whole production system. FS: I think you're right to start thinking about the (r)evolution of type tools, by looking at the interrelation between tools for designing (digitizing?) type, systems for their distribution, and tools for output. It means looking at the development of Fontographer, of typefoundries, but also at the history of Postscript. Although all of these elements are intimately connected, each of the tools in the chain is operated upon by other professionals with different aims. In Pandora's Hope (1999), Bruno Latour argues that objects and subjects can not be viewed as separate from each other, in other words -- we have been shaped by our artifacts as much as we have shaped them:
Who or what is responsible for the act of killing? Is the gun no more than a piece of mediating technology? ... Which of them, the gun or the citizen, is the actor in this situation? Someone else (a citizen-gun, a gun-citizen) ... You are a different person with the gun in your hand; the gun is different with you holding it.
RL: Besides a historical reference as to the evolution of those tools, I also want to delve upon how the availability/cost/dimensions of the design tools actually shape the design activity. The main 'cost' in producing typography is time; time needed for development, for proofing and for apprenticeship. Now the price of tools such as Fontographer Fontforge is relatively low or even gratis, digital proofing systems are widely available and there's other materials to design in/with than carving marble, lead molds or photographic systems... all that's left is human hours spent on drawing a typeface or tuning kerning tables. In that way, the process of developing a typeface is in some aspects similar to developing software and I think typographers should seriously look at open source developments, because it could help in imagining another future than erasure or control. Sharing the work could actually work for typography. RL: What is the role of those tools in shaping the market and professional relationships (e.g. the way availability/cost/size of tools helped change the environment from craft to commodity)? FS: I do not think typographic craft has become commodified; the craft has changed and the commodity has changed with it. Again, if you think of type as software, the shift makes sense if you parallel it to the way commodity functions in software (Microsoft vs. MySQL: not that the latter is necessarily more sympathetic, but to base profit on service seems to make more sense than to base profit on distrust) RL: Since Gutenberg, drawing and printing tools have progressively become more accessible and less bulky. Today, free software means we have access to free tools with no larger a physical footprint as the computer that hosts them. Rid of its physical and economical restraints, what is a design tool today, and more importantly, what can it be? What implications does this have to the whole design field? With print-to-plate systems, or the way screen typography is (hopefully) developing, you could say that also printing is close to being incorporated. To me the most exciting effects of this convergence of tools, is that in theory design, distribution and use are melting into each other. It could potentially radically change the way typo(graphic) practice works. A designer is not necessarily an authority and the user becomes potentially more than a consumer. RL: I also found an interesting concept that can help sustain the issue of de-physicalisation (horrible term) of the tools - Radovan Richta's concept of technological evolution and its consequences (particularly, the importance of the switch from manual to mental labour): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_evolution FS: I am not so sure whether this shift from physical to mental labour should be taken that literally when it comes to software for (type)designers, and whether de-physicalisation is a useful term. Someone like Katherine Hayles writes about the embodiment, and materialization of knowledge beyond the physical in ways that seem to link to the practice of design. In Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand, Malcolm Mccullough describes how tools shape our perspective, i.e. how physical and mental work inform each other:
Tool usage simultaneously involves direct sensation, provides a channel for creative will, and affirms a commitment to practice. The latter is quite important: only practice produces the most lasting and satisfying form of knowledge.
and later on:
A tool directs your attention. Its function becomes your focus: as the saying goes, when you hold a hammer, all the world looks like nails.
(Or should we say with Latour that when you hold a gun, everyone looks like potential victim... ;-)) Physicality shifts place, but we still have bodies: hands operating keyboards, trackpads; eyes that judge, limbs suffering from RSI. To often, craft is made synonymous with 'handmade' and software ubiqutous – in short: craft is not solely manual, and software is not body-less Maybe those two truisms could help rethink craft beyond the patriarchal master-apprentice system that is still en vogue with typographers. The problem with type-design is, that it is often thought of as signature; writing in purified form. But in a networked world this cannot be the only way to do type. Typographers, while using digital tools for longer than most of us, have a hard time to let go of a closed model of authorship, and a hierarchical approach to teaching. I am not sure why it the stereotypical image of the lonely, ascetic, male typographer fighting against all odds for the survival of an undervalued secret craft seems so necessary to be maintained. RL: Is the market model and the typographer/designer's activity accounting for this evolution, or is it lagging behind? And what would be a feasible alternative that could account for authorship safeguards? And why should it be open? FS: I am convinced that a more progressive form of licensing, and an open source approach to the development of typefaces is absolutely necessary for typography to survive. The amount of policing necessary to check illegal copies would be absurd. It is impossible but most of all undesirable to technically protect typefaces; this form of Digital Rights Management will come at the cost of typographies fluidity and ability to be truly embedded. Also, typefaces are getting more complicated now since they are often shared over multiple computers with different locales and operating systems. So it seems important to engage in a collaboration with people across borders to continue to develop typefaces fit for todays texts (I do not think we have enough typography already!). Think about networked typography, dynamic type, print on demand... When the bezier curves and kerning tables are made available to be studied, adjusted, discussed by communities of people I think this could mean a whole new life for an old discipline.]]>

In Print

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 10:48:31 +0000

p1000114.JPG p1000116.JPG Contribution by De Geuzen in Open magazine about Travail Mobile, a workshop for Digitales. After the Crash Test-post a few month ago, finally pictures of the result! Thanks to Peter Linnell (one of the main Scribus developers), who after I posted about some Postscript troubles to the Scribus mailinglist, came to the rescue on IRC.]]>

FOSS and the Commercial Print World

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 11:28:44 +0000

Right now, I would say the biggest weakness from an FOSS point of view is there are few good high quality fonts. It is one of those areas which requires tremendous amounts of QA to make them reliable in the commercial print world. This is highlighted throughout our documentation. (QA = Quality Assurance ;-)) Read the interview here: http://www.kde.me.uk/index.php?page...]]>

Watch this thread: The color of ideas

Tue, 30 Jan 2007 02:21:34 +0000

pantone.jpg A widely used proprietary color-system such as Pantone, obviously raises questions for Open Source graphic tools. Gregory Pittman writes:
* Obviously, no one, including Pantone, can copyright a color, and especially in these days where the RGB/CMYK color systems are freely usable -- ie, you can't put a claim on RGB color "ef9824". * They can copyright the names and the connection with their inks. * They want to control the ability of anyone to connect some other color system to Pantone names or inks. My guess is about all they can really do is attempt to keep you from using their color/ink name, as in "this matches Pantone Keepsake Lilac or Pantone 15-2705" (their current color of the day). Understandably they don't want someone else feeding off the system they have created. * What it really begs for is someone to establish another system (open of course) with its own names which might in some way link up to Pantone and other inks, with the attached disclaimer that no promise is made that this product exactly matches any proprietary color or ink.
Read full thread here]]>

Mute Magazine: open soon

Tue, 30 Jan 2007 09:11:17 +0000

books.JPG Mute Magazine develops Open Source software, and has recently installed Ubuntu on all office machines. Now they want to move their lay-out away from QuarkXpress too. Last week, Simon Worthington and Darron Broad from Mute came over to discuss the project. First of all we will need to make sure their original templates can be migrated to Scribus - with a little help of Python, this will hopefully not be such a big problem. In parallel we started thinking about ways to connect Content Management Systems (Drupal in their case) to Scribus, so that part of the editing process can be eventually automated. Printing On Demand would not be far off from that -- exciting developments ahead. But first things first: from the June 2007 issue onwards, with the help of the Open Source Publishing team, Mute will be entirely produced with free software. Mute will also make sure the project/process will be properly documented and fed back into the Scribus community. Good news!]]>

Appropriation and Type - before and today

Wed, 31 Jan 2007 15:38:43 +0000

1. Appropriation in type through history
  • The Gutenberg press
  • Stanley Morison and Monotype
  • Arial
  • Segoe
2. The digital typography paradigm
  • Corporate type
  • User type
  • Designer type
3. Tweaking and reviving 4. Technology on arcane standards 5. What now a. Notes b. References c. Online references
1. Appropriation in type through history We could certainly identify many more instances of inspiration or downright copying of ideas in typography, but these four cases will suffice to demonstrate the different uses of copy, inspiration and appropriation in general. Our focus here will be on the issue of creative appropriation (inspiration) on one hand, and corporate business models and copyright issues (plagiarism) on the other. i. The Gutenberg Press In 1450, Johannes Gutenberg produced the first commercially viable model of his printing press, which was widely used for centuries until the advent of the Linotype machine, the first way to automate, though partially, the type setting and printing process. Gutenberg's press was the result of the combination of five key methods and processes, three - possibly four - of which were not original:
  • The screw press, which was already used by the Greeks and Romans to process olive oil and wine.
  • Block printing, present in China since 594 AD. Gutenberg's innovation was to use metal cast types (instead of the Chinese traditional woodblock printing), although metal typecasting was already developed in Korea around 1230 AD.
  • Letter punches, which were a goldsmithing technique - Gutenberg was a goldsmith - used to engrave letters in metal pieces.
  • Letter replica casting, a method to quickly create new individual characters, along with a particular metal alloy that made for durable pieces. This method has been attributed to Gutenberg but recent studies shed doubts on this fact.
  • Metal-adherent ink, devised by Gutenberg.
This shows that originality is not a straightforward issue, in a time before copyrights existed (it was not before 1700 that the first copyright statute appeared in Britain), the protection of ideas could have changed the fate of this invention. the combination of methods made. What matters here is that they were combined in a way that made typography as we know it possible, and there seems to be absolutely no question to the legitimacy of this invention, which was made possible by appropriating previous methods and processes. Gutenberg's model of printing stood firm for centuries until the Linotype machine introduced partial automation of the printing process. ii. Stanley Morison and Monotype On 1886, the Linotype machine began to be produced by the Mergenthaler Printing Co. in the United States. It wouldn't take long, though (a year) for Lanston Monotype to begin production of their own fully-automated typesetting machine, devised by Tolbert Lanston. In 1922, Stanley Morison was appointed as typographic advisor of the Monotype Corporation (the British branch of the Philadephia company), a post he would keep until 1967. The Monotype Corporation built an extensive catalog of cuts made by Morison from classic references, such as Bodoni, Bembo, Baskerville, and several others. These revivals helped to bring general interest to the old masters' works, besides consisting of a general market strategy to try to push up the value of the Monotype machine - the faces available would definitely determine the decision of a buyer who fancies a particular style, and thus the Monotype Corporation had no qualms about recruiting all the classics (which were in the public domain). It is tremendously unfair, though, to portray Morison as a hijacker - he was one of the hallmarks of 20th century type, being responsible for the creation of Times New Roman and hugely influencing the field of typography to the present day by the efforts he dedicated to bringing the classics to the general public - legitimately appropriating other designs. Without Morison's endeavour, our legacy would certainly be poorer today. iii. Arial, Monotype and Microsoft 1982 is the year in which the Arial typeface was released by Monotype Typography (Monotype Corporation's type design division). Designed by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders, this typeface had a remarkable issue. Not only does it have obvious similarities to other modern sans-serifs (sharing features with Helvetica, Univers and Akzidenz Grotesk), it exactly mirrors the glyph width tables from Helvetica, which is the data included in a font file that describes each character's dimensions. An exact match that gives little chance for coincidence. Microsoft licensed Arial from Monotype instead of the more expensive Helvetica, and in 1990 it was bundled with Microsoft Windows 3.1. It has been a staple of Windows systems until today. This is a specific case where a typeface was chosen not by its genuine creative and/or practical value but by external reasons, in this case backed by financial motives. Type designers are almost unanimous in shunning Arial as a lesser typeface: it is notably absent from Robert Bringhurst's typeface selection in The Elements of Typographic Style (the current all-around reference on type design from the designer's perspective), and is also only mentioned as a passing remark on Robin Nicholas's entry on the typographic encyclopedic survey by Friedl et al[1]. This is pretty much a clear notion of the type designers' community on the Arial issue; it's also worth noting that there has been, however, no attempt to replace Arial as a standard font in operating systems[2]. In strict legal/copyright terms, it's appropriate to compare the Arial case to a cheating student who argues that the fact that his exam has exact passages from his nearest classmates' exams owes to coincidence. It's reasonable to argue that borrowing from three sources rather than just one does not make the situation more acceptable. So Arial stands in mixed principles: the type community is almost unanimous in calling shenanigans, but it still made its way to our current operating systems despite that fact - it never met any legal actions. iv. Segoe In early 2006, Microsoft announced a significant effort to dignify type design in their upcoming Vista operating system: six type designers - Lucas de Groot and Robin Nicholas figuring among them - were comissioned to design appropriate typefaces for screen and print. The result was six very attractive fonts that not only could appeal to general uses by less savvy people, but also soothe the type designers' fancy. Another font included in Vista is Segoe, a revival of Frutiger Next (which in turn is a revival of Frutiger) that Microsoft licensed from Monotype and altered. It's not the first case in which Adrian Frutiger's work has been remade: Adobe's Myriad and Apple's Podium Sans also bear a striking resemblance to Frutiger's structure. When Microsoft registered Segoe in Europe in 2004, Linotype sued for copyright infringement since European law, unlike the American one, recognises the rights to font designs (although patent law is often used to circumvent this legal void in the US). The most significant fact is that Microsoft based their defense not on the issue of originality - stating the differences between Segoe and Frutiger Next, but on the fact that Linotype wasn't selling its typeface in Europe when the request was filed. This situation could very well be interpreted as an admission by Microsoft's part that the font in fact owes credit to Frutiger's design. This case becomes all more revealing in that it's a high-profile and current example of an attempt to settle the authenticity of a type design in courts. Unlike Arial, it didn't sneak past the critics and found serious hurdles while Microsoft tried to implement it in its Windows OS. A verdict on the Segoe case is expected in early 2007. 2. The digital typography paradigm Typography, and type design in particular, is historically defined by a constant recursion of past themes and trends, be it as inspiration - revivals - or as a way to question them - as in post-modern type examples, such as Emigre's or David Carson's work. Nevertheless, modern designs still owe heavily (with or without credit) to a tradition of arts and crafts spanning five centuries. Meanwhile, on the last 20 years, the type world hasn't ceased discussing the issue of rights and plagiarism, a discussion that was sparked by the digital revolution and the introduction of the personal computer as an all-purpose design and production tool. This shift implied that the tools used in typography and book production ceased to be the sole domain of type makers, printers and book publishers - the only ones that could afford the initial investment of a type foundry, workshop or printing press and manage it effectively. Designing type soon became cheaper and cheaper, as the physical footprint of the new tools gradually became smaller and smaller. Nowadays, a computer and a printer can do in minutes what a huge phototypesetting equipment would have taken a lot of time, effort and money to produce 10 years ago. The most important effect of the digital revolution in type design is that typefaces became fonts - a radical change in that they were no more lead blocks but data, files that describe how each glyph should be drawn on screen or on a printer. FontForge, a free software solution to type design, was released in 2004, doing away with any software costs involved in font creation and editing, meaning the only overhead for a type design business would be a PC, paper, drawing tools, an image-capture device (scanner or camera) and eventually an Internet connection. This change has massive repercussions in the whole typography market: now type design wouldn't, in theory, require any kind of intermediaries between the typographer/designer and its audience. Reality developed otherwise, as we will see from three standpoints in typography usage and creation. i. Corporate Type The digital revolution made a deep re-definition of most areas of study possible. We will show, though, that the field of typography has been lagging behind when it comes to taking advantage of the digital medium. Moreover, the corporate business model has failed to account for the specific needs and features of information technology, sticking to an artificial market sustained by an inflated value attributed to digital files as if they still were physical objects that are owned. Nowadays, there are three major players in the type business: Microsoft, Adobe and Monotype Imaging. Apple Computer hasn't been a key figure in the type market (concentrating on developing font technology for its operating system), but it had an essential role in developing the actual playing field. Apple heralded the personal computer era in with their original Macintosh and has intermittently collaborated and competed with Microsoft and Adobe, being responsible for the development of the TrueType font format along with Microsoft as a response to Adobe's high-priced PostScript Type I font description format. The release of TrueType in 1991 forced Adobe to gradually reduce prices and eventually follow suit, releasing the PostScript specifications so that software developers could implement it without limitations in their programs. Adobe Systems Inc., besides being responsible for a highly successful suite of imaging and DTP software, has a very strong position in the type market: not only is it a type vendor (through its typography division, Adobe Type) but also the most influential company in the sense that it owns most digital design solutions - especially after acquiring its main rival Macromedia in April 2005 and facing no significant competition in its market. Microsoft is responsible for creating the most widely used operating system, as well as the most popular office suite. Along with Adobe, Microsoft developed the currently dominant OpenType file format, which is freely available to developers as long as they agree to the licensing terms. Adobe converted its entire type collection to OpenType in a move to spread the new standard. Monotype Imaging is now a distant remnant of Tolbert Lanston's original creation. It has adjusted technical breakthroughs in the 20th century and claimed a staunch position in today's digital type market. It was acquired by Agfa in 1999 forming Agfa Monotype, which in turn was acquired by TA Associates (a North American investment firm), changing its name to Monotype Imaging and developing a position in font software and rendering engines, and also securing a strong standpoint in the font vendor market after acquiring its rival Linotype (and the rights to their entire type collection). ii. User Type Most people get introduced to digital type by means of text editors. The digital revolution would be the perfect reason to finally open typography to everyone and make it a mainstream subject instead of a limited-access craft. Things have happened otherwise, though, and the inability to create a suitable interface for allowing basic experimentation with type has severely crippled the possibilities of the new medium. The font selection paradigm has changed little during the years, offering a whole collection of typefaces in a drop-down menu. Such is the immediateness of digital type: It's just there, no need to open drawers with thousands of lead characters. Users are encouraged, by means of a simple GUI, to just pick their font and get to work on their document. Even more: you don't even need to pick, just stick with the default choice the software maker's made for you. Word processing interfaces also assume the user doesn't want to be bothered with layout choices such as margins, structure - and they also make the choice for us (incidentally, they also made it quite awkward to change these defaults). In short: the standard word-processing interface tells users to not bother with type. This paradigm helps to build the general perception that a font is a finished, shrink-wrapped and untouchable product - pretty much like prepackaged software. Although font files can be opened and edited as long as we have an appropriate editor, most typeface editors are either crude or catering exclusively to the type designer market. The user usually isn't able to reach the underpinnings and intricacies of type, instead being expected just to understand that the default template is more than enough. Such an approach to software designing effectively discourages any kind of interest in typographic issues by the general public, and helps to fuel the thought that fonts are "just there". It's worth noting that there is still no easy and streamlined way to buy, install and use fonts, unlike most other digital markets - iTunes would be a good example of that kind of market strategy. iii. Designer Type The type designer community is centered on the study of classical and modern examples and making attempts to postulate theory and practical guidelines for the craft of type design, sitting somewhere between the methods of architecture and those of poetry. Fred Smeijers's analysis of the type designer's duty, in his manifesto Type Now, is quite straightforward. On the issue of responsibility of type designers and commitment to specific guidelines, he states that "a type designer cannot escape this responsibility of judgment (...). In the end, people - the society - either accept it or they don't"[3]. Society, it seems, would be the ultimate judge of whether a typeface is a hallmark of craft or doomed to failure. On the other hand, we find a curious account on Smeijers's description on Fontana, a typeface by Ruben Fontana inspired by Meta [4]: he describes it as "uncomplicated", "tres sympathique", "sunny" and "open minded". This certainly sounds more like a description of a person or a song than that of an object, and indeed sheds some doubt on the touted objectiveness of good type design in the sense that it seems unable to find serious and objective terms to classify a typeface's features. Historical categorisations of design tendencies vary from author to author, and although there are some widely used terms to describe historical periods and typeface features, such as "transitional type" or "slab serifs", there's a tendency to borrow from poetry and music to identify a type family's "soul" (which, though relevant from an artist or a historian's point of view, is rather unscientific). This is not a contradiction, though, since we can distinguish between type as a creative activity (in which there would be no problem with this kind of analogy) and type as an industry and commodity (where profit, market tendency, shareholder demands and legal requirements imply that things have a definite value and purpose). Naturally, Smeijers's interest is on the craft and art of typography, and not the market and the economic relationships that it spawns. On the other hand, our interest is definitely that which Smeijers doesn't care for. We need to account that defending the status of type as a functional solution to practical problems requires an objective set of rules that derive from the way we read and write. We cannot yet account for matters of objective legibility while we don't possess all information on our mental processes and the mechanisms in the brain involved in acquiring and processing written information - this is the field of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. We know, from history, that a text with generous linespacing will certainly read better than other with no linespacing at all. The German blackletter used by Gutenberg in his Bible, however, is almost unreadable to a contemporary westerner's eyes and definitely alien to someone from a non-Western background. In the fifteenth century, though, it was certainly the norm. History can help to avoid repeating mistakes, but it also shows the relative importance of our current standards. In short, we still cannot objectively define type, and won't be able to before a major breakthrough in neural science. However, copyright issues and legal matters impose formal specifications on what a font is and what it is not. Whether a typeface is a tweak, a revival or a work of art is left to the courts. 3. Tweaking and reviving In order to explain the type designer's first reluctance to embrace the digital alternative, and also understand how design processes are not as straightforward as they are presented to us, we'll concentrate on Fred Smeijers's account on the current state of events in typography. Specifically, we'll borrow his term font tweaking [5]. This process consists of loading a font, "tweaking" it - altering small details - and releasing them with different names, thereby circumventing copyright laws (US law protects font names as trademarks, but not font designs). Smeijers is clear in pointing that font tweakers have nothing to do with type design at all, reinforcing the distinction between doing type as a labour of love and doing it for a profit. Font revivals, on the other hand, are re-interpretations of existing designs, and our best example would be Morison's effort in bringing the classical designs into the Monotype type library. Revivals matter to us because they aren't original productions (as they draw inspiration from existing designs) but aren't copies either (because no rights over them could be warranted otherwise, since there would be no original idea). Digital type foundries and vendors still maintain the tradition, digitising and redoing the old masters' work. It's worth noting that even if a certain typeface, such as those with expired copyrights, resides in the public domain, anyone can make a digital version - a revival - and claim the rights to it. Digital type catalogues are rife with revivals: In Bringhurst's inventory of digital foundries[6], we can find 14 that issue revivals, and 4 that only release original designs. This interest in resuscitating previous designs also has motives that stand apart from simple typographic archaeology. Revivals are routinely issued by vendors and foundries to protect the rights of the rightsholder when a typeface's copyright is about to expire. Such is the case with Avenir LT, Adobe Garamond and Frutiger Next - which is what allowed Linotype to retain the rights to the original design and be able to sue Microsoft. Revivals reside in a kind of legal in-between - some, like Arial (which is more a tweak than a declared revival), manage to stick around; while others, like Segoe, raise copyright lawyers' eyebrows. Given these two aspects, one cannot but wonder that a type designer wouldn't be thrilled with this perspective. One has also to question why there is such a rift in reactions between font tweaking and font revivals, which can be interpreted as no more than corporate font tweaking. A practical example of this is MyFonts.com's description of the Avenir LT font (link, down the page) - a "recut version of Avenir", stating that "The 'LT' was added to the name as the metrics differ from the original version". This definitely corresponds to Smeijers' description of font tweaking, despite the fact that the name change wasn't intended to avoid legal troubles, but to assert the brand of the author of the revival. What is a revival, then, other than a corporate-sanctioned font tweak? 4. Technology on arcane standards The current terminology used in typography is also a clear signal of how it still depends on former traditions instead of adapting to its new medium. Digital typography's rules and terminology have been determined by its physical counterparts, and that still hasn't changed. For example, we still talk about "leading" - a term for the spacing between lines that takes its name from the lead strips used for that purpose - although the term "line spacing" is gradually replacing it in user-oriented applications such as Microsoft Word. Another example: while type foundries got that name because of their heavy use of metal, single-person studios with Macs are still referred to as "foundries". And fonts are described as being "cut" or "cast", more than "digitised". We talk about "digital versions" instead of digital copies, perhaps to preserve their history and soul and not treat them as just another file in a user's computer. Although we can forgive this persistence in using traditional typesetting terms (mayhap as a historic homage), it also is a symptom that the type activity and business have failed to redefine themselves for the digital medium. On the other hand, these examples can actually be interpreted as quite an artificial and linguistic way to value the work of the typographer, probably with the aim of distinguishing between "true" type designers and mere font tweakers, and not let "true" typography be contaminated by the creeping tweaker threat. 5. Now Given that digital type is hanging around for thirty years, the progress in improving on font technology and taking advantage of the digital medium has been rather dim. On the other hand, type designers in general (with the exception of rare cases such as Emigre or Letterror) have not tried to get to grips with font technology, rather limiting themselves to drawing and tracing their designs in Fontographer and selling them on major font vendors (MyFonts, Monotype) or independent ones (such as T26 and Veer). Worse still, issues of originality and plagiarism have been discussed in type design circles, but corporate entities break them routinely while trying, at the same time, to assert their rights in courts. The difference between major and minor vendors is not substantial: though distributors like Veer try to create a community and improve on the users' and designers' experience compared to major sellers through research, designer spotlights and support, digital typefaces are still regarded in an esoteric limbo between metal characters and abstract data. And though the price tags have steadily declined (and recently stabilised in the 20 dollar range in general), it is revealing that business models like iTunes or Flickr, or collaborative methods in producing typefaces (many typographers are still lone workers) haven't shown up yet, and that file formats have changed so little in the face of recent, sleeker solutions like XML and SVG. And there's little hope for innovation: the Adobe-Macromedia and Monotype-Linotype mergers have paved the ground for a corporate monoculture ruled by software and typeface vendors and distributors, with very little margin for competition. We can also point a mutual apathy between commercial developers and designers as a possible reason - type designers try to adapt to outdated ways - file formats and type tools - to create their works, while developers lag in keeping up to date to new breakthroughs. Limiting the tools is limiting the imagination. On the other hand, font vendors have an incredibly contradictory stance regarding font rights, using copyright law to protect their products while violating it to borrow from others'. The different fate of Arial and Segoe begs the question: are the vendors and distributors handling this as it should be handled? This model's obvious contradictions definitely invite serious questioning as to the legitimacy and validity of the current type market and business model, which cannot effectively release its standards and technology because of the threat of competition. It's therefore left to users, designers and independent developers to shape a new way of defining type and creating effective communication channels between providers and users, be it through online communities or real-world discussion in type designer's circles and colleges. If type takes the free/open source route - the wheels are already in motion - how can type vendors sustain their profit margins and their markets? With open fonts and free font-editing software around, there would be little doubt that typography can take a very interesting turn. Could we also see the open approach and the business approach coexist, catering to specific users' needs, whether amateur or professional? And, finally, will the type world come to terms with the fact that appropriation and use of other's ideas have defined the activity since its beginnings, and that it implies a serious rethinking of concepts such as authorship, plagiarism and author's rights? [Note: this text was written as part of my MA studies at the Piet Zwart Institute. Please do post any comments or corrections in the comment box below!] a. Notes [1] Friedl, Ott, Stein: Typography: An encyclopedic survey of type design and techniques through history. (p. 409) [2] Arial is now a "standard" font of web typography, being part of a very limited set of fonts that all browsers can read. [3] Smeijers, Fred: Type Now. (p.25) [4] id., p. 40 [5] id., p. 32 [6] Bringhurst, Robert: The Elements of Typographic Style. (p.309) b. References
  • Bringhurst, Robert: The Elements of Typographic Style. Vancouver, Hartley & Marks, 2002.
  • Smeijers, Fred: Type Now. London, Hyphen Press, 2003.
  • Friedl, Ott, Stein: Typography: An encyclopedic survey of type design and techniques through history. London, Black Dog & Leventhal, 1998.
  • Steinberg, S.H., and Trevitt, John: Five Hundred Years of Printing (4th Revised edition). London, Oak Knoll Press, 1996.
c: Online references ]]>


Tue, 27 Feb 2007 10:19:22 +0000

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers Meeting) conference in Brussels, two openSuse developers presented their research on usability of KDE desktops. p1000537.JPG Their testing methods consists of interviews, questionnaires, screen recordings plus precise video documentation of a group of 10 people trying to accomplish 12 tasks using various desktop systems (KDE classic, KDE reloaded and Windows Vista). Besides looking for 'succes rate' and 'accomplishment time', they also measured 'the hedonic aspect' which I thought was pretty interesting. The AttrakDiff standard (which is in itself a proprietary method ;-)) measures 'pleasure' i.e. the joy of using a system. Instead of asking: 'Did the interface do what you expected', it tries to find out whether it was an interesting experience. Which of course could also mean, that the system did the opposite of what you thought it would do.]]>

And all he left was letter A...

Wed, 28 Feb 2007 10:14:45 +0000

A little note on Appropriation and Type text. Gutemberg printed the first book with movable type in 1455. Maybe copyright wasn't existing at the time, but there was, and there is still, a fight for the first inventor of the printer machine in Europe. Castaldi is alleged to have created movable type in 1442 (inspired by the use of glass letters made in Venice and used by scribes to print large first letter on page. Gutemberg knew that invention from Faust, one of his student.) One mythical story about the creation of printing press is a robbery. Laurens Janszoon Coster was a important citizen of Dutch city Haarlem. He discovered the movable type while playing with his grandchildren, cutting pieces of wood in shapes of letters. Realizing the possibilities of this, Coster improved the system with good ink and metal letters, and soon started to print books. Business florishes, worksmen are employed. But while the Coster family were at church on Christmas Eve 1441, employee Johann broke into the printing office and stole presses and types. He fled to Mainz, where he immediately sat an office and print. Some version tells it was Johannes Fust, the partner of Gutenberg (and who scrooge him later on). coster.jpg Fust was formerly often confused with the famous magician Dr Johann Faust, who, though an historical figure, had nothing to do with him. Not to mention the fact that the first printed font was an imitation of monastic script blackletter. sample.jpg Read in "The Secret History of Letters", Simon Loxley, ed. I. B. Tauris, 2006 ]]>

Deadline March 14, 2007 at 11:59 PM PST

Thu, 08 Mar 2007 11:48:16 +0000

Open Font Library (OFL.o) needs a logo to help identify their project. They want the community to help create this logo and three judges from the OFL.o will select the winning logo which they will use in all of their branding. Logos need to be submitted in .svg before March 14, 2007 at 11:59 PM PST Details here: http://openfontlibrary.org/?ccm=/OFLBLogo]]>

DIN - Das Ist Norm - II

Wed, 14 Mar 2007 15:20:22 +0000

plate_new.jpg plate_old.jpg "FE-Schrift or fälschungserschwerende Schrift (falsification-hindering script) has been the only typeface used on new vehicle registration plates in Germany since November, 2000. It was designed for the German government in the late 1970s in the light of Red Army Fraction terrorist activities, when it was discovered that with the then standard font for vehicle registration plates (DIN 1451 road-sign font) it was particularly easy to modify letters by applying a small amount of black paint or black insulating tape. For example, it was easy to change a "P" to an "R" or a "B", or an "L" or "F" to an "E". Modifications to FE-font plates are somewhat more difficult as they also require the use of white paint, which is easily distinguished at a distance from the peculiar retroreflective white background of the plate, in particular at night." From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FE-Schrift]]>

Monopolios Artificiales sobre Bienes Intangibles

Sat, 17 Mar 2007 08:38:39 +0000

Nomade, an Argentinian group of artists using Free Software, just finished a printed publication on intellectual property, plus a detailed tour through the process: http://nomade.liminar.com.ar/wakka.php?wakka=MaBI&v=der Included: design sketches, illustrations, description of the pre-press process, final pdf's and a html version. Of course everything Open Source. Very nice!]]>


Tue, 10 Apr 2007 10:29:46 +0000

Libre Graphics Meeting, taking place May 4-6 in Montreal, Canada, OSP members Harrisson and Femke will speak about FLOSS and design: Relaying Systems - Why designers should be interested in FLOSS. The programme is here!]]>

Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat?

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 11:46:24 +0000

The Institute of Network Cultures published an insightful study on the culture of new media work by Sociologist Rosalind Gill. Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat? New media work in Amsterdam a decade after the web, is based on 40 'semi-structured' interviews with practitioners (designers, developers, artists, information architects, ...). Her study reveals the often precarious situations web workers find themselves in, but most of all her analysis and critique of their (our?) egalitarian self-image, makes it a Must-Read.
"It is striking to see that two of the three people who commented on this issue (racism - FS) were themselves immigrants to The Netherlands; it simply did not seem to be visible or worthy of comment to others of our participants - a tendency which tells us a great deal about the normalization and power of whiteness."
Download the publication Lecture Rosalind Gill http://www.decadeofwebdesign.org/videos/day_2/encoded/1mbs/22_gill230205.mp4]]>

The Flow of Text in MasterPages

Mon, 23 Apr 2007 19:33:12 +0000

Python. The Scribus module is loaded into scripts with the standard import scribus or from scribus import *. In this post, we'll be using only one function off this module: createText(x, y, width, height) This function puts a TextBox of the specified width and height at the (x, y)-coordinates of your document. This is its documentation. The TextBoxes of Scribus Templates are eerily insular. Since we really didn't find a way to make text flow in Scribus MasterPages, we were forced to write a script. It builds on a script that was posted some time ago on the Scribus mailing list. We have added an alternate to the Flow of Text that may be useful to the users of the script. The TextFlow in the original is fine, but ours is fine, too. To push the Text as a River metaphor a bit further: the text must flow, and we're redirecting it with a Dam. To see the difference, it's probably best to run the script itself. Fetch the TextBoxes.py and Boxes.py files, and put them in the same directory. Open Scribus and load a document. Things will only work if there's already a Scribus document open. even = [[30, 30, 10, 10], [50, 50, 20, 20], [80, 80, 30, 30]] odd = [[30, 240, 10, 10], [50, 210, 20, 20], [80, 170, 30, 30]] The above are the lines in Boxes.py where you specify the size and position of your TextBoxes. It uses the same units as your Already opened Scribus document. Note that you can have different layouts for odd and even pages. Once you've written a layout, execute TextBoxes.py from the aptly named Script menu. Boxes.py may be the only file that you will need to edit. It has a couple of other tweakable parameters. Explore : )]]>

Kissing Frogs

Wed, 25 Apr 2007 19:49:11 +0000


Soundscape goes Inkscape

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 13:22:47 +0000

Odessa is about to be send to production. We worked on the label design yesterday and inkscape's "clone generator" feature did the difference. It was the perfect tool to render an electronic disco ball - and type, evoking the minimal dance pop of the music and the complexity of the sound production and composition. Hopefully soon to be heard at your local dance club! donna_web.png donna_disco_web.png]]>

Managing Fonts

Sat, 28 Apr 2007 08:53:52 +0000

dfontmgr.pngDEbian Font MAnager a.k.a. dfontmgr (available through the Synaptic Package Manager) is helpful when you want to register and unregister fonts on a Debian / Ubuntu system. After installation you can start the manager, which is a GUI for the Defoma package, from the command line. Type sudo dfontmgr (you need to be root to make changes to fonts). It does not look very pretty but installing and uninstalling fonts should now be easy.]]>

Out of the veil

Sat, 28 Apr 2007 10:05:04 +0000

p1000836.png p1000837.png]]>

Montreal Flight Discoveries

Thu, 03 May 2007 02:41:10 +0000

af.jpgWhile on our way to the Libre Graphics Meeting in Montreal we've done a quick test of Scribus 1.3.4cvs and ... good news! Major New Feature No.1: possibility to add character styles (besides paragraph styles) and a general clean up of the way styles work. More testing needed, but interface and direction taken look promising. For a description of the character style feature have a look at this article on the Scribus Developers' blog: Putting styles in context Major New Feature No.2: cropmarks, bleedmarks, and most of all: the possibility of exporting pdf's including overlap. This solves many of the 'Rock In Your Shoe' problems we were running up against while converting Mute Magazine into Scribus. This version, which is a development version, is not altogether stable to say the least, but the future looks bright.]]>

In Canada

Thu, 03 May 2007 03:06:51 +0000


1 année de Graphisme, 100% libre

Sun, 06 May 2007 22:40:50 +0000

a_robin_logo_ipsa.png La conférence d'Alexandre Robin a LGM Association internationnale en science politique. Design Graphique, administration reseau, dévelopement web, Alexandre à choisi de travailler en OS plus par goût que par économie. Une présentation enthousiasmante, menée dans un protocole tout "corporate" il apparait aussi que le sujet était: "comment j'ai caché à mes collègues que je faisais toute la communication de la l'entreprise en Open Source". Alexandre a fait son "coming out" (open source) le mois dernier, et la philosophie Linux est presque comprise par son boss.]]>

Smooth curves drawing font revolution?

Sun, 06 May 2007 23:40:45 +0000

spiro.png Spiro is a toolkit for curve design, especially font design, created by Raph Levien. It is a smooth alternative to the wide known Bézier curves... It is VERY impressive using. Dave Crossland and Nicolas Spalinger (OFLFontly) demoed a chain of process: a script that takes a scanned sample of fonts, contrast it, then recognises and chops automaticaly the glyphs, and import them as background for Spiro PPEDIT application. You can then use the spiro to draw the outlines, in an easier and smoother way than beziers (and reducing the amount of points). Automatisation of the work process is a terrible gain of time, and made me dream the whole night. The spiros curves are accepted by Fontforge, and tranformed as editable beziers curves... On linux systems, files produced by ppedit are immediately send to the famous font editor... levien.com/spiro A MacOs version has just been released: enjoy the incredible souplesse of the curves manipulation. The tensions angles seems to be very automatised - and are difficult to stress, but I hardly tryed it... You can't save the curves done... yet. Some more info will be released this week!]]>

Interview with George Williams (FontForge)

Mon, 07 May 2007 12:32:52 +0000

george.JPG Interview (unedited files) with George Williams, developer of FontForge, the open source font editing tool. Conversation about Shakespeare, Unicode, the pleasure of making beautiful things and pottery. Enjoy! GW_dl1.mp3 [8.1 mb] GW_dl2.mp3 [16.6 mb] ...or read the transcription: "I think the ideas behind it are beautiful in my mind"]]>

LGM Pictures

Tue, 08 May 2007 23:55:04 +0000

LGM pictures here]]>

Libre Graphics Meeting

Wed, 09 May 2007 06:33:57 +0000

Montreal, 4-6 May 2007 squirl.JPGAn intense meeting of demos and how-to’s – LGM takes place in three fairly intimate rooms in the Ecole Polytechnique of the University of Montreal, which means we have enough time and opportunity to ask our questions, set up interviews, discuss bread baking with developers, designers, typographers, researchers gathered. The university is located on the slopes of the Mont Royal so between presentations we spot skunks and squirls in the park. It is both inspiring and strangely intimidating to meet the makers of many familiar tools: The Scribus team is present in full force, key developers of Blender, Gimp and Inkscape are around and speak about their tools with infectiuous enthusiasm. We need to make a bit of an effort to make people understand that our interest goes beyond feature requests and bug reports. Collective charm needed to convince George Williams, developer of FontForge, to do an interview with us. “I have nothing interesting to say” he keeps telling us during the Grand Supper. Well, he finally agreed to an interview so judge for your selves. inkscape.JPGFriday 4 May we land in LGM with a talk by Bryce Harrington + team, presenting a history of Inkscape in screen shots (slides), and an overview of ways FLOSS projects are usually structured. Inkscape is according to Bryce Harrington based on a 'hive' model; a relatively unstructured coming and going of high energy collective work. Bryce ends with presenting the upcoming release of Inkscape 0.46. New features will amongst others include: gradient in typography / etching effect / print dialogue. He also brings up Inkbook – decentralized, networked drawing in .svg; interesting stuff. Jakob Steiner demos Inkscapes' ability to produce photo realistic illustrations, such as Motorola phones and shiny racing cars thanks to blur, transparency and mask functions. Of the more strange but fascinating kind: Igor Novikov and Valek Philippov reverse engineer the Corel Draw image format. Their hallucinating travels through endless bin-hex dumps show, that also for them, structure reveals itself through transformation. Igor presents CDR-Explorer, a tool to visualize binary formats for reverse engineering purposes. The Explorer allows you to look at a raw file as if you look at a folder structure, which facilitates the understanding of its various building blocks. Peter Linell starts his talk on Scribus with telling about his first encounter with developer/initiator Franz Schmidt. He portrays Scribus as a program built around robust + safe pdf-export. Linell goes in to various new features, amongst which the ability to import layered Photoshop images, and ways to process images inside Scribus – duotone etc. can now be edited from inside the software. Apart from the ability to add bleed and registration marks, he presents The Color Wheel, including the ability to pre-visualise a document as seen by someone with various flavors of colorblindness (this feature deserves its own post!). Andreas Vox follows with the new lay-out system (NLS), in Scribus, explaining the transition from old, convoluted code via a 'legacy mode' in to the New Lay-out System. Character styles, word spacing and optical alignment are amongst new additions. In the near future we can expect paragraph optimisation for hyphenation too. orange.JPGThe evening is reserved for the Grand Souper LGM with live music and convivial atmosphere in the very orange patio of the Ecole Polytechnique. The OSP presentation is planned early morning on Saturday May 5. We speak about the relation between tools and what they produce; about creativity and efficiency, using the tale of the frog that turned into a prince (text and images follow!). The small audience that is present in the lecture room early enough, seems pleased though slightly surprised by our unorthodox approach. In one of the classrooms reserved for LGM, Karin Delvare (The Gimp) tours through different layers of participation in FLOSS projects and explains amongst others the art of doing a bug report. In the main hall, Hubert Figuiere speaks about how to organise images using metadata; his presentation is concluded with a discussion about various media​/supports for archiving. Michael Terry from the University of Waterloo is involved in developing InGimp. This software automatically archives userdata / behavior for the purpose of usability studies. Interesting was that the system makes log files automatically publicly available (leaving out any data that might breach privacy), allowing developers to analyse incredible amounts of ultra precise data on for example the amount of time spent on certain tasks, patterns of access, combinations and successions of tasks. As a gadget / feature the team developed a 'dynamic profile visualisation' – basically a stick figure with representations of assumed tasks, of ways of working. cedric.JPGBack in the classroom, Cedric Gémy (responsible contributor to Inkscape and Gimp documentation) demonstrates with élan the possibilities of using free standards and open source software, moving from Inkskape to Blender to Gimp to Scribus; Boudewijn Rempt and Cyrille Berger show new functionalities of Krita, a simple image editor with the ability to do for example realistically behaving watercolour images (colours actually blend!) and dry brushtrokes. For the presentation of Alexandre Robin: Our first year of Graphic Design 100% Open Source, see this OSP post. spiro.JPGDave Crossland (designer, lecturer) and Nicolas Spalinger (SIL) speak about the Open Font License, and the way metadata on fonts could reflect these licenses. They spend the second part of their presentation showing Spiro which caused great enthusiasm in the audience. linnell.JPGIn a lively Q +A session, Peter Linnell demonstrates the robustness of Scribus in a prepress context, explaining the set-up of PDF export and how 'self-defensive-code' is employed to please even the most conservative printshop requirements. To his mind often faulty fonts are the cause of output problems – Scribus therefore is ultra careful with loaded fonts; it is the reason why a first start-up is slow; each font is checked glyph by glyph before it is added to the list. The day ends with a crisp presentation of Raphael Meltz, Le Tigre, a French monthly magazine entirely layed-out in Scribus. Raphael shows Le Tigres' work flow of both their monthly print and daily pdf-publication; including a rudimentar end-to-end solution between SPIP (a web based Content Management System) and Scribus. Raphael was clear about their economical and philosophical motivations for using FLOSS, without being shy about the possible problems and difficulties, which had most of all to do with html import-export issues. At the end of the day we interview Nicolas Spalinger and Pierre-Luc Auclair (contributor to the Deja-Vu font project). The evening FLOSS font enthusiasts gather in Concordia University to watch Helvetica, a full length documentary on the modernist typeface premiering in Montreal. Sunday May 6 starts gently with a private tutorial on Inkscape and Scribus by Cedric Gémy; we talk lay-out with Raphael Mertz. The second presentation this weekend by Igor Novikov is even more exciting, demonstrating SK1, a vector illustration programme, specifically for prepress. SK1 offers solutions for many problems with CMYK export we find in other programs. Their user interface is refreshingly different and their set of sample images fantastic. Discussing the history of the program (a fork of Skencil), shows that the Ukraine context requires its own approach. That is more or less the subject of the interview we do later with Igor and Valek. Andy Fitzsimon impresses with his virtuosity in Inkscape (glassy icons galore!) but most of all with his intelligent approach to the management of translatable design elements across multiple languages. Making use of .svg, he manages to employ the .po format (used in many translation projects) to translate styled typography. We are also interested in his use of the xml-editor as design tool. Jon Phillips presents The Open Clipart Project, and most of all ccHost, a sort of repository system where images, sounds and other files licensed under Creative Commons can be made available for download; making direct connections from applications such as Inkscape to ccHost ('save to ccHost'). George Williams (FontForge) was interested to add the possibility to direct upload fonts from FontForge too. bof.JPGAfter the conference is officially over, a BOF is (Birds Of Feathers: developers gathering) organised on type management and its future. About 10 developers involved in projects relevant to typography, gather around the table for an intense session on standards, the workings of fontconfig ... Exciting to witness how everyone seems to come up with real proposals that will undoubtly alter the future of using fonts on linux systems. breakfast.JPGWe spend Monday morning interviewing Andreas Vox about Scribus and Igor and Valek about SK1 and Ukrainian software culture; soon here on OSP.]]>


Thu, 10 May 2007 15:03:26 +0000

mail at osp.constantvzw.org]]>

Liberation fonts

Mon, 14 May 2007 14:12:41 +0000

Visit any random website and chances are the website expects your machine to have a set of fonts which have become the de-facto standard on the Internet. The fonts being Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New and so on. While it may not be illegal to install these fonts on a Linux machine, they are propritery and are owned by Microsoft. And Microsoft does not licence third parties to redistribute these fonts - a reason why you don't find these commonly used popular fonts installed in Linux by default. This is going to change once and for all.
Red Hat in association with Ascender Corp has developed a set of fonts which are the metric equivalent of the most popular Microsoft fonts, and they have released it under the GPL+exception license.
Read the full article A few more details from the Redhat press release:
To address this issue and to take a key step toward liberating desktops, Red Hat contracted with Ascender Corp., one of the leading commercial developers of fonts, to develop a set of fonts that are metrically equivalent to the key Microsoft fonts. Under the terms of that development agreement, Ascender retains rights in the fonts and can provide them under a traditional proprietary license to those who require such a license, e.g. printers that have fonts embedded in their firmware, but Red Hat receives a license that permits us to sublicense the fonts at no cost under the GPL+font exception. The fonts are being developed in two stages. The first release is a set of fully usable fonts, but they will lack the fully hinting capability (hinting adjusts font pixelization so that the fonts render with high quality at large and small sizes) provided by TrueType/FreeType technology. That release is now ready. The second release will provide full hinting of the fonts, and that release will be available by the end of the calendar year.
Read the details of the press release. And last but not least, download the first version of the fonts from here]]>

Further Liberation.

Tue, 15 May 2007 09:35:53 +0000

liberation1.png Copyright Ascender Corp... and a trademark: "Liberation is a trademark of Red Hat, Inc. registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and certain other jurisdictions.". In the license text of the ttf font package, we find: "Copyright © 2007 Red Hat, Inc. All rights reserved. LIBERATION is a trademark of Red Hat, Inc.", and the license text is GPL. Still, the license informations says: "Use of this Liberation font software is subject to the license agreement under which you accepted the Liberation font software." Interesting as well: Liberation Sans seems to have been created in 1970, while all the others in the pack were in 2004 or 2005. Liberated fonts are not exempt of paradoxes... Looking forward, the owner of rights of this font are Ascender Corporation, "leading provider of advanced font products specializing in type design, font development and licensing" company, which offers services such as Font Branding. you can also contact their "Font Licensing Specialists" Sure designer Steve Matteson knows exactly the font system specs - and what he does: "...in 1990 he began work at Monotype to create the Windows core TrueType fonts: Arial, Times New Roman and Courier New". He designed a.o. Xbox 360 Branding Fonts and is part of the Segoe Vista font team development. By the way, there is no Comic-Sans-like font in the L-pack. Which designer will have the honour of drawing it?]]>

How to catch Ukrainian TV in Moscow

Tue, 15 May 2007 13:46:07 +0000

Conversation with Igor Novikov and Valek Philippov (SK1) igor.JPGvalek.JPG Excerpts from a conversation with Igor Novikov (Ukraine) and Valek Philippov (Russia) about how and why they are involved in SK1 pre-press software; the joy of reverse engineering and a handy tip for receiving Russian TV in Ukraine too. igor_valek.mp3 [25mb] ]]>

The double aspect of code

Wed, 16 May 2007 18:52:30 +0000

"Neurath's pictograms owe much to the Modernist belief that reality may be modified by being codified – standardised, easy-to-grasp templates as a revolution in human affairs. But the templates themselves, or the code, may end up in their turn aestheticised, reified, in need of a further round of de-cryption, a paradigm common also to failed revolutions. It is this double aspect of code as invisible, totalising system and an apparent mechanism for intervening in it, and the constant relay between them that opens this specious dichotomy onto a wider social history (...)"
Marina Vishmidt in: The Dutch Are Weeping in Four Universal Pictorial Languages (Mute, May 2007)]]>

A user should not be able to shoot himself in the foot

Sat, 19 May 2007 07:05:37 +0000

Interview with Andreas Vox, Scribus-developer andreas.JPGWhile in the background participants to the Libre Graphics Meeting 2007 start saying goodbye to each other, Andreas Vox makes time to sit down with us in the hotel lounge. We want to talk to him about Scribus, the open-source application for professional page layout. Not only as users that do design with it, but also because Scribus helps us think about links between software, free culture and design. Andreas is a mathematician with an interest in system dynamics, who lives and works in Lübeck, Germany. Together with Franz Schmid, Petr Vanek (subik), Riku Leino (Tsoots), Oleksandr Moskalenko (malex), Craig Bradney (MrB), Jean Ghali and Peter Linnel (mrdocs) he forms the core Scribus developer team. He has been working on Scribus since 2003 and is currently responsible for redesigning the internal workings of its text layout system. Other interviews with the Scribus team: http://dot.kde.org/1096453300/ http://www.kde.me.uk/index.php?page=fosdem-interview-scribus OSP: This weekend Peter Linnel presented amongst many other new Scribus features [1], The Color Wheel, which at the click of a button visualises documents the way they would be perceived by a colour blind person. Can you explain how such a feature entered into Scribus? Did you for example speak to accessibility experts? A: I don't think we did. The code was implemented by subik [Petr Vanek], a developer from the Czech Republic. As far as I know, he saw a feature somewhere else or he found an article about how to do this kind of stuff, and I don't know where he did it, but I would have to ask him. It was a logic extension of the colour wheel functionality, because if you pick different colours, they look different to all people. What looks like red and green to one person, might look like grey and yellow to other persons. Later on we just extended the code to apply to the whole canvas. OSP: It is quite special to offer such a precise preview of different perspectives in your software. Do you think it it is particular to Scribus to pay attention to these kind of things? A: Yeah, sure. Well, the interesting thing is... in Scribus we are not depending on money and time like other proprietary packages. We can ask ourselves: is this useful? Would I have fun implementing it? Am I interested in seeing how it works? So if there is something we would like to see, we implement it and look at it. And because we have a good contact with our user base, we can also pick up good ideas from them. OSP: There clearly is a strong connection between Scribus and the world of pre-press and print. So, for us as users, it is an almost hallucinating experience that while on one side the software is very well developed when it comes to pdf-export for example, I would say even more developed than in other applications, but than still it is not possible to undo a text-edit. Could you maybe explain how such a discrepancy can happen, to make us understand better? A: One reason is, that there are more developers working on the project, and even if there was only one developer, he or she would have her own interests. Remember what George Williams said about FontForge... [2] he is not that interested in nice Graphical User Interfaces, he just makes his own functionality... that is what interests him. So unless someone else comes up who compensates for this, he will stick to what he likes. I think that is the case with all open source applications. Only if you have someone interested and able to do just this certain thing, it will happen. And if it is something boring or something else... it will probably not happen. One way to balance this, is to keep in touch with real users, and to listen to the problems they have. At least for the Scribus team, if we see people complaining a lot about a certain feature missing... we will at some point say: “come on, let's do something about it”. We would implement a solution and when we get thanks from them and make them happy, that is always nice. OSP: Can you tell us a bit more about the reasons for putting all this work into developing Scribus, because a layout application is quite a complex monster with all the elements that need to work together... Why is it important you find, to develop Scribus? A: I use to joke about the special mental state you need to become a Scribus developer... and one part of it is probably megalomania! It is kind of mountain climbing. We just want to do it, to prove it can be done. That must have been also true for Franz Schmid, our founder, because at that time, when he started, it was very unlikely that he would succeed. And of course once you have some feedback, you start to think: “hey, I can do it... it works. People can use it, people can print with it, do things ... so why not make it even better?” Now we are following InDesign and QuarkXpress, and we are playing the top league of page layout applications ... we're kind of in a competition with them. It is like climbing a mountain and than seeing the next, higher mountain from the top. OSP: In what way is it important to you that Scribus is free software? A: Well... it would not work with closed software. Open software allows you to get other people that also are interested in working on the project involved, so you can work together. With closed software you usually have to pay people; I would only work because someone else wants me to do it and we would not be as motivated. It is totally different. If it was closed, it would not be fun. In Germany they studied what motivates open source developers, and they usually list: 'fun'; they want to do something more challenging than at work, and some social stuff is mentioned as well. Of course it is not money. OSP: One of the reasons the Scribus project seems so important to us, is that it might draw in other kinds of users, and open up the world of professional publishing to people who can otherwise not afford proprietary packages. Do you think Scribus will change the way publishing works? Does that motivate you, when you work on it? A: I think the success of open source projects will also change the way people use software. But I do not think it is possible to foresee or plan, in what way this will change. We see right now that Scribus is adopted by all kinds of idealists, who think that is interesting, lets try how far we can go, and do it like that. There are other users that really just do not have the money to pay for a professional page layout application such as very small newspapers associations, sports groups, church groups. They use Scribus because otherwise they would have used a pirated copy of some other software, or another application which is not up to that task, such as a normal word processor. Or otherwise they would have used a deficient application like MS Publisher to do it. I think what Scribus will change, is that more people will be exposed to page layout, and that is a good thing, I think. OSP: In another interview with the Scribus team [3], Craig Bradney speaks about the fact that the software is often compared with its proprietary competition. He brings up the 'Scribus way of doing things'. What do you think is 'The Scribus Way'? A: I don't think Craig meant it that way. Our goal is to produce good output, and make that easy for users. If we are in doubt, we think for example: InDesign does this in quite an OK way, so we try to do it in a similar way; we do not have any problems with that. On the other hand... I told you a bit about climbing mountains... We cannot go from the one top to the next one just in one step. We have to move slowly, and have to find our ways and move through valleys and that sometimes also limits us. I can say: “I want it this way” but then it is not possible now, it might be on the roadmap, but we might have to do other things first. OSP: When we use Scribus, we actually thought we were experiencing 'The Scribus Way' through how it differences from other layout packages. First of all, in Scribus there is a lot more attention for everything that happens after the layout is done, i.e. export, error checking etc. and second, working with the text editor is clearly the preferred way of doing layout. For us it links the software to a more classic ways of doing design: a strictly phased process where a designer starts with writing typographic instructions which are carried out by a typesetter, after which the designer pastes everything into the mock-up. In short: it seems easier to do a magazine in Scribus, than a poster. Do you recognize that image? A: That is an interesting thought, I have never seen it that way before. My background is that I did do a newspaper, magazine for a student group, and we were using Pagemaker, and of course that influenced me. In a small group that just wants to bring out a magazine, you distribute the task of writing some articles, and usually you have only one or two persons who are capable of using a page layout application. They pull in the stories and make some corrections, and then do the layout. Of course that is a work flow I am familiar with, and I don't think we really have poster designers or graphic artists in the team. On the other hand... we do ask our users what they think should be possible with Scribus and if a functionality is not there, we ask them to put in a bug report so we do not forget it and some time later we will pick it up and implement it. Especially the possibility to edit from the canvas, this will approve in the upcoming versions. Some things we just copied from other applications. I think Franz (Schmid) had no previous experience with Pagemaker, so when I came to Scribus, and saw how it handled text chains, I was totally dismayed and made some changes right away because I really wanted it to work the way it works in Pagemaker, that is really nice. So, previous experience and copying from another applications was one part of the development. Another thing is just technical problems. Scribus is at the moment internally not that well designed, so we first have to rewrite a lot of code to be able to reach some elements. The coding structure for drawing and layout was really cumbersome inside and it was difficult to improve. We worked with 2.500 lines of code, and there were no comments in between. So we broke it down in several elements, put some comments in and also asked Franz: “why did you did this or that”, so we could put some structure back into the code to understand how it works. There is still a lot of work to be done, and we hope we can reach a state where we can implement new stuff more easily. OSP: it is interesting how the 2.500 lines of code are really tangible when you use Scribus old-style, even without actually seeing them. When Peter Linnel was explaining how to make the application comply to the conservative standards of the printing business, he used this term 'self-defensive code'... A: At Scribus we have a value that a file should never break in a print shop. Any bug report we receive in this area, is treated with first priority. OSP: We can speak from experience, that this is really true! But this robustness shifts out of sight when you use the inbuilt script function; then it is as if you come in to the software through the back-door. From self-defence to the heart of the application? A: it is not really self-defence... programmers and software developers sometimes use the expression: 'a user should not shoot himself in the foot'. Scribus will not protect you from ugly layout, if that would be possible at all! Although I do sometimes take deliberate decisions to try and do it ... for example that for as long as I am around, I will not make an option to do 'automatic letter spacing', because I think it is just ugly. If you do it manually, that is your responsibility; I just do not feel like making anything like that work automatically. What we have no problems with, is to prevent you from making invalid output. If Scribus thinks a certain font is not OK, and it might break on one or two types of printers ... this is reason enough for us to make sure this font is not used. The font is not even used partially, it is gone. That is the kind of self-defence Peter was talking about. It is also how we build pdf-files and postscript. Some ways of building postscript take less storage, some of it would be easier to read for humans, but we always take an approach that would be the least problematic in a print shop. This meant for example, that you could not search in a pdf [OSP: because the fonts get outlined and/or reencoded]. I think you can do that now, but there are still limitations; it is on the roadmap to improve over time, to even add an option to output a web oriented pdf and a print oriented pdf ... but it is an important value in Scribus is to get the output right. To prevent people to really shoot themselves in the foot. OSP: Our last question is about the relation between the content that is layed-out in Scribus, and the fact that it is an open source project. Just as an example, Microsoft Word will come out with an option to make it easy to save a document with a Creative Commons License [4]. Would this, or not, be an interesting option to add to Scribus? Would you be interested in making that connection, between software and content? A: It could well be we would copy that, if it is not already been patented by Microsoft! To me it sounds a bit like a marketing trick ... because it is such an easy function to do. But, if someone from Creative Commons would ask for this function, I think someone would implement it for Scribus in a short time, and I think we would actually like it. Maybe we would generalize it a little, so that for example you could also add other licenses too. We already have support for some meta data, and in the future we might put some more function in to support license managing, for example also for fonts. About the relation between content and OSS software in general... there are some groups who are using Scribus I politically do not really identify with. Or more or less not at all. If I meet those people on the IRC chat, I try to be very neutral, but I of course have my own thoughts in the back of my head. OSP: Do you think using a tool like Scribus produces a certain kind of use? A: No. preferences for work tools and political preference are really orthogonal, and we have both. For example when you have some right wing people they could also enjoy using Scribus and socialist groups as well. It is probably the best for Scribus to keep that stuff out of it. I am not even sure about the political conviction of the other developers. Usually we get along very well, but we don't talk about those kinds of things very much. In that sense I don't think that using Scribus will influence what is happening with it. As a tool, because it makes creating good page layouts much easier, it will probably change the landscape because a lot of people get exposed to page layout and they learn and teach other people; and I think that is growing, and I hope it will be growing faster than if it is all left to big players like InDesign and Quark... I think this will improve and it will maybe also change the demands that users will make for our application. If you do page layout, you get into a new frame of mind... you look in a different way at publications. It is less content oriented, but more layout oriented. You will pick something up and it will spread. People by now have understood that it is not such a good idea to use 12 different fonts in one text... and I think that knowledge about better page layout will also spread.

[1] http://wiki.scribus.net/index.php/Version_1.3.4%2B_-_New_Features [2] http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/?p=221 [3] http://www.kde.me.uk/index.php?page=fosdem-interview-scribus [4] http://creativecommons.org/press-releases/entry/5947]]>

Watch this thread: do until done

Fri, 25 May 2007 09:18:23 +0000

Its good to know generally the law, but not to be encumbered by it. Read full thread in the Create-list archives: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/create/2007-May/000787.html]]>

Le grec, c'est du chinois

Fri, 25 May 2007 13:56:26 +0000

Conversation avec Pierre-Luc Auclair (Déjàvu) et Nicolas Spalinger (OFL) pierre_luc.jpgnicolas.jpg SIL_deja_vu.mp3 (27 mn - 25 Mb) Extrait d'une conversation avec Pierre Luc Auclair, graphiste et collaborateur dans le projet de police Déjà vu, et Nicolas Spalinger, bénévole de la SIL, équipe fontes libres Debian et Ubuntu, OFLB. En français dans le texte, avec quelques questions posées en anglais. Ou l'on parle de polices de caractère libres, de travail typographique collaboratif, d'apprentissage et de licences & standarts. Liens: Déjà vu, SIL, OFL, Gentium font, Andika font, Typophile Interview: Projet Dejavu et typographie libre et collaborative P-L: Pierre-Luc Auclair (Typographe Dejavu, Graphiste) N: Nicolas Spalinger (Bénévole de la SIL – Equipe fontes libres Debian & Ubuntu – Open Font Library) H: Harrisson F: Femke H: Tu travailles sur la fonte Déjavu (http://dejavu.sf.net) c'est ça? P-L: Oui c'est ça H: Qui est un projet entièrement open source? P-L: Oui, c'est ça. H: Et ça fait déjà un moment que cette fonte existe, non? P-L: Ca fait... Je ne pourrais pas dire depuis combien de temps exactement, ce qui est sûr c'est qu'avant c'était une fonte de Bitstream (http://www.bitstream.com) qui est sortie ou plutôt qu'ils ont donné au domaine du libre. Et depuis ce temps-là, des gens ont ajouté des fonctionnalités, des choses comme ça-là, plusieurs caractères, des nouveaux languages, ajusté le kerning (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerning), dans le fond ajouté des éléments à la police au complet pour la rendre utilisable. H: OK donc rajouter des éléments? P-L: Oui. H: Chez Bitstream, quelle a été la motivation de lâcher des fontes? P-L: Alors ça je ne sais pas. Nicolas: Ca été un partenariat avec la fondation GNOME (http://foundation.gnome.org, http://www.gnome.org/press/releases/bitstreamfonts.html) si je peux m'immiscer dans la conversation. H: Oui, oui, c'est bien. P-L: Moi je ne suis pas au courant de ça. N: Il y a des négociations qui ont été faites entre la fondation GNOME et Bitstream le fondeur, avec des gens comme Jim Gettys (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Gettys) qui était membre du bureau de la fondation. L'idée c'est d'avoir une famille globale avec suffisamment de... P-L: ...suffisamment de caractères pour supporter toutes les langues dans Linux avec une seule famille... N: oui, avoir une famille suffisamment vaste, complète. H: En faire une fonte système? N: Enfin oui, système au sens où ça serait la fonte par défaut. Et donc ça a pris des mois quand même pour faire la négociation, entre les termes que la fonderie voulait et ce que la fondation GNOME essayait d'arracher comme droits, de modification notamment. Et donc moi j'ai suivi ça un petit peu. Parce que en même temps nous, dans le cadre de la SIL (http://scripts.sil.org), on réfléchissait aussi à la meilleure stratégie pour faire ça. L'idée c'était d'avoir quelque chose d'assez riche, de bonne qualité, avec du hinting - des instructions - qui soit dédié à un affichage correct sur le bureau. H: Vous avez eu le choix entre différentes fontes ou bien c'est Bitstream qui vous a proposé juste celle-là? N: Alors je sais pas vraiment, j'étais pas directement impliqué dans le cadre de la fondation GNOME, j'ai rejoint le projet après. P-L: Ah oui, il connaît plus ça que moi. N: Ha ha, non! N: Je sais qu'ils ont approché d'autres fonderies, mais c'est Bitstream qui a offert ce qui était le plus intéressant. H: Ah oui, donc il a eu une négociation? N: Oui il y a eu une négociation qui a eu lieu. Donc il y a vraiment de la part du fondeur une stratégie... lls veulent s'acheter une bonne image, ce qui est légitime et ils veulent aussi protéger quelque part leur nom. Le coeur de la négociation c'était avoir des droits de modification, pour que les gens de la communauté, les typographes de la communauté puisse la modifier, l'étendre, mais que la réputation de Bitstream en tant que fonderie soit plus ou moins protégée. Donc il y a un espèce de point central, de « nexus », qui a été créé entre le droit de modification et le nom même attaché à la police, voilà. H: Et quand on voit la license, c'est en effet toujours un copyright Bitstream avec droit de modification (http://www.gnome.org/fonts/) N: Voilà, c'est un droit de modification, donc quand la modification a lieu, le faut que le nom soit changé, et dans le nom même de la police il y a le nom de la fonderie, ce qui est assez fréquent malgré tout. Donc le nom c'était Bitstream Vera et ensuite il y a les variantes. Il y a eu une grosse « press release » puisque c'est un gros pas en avant. Et donc ensuite, il y a toute une équipe qui s'est mis à travailler sur ça, il y a eu plusieurs branches de Vera et, au bout d'un certain temps, la branche la plus importante – Dejavu - a re-mergé les travaux qui ont été faits dans les autres branches. Sur le site de Dejavu il y a l'historique un petit peu des autres branches qui ont été faites (http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Bitstream_Vera_derivatives). Il y a eu une branche par exemple pour les caractères en Gallois, et pour d'autres pays en d'Europe par exemple. Aussi du travail autour des capacités OpenType (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenType)... P-L: oui des capacités Opentype... N: ...pour les polices intelligentes, ce genre de chose, etc. Ce qui était impressionnant, moi, j'ai observé un peu le projet Dejavu, j'ai pas vraiment contribué, mais c'est la rapidité avec laquelle le projet a avancé. P-L: et dans le fond, c'est probablement aussi parce qu'il y a une release tous les mois. N: Oui c'est basé sur un rythme de release actif, tout ce qui est prêt est disponible. Il y a aussi une roadmap bien définie, les outils sont là: outil de révision de contrôle, mailing-list, wiki. L'initiateur du projet c'était Stepan Roh (http://www.srnet.cz/~stepan/en/), et ensuite d'autres personnes. P-L: Je pourrais pas vraiment donner de noms. N: Au bout d'un moment il a un peu lâché le projet et a fait d'autres choses mais il a mis en place l'infrastructure, mais là, depuis quelques temps, il est revenu. Et les leaders actuels du projet c'est Denis Jacquerye (http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Denis_Jacquerye) et Ben Laenen (http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Ben_Laenen), je crois, mais il y a plein de monde, plein d'autres gens, la liste des contributeurs est assez vaste. Ben Laenen a d'ailleurs sorti une police musicale, c'est celle qu'on à montré hier. (Euterpe: http://www.openfontlibrary.org) P-L: Ben moi je les connais avec leurs nicks IRC: lui c'est eimai. N: Oui eimai et moyogo. H: Elle est assez bien dessinée en plus, elle est assez jolie. N: Ce qu'ils ont fait aussi c'est travailler sur un certain nombre de scripts de gestion des fichiers sources. Donc l'outil de base, c'est fontforge (http://fontforge.sourceforge.net), donc je ne pense pas qu'il y en ait qui utilisent des logiciels restreints, normalement tout le monde utilise fontforge. P-L: Oui toute la source doit rester au format fontforge. N: Pour faire la construction. P-L: Quand il a y des modifications pour faire l'import dans la branche principale ça prend absolument le fichier source fontforge pour l'insérer dedans. N: Il y a aussi du travail aussi sur les instructions, tout ce qui est du positionnement, les ligatures, ils sont assez en avance par rapport aux autres projects collaboratifs. Moi j'ai vu aussi qu'il y avait des scripts pour avoir les statistiques de la couverture Unicode (ttp://www.unicode.org) du SFD (http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/sfdformat.html) par exemple. P-L: Ca aussi c'est sur le wiki N: A chaque fois qu'il y a une release, dans le tarball il y a ce quiest couvert par bloc, donc il y a un pourcentage de couverture Unicode par bloc et on voit que ça monte vite, il y a ce qui est prévu par la suite, il y a un changelog. C'est assez riche au niveau descriptif et c'est très ouvert comme approche. Et donc l'utilisation de subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/) comme dépôt de sources pour travailler en commun dessus. Donc il y a un canal IRC (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat) et plusieurs mailing-lists (http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Dejavu-fonts_mailing_list). P-L: Récemment il y avait quelqu'un qui essayait de refaire le script Grec, je ne sais pas vraiment ce que ça a donné, je ne me suis pas tenu au courant. N: Alors ça j'ai pas suivi non plus. P-L: Il avait beaucoup posté son travail sur Typophile, le site web (http://typophile.com/). N: C'est un site web communitaire, vous connaissez peut-être oui? P-L: Là-bas il y a beaucoup de gens, beaucoup de professionnels de la typographie, qui leur ont donné des exemples, des experts en typographie qui ont donné leur avis sur comment le projet avançait pour le script Grec. Il ont donné des conseils. Il y a eu un gros débat: est-ce qu'on va plus vers une esthétique du style romain ou alors est-ce qu'on va plus vraiment vers une esthétique grecque locale? Ca c'est toujours un problème, c'est la même chose aussi j'imagine pour les scripts chinois et les scripts japonais. N: Connaître le degré de sensibilité culturelle pour un bloc particulier Unicode de la police, ça c'est très très dur. Même les meilleurs designers ne peuvent pas avoir une sensibilité suffisante. Plus la police est riche, plus elle couvre de blocs, plus c'est dur justement. Parce qu'il y aura forcément des tensions. Certains blocs sont communs à différents styles. C'est là où ça devient dur d'avoir dans la même police et mettons du cyrillique qui doit avoir un style pour une communauté linguistique qui parle une une langue dans laquelle il y une transcription cyrillique et les Russes qui préfèrent ça comme ça. C'est là où ça devient complexe pour une famille aussi riche comme Dejavu. Ce qui a été fait récemment, c'est une décision qui a été prise, c'est d'avoir une sous-famille Dejavu qui s'appelle LGC, pour Latin Grec Cyrillique pour éviter d'avoir tous les styles ensemble. H: C'est d'enlever le latin des autres blocs. N: Puisqu'ils sont quand même assez proches. Il y a du travail qui a été fait au niveau des blocs Arabe et Hébreu. P-L: il y avait des problèmes avec la baseline qui était pas la même. N: Il y a des problèmes techniques et aussi des problèmes d'expression de styles. L'avantage vraiment de Dejavu c'est que ça pousse le reste de la « pile » logicielle autour des polices de caractères. Il y a certains mainteneurs comme ceux de Pango (http://www.pango.org) ou de Firefox (http://www.mozilla.com/products/firefox/) qui se disent, « Woouah les typographes de Dejavu exposent encore nos bugs, ahh ». P-L: Ca arrive assez assez fréquemment. Ha ha ha. N: Ca prouve qu'il y a une activité assez formidable. P-L: C'est vrai mais pour revenir aux locales (locl), j'avais beaucoup de difficultés à me mettre dans la peau d'un typographe designer en Grec, un typographe designer en Cyrillique, pour moi personnellement je ne le lis pas, c'est du Chinois, je sais pas du tout ce que c'est. Pour moi, c'est plus une icône qu'un caractère de texte. N: C'est ça la difficulté en fait. Beaucoup de designers dans la SIL (http://scripts.sil.org/TypeDesign) doivent s'entourer de gens qui connaissent le script pour faire quelques chose de culturellement approprié. P-L: Parce que si on n'est pas natif dans le script, c'est difficile de dire : est-ce que ça c'est une bonne légibilité dans le script ou est-ce que c'est vraiment merdique. N: C'est sûr. H: Est-ce que vous avez des collaborateurs justement Arabes, Chinois ou Japonais, des gens qui sont vraiment dans leur langue? P-L: Des collaborateurs réguliers ou juste simplement des observateurs? H: Les deux je dirais... P-L: Probablement plus des observateurs. N: Des gens qui rapportent des bugs sur la liste en disant «oh là! il faut pas que ça soit comme ça !»? P-L: Mais des typographes japonais chinois, je pense pas. N: Des gens qui envoient des patchs? H: Des gens qui dessinent carrément des caractères et autres? N: Sur le site de Dejavu c'est indiqué plus ou moins leur status, si leur travail a été repris via un merge ou s'il sont vraiment actifs. C'est aussi ce qu'on essaie d'encourager dans le cadre de la logique de l'Open Font licence (http://scripts.sil.org/OFL) avec le FONTLOG (http://scripts.sil.org/OFL-FAQ_web#00e3bd04), cet espèce de changelog dédié à la typographie et au design de polices, c'est vraiment de décrire les modifications parce que la plupart des polices propriétaires qu'on a, il y a pas de descriptions, c'est une release finale et voilà. P-L: Tandis que dans Dejavu c'est un travail constant, mais ça crée aussi des problèmes, si quelqu'un crée un texte avec la police, si tu changes la taille des caractères, si tu changes l'espace entre les lettres, ça va nécessairement tout changer. Donc est-ce qu'on fait un changement pour le mieux dans un certain caractère ou on le garde pour garder le support antérieur? N: Ca c'est la décision du changement. Ce que je voulais dire, c'est le fait que les changements soient décris très précisément c'est une bonne chose, parce que souvent dans les fontes propriétaires, on ne sait pas ce qui se passe. Voilà, c'est la nouvelle version si ça marche vous êtes content mais si ça marche pas venez nous voir, et donc le changelog est vraiment précis: c'est à dire que telle ou telle personne a ajouté tel bloc ou a fait ce changement-là. F: (I will ask my questions in English otherwise it takes too long, And you speak French). This way of working is quite different than the way than historically typographers have worked. There seems to be a history of say a lonely man working on their internal piece, and the way you describe the process of designing Dejavu is completely opposite. So, how do you think this is visible or legible in the typeface itself or in the practise of doing typeface design? N: Il y a un fait fondamental, je pense, c'est la vitesse à laquelle les modifications sont faites. Mais je sais qu'en discutant avec Victor Gaultney (http://www.sil.org/~gaultney), il y a des expérimentations qui ont été faites, en tous cas dans les écoles de dessin de polices, de typographies parfois ils mettent comme ça des étudiants ensemble en disant « travaillez sur une police et ce soir vous nous montrerez ce que vous avez fait ensemble ». Mais le fait d'utiliser ça de manière distribuée via un gestionnaire de révision de contrôle, un canal IRC ou une mailing-list c'est quelque chose qui se fait que depuis quelques mois, quelques années, avec Dejavu et puis d'autres projets que la SIL lance (http://scripts.sil.org/OFL_fonts). Mais c'est vrai qu'initialement c'est quand même un art personnel, élitiste. P-L: Mais quand même, j'ai lu assez souvent que les typographes, il y a en plusieurs qui ne sont pas vraiment excellents pour faire l'espace entre les lettres, mais ils sont très bons pour faire le lettrage. Certains vont faire le lettrage, un autre va aider à faire l'espacement entre les lettres. Donc c'est souvent un travail collaboratif mais peut-être pas au même niveau que dans Dejavu. N: Pas commun, c'est-à-dire, je fais mon truc, je te le passe et tu fais ton truc. H: C'est pas une fragmentation des tâches? P-L: C'est plus une ligne de montage que de la collaboration. N: D'accord, je vois. F: I'm also curious, because many type designers if you hear them speak about their typefaces, they link it - consciously or subconsciously to handwriting - to expression of let's say the style of a person, in a way, like the way something is drawn, which is a very individual expression, and then if you think about the way you work on a typeface, you completly blow that up in a way. Or not? N: Je pense qu'on retrouverait les styles communs des différents contributeurs quand même, c'est un peu la transparence d'un système de gestion de sources, on peut rajouter quelque chose mais les autres peuvent aussi le modifier aussi donc il faut qu'il se crée une certaine culture des modifications. C'est pour ça qu'il y a ce concept de roadmap, je ne pense pas qu'on perde vraiment la partie style. F: Non, ce n'est pas perdre, ce qui m'intéresse c'est le changement dans la pratique de faire une lettre, de faire une courbe ensemble. P-L: Mais il y a quand même le style du caractère qui s'impose aussi quand tu fais ce que tu fais, tu peux pas dire moi je fais le caractère, un script d'une certaine façon, dans le fonds c'est un peu comme ce qu'on a vu dans le documentaire Helvetica (http://www.helveticafilm.com/) hier soir. Il y en avait un qui disait qu'il y avait une espèce de systèmisation du caractère, donc les courbes et toute les parties du lettrage vont avoir une connotation dans une autre lettre. Parce que sinon si tu ne fais pas ça comme ça évidemment, ça va avoir l'air dépareillé. ... N: Ca serait intéressant de voir un fichier README d'une police libre comme Gentium (http://scripts.sil.org/Gentium), pour voir quels sont les conseils qui sont donnés à ceux qui veulent envoyer des patchs, en terme de formats, en terme de style, en terme de recherche, etc. Le designer quand même reste maître, même si c'est toujours un projet ouvert, il reste maître de la légitimité d'un patch. F: Maître? H: Et vous avez des formations de typographie ou de graphisme? N: Non, pas vraiment, mais ça m'intéresse. P-L: Je suis designer graphique moi-même, mais j'ai pas eu de formation académique, mais c'est sûr que je lis beaucoup, probablement plus que la majorité des étudiants de design. Dans le fond, c'est sûr que j'aimerais avoir une éducation en tant que telle mais en travaillant on en apprend aussi. N: C'est quand même beaucoup de choses à apprendre... P-L: Mais c'est dur d'apprendre seul et de s'établir soi-même un plan d'apprentissage, d'avoir d'autres personnes qui apprennent avec toi, il faut que tu trouves tout toi-même. P-L: Mais dans un plan communautaire c'est plus facile d'évoluer. N: C'est pour ça qu'on a comme projet avec Dave Crossland (http://understandingdesign.co.uk/) et d'autres de rendre public les compétences par rapport à la typographie, ce qui était enseigné dans quelques écoles très très prestigieuses par une poignée de gurus, il faudrait que ça soit disponible plus largement. H: Est-ce qu'il y a une entraide comme ça entre les designers sur les techniques de dessin, sur la manière de procéder? Graphique, je dirais, spécialement graphique? P-L: C'est sûr qu'actuellement tout le monde à sa façon de faire, son procédé, si vous allez sur Typophile, les gens sont très ouvert pour aider les débutants qui commencent en design typographique, si vous avez des questions sur n'importe quoi, eux ils sont là pour vous aider. Il y a des professionnels qui travaillent chez Adobe, qui ont travaillé sur la spécification OpenType eux-mêmes et qui peuvent vous dire exactement ce dont vous avez besoin. N: Il faut juste savoir poser sa question de la bonne façon. H: En respectant leur hiérarchie? N: Non, non un peu de diplomatie, c'est normal. P-L: Le domaine typographique est encore beaucoup dans l'espèce de mentalité apprenti/maître, donc c'est souvent l'apprenti qui essaye de se mettre au niveau du maître. F: For me, as I look at open source projects, and the different ways collaboration is organised, I find this again, this contrast with this stark hierarchy of master and... P-L: Mais je crois pas que ça soit une hiérarchie explicite, mais plutôt une hiérarchie implicite, souvent celui qui contribue le plus c'est aussi celui lui qui connaît le plus donc c'est lui qui va aider le plus. N: C'est la méritocratie quelque part, c'est aussi un plaisir pour celui qui connaît les choses de les partager. Mais c'est vrai qu'il y aura toujours ceux qui sont très bons, qui connaissent bien leur domaine et qui ont beaucoup d'expérience et ceux qui commencent juste. Mais il y a un échange. Il y a un plaisir d'échanger les compétences et les connaissances. H: Et si tu es dans une tradition humaniste, d'effacement de prétention graphique pour un intérêt commun... N: Pour moi personnellement il y a un but: qu'il y ait plus de systèmes d'écriture qui soient disponibles, que la qualité soit là, que les barrières qui empêchent certaines personnes d'accéder à l'écrit et à ce que l'écrit peut donner comme indépendance, comme autodétermination, etc, que ces barrières puissent s'effondrer. Il y a des recherches qui ont été faites en terme de lisibilité, par rapport à ceux qui apprennent à lire et à écrire par exemple. Plus la fonte est agréable à lire, plus les gens ont envie d'apprendre à lire. Notamment dans les contextes ou c'est des adultes qui apprennent à lire quand il y a des campagnes d'alphabétisation par exemple dans les pays en voie de développement. Il y a vraiment une recherche, si on fait ça avec telle fonte, les résultat seront vraiment médiocres mais si on fait ça avec une autre fonte, il y aura un intérêt, il y aura une passion, il y aura beaucoup plus de gens qui réussiront l'examen d'alphabétisation. Un des projets de la SIL c'est une police dédiée justement à l'alphabétisation, qui s'appelle « Andika » (http://scripts.sil.org/Andika) c'est du Swahili et ça veut dire « écrire ». Il y a une vrai dissociation qui est faite entre certains caractères qui sont peut-être trop proches les uns des autres surtout quand on commence à lire et à écrire il faut qu'il y ait le moins d'ambiguïté possible. C'est un design original mais c'est vraiment une fonte avec une richesse suffisante pour que ça soit disponible dans des langues qui utilisent des scripts complexes, certaines langues africaines aussi où il y a ce type de glyphe. Donc les designers attendent des spécialistes en alphabétisation d'avoir des retours pour améliorer encore le tir. C'est aussi une fonte qui a des variantes, comme ce qui commence à être fait aussi je crois dans Dejavu pour avoir des variantes en fonction du contexte. Parce qu'il y a des gens qui préfèrent un certain type de « a » avec un certain style, etc. P-L: Donc c'est des « alterns » N: Double story a, single-story a. Les ligatures, la manière dont les chiffres sont affichés là. Vraiment dans un but d'alphabétisation initiale mais comme c'est un design original il y a beaucoup de gens qui commencent à l'utiliser aussi pour du design comme ça. H: Comme fonte de travail? N: Oui, c'est une Sans Serif (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sans-serif) qui est un peu le pendant de Gentium, parce c'est fait par les mêmes designers. Il y a eu moins d'efforts par rapport aux inscructions pour l'écran. C'est plus directement pour l'impression mais bon si les linguistes peuvent trouver ça agréable aussi quand ils travaillent sur l'écran, c'est mieux. Mais ça prend plus d'énergie pour les instructions etc. Et puisque que c'est libre les gens peuvent y contributer s'il en ont besoin. Je sais que certains leader de Déjavu réfléchissent aussi à la légitimité de passer à l'Open Font licence, mais ça ne s'est pas encore fait parce que en amont, Vera est encore sous ce copyright-là. Mais en fait on est en train de négocier, en tous cas il y a une réflexion qui se fait avec Bitstream et GNOME, pour qu'un nouvelle version de Vera sur laquelle ils ont travaillé sorte sour license OFL. Ensuite, comme Dejavu est un dérivé, les développeurs, les designers se rassembleront et voteront pour voir s'ils passent à l'OFL ou pas, parce que actuellement en terme de license il y a Vera et les dérivés de Vera sont licence Vera plus domaine public ou plus quelque chose d'autre. C'est pas vraiment défini quel est le statut des dérivés. Il y a vraiment une richesse sur laquelle on peut bâtir, mais on ne sait pas trop selon quelles règles. c'est un peu le flou. Donc l'idée de l'OFL c'est de clarifier la manière dont les dérivés fonctionnent. Le designer original de Vera s'appelle Jim Lyles (http://www.myfonts.com/person/lyles/jim/), on est en contact avec lui. F: C'est donc c'est lui qui va décider? N: Oui lui et sa boîte et ses directeurs. D'ailleurs dans la documentation qui est livrée avec chaque nouvelle release, chaque nouvelle sortie de Dejavu, on voit dans les statistiques de progression ce qui est original, ce qui a été fait par le designer de Bitstream et ce que les nouveaux designers ont ajouté. Donc on voit la progression. H: Donc il y a un archivage à chaque fois? N: Oui c'est vraiment décrit. Il y a peu de projets sont aussi décrits. [...] Là voilà le changelog, donc chronologiquement inversé. On voit, la première version qui a été donnée dans le cadre du travail à Reading, à l'Université de Reading, voilà quelques bugs qui sont réglés. C'est aussi la logique de dire « voilà les problèmes qui ont été réglés. Il existe des problèmes. » C'est pas comme beaucoup de logiciels propriétaires qui disent « il y a jamais eu de problèmes. Mais si vous achetez la version suivante il y aura plein de nouvelles fonctionnalités » et on vous dit pas tout ce qui a été corrigé. Et là, la source aussi qui est mise avec, ce qui est aussi important pour les polices libres. La définition d'une source pour une police c'est quelque chose d'assez vaste, ça peut être la base de donnée des glyphes, ça peut être les comportements contextuels, OpenType ou Graphite (http://graphite.sil.org), ça peut être les instructions, ça peut être un guide pour le design, c'est-à-dire voilà les choix qui ont été faits, ça peut être de la documentation des scripts pour la construction, pour les statistiques, etc. Voilà aussi « Fix some duplicates» etc. Voilà: « Anyone can create their own modified version ». F: « using a different name »... N: L'idée c'est de permettre le branchage: il y a le tronc commun, plein plein de branches peuvent pousser à partir de ce tronc-là, mais il ne faut pas que les branches se prennent pour le tronc. C'est possible qu'une branche puisse avoir plus de fonctionnalité que le tronc mais il ne faut pas que les choses se mélangent. Que les gens qui choisissent des fontes puissent bien identifier d'où ça vient. D'où l'intérêt aussi du changelog, c'est tout dans la description et dans la transparence. F: Mais il y a déjà des branches? N: Oui oui, il y a déjà plusieurs branches. Il y a des gens qui ont travaillé sur une version Hébreu, il y a des gens qui ont travaillé sur des langues du Népal je crois, des langues Indiennes aussi, en partant du design de Gentium. F: So the original design remains but then other language sets are developped. Did you see say design versions, for example people that have adjusted all glyphs or decided to make it like Harrison did a Courrier or Sans-serif, a kind of style changes? C'est possible de faire ça? N: Oui, c'est tout-à-fait possible, ça serait un changement plus complet, c'est-à-dire qu'on pourrait prendre quelque chose d'existant et repartir plus ou moins de zéro. P-L: Tant qu'à y être, c'est aussi bien de redémarrer à partir de zéro mais avec une autre idée de ce qu'on peut faire avec cette police. N: Si le style est vraiment différent c'est plus vraiment un dérivé. L'idée c'est aussi de pouvoir aussi peut-être réutiliser les scripts de statistiques et de construction, les choses qui font partie de cette source de fonte qui peuvent aussi être re-utilisées. Voilà les conseils qui sont donnés aux contributeurs, c'est dit que les branches peuvent exister et que le mainteneur original va continuer à travailler sur le tronc, « develop the canonical version », c'est un peu ça. « We warmly welcome contributions » voilà les conseils qui sont donnés, en terme de format, pour envoyer un patch, en terme de source, voilà qu'est-ce qui est recommandé. Pour les attributions aussi, ça c'est quelque chose qui va plus dans le coeur du mécanisme de license, on a le droit d'ajouter son copyright aux modifications que l'on fait. On hérite le copyright du tronc initial, on peut rajouter le bout qui couvre sa contribution personnelle, bien sûr on n'enlève pas le copyright ancien, mais si on veut reverser quelque chose au tronc ça se fait selon les règles de celui qui maintient le tronc. Dans le cas de Gentium, par exemple, le choix a été fait de remettre le copyright au nom de l'ONG en question. Bon les gens décident au coup par coup. Et donc voilà quand c'est dit là, c'est comme le fichier plans du projet Dejavu, quels sont les trucs sur lesquels on a déjà plus ou moins travaillé, si c'est déjà prêt c'est pas vraiment utile que vous y consacriez du temps puisque c'est déjà fait on va peut-être utiliser ce qu'on a déjà. Mais voilà ce sur quoi on n'a pas encore travaillé, voilà si ça vous intéresse, travaillez dessus, posez-nous vos questions, et on l'intégrera peut-être. Ici on parle du travail sur le Cyrillique par exemple, un petit avertissement aussi: le format peut changer, le mécanisme de construction peut aussi changer. Il y a aussi la partie Acknowlegements, une espèce de liste qui peut grandir et qui est structurée. Savoir qui a fait quoi, qui a contribué et où et d'avoir les détails. C'est dans la même logique de ce qu'on disait hier dans la présentation pour les métadonnées, c'est utile pour un designer d'exposer ses données, de laisser un peu sa trace quoi. Ce qu'on veut faire c'est que pour les utilisateurs finaux on puisse aller facilement sur le site du designer, sur le site de son organisation peut-être, et de voir ce qu'il a fait dans ce cadre-là. Le fait d'apparaître c'est une bonne chose pour le designer, dans la logique de ne pas garder les choses secrètes et sous scellé, le fait de faire les choses en transparence c'est aussi bénéfique, c'est de la bonne pub, la construction d'une bonne réputation. Transcrit par Nicolas Spalinger avec quelques corrections mineures pour clarifier les phrases et ajout des URLs pour un meilleur contexte et une meilleure compréhension du mouvement des fontes libres. Merci à Harrisson et Femke pour leur intérêt pour la typographie libre et collaborative et leur travail de couverture du Libre Graphics Meeting 2007 à Montréal. Cette transcription est © 2007 Nicolas Spalinger et placée sous licence CC-BY-SA. ]]>

Dear Software Developer,

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 09:56:57 +0000

We hope you are as much inspired by these texts as we are. You should read this! We think these texts are essential. These texts need to be seen in context of their time. Would this be of any use? Will you read this please? Please do not take their advice literally! We hope you find time to have a look at this. ... Jan Tschichold, The Form of the Book, Essays on the Morality of Good Design, Hartley & Marks Publishers, 1991 Josef Muller-Brockmann, Grid Systems in Graphic Design, Niederteufen 1981]]>

Matching Tools

Wed, 06 Jun 2007 07:39:21 +0000

chose1.jpg Today's challenge brought to you by indexer and typesetter John Culleton. These four covers were done using three different tools:
  1. Tex (context)
  2. Gimp
  3. Inkscape
Who can match covers 1 through 4 with the correct tool?

Tea for Tiles

Wed, 06 Jun 2007 18:19:24 +0000

clone tile tool". picture-12.png picture-13.png As works are also a good way to share knowledge, it is the good context to show a specificity of the clone tile tool that Cédric Gemy showed me in Montreal, after LGM Inkscape presentation. Clone tile tool allows to duplicate an element on a specific area of the page, using parameters such as shift, symetry, scale, rotation, blur, transparency... and trace Example: vecto-pixelization (very handy for vinyl cuttings) 1 Open an image (such as jpg) in inkscape. (image can also be another element drew in inkscape, such as type!) 2 Draw what will be the "pixel" (here, a star). 3 Place this on the upper left corner of the image. picture-8.png 3 In the clone tile tool box, go to tab "trace" 4 Select the caracteristic you want to be transcribed (here it is the lightness of the jpg) picture-11.png 5 Select your motif and "create" picture-9.png picture-10.png This feature needs a bit of test and practice, but it's worth playing with. Ressources are almost infinite. There are plenty of random settings you can set (as I did for Manuka)... And... fasten your seat belt, here are few bonus tricks!]]>

Canadian Printing Breakfast - Impressions canadiennes au petit-déjeuner

Sun, 10 Jun 2007 13:05:14 +0000

Samedi 16 Juin Nepomuk Bar - City Mine(d) - Rue Saint-Jean Nepomucen, 17, Bruxel Click here for English siropderable.JPG Open Source Publishing est fier de vous inviter à son petit-déjeuner canadien, où vous seront servies leurs dernières aventures dans le monde des Logiciels Libres. Au menu: mise en page animée d’un conte de fée, programmeur chercheur de singes à Madagascar, et A qui change tout. Ne ratez pas ce mélange détonant de typographie, de scripts en python et de sirop d’érable!
Language: FR / EN Le service commencera à 10:00, la présentation à 11:00. Gratuit, avec le petit déjeuner. Réservations: femke at constantvzw.com

Saturday June 16

Nepomuk Bar - City Mine(d) - Sint-Jan Nepomucenusstraat 17, Brussels siropderable.JPGThe Open Source Publishing team would like to serve you their latest adventures in free software for breakfast. With amongst other things a lay-out application animating a fairy tale, a software developer looking for monkeys in Madagascar and a letter A that changed everything. Don't miss the miraculous mixture of pancakes, typography and python scripting!
Language: FR / EN Doors open for breakfast at 10:00 / presentations start 11:00 Entrance free, including breakfast - please reserve at: femke at constantvzw.com]]>

Pancakes & Python

Mon, 18 Jun 2007 22:42:56 +0000

p1020758.JPG p1020810.JPG p1020849.JPG breakfast.jpg p1020818.JPG p1020838.JPG Impressions from Canadian Printing Breakfast in Nepomuk Bar, Brussels. More images in Constants Image Repository. Special thanks: An, Wendy & Pierre (serving), Ivan (Python), Nurse (records), Peter (pictures), Nicolas (printing), Veronique (City Min(e)d).]]>

DIN - Das Ist Norm - III

Mon, 25 Jun 2007 13:38:43 +0000


How to turn a frog into a prince

Wed, 27 Jun 2007 16:19:51 +0000

frogprince_th.jpg Frog and Prince is a fairytale featuring free software, python scripting and an open font. The story was premièred at LGM 2007 (Montréal, Canada), and formed the centerpiece of the Canadian Printing Breakfast (Brussels, June 2007). Below is everything you need to make the recipe, but you can also browse through sample documents for each of the steps in the transformation process. Ingredients are there to be opened up, re-distributed, changed and improved upon. Please report back when you use or abuse. [Preview of the final result] [download all sample documents as a .zip file] Tools you will need:
  • Internet connection
  • Gimp image editor
  • Inkscape vector editor
  • Terminal (command line) application
  • Scribus lay-out application
  • Python script (scripted by Ivan Monroy-Lopez)
  • Pdf toolset: psnbook, psnup, ps2pdf, pdftops
  • Printer
  • Stapler
1. Prepare ingredients Find the Grimm story 'The Princess and the frog', available through the Gutenberg project. Identify two sections: one telling the story of the frog, and the other starting at the moment the frog turns into a prince. Save the first section as Frog.txt, the second as Prince.txt. Look for an image of a prince, and convert it to Scalable Vector Format (svg) using Gimp, Inkscape and Potrace. Do the same for an image of a frog. 2. Install font In your home directory, create a folder called '.fonts'. The dot is important (Make sure you have view invisible files selected in file browser)! Copy CharterOSP-Roman.ttf into this folder. From the command line, run: $ fc-cache This is to update the fontconfig settings. The CharterOSP-Roman should now be available to all applications. 3. Prepare document Open Scribus (version or lower) and create a new document, size A5. Import Frog.svg and Prince.svg (File > Import > Import SVG) into Scribus and place them on top of each other on page 1. Convert both objects to a textframe (contextual menu: Convert to > Text frame). Change name of the objects into respectively 'Frog' and 'Prince' (View > Properties and change name in X,Y,Z tab.) Define the following 4 colors (Edit > Colors > New) and make sure you use the exact same names: FrogInitialFill => the color of the fill of Frog on page 1 FrogFinalFill => the color of the fill of Frog on last page PrinceInitialFill => the color of the fill of Prince on page 1 PrinceFinalFill => the color of the fill of Prince on last page Before you can run the script, the 1-page .sla file (FrogPrince.sla) must be saved in the same directory as the Prince.txt and Frog.txt files. The Python script (Story.py) should be saved in the same directory. 4. Run script To run the script: script > execute script and select Story.py Now a series of dialogue boxes will pop up. The one about scale goes like this: 0.1 == one tenth of the original size 0.25 == one quarter of the original size 0.5 == one half of the original size Keep in mind that in the end, the script only shrinks objects. the shrunk frog will appear on the last page, while the shrunk prince will appear on the first page. When running, the script creates the following sequence of colors: FrogFill2 ... FrogFilln, where n = (numberOfPages - 1) PrinceFill2 ... PrinceFilln, where n = (numberOfPages -1) so it's best not to have colors with those names in the sla file, to avoid conflicts. 5. Style text In the newly created document Story.sla, make two new styles, one for Prince and another for Frog. Choose OSP Charter, 6 points for FrogStyle and 11 points for PrinceStyle in order to fill out the text over as many text boxes as possible. Apply styles to Frog and Prince. Export the document as pdf (Story.pdf); make sure to embed all fonts. (File > Export as PDF. In Font tab, select 'embed all fonts') 6. Prepare for printing For more detailed instructions, see How to print a booklet in 19 easy steps. Use the command line, convert the .pdf document to a postscript document: $ pdftops -paper match '/home/user/Desktop/Story.pdf' '/home/user/Desktop/Story.ps' Then arrange the order of pages for imposition: $ psbook -s16 '/home/user/Story.ps' '/home/user/Desktop/StoryB.ps' If all goes well, you will see the following: [16] [1] [2] [15] [14] [3] [4] [13] [12] [5] [6] [11] [10] [7] [8] [9] Wrote 16 pages, 5937633 bytes Make spreads, placing 2 A5's on an A4: $ psnup -2 -PA5 '/home/user/Desktop/StoryB.ps' '/home/user/Desktop/StoryC.ps' [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Wrote 8 pages, 5944599 bytes Convert the document back to pdf: $ ps2pdf '/home/user/Desktop/StoryC.ps' '/home/user/Desktop/StoryC.pdf' 8. Print [this step has bugs in Ubuntu 7.04; other versions/systems should be al right.] You can use the commandline to print first the even pages (myprinter is the name of your printer, n is the amount of copies) $ lpr -P myprinter -o page-set=even -#1 infile.pdf Once the even pages are printed, you need to re-arrange the order of the pages so that the first page comes last. Put the pages upside down back in the printer Now print the odd pages $ lpr -P myprinter -o page-set=odd -#1 infile.pdf Fold the pages from A4 to A5 Fold the stack back open and place it on the piece of cardboard with the cover facing you. Click open your stapler so you can staple the stack in the middle Gently remove the stack (which is now stuck to the cardboard) and fold the staples back in. Sample documents: ]]>

CMYK overprint

Thu, 28 Jun 2007 13:10:59 +0000

bad_circles.jpg good_circles.jpg bad_tiger.jpg good_tiger.jpg Left: cyan plate after importing .svg in Scribus. Right: cyan plate after adjusting colors. But with the help of excellent Scribus, this is easy to fix. Simply import the .svg into Scribus, and go to edit > colors. All colors in imported Inkscape illustrations, will be RGB; most likely black has ended up as 'FromSVG#000000', or 'Grey0'. Change this color from RGB to CMYK and change values to 40% C + 40% M + 40% Y + 100% K. Check in print preview and ... voilà!]]>

I think the ideas behind it are beautiful in my mind

Sun, 08 Jul 2007 09:42:26 +0000

Interview with George Williams, Fontforge developer
(...) I think the ideas behind it are beautiful in my mind -- and in some sense I find the user interface beautiful. I'm not sure that anyone else in the world does, because it's what I want, but I think it's beautiful. (George Williams, May 2007)
For those who prefer reading over listening, enjoy this text version of the audio interview with George Williams (developer of FontForge) we published earlier.

OSP: We're doing these interviews, as we're working as designers on OpenSource


OSP: With OpenSource tools, as typographers, but often when we speak to developers they say "well, tell me what you want," or they see our interest in what they are doing as a kind of feature request or bug report

G: (laughs) Yes

OSP: Of course it's clear that that's the way it often works, but for us it's also interesting to think about these tools as really tools, as ways of shaping work, to try and understand how they are made or who is making them. It can help us make other things. So this is actually what we want to talk about. To try and understand a bit about how you've been working on FontForge. Because that's the project you're working on.


OSP: And how that connects to other ideas of tools or tools' shape that you make. These kind of things. So maybe first it's good to talk about what it is that you make.

G: OK. Well... FontForge is a font editor.

I started playing with fonts when I bought my first Macintosh, back in the early 80s (actually it was the mid-80s) and my father studied textual bibliography and looked at the ways the printing technology of the Renaissance affected the publication of Shakespeare's works. And what that meant about the errors in the compositions we see in the copies we have left from the Renaissance. So my father was very interested in Renaissance printing (and has written books on this subject) and somehow that meant that I was interested in fonts.

I'm not quite sure how that connection happened, but it did. So I was interested in fonts. And there was this program that came out in the 80s called Fontographer which allowed you to create PostScript and later TrueType fonts. And I loved it. And I made lots of calligraphic fonts with it.

OSP: You were... like 20?

G: I was 20~30. Lets see, I was born in 1959, so in the 80s I was in my 20s mostly. And then Fontographer was bought up by MacroMedia who had no interest in it. They wanted FreeHand which was done by the same company. So they dropped Fon... well they continued to sell Fontographer but they didn't update it. And then OpenType came out and Unicode came out and it (Fontographer) didn't do this right and it didn't do that right... And I started making my own fonts, and I used Fontographer to provide the basis, and I started writing scripts that would add accents to latin letters and so on. And figured out the Type1 format so that I could decompose it -- decompose the Fontographer output so that I could add my own things to it. And then Fontographer didn't do Type0 PostScript fonts, so I figured that out.

And about this time, the little company I was working for, a tiny little startup -- we wrote a web html editor -- where you could sit at your desk and edit pages on the web -- it was before FrontPage, but similar to FrontPage. And we were bought by AOL and then we were destroyed by AOL, but we had stock options from AOL and they went through the roof. So... in the late 90s I quit.

And I didn't have to work.

And I went off to Madagascar for a while to see if I wanted to be a primatologist. And... I didn't. There were too many leaches in the rainforest.

OSP: (laughs)

G: So I came back, and I wrote a font editor instead.

And I put it up on the web and in 'late 99, and within a month someone gave me a bug report and was using it.

OSP: (laughs) So it took a month

G: Well, you know, there was no advertisement, it was just there, and someone found it and that was neat!

OSP: (laughs)

G: And that was called PfaEdit (because when it began it only did PostScript) and I... it just grew. And then -- I don't know -- three, four, five years ago someone pointed out that PfaEdit wasn't really appropriate any more, so I asked various users what would be a good name and a French guy said "How 'bout FontForge?" So. It became FontForge then. -- That's a much better name than PfaEdit.

OSP: (laughs)

G: Used it ever since.

OSP: But your background... you talked about your father studying...

G: I grew up in a household where Shakespeare was quoted at me every day, and he was an English teacher, still is an English teacher, well, obviously retired but he still occasionally teaches, and has been working for about 30 years on one of those versions of Shakespeare where you have two lines of Shakespeare text at the top and the rest of the page is footnotes.

And I went completely differently and became a mathematician and computer scientist and worked in those areas for almost 20 years and then went off and tried to do my own things.

OSP: So how did you become a mathematician?

G: (pause) I just liked it.

OSP: (laughs) "just liked it"

G: I was good at it. I got pushed ahead in high school. It just never occurred to me that I'd do anything else -- until I met a computer. And then I still did maths because I didn't think computers were -- appropriate -- or -- I was a snob. How about that.

OSP: (laughs)

G: But I spent all my time working on computers as I went through university. And then got my first job at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and shortly thereafter the shuttle blew up and we had some (JPL is part of NASA) -- some of our experiments -- my little group -- flew on the shuttle and some of them flew on an airplane which went over the US took special radar pictures of the US. We also took special radar pictures of the world from the shuttle (SIR-A, SIR-B, SIR-C). And then our airplane burned up. And JPL was not a very happy place to work after that.

So then I went to a little company with some college friends of mine, that they'd started, created compilers and debuggers -- do you know what those are?

OSP: Mm-hmm.

G: And I worked a long time on that, and then the internet came out and found another little company with some friends -- and worked on HTML.

OSP: So when, before we moved, I was curious about, I wanted you to talk about a Shakespearian influence on your interest in fonts. But on the other hand you talk about working in a company where you did HTML editors at the time you actually started, I think. So do you think that is somehow present... the web is somehow present in your -- in how FontForge works? or how fonts work or how you think about fonts?

G: I don't think the web had much to do with my -- well, that's not true. OK, when I was working on the HTML editor, at the time, mid-90s, there weren't any Unicode fonts, and so part of the reason I was writing all these scripts to add accents and get Type0 support in PostScript (which is what you need for a Unicode font) was because I needed a Unicode font for our HTML product.

To that extent -- yes-s-s-s.

It had an effect. Aside from that, not really.

The web has certainly allowed me to distribute it. Without the web I doubt anyone would know -- I wouldn't have any idea how to "market" it. If that's the right word for something that doesn't get paid for. And certainly the web has provided a convenient infrastructure to do the documentation in.

But -- as for font design itself -- that (the web) has certainly not affected me.

Maybe with this creative commons talk that Jon Phillips was giving, there may be, at some point, a button that you can press to upload your fonts to the Open Font Library -- but I haven't gotten there yet, so I don't want to promise that.

OSP: (laughs) But no, indeed there was-- hearing you speak about cchost, that's the--

G: Mm-hmm.

OSP: software we are talking about?

G: That's what the Open Font Library uses, yes.

OSP: Yeah. And a connection to FontForge could change the way, not only how you distribute fonts, but also how you design fonts.

G: It -- it might. I don't know ... I don't have a view of the future.

I guess to some extent, obviously font design has been affected by requiring it (the font) to be displayed on a small screen with a low resolution display. And there are all kinds of hacks in modern fonts formats for dealing with low resolution stuff. PostScript calls them hints and TrueType calls them instructions. They are different approaches to the same thing. But that, that certainly has affected font design in the last -- well since PostScript came out.

The web itself? I don't think that has yet been a significant influence on font design, but then -- I'm no longer a designer. I discovered I was much better at designing font editors than at designing fonts.

So I've given up on that aspect of things.

OSP: Mm-K, because I'm curious about your making a division about being a designer, or being a font-editor-maker, because for me that same definition of maker, these two things might be very related.

G: Well they are. And I only got in to doing it because the tools that were available to me were not adequate. But I have found since -- that I'm not adequate at doing the design, there are many people who are better at designing -- designing fonts, than I am. And I like to design fonts, but I have made some very ugly ones at times.

And so I think I will -- I'll do that occasionally, but that's not where I'm going to make a mark.

Mostly now --

I just don't have the --

The font editor itself takes up so much of time that I don't have the energy, the enthusiasm, or anything like that to devote to another major creative project. And designing a font is a major creative project.

OSP: Well, can we talk about the major creative project of designing a font editor? I mean, because I'm curious how -- how that is a creative project for you -- how you look at that.

G: I look at it as a puzzle. And someone comes up to me with a problem, and I try and figure out how to solve it. And sometimes I don't want to figure out how to solve it. But I feel I should anyway. And sometimes I don't want to figure out how to solve it and I don't.

That's one of the glories of being one's own boss, you don't have to do everything that you are asked.

But -- to me -- it's just a problem. And it's a fascinating problem. But why is it fascinating? -- That's just me. No one else, probably, finds it fascinating. Or -- the guys who design FontLab probably also find it fascinating, there are two or three other font design programs in the world. And they would also find it fascinating.

OSP: Can you give an example of something you would find fascinating?

G: Well. Dave Crossland who was sitting behind me at the end was talking to me today -- he sat down -- we started talking after lunch but on the way up the stairs -- at first he was complaining that FontForge isn't written with a standard widget set. So it looks different from everything else. And yes, it does. And I don't care. Because this isn't something which interests me.

On the other hand he was saying that what he also wanted was a paragraph level display of the font. So that as he made changes in the font he could see a ripple effect in the paragraph.

Now I have a thing which does a word level display, but it doesn't do multi-lines. (or it does multi-lines if you are doing Japanese (vertical writing mode) but it doesn't do multi-columns then. So it's either one vertical row or one horizontal row of glyphs.

And I do also have a paragraph level display, but it is static. You bring it up and it takes the current snapshot of the font and it generates a real truetype font and pass it off to the X windows rasterizer -- passes it off to the standard linux toolchain (freetype) as that static font and asks that toolchain to display text.

So what he's saying is "OK, do that, but update the font that you pass off every now and then." And "Yeah, that'd be interesting to do. That's an interesting project to work on." Much more interesting than changing my widget set which is just a lot of work and tedious. Because there is nothing to think about. It's just "OK, I've got to use this widget instead of my widget." My widget does exactly what I want -- because I designed it that way -- how do I make this thing, which I didn't design, which I don't know anything about, do exactly what I want?

And -- that's dull.

For me.

OSP: Yeah, well.

G: Dave, on the other hand, is very hopeful that he'll find some poor fool who'll take that on as a wonderful opportunity. And if he does, that would be great, because not having a standard widget set is one of the biggest complaints people have. Because FontForge doesn't look like anything else. And people say "Well the grey background --" It used to have a grey background, now it has a white background "is very scary."

I thought it was normal to have a grey background, but uh... that's why we now have a white background. A white background may be equally scary, but no one has complained about it yet.

OSP: Try red.

G: I tried light blue and cream. One of them I was told gave people migraines -- I don't remember specifically what the comment was about the light blue, but

(someone from InkScape): Make it configurable.

G: Oh, it is configurable, but no one configures it.

(InkScaper): Yeah, I know.

G: So...

OSP: So, you talked about spending a lot of time on this project, how does that work, you get up in the morning and start working on FontForge? or...

G: Well, I do many things. Some mornings, yes, I get up in the morning and I start working on FontForge and I cook breakfast in the background and eat breakfast and work on FontForge. Some mornings I get up at 4 in the morning and go out running for a couple of hours and come back home and sort of collapse and eat a little bit and go off to yoga class and do a pilates class and do another yoga class and then go to my pottery class, and go to the farmers' market and come home and I haven't worked on FontForge at all.

So it varies according to the day.

But yes I...

There was a period where I was spending 40, 50 hours a week working on FontForge, I don't spend that much time on it now, it's more like 20 hours, though the last month I got all excited about the release that I put out last Tuesday -- today is Sunday. And so I was working really hard -- probably got up to -- oh -- 30 hours some of that time. I was really excited about the change. All kinds of things were different -- I put in python scripting, which people had been asking for -- well, I'm glad I've done it, but it was actually kind of boring, that bit -- the stuff that came before was -- fascinating.

OSP: Like?

G: I -- are you familiar with the OpenType spec? No. OK. The way you... the way you specify ligatures and kerning in OpenType can be looked at at several different levels. And the way OpenType wants you to look at it, I felt, was unnecessarily complicated. So I didn't look at it at that level. And then after about 5 years of looking at it that way I discovered that the reason I thought it was unnecessarily complicated was because I was only used to Latin or Cyrillic or Greek text, and for Latin, Cyrillic or Greek, it probably is unnecessarily complicated. But for Indic scripts it is not unnecessarily complicated, and you need all those things. So I ripped out all of the code for specifying strange glyph conversions. You know in Arabic a character looks different at the beginning of a word and so on? So that's also handled in this area. And I ripped all that stuff out and redid it in the way that OpenType wanted it to be done and not the somewhat simplified but not sufficiently powerful method that I'd been using up until then.

And that I found, quite fascinating.

And once I'd done that, it opened up all kinds of little things that I could change that made the font editor itself bettitor. Better. Bettitor?

OSP: (laughs) That's almost Dutch.

G: And so after I'd done that the display I talked about which could show a word -- I realized that I should redo that to take advantage of what I had done. And so I redid that, and it's now, it's now much more usable. It now shows -- at least I hope it shows -- more of what people want to see when they are working with these transformations that apply to the font, there's now a list of the various transformations, that can be enabled at any time and then it goes through and does them -- whereas before it just sort of -- well it did kerning, and if you asked it to it would substitute this glyph so you could see what it would look like -- but it was all sort of -- half-baked.

It wasn't very elegant.

And -- it's much better now, and I'm quite proud of that.

It may crash -- but it's much better.

OSP: So you bring up half-baked, and when we met we talked about bread baking.

G: Oh, yes.

OSP: And the pleasure of handling a material when you know it well. Maybe make reliable bread -- meaning that it comes out always the same way, but by your connection to the material you somehow -- well -- it's a pleasure to do that. So, since you've said that, and we then went on talking about pottery -- how clay might be of the same -- give the same kind of pleasure. I've been trying to think -- how does FontForge have that? Does it have that and where would you find it or how is the...

G: I like to make things. I like to make things that -- in some strange definition are beautiful. I'm not sure how that applies to making bread, but my pots -- I think I make beautiful pots. And I really like the glazing I put onto them.

It's harder to say that a font editor is beautiful. But I think the ideas behind it are beautiful in my mind -- and in some sense I find the user interface beautiful. I'm not sure that anyone else in the world does, because it's what I want, but I think it's beautiful.

And there's a satisfaction in making something -- in making something that's beautiful.

And there's a satisfaction too (as far as the bread goes) in making something I need. I eat my own bread -- that's all the bread I eat (except for those few days when I get lazy and don't get to make bread that day and have to put it off until the next day and have to eat something that day -- but that doesn't happen very often).

So it's just -- I like making beautiful things.

OSP: OK, thank you.

G: Mm-hmm.

OSP: That was very nice, thank you very much.

G: Thank you. I have pictures of my pots if you'd like to see them?

OSP: Yes, I would very much like to see them.

Transcription: George Williams :-)]]>

Questions and answers [update]

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 09:38:30 +0000

muteosp.jpg Over the last few months, the OSP and Mute team have established a new design and production workflow for Mute magazine, using Open Source tools. Below are a few of the questions we are encountering during the last stages of this process.
------------------------------------------------------------ Mute 2 6 – Questions and answers ------------------------------------------------------------ Storing images, should they always be kept in the same place, at present we've made a folder for each Scribus document and then I sit an images sub directory, this way I can move the whole set of files around without risking losing images?
Good idea; yes this procedure is necessary (just like old versions of QuarkXpress).
Fonts between OS WinXP/OSX/Linux are not being recognised in ODT or SLA. Linux if OK but WinXP and OSX (check version numbers of Scribus) have problems. Could this be a font TTF issue?
What do you mean 'between'? And what are the problems exactly? (hard to test / recognize the problems for us because we do not have a Windows machine available)
On the biographies, black boxes and the title boxes, how should we bring in the pointed angled graphics into the document?
Re-make your basic shape in Inkscape, save as SVG and import into Scribus (File -> Import -> Import SVG). SVG's can be altered in Scribus.
How do we export text and second how to we make PDFs text machine readable?
We wished we had thought of this beforehand... Scribus automatically outlines *all* .ttf fonts to outlines, i.e. renders them machine un-readable (Subscription pages etc. have already been converted to outlines btw. so there we don't have any choice).* For the next issue, we will need to choose our fonts based on this, but testing is needed because Type1 fonts with problems (a missing glyph for example) might end up as outlines as well. Even if the font was *not* converted to outlines, the exported PDF's still need to undergo some treatment, but that in itself is easy to do with the help of our friends pdftops and ps2pdf. (read this thread) Another option, is to extract text from the .sla; which seems a bit archaic ... although interesting with respect to web-to-print. * Update: apparently the problem was in the fontfile itself. After using another version, the problem dissappeared.
How do we output with and without Crop Marks?
Save as PDF > check: Clip to page margins (= without cropmarks) Save as PDF > uncheck: Clip to page margins (= with cropmarks)
How do we join PDF pages together for the book block?
Use pdftk (command line tool): $ pdftk inputA.pdf inputBpdf output combined.pdf EXAMPLE: fsnelting@station:~/Desktop/articles$ pdftk '/home/fsnelting/Desktop/articles/0005.pdf' '/home/fsnelting/Desktop/articles/0004.pdf' '/home/fsnelting/Desktop/articles/0003.pdf' '/home/fsnelting/Desktop/articles/0002.pdf' '/home/fsnelting/Desktop/articles/0001.pdf' output combined.pdf More ideas/ways of using pdftk: http://www.pdfhacks.com/pdftk/, or see pdftk manual - you can take specific pages from certain documents, re-arrange order etc. etc.
How can we later replace specific pages?
Repeat the above recipe with the new pages instead (you simply re-create the whole package).
How to crop an area from the cover and add it as a page to the book block PDF file?
Ehm... how would you do this otherwise? Our guess: Edit -> Document setup -> change to final cover size; make sure to check 'apply size setting to all pages'. Than re-position artwork, and export as pdf. Add to pdftk ingredients (see above) and merge with other pages.
How do we check and apply leading to the SLA files?
Leading can be applied through styles or in the Properties box (Windows -> Properties -> Texttab), but surprisingly not in the text editor. The properties box is a bit tricky to handle because you will never be sure whether the displayed leading applies to a single frame or to multiple frames, and when you re-apply a leading here, it will overrule the leading applied in styles. Best is to trust styles + check visually with view -> view baseline grid.
How do we update folios and page numbers?
On each article: Document setup -> Sections -> change start number.

Open Printing Summit

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 07:43:47 +0000

http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/OpenPrinting/SummitMontreal As stated on their site, the printing activities of the Linux Foundation revolve around a few focal points:
  • For printer manufacturers, we want to make it easier to produce drivers that work across distributions and to get those drivers in the hands of end users, to reduce problems that result from running outdated drivers.
  • For application developers, we want to provide better facilities than we do today to add printing to applications in a portable and consistent way.
  • For operating system vendors, we want to put together a shared repository of printer drivers, so the OS/distribution vendors can share the burden of maintaining the (largely common) driver database with each other.
  • A major theme of the Printing Summit will be ensuring we have the proper standards in place at both the application and driver level to accomplish the goal of making printing on Linux "just work". In addition, we will discuss related topics, such as developer tools, developer documentation, certification, and testing, that will be important to the goal of making the standard actionable.


Tue, 24 Jul 2007 11:06:59 +0000

Rotterdam reporters made us notice Inconsolata, a monospaced font designed by Ghostscript maintainer Raph Levien. Levien offers an OTF version, plus 'raw' fontforge files on his webpage.
First and foremost, Inconsolata is a humanist sans design. I strove for the clarity and clean lines of Adrian Frutiger's Avenir (the lowercase "a", in particular, pays homage to this wonderful design), but also looked to Morris Fuller Benton's Franklin Gothic family for guidance on some of my favorite glyphs, such as lowercase "g" and "S", and, most especially, the numerals. (Ralph Levien)
Dutch sample text generated in Scribus: sample.jpg Scribus uses the Gutenberg text version of Multatuli's Max Havelaar. The English default is Bram Stoker's Dracula. Of course you could select your own preferred source!]]>

La Rentrée

Mon, 27 Aug 2007 08:54:02 +0000

View from Les Rencontres de Lure (Lurs, France) Welcome back! OSP is about to start a busy year, but before we begin... here a fresh take on the application of Open Source methodologies in design:
"An open source methodology could aid us in moving in this direction for it provides a contemporary justification for a publicly owned intellectual commons sustained by collaborative effort. The challenge would be to design the appropriate technologies for interface with the network. But if we merely transfer the open source model into the discipline of design, without first connecting it to a physical sense of place, we may not take advantage of the opportunities being offered to us".
Crafting the Public Realm: Speculations on the Potential of Open Source Methodologies in Development by Design, Prem Chandavarkar ]]>

Inkscape + xslt = dynamic workflow

Sat, 08 Sep 2007 12:19:46 +0000

Use Inkscape and XSLT to Create Cross-Platform Reports and Forms, an article by Chad Files on the Linux Journal website that details a workflow to produce dynamic forms and reports for both print and web using Inkscape and Xslt. Inkscape used to draw a template for a claim form Description of the problem and requirements:
Health-care claims are very intricate (Figure 1). Many boxes and boilerplate text have to be drawn. The conventional way to do this with a software application is to draw a series of lines using coordinates and lengths, and then lay the static and dynamic content on top of the newly drawn lines. [...]
Our requirements were as follows: * We must be able to print high-quality versions of the claims. * Claims must be accessible from a Web browser. * The solution has to be programming language-independent. We use Python, PHP, Perl and Java. The images need to be created using any of these languages. * We must be able to convert the claim data and form into several different file formats, specifically PDF and PNG. * The entire solution must be platform-independent.
The solution:
Basically, we would take an SVG image of the claim form and make it into an XSLT (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformation), because the SVG format is a special XML format. Then, we would pull the claim data from our database and convert it into an XML string. Using any of our languages, we could then take the XSLT and the XML and create an SVG image of the claim. This solution met all of our requirements. It was language- and platform-independent. We could print the SVG images and embed them into Web pages. Furthermore, SVG images can be converted into different file formats easily. Another nice feature of this solution is the small file size of the SVG images. If we wanted to archive the images, they would take a fraction of the space the old solution did. Because SVG images are text, not compressed binary, the files can be compressed and save even more space.
Read the article for the details of the implementation and test the sample code. ]]>

Mute: now available in Free Software

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 06:57:48 +0000

cover_mute.jpgMute Vol 2 #6 - Living in a Bubble: Credit, debt and crisis is out! After a few months of testing and trying, the work flow of the entire magazine was converted to Free Software (OpenOffice, Inkscape, Gimp and Scribus on Kubuntu and Ubuntu systems) and... with succes.
Read low-graphic pdf's online or order your own copy to see it with your own eyes: http://www.metamute.org/]]>

Odessa 12" released!

Mon, 17 Sep 2007 20:27:32 +0000



Mon, 17 Sep 2007 20:59:26 +0000

"Using these fonts does not subject your documents to the GPL--it liberates them from any proprietary claim" Well cutted and with a very nice overall ambiance, the sans cut is particularly interesting, and much much nicer than another substitute for helvetica: the Arial. It is clearly affiliated to the Akzident Grotesk, but looks more neutral in the use. The serif cut is very far from the Times, and got formal similarities with the Vera Serif. But it gives a good contemporary, simple and elegant aspect to long readable texts, as far we tested it. 300px-font_comparison_-_liberation_sans_to_arialsvg.png 450px-font_comparison_-_liberation_serif_to_times_new_romansvg.png 425px-font_comparison_-_liberation_mono_to_courier_newsvg.png The wikipedia article rpm font files and true type font files: https://www.redhat.com/promo/fonts/]]>

Multiplication of liberation

Mon, 17 Sep 2007 21:11:54 +0000

multi_plier_lib1.png (Inkscape, Gimp and Scribus)]]>

November 3: OSP @ Integrated2007

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 22:43:58 +0000

Integrated2007 "a new vital international design conference taking place in deSingel Antwerp":
"OSP takes you on a trip into the wonderful universe of Free Software. We will meet alien devices and extraterrestrial tools, previously unknown to the world of graphic design. We like to imagine what would happen if we reinvented or remixed the softwares we work with. While conventional packages prevent such forms of use through extremely restrictive licenses, Open Source Software invites you to dive under the hood of your creative suite. Will we be confused by what we find, or open our eyes to new ways of making? OSP seizes the opportunity to think out loud about what other tools are possible and what is possible with other tools. On our return to earth, nothing will look the same again."
http://www.integrated2007.com ]]>

OSP @ Werkplaats Typografie

Tue, 09 Oct 2007 08:57:28 +0000

OSP visits Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem (The Netherlands) to discuss a two-day workshop on Free Fonts with Anniek Brattinga and Karel Martens. http://www.werkplaatstypografie.org]]>

November 7: PubliActie

Wed, 10 Oct 2007 09:07:41 +0000

PubliActie @ Boekenbeurs Antwerpen publiactie_thumbnail.jpgInspired by the legacy of Cornelius Kiliaan, inventor of the first Dutch dictionary, Marthe van Dessel and Wendy van Wynsberghe look for neologisms and definitions in search of a word. Using Free Software and Free Licenses, the result will be an open source lexicon taking into account our daily feelings, experiences and encounters for and with digital technologies. http://www.ooooo.be/publiactie/]]>

OSP @ EU Info Day Culture

Wed, 10 Oct 2007 15:40:45 +0000

Looking for ways to fund an European project on Free Fonts... OSP participated in the Info Day on cultural grants, organised by the European Commission in Brussels.]]>

November 15: nm-X

Sun, 14 Oct 2007 15:10:54 +0000

nmx.jpg "What we make is often defined by what tools we can use to make it" is the motto of an Open Source Publishing event coming up in London. OSP will assist Simon Worthington and Laura Oldenburg (Mute) at this event, which is hosted by Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design.
"What we make is often defined by what tools we can use to make it. This briefing introduces designers and publishers who are moving beyond the limited set of possibilities offered commercially available publishing tools. "We will look at three key tools: 'The Gimp' (an open source bitmap graphics tool, like Adobe Photoshop), 'Inkscape' (an open source vector illustration tool, like Adobe Illustrator), and Scribus – an open source layout tool like Quark Express or Adobe InDesign. But besides specific tools, this briefing moves beyond outmoded boundaries in the publishing process between writing, designing, and printing: between the page and the 'Net. Attendees will hear from presenters how dispensing with these boundaries creates immense creative and business opportunities for cross-format experimentation in the future of print and publishing. This briefing will be presented by Simon Worthington and Laura Oldenbourg of Mute Magazine and Openmute."

Creative License: Take as much as you want

Tue, 16 Oct 2007 08:18:29 +0000

Creative License - Take as much as you want. Terms and Conditions which apply when you submit a feature request or a bug report:
You agree that by submitting your Idea, you acknowledge and agree that any such Idea is nonconfidential, and that Adobe has no obligation to return anything submitted, respond to, or confirm receipt of your Idea. You warrant that no other person or corporation has a property interest in the submitted Idea. You understand and acknowledge that Adobe may itself be developing and creating similar Ideas, and/or that Adobe may have received or may someday receive similar Ideas from others, and that existing or planned products and services independently developed without use of your Idea may contain Ideas or concepts similar or identical to those you submit. You acknowledge and agree that your submission shall not preclude Adobe from developing or acquiring such Ideas without obligation to you. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, Adobe shall be free to use any Idea that you submit on a perpetual, royalty-free basis, for any purpose whatsoever, including use, modification, display, and distribution, and/or in the development, manufacture, marketing, and maintenance of Adobe products and services without any obligation to you.
http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform ]]>


Wed, 17 Oct 2007 08:22:20 +0000

(Eric S. Raymond, postscript (2000) to The Cathedral and the Bazaar) The Cathedral and the Bazaar is probably one of the most quotable texts about Open Source you could find. Raymond confidently explains why a distributed, decentralized and seemingly chaotic model of software development (The Bazaar) actually 'works'. This essay, which was originally published in 1997, coined aphorisms such as 'Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow' and 'Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch'. He does not paint a very exciting image for non-hacker-use but we'll get back to this later. http://www.catb.org/~esr/ Full quote:
Rather, I want to suggest what may be a wider lesson about software, (and probably about every kind of creative or professional work). Human beings generally take pleasure in a task when it falls in a sort of optimal-challenge zone; not so easy as to be boring, not too hard to achieve. A happy programmer is one who is neither underutilized nor weighed down with ill-formulated goals and stressful process friction. Enjoyment predicts efficiency. Relating to your own work process with fear and loathing (even in the displaced, ironic way suggested by hanging up Dilbert cartoons) should therefore be regarded in itself as a sign that the process has failed. Joy, humor, and playfulness are indeed assets; it was not mainly for the alliteration that I wrote of "happy hordes" above, and it is no mere joke that the Linux mascot is a cuddly, neotenous penguin. It may well turn out that one of the most important effects of open source’s success will be to teach us that play is the most economically efficient mode of creative work.

OSP for VJ10

Wed, 17 Oct 2007 15:01:19 +0000

vjx.png OSP are currently working and testing hard for Verbindingen - Jonction 10 festival, organised by meta collaborators Constant. Offset CYMK Printout (5000 ex.) expected for next wednesday, with all the blurs, transparencies, gradients and fonts... While trying to export the svg from inkscape to pdf, we encountered few problems with transparencies, and blur was completely ignored. We found a solution with using the batik SVG toolset from Apache. Steps to reproduce:
  1. Download the batik SVG toolset from http://xmlgraphics.apache.org/batik/#download
  2. Let's assume you unpacked the batik toolset in a folder: /home/you/batik
  3. In the commandline, type: cd /home/you/batik/batik-1.7 (this may vary depending on the version of batik you have downloaded)
  4. Let's assume you saved your svg file produced in inkscape here: /home/you/yourfolder/yourfile.svg
  5. In the commandline, type: java -jar batik-rasterizer.jar -m application/pdf /home/you/yourfolder/yourfile.svg
  6. This produces the file /home/you/yourfolder/yourfile.pdf with correct transparency and perfectly rendered blurs!

Surprise package

Fri, 19 Oct 2007 14:13:42 +0000

fontforge.png While preparing Werkplaats Typografie workshop, I had the good surprise to discover fontforge-executables in mac in an install package. This means installation of newer and better fontforge is now pretty much easier that it used to be. I've installed and worked on the ppc version of it. You still need X11, but we're used to it now. No? "FontForge does not conform to Apple's Human Interface Guidelines. FontForge never will. Don't expect it to look like a normal Mac Application. It doesn't." Good, we love it! ]]>

Importing Inkscape in Fontforge

Sat, 20 Oct 2007 10:03:24 +0000

a.png Fontforge is an ideal font design program, as far we could test it out: Opening mac fonts (on ppc here) is more direct, and drawing tools are really ok to take on. Soft seems more fluid than previous version and... it can easely import inkscape svgs! Here is a way to make correspond inkscape size of document and fontforge size of font. This means you don't have to resize your imported svgs, they would pop up at the right place in FontForge when opened. Follow those steps: By default, fontforge glyph dimension box is 1000 x 1000 postscript units. The baseline line is set at 0pt. ascenders goes up to 800pt and descender down to 200pt. In Inkscape, create a new document In document properties, set all your units in inkscape in pixels (px). Set the document dimension to 1000px x 1000px Set an horizontal guide at 200px Draw your letter. Save it on svg. Import it on fontforge, selecting SVG in the file import menu box. Dimensions an placement should be the same as the ones in the Inkscape document. Super!]]>

William Morris: Art and Its Producers

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 18:25:44 +0000

While looking for designers writing about their relation to tools, I discovered the excellent William Morris Archives, part of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive. To Morris, to own his means of production, was the only way a designer/workman could find back pleasure in work, and this in turn he considered a prerequisite for the production of (applied) art and beauty. It is hard to imagine someone as keen on handicraft as William Morris in the age of computing, but after reading his text Art and its producers, I wonder how he would have felt about using Free Software?
'I do not believe we should aim at abolishing all machinery; I would do some things with machinery which are now done by hand, and other things by hand which are now done by machinery; in short, we would be the masters of our machines and not their slaves, as we are now. It is not this or that... machine which we want to get rid of, but the great intangible machine of commercial tyranny which oppresses the lives of all of us'
(William Morris: Art and Its Producers, 1881)]]>

Free Operations

Fri, 02 Nov 2007 10:56:50 +0000

2 day workshop Werkplaats Typografie, Arnhem (20 + 21 November, 2007) What permutations between typeface, typesetting and text can you imagine? How to design through scripting and can you read differently with computer manipulations? Full brief:
Design could not exist without a larger eco system of cultural works around it. Even the most commercial of design practices are nourished by historical or contemporary artworks, films, photographs, lay-outs, images, ideas produced by others; at the same time, design feeds into culture. For culture to grow, it seems counter productive to fix it in place with restrictive copyright licenses that prevent good ideas from what they do best: to spread. Open content licenses such as the Free Art License, Creative Commons, General Public License were invented to subvert intellectual property laws in order to keep culture in circulation. They are an unfortunately necessary asset when 'public domain' has become the exception to the rule. OSP (Open Source Publishing) is a small design research team from Brussels, involved in various aspects of the publishing cycle. From typography to editorial work, OSP tests out in practice how graphic design could work differently, using Free Software and copyleft licenses. We try to think out loud about what other tools are possible and what is possible with other tools; to demonstrate to ourselves and our colleagues the potentialities and limitations of Free Software, how they can be tools to think with and how they can be put to work in professional design environments. For the *Free Operations* workshop, we will work exclusively with content that is in the public domain, with fonts that expressly allow for modifications and redistribution, and we will process those materials using open source tools. Point of departure is Project Gutenberg, the first and largest single collection of free electronic books. Including Max Havelaar, Flatland and Dracula, the project brings together many classic texts. Once retyped and corrected, they are than re-entered in to the public domain as digital files. Besides an immense and valuable library of literary works, The Gutenberg project makes a searchable database available of text files, paragraphs, words and letter combinations. What permutations between typeface, typesetting and text can you imagine? How to design through scripting and can you read differently with computer manipulations? *Free operations* starts with an installparty, adding FontForge and Inkscape to your harddrives. When these two pieces of software are strung together, they make other ways of doing design possible. We will learn how to use the command line or console to communicate differently with your computer, and experiment with new ways of processing text through pattern matching using regular expressions. Free Operations proposes a two day sampler of what Open Source methods could mean for design in general and typography in particular. It is a way to think about authorship, software and distribution in relation to your practice, and an invitation to explore new territory.

Page tiling with poster

Tue, 06 Nov 2007 17:09:14 +0000

Virginie and Laurence checking the V/J10 program in real size. Poster is an excellent tool to print .eps or .ps documents in tiles. You can adjust the final size of the file, the amount of overlap, size of the media you print on, work from a percentage ('enlarge 500%') etc. Install poster through Synaptic package manager (Debian / Ubuntu) or download here. To print an A2 file on A4 sheets, you need to type this line in your terminal (all in one line): $ poster -ma4 -ia2 -pa2 -v /home/yourfolder/file.eps > /home/yourfolder/tiles.eps Poster will than produce a 9 page .eps document on A4 size with crop marks and cutting marks. Only downside is that the resulting file is very large; in fact 9 times as large as the original file.

The Adventure Continues

Sun, 11 Nov 2007 19:05:01 +0000

(A post for readers with some F/LOSS stamina) After producing a flyer for VJ10 in Inkscape without too much trouble, we confidently decide to do a poster next. With a three week programme of lectures, workshops and installations following four interwoven themes, scattered over five locations and of course translated in three languages (Dutch, French and English), VJ10 might not be the easiest event to fit on a poster but Harrisson courageously dives in. Experimenting with the spray paint tool he soon produces a playful image mixing and mapping the complicated Festival program. But than the trouble begins. Finalising corrections and inevitable changes, it becomes harder and harder to navigate the document in Inkscape until we can only view it in preview mode. We also learn to split text and image into separate layers and work most of the time with the image layer switched off. To be able to check the document, we need a full size print and this we manage with the help of poster (although our colour printer chokes on the resulting 450 MB document). Our solution to produce PDF's with the help of the Apache Batik library is for some reason failing, so we tile the document on the basis of a poorly rendered EPS. In itself not such a problem but we know to expect problems in a later stage. The problem with Batik originates in the 'flowroot' element that has been added in the SVG specification 1.2. Inkscape incorrectly refers to version 1.0 and Nicolas figures out that when you open the Inkscape document in a text editor and change the reference to SVG 1.0, Batik stops complaining. But... the problem itself does not go away - the resulting PDF contains black blocks in the place of text. We figure that 'flowroot' (text that is in a 'dynamic' textbox) is still the problem so we manually select each textbox and un-flow it. Converting the text to outline would also do the job but both solutions create a new problem. We have used colours to distinguish French, Dutch and English texts from each other but when different colors/languages placed in the same text frame are converted, they end up having only one single color. We decide to give up on colour coding (it would mean to split all languages into separate textboxes - this is too much work and too risky with so little time left for checking and corrections), convert all text to black and mark the transitions with hearts. Now we have a document with no 'flowroot' left, we still need to convert the SVG to PDF. With the size of this document (600 x 840 mm) Batik starts to run out of memory. After trying to open the background image in Gimp, importing the whole .svg in Scribus, exporting the background as bitmap from Inkscape and even considering to piece screenshots of the blurs together... Nicolas helps us out again and explains how we can assign more memory to Java so we can rasterize the file. java -Xmx1152M -jar batik-rasterizer.jar -m application/pdf poster_vjx_verso.svg The computers we normally work on, have not enough memory for this so we decide to descend to Constant's cellar and work on the powerful dual core machine that has been custom built by the Open Source Video team to process video files. We have forgotten to switch on the image layer in the .svg file so we need to open the document in Inkscape first before we can pass it on to Batik. We quickly install Inkscape on this machine through the Synaptic package manager but unfortunately it defaults to version 0.44 which does not handle blur/transparency at all. The Inkscape website offers Linux Autopackages of version 0.45.1 but these fail to install on this machine (this can be the result of the specific set up of the system which is optimized for video use) and we are getting a bit desperate. In the mean time, Nicolas has managed to convert the file on his machine and has uploaded it to a webserver. The verso of the poster is luckily converted quickly on this fast machine and we are finally ready to hand our files to the printer the next morning. The printer experiences problems trying to output the file on high resolution, and explains us that this is caused by our 'non standard PDF'. It is hard to be sure whether that is true, or whether we have simply handed in a non-Adobe PDF but in the end he decides to open the file in Photoshop and RIP it from there... :-( On Friday morning, we receive an e-mail from our printer. He basically tells us that there will be a two day delay (this is partially because of the unconventional folding we chose) but we are also asked to pay an additional 60 euros for having our PDF opened in Photoshop. The proof we receive on Friday afternoon shows a reasonably well-rendered image, with one surprising detail: the size of the poster has decreased by 98%; and as a result the outer margins are too large. Another proof will be made with the mistakes corrected and we're expected to do a last check tomorrow morning at 08:00. The adventure continues...]]>

Open Source Publishing Briefing

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 15:03:43 +0000

With Mute's Simon Worthington and Laura Oldenburg, OSP participated in a NM-X network evening. Following our presentations, we discussed the problems and potential of installing free software on proprietary platforms, whether it was interesting to develop a free software 'design suite', the position of free fonts and much more. [Notes] [Images] If you happen to be in London on Thursday November 22 and 29, feel welcome to participate in the workshop that follows this presentation: http://nm-x.com/event/2007/11/open-source-publishing-workshops Pictures: Saul Albert ]]>

To be continued: meeting Dave Crossland

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 22:13:14 +0000

We nearly missed our train back to Brussels while meeting Dave Crossland. At the station we talked about the history of font editing software, about the 'free font movement' and everything that could become possible once fonts and font editing software are free. We were also excited about how (and why!) Dave wants to open up the fine art of typography to a larger public. To be continued with an interview hopefully soon. In the mean time, here you can read his weblog: http://understandinglimited.com/archives/]]>


Sun, 18 Nov 2007 22:37:14 +0000


Free Operations / 1

Fri, 23 Nov 2007 16:31:50 +0000

2 day Free Operations workshop at Werkplaats Typografie]]>

Jonctions/Verbindingen 10 Live

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 12:15:13 +0000

Jonctions/Verbindingen 10 Festival has started! Follow lectures + discussions on line: http://www.constantvzw.com/vj10/live OSP selection: Sunday 25/11 | 20:45
InfoEnclosure-2.0 Dmytri Kleiner Saturday 1/12 | 12:00
Open source software usability Görkem Çetin Saturday 1/12 | 17:00
From centres of calculation to centres of envelopment: intensive movement in digital signal processing Adrian Mackenzie Saturday 1/12 | 19:00
La répétition d’un geste ne rend-elle pas forcément fou? Inès Rabadán ]]>


Mon, 10 Dec 2007 20:27:24 +0000

Igor Novikov and Valek Philippov have released UniConvertor, a universal vector graphics translator. It uses the sK1 engine to convert one format into another. With UniConvertor you can now convert files from: CorelDRAW ver.7-X3 (CDR/CDT/CCX/CDRX/CMX), Adobe Illustrator up to v. 9 (AI postscript based), Postscript (PS), Encapsulated Postscript (EPS), Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM), Windows Metafile (WMF), XFIG, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Skencil/Sketch/sK1 (SK and SK1), Acorn Draw (AFF)... into: AI (Postscript based Adobe Illustrator 5.0 format), SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), SK (Sketch/Skencil format), SK1 (sK1 format), CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile), WMF (Windows Metafile)... Uniconvertor is a commandline tool - after installation you simply type: $ uniconv drawing.cdr drawing.svg to convert a CorelDraw file to svg for example. Igor and Valek will keep adding new file formats to this list as they manage to reverse-engineer them and we'll for sure put it to use. Thanks! ]]>

Why you should own the beer company you design for

Fri, 21 Dec 2007 00:26:00 +0000

Interview with Dmytri Kleiner OSP met Venture Communist Dmytri Kleiner late night (thank you Le Coq for the soundtrack!) after his talk InfoEnclosure-2.0, in a bar. We wanted to ask him what his ideas about peer production could mean for the practice of designers and typographers.
Referring to Benjamin Tucker, Yochai Benkler and Marcel Mauss, Kleiner explains how to prevent leakage at the point of scarcity through operating within a total system of worker owned companies. Between fundamentals of media- and information economy, we talk about free typography and what it has to do with nuts and bolts, the problem of working with estimates and why the people that develop Scribus should own all the magazines it enables. Also speaking is his wife Franziska Kleiner, editor for a German publishing company. → kleiner.mp3 [29.10" | 16.7MB] http://www.telekommunisten.net/]]>

Batik, new release

Thu, 17 Jan 2008 16:44:18 +0000

Batik is a Java-based toolkit for applications or applets that want to use images in the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format for various purposes, such as display, generation or manipulation. Using Batik’s thumbnail function to navigate a complex SVG document Using Batik’s thumbnail function to navigate a complex SVG document Batik is not only relevant for java developers. It also contains various tools that can help in converting svg files into other formats (see how we used it to convert the svg produced with Inkscape into a pdf), encode ttf fonts in svg font format or simply view an svg document in a browser (batik ships with the squiggle browser which is the most reliable svg viewer for the moment) Last but not least, Batik's latest release now supports many features related to animation. Download batik here and enjoy! ]]>

Inkscape plugins in Python

Sun, 17 Feb 2008 21:39:40 +0000

circles.png Inkscape allows python scripts to be used as effects plugins. In a nutshell: you use the DOM to create / manipulate the structure of the SVG document and use CSS properties to style -- so there's quite some overlap with "regular" CGI & web programming. This example (circles) is based on the example given on the Inkscape wiki. I started by making a simple Inkscape file (with a single circle), saving the file, then opened it in a text editor to view the "raw" XML structure of the SVG. I used this as a guide for what the code needed to produce. circles.zip]]>

A more intimate relationship

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 18:42:24 +0000

Making do and getting by departs from the work of Muriel Cooper and Anthony Froshaug, and relates their critically engaged practice to contemporary projects such as Juerg Lehni's Scriptographer. In this way, he convincingly shows how designers can and should reclaim a more intimate relationship with the digital production of their work. Although he remains quite vague about what this could really mean; sticks to a plugin architecture for Adobe software and uses MacOSX as example of an Open Source Project... his text contains many inspiring examples and interesting points of departure.
"Individually, we can commit to using software critically, engage the mechanics of production, ask questions, use old software, share, write new software and refuse to passively consume the latest innovations. Like Muriel, Anthony, Will and Hektor have suggested, this might actually lead us back — closer to our work."
http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/thinktank/makingdo/ Yes, indeed: published on the website of Adobe's Design Center Think Tank ;-) ]]>


Sat, 23 Feb 2008 19:26:35 +0000

This weekend the annual meeting of Free and Open Source Developers (FOSDEM) takes place in Brussels. As usual, the ULB fills up with developers from all over Europe, discussing large scale projects such as Gnome desktop, Mozilla, Xorg and PHP. Unfortunately none of the talks addressed our usual working tools (we'll see more of that in LGM 2008 coming May), but many relevant issues were/are discussed. Community and Code p1000880.JPGIt is impressive how large scale software projects with thousands of volunteers can function, and Robert Watson spoke about exactly that. Using the long history of developing FreeBSD (30 years!) as a case study, he spoke about tools and approaches that matter when keeping such a project alive. Interesting elements were the use of parallel version control systems; Perforce allows for more flexible project management and CVS keeps track of long term development. He also discussed ways they resolve conflicts and the joy of having some of the original programmers around - this might have inspired their successful mentoring projects. Standards versus Patents Pieter Hintjens introduced the term: 'captive standards' as a way to make understandable the difference between proprietary standards such as OOXML, and let's say HTML. While a standard might be public (i.e. the specifications are published), it can still be patented and owned by a single company. The owner can than at any time decide to make changes, retract, prevent others to implement or to make users pay; this is what Hintjens means by a standard being captive. With the current push by governments for open standards (recently for example in The Netherlands) it is important to ensure that the difference between open standard and captive standard remains clear. Women in FreeJava p1000893.JPGIn the FreeJava development room, we were introduced to Duchess, an international network of female Java Programmers. Asked to speak about their project and about why they felt the need to start such a group, an interesting discussion sparked off about why women are less present (especially in Free Software!). It was interesting to witness a generally felt concern with the lack of diversity in software projects, and at the same time frustrating that it is so hard to speak about what could be done about it. I think this studies (Maastricht Economic and social Research and training centre on Innovation and Technology, 2006) might be a good place to start: http://www.flosspols.org/ and particularly Gender_Integrated_Report_of_Findings.pdf Sound Copyright p1000890.JPGAlthough The Sound Copyright Campaign was introduced in the left over minutes of one of the so-called 'lightning talks', and it's url passed around on little handcut notes... the issue deserves center stage. Now that tracks from the first golden age of recorded sound reach the end of their copyright term (50 years), recording companies are trying to extend the lease. This just at the moment seminal soul, reggae, and rock and roll recordings are about to be free from legal restrictions, allowing anyone (including performers themselves and their heirs) to preserve, reissue, and remix them. Sign the petition!]]>

OSP parle à l'ERG

Wed, 05 Mar 2008 10:55:42 +0000

osperg.png Répondant à l'invitation du cours de Typographie de Mme M.C. Lambert, OSP présentera des outils open source s'inscrivant dans la chaine graphique. Cette petite conférence abordera les problématiques de la typographie ouverte, ainsi qu'une présentation de nos recherches en fontes publiques, comme le DIN Project. Cela se passera ce vendredi 7 mars 2008 à l'ERG, Ecole de Recherche Graphique. rue du Page 87, 1050 Brussels, de 9:00 à 12:00 www.erg.be]]>

Quadri in Krita

Tue, 11 Mar 2008 13:40:00 +0000

picture-5.png "Why do you bother with complicated stuff to convert images in CYMK?" asked Loic Vanderstichelen the other night "Use Krita!" And it works! It even manages 16 bits tif! Now we know! ;)]]>

The situation looks very bright

Wed, 12 Mar 2008 10:38:14 +0000

NLNet Foundation sold its commercialized internet provision activities to UUNET (the internet subsidiary of WorldCom). This created a fund from which the foundation now supports activities that provide network technology to the community and keep outcomes in the "public domain". NLnet has picked Identity, Privacy & Presence and Open Document Format as the two main areas it will focus its funding on:
A self-imposed social acceptance of closed formats is sometimes difficult to break through, but with the dominant binary formats of the past being deprecated by their vendors themselves the situation looks very bright.

Multiple pages with (linked) boxes in Scribus

Wed, 12 Mar 2008 12:31:40 +0000

Ivan Monroy Lopez wrote us a very handy python script which puts as many linked or unlinked text boxes on as many pages you want. You can also run the script multiple times... measurements.py template.py The script is split into two files: measurements.py and template.py. Template.py should be run from inside Scribus (In the main menu choose: Script > Execute Script). Put info about boxes (size, amount, page start etc.) into measurements.py. This is what measurements.py looks like if you would want to end up with a 22 page document with 2 linked columns of equal length on each page: #the script will start inserting boxes at page start = 1 #the script will stop inserting boxes at page end = 22 #the definition of text boxes follows the format: #[x-position, y-position, width, height] #x and y positions refer to top-left corner of boxes. #units are based on the default set for the document. #text boxes needed in even pages. edit as needed. even = [[0, 0, 100, 100], [100, 100, 100, 100]] #text boxes needed in odd pages. edit as needed. odd = [[0, 100, 100, 100], [100, 0, 100, 100]] #will the text boxes be linked? (yes or no) link = 'yes' #link = 'no' both measurements.py and template.py should be in the same directory. ]]>

Mixed Sources: Issue Magazine

Thu, 13 Mar 2008 11:52:32 +0000

sources.jpg Issue Magazine launch: Friday March 21 18:00 - 19:30 Log on via: http://mixedsources.tk/ For the launch of Issue Magazine, Stéphanie Vilayphiou and Alexandre Leray are hosting an on line round table with Arie Altena, Jouke Kleerebezem and Harrisson.]]>

OSP parle à l'ERG, round 2

Tue, 18 Mar 2008 09:58:12 +0000

osp_in_erg_2.png Thanks to ERG and Marc Wathieu, OSP will perform friday 11th of April, during Open Course event. http://www.multimedialab.be/blog/?p=1138 OSP Print Party 11/04 14:00 - 17:00 Erg (École de Recherche Graphique) 87, rue du page - 1050 Bruxelles. Supposed to be open to the public. In French, but multi-lingual pluggin installed.]]>

Summer of Code / Season of Usability

Thu, 20 Mar 2008 11:11:05 +0000

Google Summer of Code and now looking for contributions in the form of proposals and feedback to already formulated ideas: http://wiki.scribus.net/index.php/GsoC_2008_Ideas Scribus is also actively looking for student applications: http://wiki.scribus.net/index.php/GsoC_2008_Example_proposal From the Gnome Usability list: "Season of Usability is a series of mentored student projects to encourage students of usability, user-interface design, and interaction design to get involved with Free/Libre/Open-Source Software (FLOSS) projects. It offers an excellent way to gain experience in the interdisciplinary and collaborative development of user interface solutions in international software projects." http://season.openusability.org/index.php/projects]]>

OSP on the Radio

Thu, 27 Mar 2008 17:51:55 +0000

bruitpanik.gif OSP va parler dans le poste ce mercredi 2 avril, 19:00 - 20:30, sur radio Panik (il y a du stream), 105.4 fm a Bruxelles. dans l'émission "le Libre en Questions" Bonne écoute!]]>


Mon, 31 Mar 2008 21:50:29 +0000

Pandora's Standardised Box Kommando OSP Pierre and Harrisson spent a few days this February in Berlin to explore the DIN project further. http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/index.php?level=album&id=10 The starting point was that we wanted to design an open format DIN font, based on the original documents stored in the DIN archives. While encountering books, people, and wandering in our minds away from the DIN font core problematic of how to design such a font, more general (and richer) questions arose: the idea of implementing a "standard", public purpose fonts, and typographic design done by engineers. This connects it to another thread going on in OSP: the question of standardised (European) language and its representation. The DIN Archives The DIN font is deeply interlaced in German history. It is actually one of its building stones. During this concentrated short stay in Berlin, we opened a lot of boxes, and copyright issues are uncertain... We were told that there were only few remains of old DIN documents, before 1945, due to the fact that the building (located not far from Postdammer Platz, were fights were particularly intense) was bombed 2 times. Still, there was enough documentation for us to fill holes in the story. Precious information was as well found in Albert-Jan Pool's essays published in ENCORE MAGAZINE (No. 13,14,15,17 and 18). It seems that the designer of the massively used "FF DIN", commissioned and distributed by FontShop, is currently documenting a research that will eventually lead to an extention of the FF family. This study left us with a lot of questions. For example, in 1949, the DDR started their own standard institute, written T (I don't understand?) and re-taking the DIN number after (I don't understand?), It seems there has been contact between the institutes. For that reason, an East German version of the DIN font was developed, but what are the rights for this? DIN rights are not clear to us. We thought it was public domain, but it seems there is a misunderstanding on terms - even if this would logical for a standardisation to spread. We bought 2 sheets of DIN font specification, but we are not sure what we have the rights on with those sheets: the rights to use the font? Access to the know how? Those questions were raised after our RAID visit to the very interesting and wealthy DIN Museum, where everything is DIN, from staples (DIN 1) to coffee cups or... schnaps! By the way, what used to be the DIN library, has been transformed into a Print On Demand workshop. Engineer fonts Encountering the question of standardisation of typography, we couldn't ignore the proposals of other countries in their efforts to homogenize systems such as highway signage or normalised national industry references. This lead us to "National Fonts", and more specifically to signalisation fonts used across Europe. It is amazing to see that the field of road signalisation is often were typography and engineers meet: We are looking for infos about Swiss and Belgian "Alphabet" 1 to 6 current highway signalisation font, apparently designed by the American 3M company, and imported in Europe via the Marshall Plan. Seeing strong simultaneities between Bauhaus fonts [what fonts?] and the 3M version, we would like to know if there is any relation between them: is this font the result of engineer's mind or was it developed by an expatriated Bauhaus student working in the US? We are looking forward for infos about a Polish roadsigns font, and this we might make the main subject of our next workshop we'll hopefully set in May, in Wroclaw, Silesia, Poland at the occasion of the "Libre Graphics Meeting 2008" . Alexander Negrelli showed us a book by a letter painter from 1942 were all fonts, fraktur as well, are structured from a grid. Even the strangest fonts are qualified under a serial number (picture). The destiny of east German fonts is related as well to this subject.
"Actually, in the strict sense of socialist thought and GDR tradition, the typefaces belong to the people and shouldn’t belong to any individual person."
Extract from interview of Karl-Heinz Lange, major font designer of VEB Typoart http://pingmag.jp/2007/10/05/veb-typoart-the-east-german-type-betriebsstatte/ Fonts in the DDR were designed for a central company, apparently in Dresden - VEB Typoart. All the rights seems to be attributed to this Konglomerat. In 1989, after the Wall fell, those fonts were bought with the company, with the building... in a solid state investment. The companies were bought and re-bought until Mr X. got hold of it. Soon after the deal, Mr X had trouble with justice for fraud, and he flew away. No one knows now where the owner of the entire patrimony of former-DDR fonts is right now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VEB_Typoart The Maxima font is currently owned by URW++. Some of Berlins' public signage was digitalised by FontShop: FF City Street Type The thing is that it seems that there are 2 societies from the city doing signages, from the previous east and west part. Those 2 workshops are still in use, but not with exactly the same specifications, thanks to old systems of reproduction such as silkscreen. To be continued! Thanks to: Raoul Sanders for the research-in-progress Alexander Negrelli for helping us and sharing with us fleah market typographic treasures. Arnaud Robin for his hospitality, music and coffe support. Frederik Schikowski for his open ears. The DIN Institute: Mr. Peter Anthony and the Permanent Exhibition Crew for their serviceability and kindness. We hope to continue collaborating with all of them]]>

11 avril: Quatre/Quarts Print Party à l’ERG

Wed, 09 Apr 2008 06:52:40 +0000

http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/?p=407 Recette: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/recipes Pour faire une 4/4 Print Party, il faudra:
  • 2 fours électriques
  • 16 œufs
  • 1 kg de beurre
  • 1 kg de sucre blanc fin
  • 1 kg de farine
  • 3 tabliers
  • 1 raclette en caoutchouc (pour racler les plats avec facilité)
  • 1 rouleau de papier cuisson
  • 1 pair de ciseaux
  • 2 cuillères à soupe
  • 4 fourchettes
  • 4 spatules en bois
  • 1 mixeur
  • 2 maniques
  • 1 tamis (pour la farine)
  • 2 fouets de cuisine
  • 2 grands saladiers
  • 4 moules à cake identiques (qui rentrent dans les susdits fours)
  • 36 assiettes
  • 36 tasses
  • 36 cuilleres
  • 36 morceaux sucres
  • 4 boilers électriques
  • 400 g de thé noir
  • 1 litre de lait
  • 3 ordinateurs
  • 1 imprimante laser
  • 1000 feuilles A4
  • 1 projecteur avec ses cables de connection
  • 2 grandes tables stables
  • 2 prises électriques
  • 1 rallonge
  • 1 triplette
  • 1 planche à découpe
  • 1 cutter bien affuté
  • 1 agrapheuse
  • 1 bout de carton

Quatre/Quarts: multi track Print Party

Sun, 13 Apr 2008 22:57:25 +0000

more images here: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/?level=album&id=13 and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcwathieu/... Track 1: Narrate Pierre guided us through his assorted collection of stories about engineered fonts. → Images Track 2: Bake With the help of Yi, Femke prepared a Quatre Quarts and explained what chemical processes where going on while mixing and baking. → Recipe (improved formula) → What Happens When You Bake a Cake? Track 3: Design Harrisson designed 9 numbers in Inkscape and FontForge, based on 4 different elements: a square, a circle, a triangle and a rectangle. Than he laid out a 16 page booklet in Scribus, and added the Quatre Quart recipe. → Download PDFDownload Font Track 4: Print The finished booklet after commandline imposition + printing. → 19 easy steps to print a booklet (version française: voir 'comments') Ingredient list Many thanks to the ERG tutors who helped us gather materials (cake tins, whisks, printers, mixing bowls, extension chords...)!]]>

Pavillion du Bonheur Provisoire

Tue, 15 Apr 2008 23:11:05 +0000

Signage for The Pavilion of Provisionary Happiness by OSP. The font will be released under an open license soon. More images: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/?level=album&id=7]]>

In the pipeline

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 11:22:59 +0000

With * new * OSP Yi Jiang we are currently working on typography and lay-out for CROSS-over: Kunst, Media en Design in Vlaanderen, a publication edited by Liesbeth Huybrechts and published by BAM / Lannoo. The book is layed-out in Scribus and contains various database visualisations generated in Inkscape (in collaboration with Michael Murtaugh). It will go to print by the end of this month.]]>

OSP @ LGM 2008

Tue, 22 Apr 2008 05:39:50 +0000

OSP is preparing for a hectic week in Wrocław, Poland (3 t/m 11 May). At this years Libre Graphics Meeting we give a one day workshop in Ośrodek Postaw Twórczych (Creative Arts centre), perform a Print Party and present our work. The LGM program is packed with talks and we'll hopefully record a few more interviews as well. The extended OSP delegation includes: Harrisson, Pierre Huyghebaert, Nicolas Malevé, Yi Liang, Femke Snelting, Ludivine Loiseau, Ricardo Lafuente and Ivan Monroy Lopez.]]>

Local Universal

Tue, 29 Apr 2008 14:21:49 +0000

Wednesday May 7 in Wrocław, Poland Running up to the Libre Graphics meeting 2008, OSP invites designers, programmers and typographers to work on a collaborative design project. Inspired by modular systems for road sign lettering, and a long interest in fonts designed by engineers, we would like to work with you on an impossible project: to design a whole alphabet in a day. How do you 'make things' across styles, tastes and traditions? Does it always mean to average differences or a sampling of parts? How do you design through translation? What will be lost and what could be gained? Depending on the needs and interests of the participants, we form small working groups that are each joined by one or more OSP members. For inspiration or as actual source material, we will photograph as many characters as possible on our roadtrip from Brussels to Wroclaw. Each of the groups adopts a few letters to experiment with, using free software tools (Gimp, Inkscape, Fontforge + some Spiro flavor...) to draw, digitize and transform. At the end of the day we will gather all glyphs into one font and festively release the collection under an Open Font License. With
  • Pierre Huyghebaert (BEL): typographer, designer
  • Harrisson (FRA/BEL): typographer, designer
  • Yi Liang (CHN/BEL): designer, illustrator
  • Femke Snelting (NED/BEL): artist, designer
  • Ivan Monroy Lopez (MEX/NED): programmer, artist
  • Ludivine Loiseau (FRA/BEL): typographer
  • Nicolas Malevé (BEL): programmer, data activist
  • Ricardo Lafuente (POR/NED): designer, programmer
Plus the help of: Dave Crossland, Alexandre Prokoudine and Nicolas Spalinger. For who This workshop is for anyone interested in the combination of design, free software and typography. Computer skills come in handy but if you are courageous and interested: everything is possible! Working language: English, with multi-lingual plugins installed Practical There is a limited amount of computers available in OPT, but if you have a laptop with Linux installed, please bring it! Entrance: free Wednesday May 7 11:00 - 18:00 Ośrodek Postaw Twórczych (Creative Art Center) ul. Działkowa 15, 50-538 Wrocław, Poland http://www.opt-art.net/]]>

En route

Sun, 04 May 2008 06:25:55 +0000

OSP on it's way! Bruxelles - Berlin Staying over at Alexander Negrelli's flat]]>

Looking for F, Q, X and H

Mon, 05 May 2008 07:15:33 +0000

On our way from Berlin to Wroclaw, OSP managed to photograph almost every letter in the Polish roadsignage alphabet. We are preparing for the Local Universal workshop and still looking for F, Q, X and H (capital + lower case). If you happen to come across one, please send us a picture?]]>

Potrace --alphamax 1.334 (or the limit between artificial and natural)

Mon, 05 May 2008 10:10:59 +0000

I'm a vector!" and natural shapes where every sharp edge is a small curve when you look really close. That kind of ultra detail may seem useless and/or nerdy, but it can really make the difference in typography. Like in my work where I use bitmaps as sources. Perfectly aligned anchor pointsSo for 17 years+, I've tried all options and all autotrace softwares I've found for that simple but invisible holy grail function : a real smooth aligned anchor for all curves. No way. The only cheat strategy I've found was to produce polygons with no curves at all, then to round all them... Sometimes ok, but really not satisfactory. A few weeks ago, during my first real hands on Inkscape, I've made some tests on the Potrace function. That FLOSS package will be more open to custom settings? I founded the "smooth corners" setting, like in so much other packages. After a few tests, with the maximum and strange value of 1.34, it's reveal to produce those precious precisely aligned anchors! Ma-gni-fi-que. And today, having a bunch of tif pictures to autotrace for a "regular" "proprietary" job, I decided to try potrace more extensively and to try to process them in batch. So I read the potrace documentation, and in a flow of features I read with *real* emotion : "-a n, --alphamax n set the corner threshold parameter. The default value is 1. The smaller this value, the more sharp corners will be produced. If this parameter is negative, then no smoothing will be performed and the output is a polygon. The largest useful value is 4/3 or 1.334, which suppresses all corners and leads to completely smooth output." (from http://potrace.sourceforge.net/potrace.1.html) Magic alphamax=4/3 So the cryptic Alphamax setting, with a 4/3 value define precisely the limit between artificial and natural in the autotrace and vector world!... And I immediately use it :
  1. rename to avoid spaces : for file in *; do mv "$file" `echo $file | sed -e 's/ */_/g' -e 's/_-_/-/g'`; done
  2. convert tif files (not supported by potrace) to pbm files and insert "pbm-" at the beginning of the filename : for pic in `ls *.tif` ; do echo "converting $pic"; convert $pic pbm-$pic.pbm; done (it take some time : pbm files, as other portable anymap files not compressed, are ~30 x more heavy than tif)
  3. trace the pbm and produce eps files with "eps-" at the beginning of the filename : for pic in `ls *.pbm`; do echo "potrace $pic"; potrace --alphamax 1.334 --turdsize 2 --longcurve --turnpolicy black -o eps-$pic.eps $pic; done
Even if it has me place three hours closer of my job's deadline, in this rude white night in pure designer style, I continue to smile.]]>

Road to South-Wrocław

Mon, 05 May 2008 18:42:42 +0000

type workshop in the OPT cultural center in Wrocław from 11am to ongeveer 6pm. For those who arrive directly from the airport, you can begin with this path then please print this map, because it seem that it is not easy to find for taxi driver (our journey was epic) or even for Google Maps (just waiting for Towards). See ya! ]]>

Print party: OSP Cover Band

Mon, 05 May 2008 19:09:38 +0000

preparing our print party for tomorrow... Introducing Not Courier Sans (a re-take font), serving Original Covers (a playlist specially prepared for you) plus homemade jiaozi, ravioli and/or pierogi. Join us at 19:00 in Café Mleczarnia, Wroclaw (Poland)! ]]>


Tue, 06 May 2008 15:22:50 +0000

Download NotCourier-sans.ttf here This is it's license copyright notice under construction: This font is released under an Open Font License. You are invited to use, distribute and modify it. NotCourier-sans was designed by OSP (Ludivine Loiseau) in Wroclaw at the occasion of LGM 2008 and is based on Nimbus Mono, copyright (URW)++, Copyright 1999 by (URW)++ Design & Development; Cyrillic glyphs added by Valek Filippov (C) 2001-2005 Cyrillic glyphs added by Valek Filippov (C) 2001-2005 After discussing with Nicolas Spalinger, Nicolas Malevé and Dave Crossland, here is a modified version of the copyright notice: Copyright (C) 2008 OSP (Ludivine Loiseau). NotCourier-sans is a re-interpretation of Nimbus Mono and was designed in Wroclaw at the occasion of LGM 2008. Copyright (URW)++, Copyright 1999 by (URW)++ Design & Development; Cyrillic glyphs added by Valek Filippov (C) 2001-2005 Cyrillic glyphs added by Valek Filippov (C) 2001-2005. This Font Software is an open font and is released under the GPL v2 with embedding exception; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. This Font Software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA. Discussion thread about the status of URW fonts on the open font library mailing list: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/openfontlibrary/2008-May/000968.html (Thanks Alexander Prokoudine, Ralph Giles and Valek Filippov for investigating with us)]]>

Typeface in the making: W Drogę

Wed, 07 May 2008 13:16:14 +0000

image/index.php?level=album&id=18 David Bargenda's photos: http://flickr.com/photos/opt-art/tags/opensourcepublishing/ With a group of 20 courageous participants and the help of open type activists Dave Crossland, Alexandre Prokoudine and Nicolas Spalinger we are using Inkscape, Gimp and FontForge to produce a typeface in a day. We have named it W Drogę (On Our Way, En Route in Polish) and it should be available for download by the end of the day tomorrow soon! Workshop description: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/?p=454]]>

Asynchronous live blogging

Sat, 10 May 2008 06:38:18 +0000

These past few days I've been navigating a sea of acronyms, neologisms and tiny iconic metaphors here at LGM. The thing that I can't get out of my head is the tool that pippin of GIMP used for his talk. At first it looked like a PowerPoint clone, but then he started correcting it on-the-fly by tweaking C code. I got the impression that it was a custom tool that he was using to showcase the library he was talking about. `got the impression' because, to be honest my mind went blank ten minutes or so into it. Anyway... it was about GEGL, and GEGL is ``the next generation core of GIMP.'' I don't know if I regretted not getting into the talk at a technical level. It was great to see so much code fly across the screen with such proficiency, and it was a great privilege to see one of the GIMP developers at work. The fish that he occassionally sent swimming across the screen was also nice.]]>

Waiting for SK1

Sat, 10 May 2008 07:47:03 +0000

After the presentation of Igor Novikov about the new version of sk1, the OSP team can't wait. It is promised to be published for June, in the meantime we installed the current version and are testing our svgs with it. To install the current version on ubuntu: grab the three .deb files from the products page, then in a terminal, run: sudo dpkg -i tcl8.5_8.5.0-2ubuntu10_i386.deb sudo dpkg -i tk8.5_8.5.0-3ubuntu10_i386.deb via synaptic, add the packages: python-imaging python-imaging-tk python-liblcms and then, sudo dpkg -i sk1_0.9.0-rev335-1ubuntu10_i386.deb Complementary instructions for other platforms are available on the project's website.]]>

A postcard from LGM 2008

Sat, 10 May 2008 15:12:12 +0000

yi talk dave The end of our participation in the Libre Graphics Meeting 2008 is in sight... Over the last few days we have seen many intriguing, surprising and interesting talks; we discovered new tools, rediscovered 'old' ones and made connections with developers, users and standards-officials -- LGM has been again an inspiring adventure. We interviewed Dave Crossland about the history of font editing software, Denis Jacquerye about internationalized typography, Ralph Giles about the story of Nimbus and Courrier, Michael Terry about Ingimp and usability development in Open Source and Chris Lilley about W3C standardizing processes and the way it facilitates (or not) interaction between developers and designers. All this we will make available at some point on this weblog. Apart from that, Cedric Gémy has initiated a Free Software user group for graphic design professionals (most certainly needs a better name), we started packaging our first open font for distribution via the Open Font Library and thought of dozens of new projects to work on. http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/?level=album&id=19 It will take us days, weeks, months to process all this material so please be patient :-) In the mean time, a big thank you to everyone and enjoy the growing collection of images as we upload.]]>

Contributors portrait of the W Drogę typeface

Mon, 12 May 2008 11:53:07 +0000


Audio + screencast of our intervention at LGM 2008

Tue, 13 May 2008 10:26:03 +0000

Kaveh Bazargan has patiently recorded the sound and the screen of every interventions at LGM. Here is ours: http://media.river-valley.tv/conferences/lgm2008/quicktime/0103-Harrisson.html. (At the end of the conference, we discovered that Kaveh is a TeX guy for 20 years, so we've asked him a few questions. Transcript will come.)]]>

We could save the term by using it

Wed, 14 May 2008 21:40:52 +0000

http://lists.scribus.info/pipermail/scribus/2008-May/028994.html All started with this post from Hans-Josef Heck, linking the language of digital lay-out to that of historical printing techniques:
"Master" is the perfect English term. The master masters a page, a paragraph, etc. The Webster (edition 1994) says: 3: controlling the operation of other mechanism (e.g. master cylinder) 4: establishing a standard for reference (e.g. master gauge). To use "page master" instead of "master page" stresses, what the function is, namely "mastering". "master" means "ruling". There is no equivalent in German, I think, which could we used here. In German "Mutter" (mother) is a possible solution, which means "stems from" (e.g. Mutterbaum, Mutterpflanze). In the printing trade there are in the German nomenclature two terms, that stem from Latin "mater", (Mutter, mother): 1. Mater = a mould for a founding patterns for printing. It was positive, as the printing block had to be negative. 2. Matrize = a stencil, positive, the ink was pressed through or those, where the printing colour was imposed on the back and then used with a kind of alcohol for copying. These techniques are gone. Laser copies or digital (offset) printing we use instead. But we could save the term by using it.

Mathematics, fonts, free and money

Sat, 17 May 2008 10:02:20 +0000

déjà old interview (2000) by Advogato, Donald Knuth (TeX and Metafont author) answers in his sometimes-very-short sometimes-generous style. In the middle of these all interesting things, a few exchanges about relations between mathematics, fonts, free and money. Enough close to some parts of talks at Wroclaw, like the Dave Crossland's one, and some of our interviews, to serve as an intuitive background. Advogato : There was a quote that you had in the "Mathematical Typography" essay reprinted in "Digital Typography" where you said, "Mathematics belongs to God." Donald Knuth : Yes. When you have something expressed mathematically, I don't see how you can claim... In the context, that was about fonts. That was when I had defined the shape of the letter in terms of numbers. And once I've done that, I don't know how you're going to keep those numbers a secret... [...] Advogato : Fonts seem like a really interesting edge case for that argument, because a font is in some ways a mathematical formula, especially a TeX font, much more so than what came before, but it's also an artwork. Donald Knuth : Absolutely. It absolutely requires great artistry. So the other part of this is that artists are traditionally not paid like scientists. Scientists are supported by the National Science Foundation to discover science, which benefits the human race. Artists, or font designers, are not supported by the National Font Foundation to develop fonts that are going to be beneficial to the human race. Fonts are beneficial to the human race, they just don't traditionally get supported that way. I don't know why. They're both important aspects of our life. It's just that one part has traditionally gotten funded by a royalty type mechanism and the other by public welfare grants for the whole country. Advogato : Perhaps that has something to do with the absolute necessity in science to have open access to the results of others, that if you did science in a closed, proprietary framework that the disadvantages would be so clear. Donald Knuth : With fonts, it was pretty clear to me. [...] Advogato : You've gotten a number of free fonts contributed by artists, in some cases very beautiful fonts, to TeX and to the Metafont project. In general, this has been a real struggle for open source development these days (OSP : in 2000!), to get free fonts. Do have any thoughts? Donald Knuth : I think it's still part of this idea of how are the font designers going to get compensated for what they do. If they were like a scientist, then they've got their salary for doing their science. But as font designers, where do they get their salary? And musicians. It's just a matter of tradition as to how these people are getting paid. Advogato : But how did you address those problems with the fonts that got contributed to TeX? Donald Knuth : In my case, I hired research associates and they put their fonts out into the open. Or else, other people learned it and they did it for the love of it. Some of the excellent fonts came about because they were for Armenian and Ethiopian and so on, where there wasn't that much money. It was either them taking time and making the fonts or else their favorite language would be forever backwards, so I made tools by which they could do this. But in every case, the people who did it weren't relying on this for their income. If we had somebody who would commission fonts and pay the font designer, the font designer wouldn't be upset at all about having it open, as long as the font designer gets some support. Advogato : And you did some of that. Donald Knuth : Yeah. In fact, I worked with some of the absolute best type designers*, and they were thrilled by the idea that they could tell what they knew to students and have it published and everything. They weren't interested in closed stuff. They're interested in controlling the quality, that somebody isn't going to spoil it, but we could assure them of that. Advogato : Right. Working with the creator of the software. Donald Knuth : Yeah, if they didn't like the software, I could fix it for them. (* Herman Zapf, Matthew Carter and lots of others known names has been around Knuth for some times thirty years ago, but the complex and difficult relations between designers and Metafont definitely need a separate and future post, I'm still a nàíve garçöñ...)]]>

...quietly digitizing around 1,000 public domain h1s every day

Mon, 19 May 2008 09:17:28 +0000

A photo-reportage by Dave Bullock, published on the Wired, that shows the process of digitalising books for the Internet Archive. This process is still done manually due to the fragility of old books and their size variance. "For those picturing an efficient, automated process involving robotic arms and high-tech scanners, the scanning at the University of California's Northern Regional Library Facility is relatively primitive. With monastic diligence, workers sit in book-scanning stations and manually turn pages all day long."]]>

The status of Utopia

Tue, 20 May 2008 07:45:28 +0000

utopia utopia On October 11, 2006 Adobe granted members of the Tex User Group the right to use, modify and distribute the Utopia typeface: Adobe Systems Incorporated ("Adobe") hereby grants to the TeX Users Group and its members a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual license to the typeface software for the Utopia Regular, Utopia Italic, Utopia Bold and Utopia bold Italic typefaces, including Adobe Type 1 font programs for each style (collectively, the "Software") as set forth below. http://tug.org/fonts/utopia/LICENSE-utopia.txt Curiously enough, Adobe also granted TUG members the right to sublicense the font so a few months later, Karl Berry (director of TUG) offered to 'any and all interested parties' the right to use Utopia: The agreement below gives the TeX Users Group (TUG) the right to sublicense, and grant such sublicensees the right to further sublicense, any or all of the rights enumerated below. TUG hereby does so sublicense all such rights, irrevocably and in perpetuity, to any and all interested parties. Open Font Library listmembers are currently looking into how to clarify the status of Utopia and possibly re-publish it under an Open Font License. In the mean time you can already enjoy the font, which can be downloaded in .pfb format from the TUG website: http://tug.org/fonts/utopia]]>

Vote for Scribus

Wed, 21 May 2008 11:09:01 +0000

Our favourite killer-app Scribus is competing to be included in Hackontest, a "24 hour programming competition between teams of three open source software projects". A container designed by E-Toy.corporation will house the competition, which takes place at the Google sponsored OpenExpo (the Swiss conference and trade show for Free and Open Source Software). "This room will be equipped with desks, sofas, Internet, pizza etc." Besides putting up a reward for the best code muscle rolling, Hackontest asks the audience to judge 'soft factors' such as team work and collaboration. Heaven or hell, on the Hackontest website you can propose or vote for features you would like to be worked on. Of course it would be even more constructive to file requests in the Scribus Bug Tracker but it is a quick and easy way to let people know that Scribus matters. So, log in and vote! http://hackontest.org/index.php?action=Root-projectDetail%282%29]]>


Thu, 29 May 2008 19:36:10 +0000

500 With 9 Media Design students graduating this summer from the Piet Zwart Institute, OSP's Harrisson is busy producing 500 different books - all in Free Software of course. The books contain essays, images, project documentation and typographic experiments and will be printed using the Mute POD system. Image: Inkscape Clone Tile Color Randomization plus Align and Distribute: Randomize Positions]]>

one day, 'sausages - incorrect - ugly'

Fri, 30 May 2008 13:01:37 +0000

one day, 'sausages - incorrect - ugly justice' ]]>

What’s the thinking here?

Fri, 30 May 2008 16:00:28 +0000

One of the things that is notable about OSP is that the problems that you encounter are also described, appearing on your blog. This is something unusual for a company attempting to produce the impression of an efficient ’solution’. Obviously the readers of the blog only get a formatted version of this, as a performed work? What’s the thinking here? Read the interview: http://www.spc.org/fuller/interviews/open-source-publishing-interview Matthew Fuller writes about software culture and has a contagious interest in technologies that exceed easy fit solutions. He is David Gee reader in Digital Media at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London, edited Software Studies, A Lexicon (MIT Press, 2007), wrote Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture (MIT Press, 2005) and Behind the Blip: Essays on the Culture of Software. Many of his essays are available on line: http://www.spc.org/fuller]]>


Mon, 02 Jun 2008 19:08:17 +0000

image/index.php?level=album&id=21 Hot off the press: CROSS-over, Kunst, media en technologie in Vlaanderen. Published by BAM / Lannoo and designed by OSP :-)]]>

What you won't get for 100$

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 11:35:58 +0000

Infinite Knots, Inkscape's Bryce Harrington explains that if you want to have a feature implemented in an open source project, offering money will probably not help. He describes how "folks who aren't developers" challenged Inkscape developers to make the application work on MacOSX, after first having tried doing it themselves.
if you want to get some feature or fix into an open source project, rather than offering money, have a go at it yourself. Even if it is well beyond your technical ability or time availability, your efforts may be enough to stimulate someone else to eventually have a go at it too. This could be a detailed procedure you followed that got close to working but had a fatal problem. Or a messy patch you made that *should* work but doesn't. Or it might be a list of possible solutions you've ruled out and why.
But what does he mean exactly by "aren't developers"? http://www.bryceharrington.org/drupal/node/52]]>

Polish Print Party

Sun, 08 Jun 2008 21:37:08 +0000

June 27, 19:00 20:00 @ Compilothèque* Polish Print Party With: launch of NotCourier-sans, OSP FAQ, live lay-out, Jiaozi/Pierogi and more.
*50 Quai des Péniches 1000 Brussels]]>

Kanttekeningen / Sidemarks

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 14:08:36 +0000

kanttekeningenKanttekeningen bij een databank documents our investigation into the inner workings of the database of BAM, the Flemish institute for visual, audiovisual and media art. To visualise the data stored, we wrote a plugin in Inkscape, manually generated graphs and scripted .svg - you can read everything about what we found and how we worked in 16 pages that are inserted in the back of the CROSS-over book (in Dutch). All documents, sketches, code etc. are gathered here: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/kanttekeningen. ]]>

TUG Interview Corner

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 19:04:08 +0000

Dave Walden from the TeX User Group introduces his excellent TUG Interview Corner as follows: "technology is created by and evolves with use by people, and the points of view and backgrounds of the people influence the technology" The ever growing list of interviewees include Barbara Beeton, Donald Knuth, Herman Zapf and numerous other less widely known TeX users and developers. The interview corner is a meticulously edited set of documents, portraying the full spectrum of the TeX project. Absolutely worth reading and/or browsing through. http://www.tug.org/interviews/ ]]>

Quelques surprises polonaises

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:10:46 +0000

            _          _            | | o      | |                  o    _   __  | |     ,  | |         _   ,_       _  _  _|_  |/ \_/  \_|/  |  / \_|/ \      |/ \_/  |  |  / |/ |  |  |__/ \__/ |__/|_/ \/ |   |_/   |__/    |_/|_/  |  |_/|_/ /|                             /| \|                             \|    _   __,   ,_  _|_  |/ \_/  |  /  |  |  |   |  |__/ \_/|_/   |_/|_/ \_/|/ /|                      /| \|                      \|

vendredi le 27 juin 2008

OSP est très heureux de vous annoncer le lancement de sa première fonte en licence libre: la NotCourier-sans. Nous serions ravis de vous retrouver autour d'un live lay-out, des Jiaozi/Pierogi et de quelques surprises (polonaises) lors de cette Print Party qui aura lieu à: La Compilothèque vendredi le 27 juin 2008 à 20h00 50, Quai des Péniches, 1000 Bruxelles (Metro Yser)]]>

Sapins-sapins by hand

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:56:53 +0000

poster ptit faystival 2008 Petit-Fays is a charming small village in the quiet remote pine covered mountains of the belgian Ardennes. Each year, there is the Ball of Petit-Fays village. During this week-end there are citizen diners, a big tent for feast and dance, an open air bar with cherry beer and barbecue, a nomadic friterie and a wild night long disco. Some "Enfants du Pays", with strong musical professionnal amateurisme skills, hacked this traditionnal feast by adding smoothly a live music festival for 4 years. This Ptit Faystival opened the countryside community to share pop - rock - folk music with a friendly urban public during a mythical week-end. This year we had the honor to be asked to do the poster. And we've done it entierelly by hand. We mixed spraycan/stencyls with silkscreen to get a forest of 200 singular pines. Feel warmly welcome to join this partying forest! It will be this july 12, at 4pm, and for at least 24 hours...
= = = = = = = = P'TIT FAYSTIVAL = = = = = = = = Dans le cadre charmant du village de Petit-Fays, à partir de 16h, un festival de concerts de musiciens hors du commun sous le chapiteau où commence à 22h, le bal annuel du village animé par DJ New Sensation. Le camping gratuit est possible sur place. Les sites des musiciens: www.myspace.com/pekkokappi http://lespotagersnatures.free.fr/contenu/participants/?g=27 www.myspace.com/twopindin www.myspace.com/raypacinoensemble www.myspace.com/djelephantpower Itinéraire: Autoroute Bruxelles-Luxembourg venant de Bruxelles sortie 22 Beauraing, aller jusqu'à Beauraing puis direction Bouillon (N95). Après Bièvre, prendre à droite direction Petit-Fays. Venant de Luxembourg, sortie 25, direction Reims-Bouillon N89 sur 20km. Sortie à Menuchet-Dinant et prendre la N95 direction Dinant (10km). Avant Bièvre prendre à gauche direction Petit Fays. Gare SNCB: Graide

Towards #2 is out

Wed, 25 Jun 2008 12:20:55 +0000

Towards is a cartographic project close to OSP and the second publication is finally out and available after a long 9 months of preparation. Following our informations, it's the last one that will be produced using proprietary software ;)... But the timeline present on the cover and backcover, made from all the posts written since the beginning of the Toward’s website, is already manufactured with an open smile. It has been generated programmatically : a php script has pulled all the information from the database and produced an svg file. A shell script has spidered all the images attached to the posts. All these elements have been glued together using inkscape. The positioning of the blocks have been finalized by hand and with the help of the inkscape connectors. More info and download the code on www.towards.be/code.]]>

Print, flip, and turn

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 14:11:23 +0000

nineteen steps. We gave out numbered tickets at the entrance, and at the end there was a numbered copy of the booklet for everyone. The booklets were all different via Python and Scribus. The imposition and printing was very simple Perl. If you just want to print a number of copies of the same booklet, grab the modified versions of the scripts, and skip step 1. The $people variable is the number of copies to be printed, and the $pubName variable is the name of your pdf file, minus .pdf extension ;) So and then:
  1. Create a .sla file by following 1 to 7 of the nineteen steps. For the importing to pdf, use layout.py, or better yet write your own script for making all the pdf documents different :)
  2. Steps 9-13 are now handled by the printprintprint.pl script. This is imposition and the printing of even pages.
  3. ~% perl printprintprint.pl
  4. When the printing is done, take the warm stack of paper and `flip and turn' it so that your printer knows that it's upside down.
  5. Finally, the printing of the odd pages is handled by flip_and_turn.pl ~% perl flip_and_turn.pl
What this looks like.]]>

500 (continued)

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 13:00:10 +0000

Piet Zwart Institute's Media design graduation show formed the perfect excuse. Mute's Simon Worthington connected us with Identic, a digital printer based in Brussels. They can print as many different files as you want without additional costs, so we asked Michael to help us with a Python script (modifications by Nicolas, Ivan and Femke) which runs from inside Scribus, iterating through folders and files generating a different book cover each time.

Each of the participants in the exhibition has provided us with 500 elements ranging from a series of unique IP addresses, a few lines of Python that alternate letter sizes, a game icon split into 500 giant three pixel images, 500 lines of a Wikipedia entry on Berthold Brecht, stills from a performance video and titles generated in a different font each time. According to the design rules contained in the script, Scribus places, colors and sizes each element before automatically exporting the resulting cover as a PDF.

OK, we did not manage to auto-place svg documents, which we really really really regret... and our first tests produced 500 super heavy pdf's that managed to crash the Adobe preflight checker at the printer.

After a bit of testing and trying with the nice people at Identic, we found that we were embedding a corrupt font in the autogenerated pdf and this caused the crazy file size. When exporting the PDF manually from Scribus, Scribus detected the problem and outlined the font automatically but the scripter-API obviously does not offer such sophisticated features. So, we simply deleted the troublemaker and the files Scribus produced after that, are much lighter and most of all: they print!

With the help of Pierre Marchand and other helpful people on the Scribus IRC channel, we surpressed our panic about the initial slowdown of the process, and after 24 hours of continuous tireless work (1440 minutes / 500 pdf's = 2.88 minutes per pdf. Not so bad, as Craig Bradney pointed out on the mailinglist), Scribus produced 500 different pdf's, ready to print. We can't wait to see the final result!

Scripts and material for testing: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/sources/pzicatalogue Read the discussion on the Scribus mailing list: http://lists.scribus.info/pipermail/scribus/2008-June/029400.html ]]>

500 (printed!)

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 13:59:31 +0000

500 unique books installed in Worm, Rotterdam. Giant pixel image by Gordo Savicic and Danja Vassiliev. More images: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/?level=album&id=23]]>

An update on the status of Utopia

Wed, 09 Jul 2008 11:37:39 +0000

latest comment on our post The Status of Utopia, Adobe will not re-release Utopia under an Open Font License. It doesn't mean though the font cannot be studied, copied, modified and distributed: "Although changing the license would make it easier for folks who find licenses confusing and don't want to read them" writes Phinney in an e-mail, "my conclusion was that the existing license was close enough to open source for most people's actual usage, if not for their brains :-)" And indeed, when you read carefully, the existing license is peculiar, but in fact open. It starts with allowing TeX users to make modifications: "Adobe also grants to the TeX Users Group a license to modify the Software for any purpose and redistribute such modifications, for any purpose and royalty-free, provided that the modified Software shall not use the font name(s) or trademark(s)", and thanks to Karl Berry, TUG President, this invitation is extended to "any and all interested parties." ((License for the Utopia Typeface: http://archive.cs.uu.nl/mirror/CTAN/fonts/utopia/LICENSE-utopia.txt)) On the one hand, the Utopia license is an interesting read, a narrative account of changing technologies, people and ideas, contained in it's particular phrasing and structure. But on the other hand, such a labyrinth license hardly contributes to a typographic practice where designers open up about their appropriations and affiliations. It is not that we don't want to make an effort (hence this series of posts), but if it was all somehow a bit more inviting and explicit, it would be easier to make a difference to the culture of fear that surrounds the author rights management of fonts. Another argument for a more standardized licensing solution, is discussed in the margins of the Open Font Library mailinglist. Sticking to OFL-compatible licenses that are both machine and human readable would facilitate the embedding of fonts in web pages. ((The so-called @font-face solution is promoted by Håkon Wium Lie, W3C member and CTO of the Opera browser: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/cssatten. Opera is shipped with the Adobe Creative Suite by the way...)) The idea is, that fonts uploaded to the Open Font Library in the future can be 'served' to web pages anywhere, which could motivate typographers to release their fonts in the public domain or under an OFL. ((Scroll down to the interesting discussion between Thomas Phinney and Dave Crossland on intellectual property, DRM and embedding fonts: http://blogs.adobe.com/typblography/2007/11/web_fonts_1.html)) Utopia was designed by typedesigner Robert Slimbach in 1989 for Adobe and it is this version that was donated to the X-consortium, now X-org foundation, an open source implementation of the X Window System. Like Bitstream Charter, donated to the X-org foundation in 1991 ((See our earlier post on the status of Bitstream Charter: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/?p=11)), Utopia exists both as an open and as a proprietary font, sold by Adobe under a conventional license. The latter is a version that Slimbach heavily reworked as part of it's conversion to the Open Type Format. ((David Lemon on the Typo-L mailinglist: https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0305&L=TYPO-L&P=14185)) So if you plan to modify, use or redistribute Utopia, check whether you start from the open version, which is downloadable from the TUG website in .pfb format: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/utopia In 2006, Adobe re-licensed the open version of Utopia to the TeX Users Group, under similar terms as stated in the original license, but now explicitly clarifying that modifying the fonts, and redistributing modified versions, was allowed. Apparently, this was always the intent but the original wording was ambiguous. ((See the Read Me included with Utopia available from the Tex User Group website: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/utopia/)) At this time, Adobe has no plans to release other fonts under open license terms. Nor do they have any other fonts currently available under anything resembling an open source license. But, "Things change quickly, sometimes", Thomas Phinney writes. Of course we're already thinking about many things we could do with Utopia, and are even more curious about what you might make of it. Keep us posted on your modifications!]]>

Read Feeds

Sun, 13 Jul 2008 09:02:59 +0000

Planet Open Fonts "Planet Open Fonts is a window into the lives and work of people forming the open font community" writes Nicolas Spalinger in the editorial of this very useful aggregration page, and OSP is proud to be included: http://planet.open-fonts.org/ Create @ f.d.o. Another useful collection of feeds is at http://create.freedesktop.org/ bringing news from projects connected to the Free Desktop organisation, "working on interoperability and shared technology for X Window System desktops; a collaboration zone where ideas and code are tossed around, and de facto specifications are encouraged".]]>

Free Poster!

Thu, 17 Jul 2008 09:10:42 +0000

We printed this A1 poster to launch our first free font NotCourier-sans - it explains how it was made and why (and it is also our way of paying homage to FontForge). If you want to receive a copy, please send an e-mail to: ivan at textzi.net with ‘NotCourier-sans poster’ in the subject header and your postal address in the body of the message.
We will send out free posters to the first 50 people that write us, so… don’t wait too long! Download the file here: not-courier-poster-def.pdf Poster up @ Deckspace, London]]>

Help with design

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 22:41:58 +0000


New book cover approved

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 18:16:59 +0000

FLOSS+Art critically reflects on the growing relationship between Free Software ideology, open content and digital art. It provides a view onto the social, political and economic myths and realities linked to this phenomenon. Topics include: digital art licensing, copying and distributing under open content models, the influence of FLOSS on digital art practices, the use of free software to produce art and the art of producing free software, FLOSS as an embedded political message in digital art, paradoxes and limitations of open licenses for digital art, FLOSS as a way to quote and embed other artworks in the making of new works, definitions and manifestos for a free software art… With contributions from: Fabianne Balvedi Florian Cramer Sher Doruff Nancy Mauro Flude Olga Goriunova Dave Griffiths Ross Harley Martin Howse Shahee Ilyas Ricardo Lafuente Ivan Monroy Lopez Thor Magnusson Alex McLean Rob Myers Alejandra Maria Perez Nuñez Eleonora Oreggia oRx-qX Julien Ottavi Michael van Schaik Femke Snelting Pedro Soler Hans Christoph Steiner Prodromos Tsiavos Simon Yuill Compiled and edited by Aymeric Mansoux and Marloes de Valk This publication is made possible with support from: - the Digital Research Unit at the University of Huddersfield - Piet Zwart Institute, the Willem de Kooning Academy - Constant - OpenMute - GOTO10]]>


Sun, 24 Aug 2008 23:13:26 +0000

During the Polish Print Party, a scene performed silently behind the bar counter...

they are about :

=== FIGlet ==============================

  • Go to Synaptic to install the Figlet package
  • Find the pre-installed fonts: /usr/share/figlet
  • To add more fonts: /usr/share/figlet (That is for all users. Otherwise, you have to put the new fonts in a directory of your choice by indicated with -d(directory))
It will look like this yi@core2duo:~$ figlet -f banner it will be looked like this or like this yi@core2duo:~$ figlet -d /home/yi/figfonts -f isometric2 or like this Have fun with Frank, Ivan and Glen's letters! === Cowsay / Cowthink =========================
  • find out cow's home to start installation
  • then: sudo apt-get install cowsay
  • open file: .bashrc
  • add line
  • echo Bonjour $USER
Sometimes it looks like this yi@core2duo:~$ cowsay -d $M like this Sometimes it looks like that yi@core2duo:~$ cowsay -p $M like that Or like... yi@core2duo:~$ cowsay -f dragon.cow like... A vous de jouer :) ]]>

Congratulations sK1!

Wed, 03 Sep 2008 08:12:52 +0000

Open Source prepress project SK1 has well deserved it's ticket to the upcoming Hackontest event in Zurich, 25-26 September. We're very happy to hear that the sK1 team will have a chance to demonstrate their enthusiasm for Libre Graphics at the Swiss Open Source Software Conference & Exposition :-)]]>

NotCourier-sans nouvelle is arrived

Sun, 07 Sep 2008 14:52:13 +0000

here, with its bold. The OSP frog, the IJ, ij, numero and trademark ligatures are now encoded in the discretionary ligatures. ]]>

We're not here to be polite

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 14:19:07 +0000

It's rentrée day at OSP and we're shaking our website. The future hours days will show some chaos on pages and categories and html renderings... ]]>

Radio Luz mixtape

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 17:56:11 +0000

OPT, and he invited us to his friend's show on Radio Luz. Our compilation was about the long tradition of appropriation in pop. Afrika Bambaataa sampled Kraftwerk, everyone sampled The Winstons, and M|A|R|R|S sampled everyone. Though I didn't find the pictures of OSP donning the big headphones [found them!], I did find a lofi recording of the show. The typography workshop had just taken place a few days before:
There was another font made with letters from around the OPT buiding. We took pictures of graffitti, of old signage, of shops, of these kinds of things. We extracted the letters of the alphabet, and we constructed a new alphabet with them. It's the same principle as the music that we heard. Music with samples. Taking things that others have made, and you create a new thing that then you can share and that others can modify and use again...
1. Kraftwerk. Trans-Europe Express. 2. Afrika Bambaata and the Soulsonic Force. Planet Rock. 3. Public Enemy. Fight the Power. 4. The Winstons. Amen, Brother 5. M|A|R|R|S. Pump Up the Volume. 6. Atari Teenage Riot. Destroy 2000 Years of Culture. 7. Pierre Normal. Attraction.]]>

Has re-design replaced revolution?

Wed, 17 Sep 2008 10:26:38 +0000

Philosopher of science, Bruno Latour, opened the recent Networks of Design conference with a keynote address: A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design. In his lecture, Latour linked the growing importance of design with his idea that "matters of fact" have become "matters of concern". Provocatively presenting Peter Sloterdijk as philosopher of design, he states:
The great importance of Sloterdijk’s philosophy (and I think the major interest of a designer’s way of looking at things) is that it offers another idiom. The idiom of matters of concern reclaims matter, matters and materiality and renders them into something that can and must be carefully redesigned.
In his conclusion, Latour challenges designers "to draw things together", shifting the meaning of design from re-looking to a practice which gathers scientist, technicians etc. around the table:
What is needed instead are tools that capture what have always been the hidden practices of modernist innovations: objects have always been projects; matters of fact have always been matters of concern. The tools we need to grasp these hidden practices will teach us just as much as the old aesthetics of matters of fact —and then again much more.
Download the paper here: http://www.bruno-latour.fr/articles/article/112-DESIGN-CORNWALL.pdf ]]>

Interview avec Denis

Thu, 18 Sep 2008 18:00:20 +0000

Denis Moyogo Jacquerye, co-leader du projet DejaVu y a présenté ce matin le projet sur lequel il travaille actuellement. C'est l'occasion pour nous de publier une interview OSP de Denis, rencontré en mai dernier aux Libre Graphics Meeting 2008 de Wrocław. [caption id="attachment_916" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="OSP avec Denis et Dave Crossland à FOSDEM 2008, Bruxelles"]Rencontre avec Denis et Dave Crossland à Fosdem[/caption] Ludi : Hello Denis. Peux-tu nous raconter comment tu es entré dans le projet DejaVu? Denis : [...manquant...] une des langues du Congo, et j'ai commencé à m'intéresser à savoir comment est-ce qu'on l'écrivait. Je me suis rendu compte qu'il y avait un orthographe avec des caractères spéciaux et des accents, qui sont plus ou moins les mêmes que ceux utilisés pour l'alphabet phonétique. Donc un jour j'ai décidé de me mettre au travail. J'ai regardé les polices qu'il était possible d'améliorer. Pour DejaVu il y avait déjà un certain nombre de gens qui avait l'air assez actifs, donc j'ai téléchargé les sources, j'ai ouvert FontForge et j'ai commencé à chipoter toute une après-midi et puis le lendemain j'ai envoyé un patch. On m'a dit « Oui c'est bien, mais il faudra aussi dessiner la version bold, l'italic et le bold italic » (rires) Donc, comme c'était les vacances, j'ai passé toute la semaine à faire ça. J'ai envoyé le patch et puis c'est entré dans les sources, les gens ont pu l'avoir un mois après, dans la distribution. Puis j'ai commencé à ajouter des choses nécessaires pour d'autres langues. J'ai commencé à corriger un peu ce que j'avais fait. De fil en aiguille, je suis plus ou moins resté très actif dans le projet. Et un jour, le leader principal du projet a annoncé qu'il ne pouvait plus s'en occuper à plein temps... Pierre : Du projet DejaVu? Denis : Oui. Il a demandé si les gens étaient prêts à reprendre sa place. Personne n'a vraiment répondu. Donc une semaine après il a dit « Bon eh bien, les trois personnes les plus actives sont nommées d'office. Et c'était Ben Laenen et moi et une troisième personne pour maintenir la liste de courriels. Pierre : Et le projet DejaVu, son histoire avant toi? Denis : Le projet DejaVu, à la base c'est lorsque Bitstream a vendu Vera au projet Gnome. Ils ont fait une licence libre. Pierre : Est ce qu'ils en ont tiré du cash? Denis : Oui. Donc plusieurs personnes, un peu chacune de leur côté ont commencé à compléter cette police de caractère, en rajoutant les deux trois caractères qui manquaient pour leur langue. Il y avait plus ou moins une quinzaine de versions différentes. Štěpán Roh a mis tout ça ensemble et a créé le projet DejaVu. C'est comme ça que c'est devenu le plus gros projet de police dérivée de Bitstream. Pierre : Vous avez encore des contacts avec Bitstream? Denis : Non. On a pas de contacts directs. Il y a plus ou moins un an, des gens de la fondation Gnome avaient pris contact avec eux pour essayer de voir si Bitstream serait intéressé de rajouter d'autres caractères et donc de continuer à améliorer les polices mais pour l'instant... Ils seraient prêts à le faire s'il y avait différents payements. Ludi : À chaque fois, il y a eu des ajouts de glyphes. Mais le dessin de base, reste inchangé par rapport à la Vera ou il a été modifié? Denis : Oui. Le dessin de base est inchangé. Les seules choses qui ont peut être changé c'est quelques bugs, un ou deux glyphes qui n'étaient pas bons, enfin pas exactement ce que les gens s'attendaient à avoir dans leur langue. On a aussi modifié deux trois choses dans l'espacement de certains caractères. En dehors de ça c'est exactement la même chose. Pour tous les caractères qu'on a créé ou rajouté par nous-même, soit on est parti des caractères de Vera ― par exemple pour certaines langues africaines, il y a beaucoup de caractères avec des crochets en plus, un b avec un crochet au dessus ou un d avec un crochet ― donc là c'est assez simple, il suffit de prendre le b et de lui ajouter un crochet. Aussi, la police Bitstream Vera a été optimisée pour la lecture à l'écran. Donc chaque caractère a un petit programme, un petit logiciel, le hinting qui permet de rentrer le caractère dans les pixels selon la taille, donc ça aussi on est en train de l'ajouter pour les caractères qu'on a fait. Pierre : Tu as fait une après-midi sur le regular mais lequel? La version sans empattements, la version serif? Denis : Sans serif. Pierre : Et donc on t'a demandé la version bold, italic et bold italic, on te les a demandé aussi pour la serif et la mono? Denis : Non. Ça c'est moi par après. Parce qu'en fait je comptais faire toutes les versions, c'est juste que j'ai commencé par la sans serif. Ludi : Actuellement ce sont des TrueType, des OpenType? Denis ; On génère des fichiers .ttf mais avec des tables OpenType. On a des ligatures, on a les positionnements de caractères et d'accents. Pierre : Vous vous conformé le plus possible à l'Unicode? Ou entièrement? Denis : On suit le standard Unicode donc on évite de mettre des caractères dans des glyphes non spécifiés. On en a quelques-uns mais c'est juste parce qu'on sait qu'ils vont bientôt être implémentés dans Unicode. Pierre : Oui, peut-être. On peut poser la question dans l'autre sens : Est-ce qu'Unicode vous suffit? Denis : Oui, il y a des gens qui ont proposé d'ajouter des caractères qui n'étaient pas encore dans Unicode et qui ne sont pas encore planifiés. Par exemple les caractères médiévaux pour lesquels il y a un standard parallèle à Unicode qui a des caractères en plus et donc ça c'est dans le PUA (Private Usage Agreement). Pierre : Mais qui peuvent être élus potentiellement pour être ensuite intégrés à Unicode? Denis : Oui. Ludi : Comment ça se passe? Vous avez beaucoup de participants? Il y a beaucoup de demandes? Denis : On a plus ou moins 5 personnes qui sont très actives. Et puis 5 autres qui aident de temps en temps. Ludi : Peut-être que ça va augmenter après ces rencontres. [NDLR : à Wroklaw] Denis : Oui, j'espère aussi. Pierre : Tu avais un intérêt dans la typographie au départ en tant que développeur et linguiste? Denis : Moi, au départ l'intérêt est juste venu par le besoin. J'avais besoin d'une police de caractères. Donc j'ai commencé à regarder comment la faire et je me suis rendu compte que c'était assez compliqué et assez intéressant aussi. Ludi : Pour quelle langue tu en avais besoin? Denis : Le lingala et aussi la phonétique. Pierre : Phonétique, ça existait déjà, non? Denis : Oui mais c'est juste parce que en fait... à la base quand je lisait les pages web, ça utilisait la police de caractère par défaut, donc Bitstream et les caractères phonétiques étaient substitués d'une autre police de caractères. C'était pas uniforme. Pour moi c'est juste plus simple si tout est dans une seule police de caractères, avec le même style. C'est juste plus agréable à lire. Ludi : Et maintenant, est-ce qu'en dehors du projet DejaVu, tu t'es mis à dessiner d'autres fontes? Denis : Oui. J'avais aussi commencé à ajouter des caractères au projet Free Fonts. J'ai ajouté pas mal de caractères à Nimbus. Mais là depuis un an, on a commencé à planifier un projet, avec le CRDI (Centre de Recherches et de Développement International). C'est l'aide au développement canadienne. Ils veulent financer des projets de localisation de logiciels informatiques en langues africaines. Et donc, une partie du projet, c'est de produire plus de polices de caractères qui supportent les langues africaines. Là, je vais partir de plusieurs polices de caractères et ajouter les caractères africains. Pierre : Peut-être pour être plus précis : DejaVu a un axe très clair en terme typographique, de rester sur les 3 polices de base de Vera? Denis : Oui. Pierre : Donc l'extension se fait dans le sens de l'ajout de glyphes des tables Unicode mais pas dans le sens de rajouts typographiques. Denis : Non. On a les 3 familles : sans, serif et sans mono. Si quelqu'un veut rajouter un caractère dans une police, il peut juste le faire dans Sans par exemple, mais s'il le fait pour DejaVu Sans il doit aussi le faire pour Sans Bold, Sans Italic et Sans Bold Italic. C'est le minimum demandé. Le problème est que certains systèmes d'écriture n'ont pas la notion d'italique. L'écriture arabe par exemple a juste le regular et le gras. Aussi, certaines écritures qui n'ont pas ces notions de sans et de serif. Mais ils ont peut être un style plus traditionnel et un style plus coupé. Pierre : Oui. Quels sont les rapports avec le modèle typographique occidental dominant et les modèles d'écritures dont certains doivent... Moi je connais assez mal, même quasi rien des scripts africains, je vois un petit peu l'ancien éthiopien, des choses qui... strictement rien à voir. Ludi : Par rapport aux participants, est ce qu'il y a quelqu'un qui contrôle ce qui est fait, qui valide? Denis : Il y a des gens qui ont déjà accès aux sources, pour les autres c'est assez simple, il suffit de soumettre les modifications à la liste public, et donc généralement on jette un œil dessus, on voit si c'est correct ou pas, on donne un commentaire ou on dit directement que c'est bon et on l'inclut. Une fois que la personne a fait ça quatre ou cinq fois sans trop de problèmes, on lui donne accès directement aux sources. Nicolas : Donc oui il y a un petit temps de test. Denis : Oui parce que généralement, enfin moi par exemple, chaque fois que j'envoyais un patch au début il y avait toujours des erreurs... Pierre : Vous donnez aussi une espèce de mini formation? Par mail ou...? Denis : Oui, par mail. Les gens posent des questions soit par mail ou bien sur IRC. Ludi : C'est des gens qui viennent d'où par exemple? Denis : D'un peu partout : États-Unis, Europe, Russie. Harrisson : Est ce qu'il y a des chinois? Denis : Dans le projet, non. On a un français qui a des origines du Laos. C'est lui qui a ajouté le laotien dans la DejaVu Sans. Harrisson : Y a-t-il des glyphes chinois dans DejaVu? Denis : Non. En fait on a très peur du chinois parce que c'est quand même beaucoup de caractères. OSP : (rires) Yi : Faut pas avoir peur. Denis : Mais on a déjà eu pas mal de gens qui demandaient pour qu'on puisse avoir les caractères chinois. Moi personnellement je serais prêt à le faire mais il me faudrait le temps et les connaissances surtout. Dans notre équipe actuellement il n'y a personne avec les connaissances nécessaires pour pouvoir dessiner les caractères. Nicolas : La question qui se pose pour moi quand je vois l'étendu de ces fontes c'est : quel sens ça a de garder une sorte d'identité de la fonte sur tous ces langages? Comment est-ce qu'on peut dire que ça reste une Courier, je sais pas, une Vera Sans... en arabe et en chinois aussi? Est-ce-qu'il y a des guidelines, quelque chose qui permet de... Denis : Ce qu'on essaye de faire, si par exemple on écrit un texte bilingue, c'est que ça s'affiche correctement et qu'il n'y ait pas de différences de contraste dans le gris des textes. Pierre : Oui, par comparaison, par juxtaposition. Denis : Mais parfois on se rend compte que c'est quasiment impossible. Par exemple il y a des systèmes d'écriture qui peuvent avoir des lignes assez courtes et il y en a qui ont vraiment besoin d'espace, qui ont certains caractères qui montent très haut ou descendent très bas ou qui ont plusieurs diacritiques au dessus. C'est assez complexe parce qu'en plus Bitstream Vera à la base est faite pour être lue à petites tailles et donc par économies ils sauvent beaucoup d'espace entre les lignes. En arabe on a du raccourcir les caractères en bas. C'est un problème qu'on aimerait résoudre parce que c'est assez important pour la lecture. Ludi : C'est pas possible d'encoder à l'intérieur d'une même fonte, des hauteurs différentes? Denis : Si c'est possible. OpenType définit une table base qui permet de définir ça, même par langues. Par exemple le latin en français avec une certaine hauteur de ligne et le latin en vietnamien avec une hauteur de ligne différente. Pierre : Mais la difficulté c'est quand tu mélanges les deux. Tu dois quand même trouver une certaine harmonie. Par exemple j'ai un petit peu composé de l'arabe et c'est chaque fois «wao!»... Ça ne marche pas quoi. Denis : Personnellement si c'était à refaire je crois que je me limiterais simplement au latin au cyrillique et au grec, et peut-être les autres systèmes d'écriture qui sont compatible. Pierre : Oui, un critère stylistique. Denis : Parce que ce sont des systèmes qui supportent vraiment tout Unicode. Pour beaucoup de systèmes d'écriture c'est vraiment difficile de trouver le juste milieu. Pierre : Donc il y a quand même beaucoup de critères typographiques. Est-ce que sur la liste s'il y a un caractère en éthiopien qui apparaît, est-ce qu'il y a des discussions sur des critères typographiques, genre «Non là vraiment le contraste est trop faible, ici l'empattement est décalé»? Denis : Non, malheureusement. On en parle beaucoup sur IRC mais il n'y pas d'archives là dessus. Parce que des fois on est assez méchants. (rires OSP) On est là «Mais c'est quoi ce truc? Ah mais c'est moi qui l'ai fait? Non.» Mais c'est vrai que parfois, quand je regarde certains caractères, je vois que certaines courbes ne sont pas belles, que le contraste est faux à certains endroits. Il faudrait qu'on passe plus de temps aussi pour l'espacement. Pierre : Oui c'est le parent pauvre. C'est le plus laborieux. Denis : Oui, parce qu'au début on se dit qu'il faut juste dessiner les caractères puis après on commence à se documenter un peu et on se rend compte du travail que c'est. Pierre: 50% du travail, non? Denis : Ce qui est intéressant aussi ce sont les technologies avancées avec OpenType. À partir d'un moment on peut avoir un caractère différent selon le contexte, selon la langue. Depuis que nous sommes devenu une police par défaut sur différentes distributions Linux, on peut commencer à pousser un peu la technologie parce que il y a beaucoup de choses qui ne sont pas supportées, parce qu'il n'y a pas de polices de caractères qui le font en fait. Là, comme nous on peut dire, voilà, nous on a une police qui intègre ces spécificités et ça serait bien si l'utilisateur pouvait y avoir accès. Ce qu'on a commence à faire c'était le positionnement et la substitution de caractères pour le latin, le cyrillique et le grec, donc ça c'était partiellement supporté avec Pango par exemple. Et donc depuis qu'on s'y est intéressé ça a un peu fait bouger les choses. Il y aussi la substitution selon la langue. Là on a mis un peu la pression pour que ça soit implémenté. Maintenant on va commencer à se mettre au système où on peut avoir différentes hauteur de ligne selon le système d'écriture ou la langue. Aussi, avec les noms de polices de caractères. Parce que dans les vieux systèmes informatiques il y avait juste une police de caractères avec 4 styles : normal, gras, italique et gras italique, ensuite OpenType est arrivé et a ajouté tout un système pour avoir une dizaine de gras différents et différentes chasses. On a ajouté ça et ça a créé pas mal de bugs dans pas mal d'applications. Par exemple OpenOffice substituait le condensé au lieu de prendre le regular et donc il y des gens qui se plaignaient chez nous. On leur disait «C'est pas notre faute, nous on suit les spécifications Opentype». Pierre : Vous produisez aussi des largeurs, des chasses différentes? Denis : Oui ça c'est parce que quelqu'un a proposé l'idée et donc on a fait un petit hack rapide ou c'est automatiquement généré à partir d'une version régulière. Une réduction de 90% ça passe encore bien à l'œil. Personnellement, je préférerais si c'était fait manuellement à partir des dessins originaux mais... Harrisson : Oui, le condensé est particulièrement difficile. Pierre : il y a aussi des systèmes semi-automatiques qui condensent en gardant le contraste, en ne faisant pas un stretch. Denis : Oui, FontForge a une fonction pour faire ça. Parfois ça marche très bien et parfois ça passe pas. À un moment je me suis amusé à faire DejaVu Sans extra light et c'était assez intéressant comme expérience. Enfin c'est pas super beau mais c'est utilisable. Harrisson : Est-ce qu'il y a des serif, sans serif dans des systèmes comme l'arabe? Des systèmes ou justement c'est un peu plus difficile pour nous de voir s'il y a des spécificités du genre. Denis : Dans ces cas là, on s'inspire de ce qui existe déjà, comme par exemple le Tahoma. On a essayé de suivre le même style. Pour le sans serif on a pas encore commencé. Je sais que pour le projet de localisation à Farsi ils ont fait une police de caractères basée sur Bitstream Vera en arabe et ils l'ont fait pour le serif et le sans serif. On est en contact avec une des personnes qui a travaillé là-dessus. On aimerait aussi pouvoir l'avoir en serif . Harrisson : Tu es aussi impliqué avec le projet Nimbus? Denis : Non pas directement. Harrisson : Parce qu'on a travaillé sur une police Nimbus, sur la mono. Et c'est pas très clair au niveau des licences, au niveau du dessin. Ça ressemble très fort à d'autres. On aurait voulu savoir si tu avais quelques infos à ce sujet? Denis : Les polices Nimbus, si je me souviens bien, elle sont sous licence GPL. Elles ont été données ou achetées pour Ghostscript. Nimbus Serif et Nimbus Mono sont en GPL. Parce que justement le projet Free Fonts les a utilisé comme base. Pierre : À propos de cette base, vous connaissez le nom de la personne qui a dessiné le Vera chez Bitstream? C'est crédité? Denis : Oui c'est crédité oui. J'ai un nom en tête mais je suis pas sûr alors... Je devrais le savoir effectivement. Pierre : Non, non, mais je pose la question parce qu'elle est quand même assez spécifique. Je veux dire que c'est quand même la typo la plus anonyme. Denis : Mais le dessin est aussi assez proche de Frutiger. Pierre : Et tu as mentionné ton autre activité dans l'association panafricaine? Ça consiste en quoi? C'est relié? Denis : Je vais plus ou moins refaire le même travail pour les langues africaines. Dans les deux mois qui viennent, je vais prendre les polices Liberation et je vais ajouter ce qu'il faut pour les gras des langues africaines, les langues officielles. Pierre : Et ça c'est du boulot qui est financé par l'extérieur? Denis : Oui là c'est le projet avec le CRDI. Pierre : Est-ce que tu as des contacts avec des utilisateurs, proches ou lointains du travail que vous faites? Est ce que par exemple vous le voyez dans le domaine académique être utilisé, mais aussi chez un coiffeur quelque part au Congo ou... Denis : Le problème c'est justement qu'en Afrique, il y a des standard qui ont été publiés par les académiciens ou parfois par le gouvernement, mais il y très peu de gens qui les utilisent en fait. C'est à dire que les standards ne sont pas bien diffusés, publiés. Par exemple, dans le cas du Zaïre, dans les années 70, ils ont travaillé sur un standard pour uniformiser l'orthographe dans toutes les langues officielles du Congo. Pierre : Parce qu'il y avait quand même l'idée politique de zaïrisation. Denis : Depuis, seuls les universitaires l'utilisent. Les gens utilisent encore l'alphabet qu'ils ont appris à l'école primaire. Certains manuels scolaires sont publiés avec l'orthographe standard mais ça n'est pas utilisé largement. Dans les autres pays africains ça dépend aussi. Souvent il y a différents orthographes possibles dans la même langue. Malheureusement il n'y a pas assez de culture littéraire où il y aurait un gros corpus écrit dans un même orthographe. Nicolas : Une autre question. On s'intéresse aussi beaucoup par ailleurs aux questions de cartographie et justement par rapport aux polices de caractères, quand on voit le projet OpenStreetMap ou des projets similaires, on a déjà eu pas mal de discussions sur quelles types de polices, qu'est ce que serait une police pour ce genre d'activités et Femke me disait qu'elle t'as vu éditer OpenStreetMap, donc on s'est dit qu'on pouvait te poser la question si tu avais des idées ou si dans le type de recherches que tu as fais, il y aurait des polices intéressantes à apporter dans ce genre de projet et aussi à partir du moment où on a des cartes qui commencent à devenir multilingues, qu'est-ce que ça veut dire au niveau de la gestion? Parce qu'il y a une idée très occidentale de la carte et je vois très bien comment nous par défaut on place les caractères à partir du moment où on les lit autrement, etc. Je pense que ça pose des questions. Pas juste «est-ce que la fonte est disponible?» mais aussi quel est son lien avec une sorte de lecture de l'image, de lecture de direction, de l'espace. Denis : Oui, je suis aussi actif sur le projet OpenStreetMap. Pour les polices de caractères, avant ils utilisaient Arial. Quelques personnes se sont plaintes et maintenant ils utilisent DejaVu. Ce n'est pas moi ni Ben qui avons poussé pour ça, mais c'était assez marrants parce qu'on se disait «Ah ça serait cool si ils utilisaient DejVu» et le lendemain ils utilisaient Deja Vu. «Ah, cool !». Personnellement je ne sais pas si DejaVu est la meilleure police pour les cartes en fait parce que c'est plus une police pour l'écran en petite taille. Comme les cartes sont générées à l'avance, je pense qu'il mieux de prendre des caractères moins larges parce que ça prend beaucoup de place. Je pense que pour la lecture, elle se fait bien avec un police plus fine (condensée). Pierre : Oui, il y a différentes discussions à ce sujet. Entre le rapport de réduire le corps et espacer plus les caractères pour arriver en fait à la même longueur qu'une version condensée qui est plus grande mais qui est pas forcément plus lisible. Il y des écoles qui s'opposent sur la question. Mais je ne suis pas sûr que DejaVu soit une si mauvaise candidate. Denis : C'est vrai que d'un point de vue international, multilingue c'est quand même assez important d'avoir un style en commun. Pour l'instant dans OpenStreetMap, il y a deux engins qui génèrent les cartes, il y a Mapnic et Osmarender, les deux utilisent DejaVu mais Mapnic ne fait pas de substitution. Pour tout ce qui est écrit en chinois, coréen, japonais et autre langues asiatiques, il n'a pas de caractères, il place juste des carrés. Tandis qu'Osmarender substitue avec des polices qui ont ces caractères là. Pierre : Par contre ce que tu disais au sujet du foisonnement vertical (différentes hauteurs de glyphes selon les langues), ça oui c'est important que ça soit limité. C'est difficile de placer des objets texte qui ont des proportions... Denis : Oui sans pour autant cacher la carte. Moi ce que je trouve intéressant c'est le problème, justement avec la Belgique, surtout Bruxelles, étant bilingue. Bon déjà il y a des noms kilométriques comme Molenbeek Saint Jean et donc en plus si on les met dans les deux langues et si en plus la police de caractère est grasse et/ou large. (Rires) Oui, il faudrait plus de souplesse dans leurs engins de rendu pour qu'ils puissent sélectionner différentes polices de caractères selon la longueur du texte. Pierre : En cartographie manuelle il y a cette espèce de paradigme de couper le nom en morceaux, des systèmes pour éviter les obstacles mais c'est très compliqué à programmer en automatique. Yi : Sur logiciels libres, il y a les fontes Open Source mais aussi les fontes comme Arial ou Times qui cohabitent. Comment ça se passe? Denis : Arial, Times et Courier font partie des des core fonts? C'est Microsoft qui avait décidé de rendre disponible un paquet de polices de caractères comme ça elles pouvaient être utilisées sur les pages web. Pierre : Quelle est la licence exacte? J'ai jamais regardé. Denis : Non c'est une licence classique, tu peux juste utiliser la police de caractère, tu peux pas la modifier, la redistribuer. Le problème c'est que c'est limité à une version fixe, c'est figé dans le temps. Pierre : Il n'y a pas de contradiction formelle à l'utiliser sauf que si on l'intègre dans un logiciel qui a un autre type de licence et où ça va rentrer en conflit. Denis : Le problème aussi c'est qu'il n'y a pas moyen de rentrer en contact, de communiquer avec les personnes qui l'ont conçu. Parce que si c'était possible, moi à la limite ça me dérange pas d'avoir une licence fermée mais si on pouvait communiquer pour que la prochaine version soit bien faite. Pierre : Mais il y a un autre problème avec l'Arial c'est qu'elle est moche. C'est un rip-off mal fait. Harrisson : En parlant de dérivés, est ce qu'il y a des dérivés de la DejaVu? Des personnes qui se la sont approprié et que en ont fait d'autres? Denis : De DejaVu même non. Mais il y a des gens qui ont pris Bitstream et qui ont plus ou moins le même niveau que DejaVu. Il y Arev. Lui a rajouté un certain nombre de caractères pour les mathématiques. Donc, à un moment on s'en est rendu compte et on en a repris quelques uns. Et quelques personnes qui ont travaillé pour faire une serif mono. Harrisson : Nous, lors d'un workshop, on avait montré les possibilités de faire des changements à l'intérieur d'une fonte. On avait juste changé le a par exemple. On a fait un autre a sur la DejaVu Serif. Mais je sais pas si vous avez des feedback sur ce genre de jeux. Denis : Non, pas de DejaVu. Mais Bitstream Vera il y en a beaucoup. Enfin moins qu'avant puisqu'on les a reprise ensemble mais dérivées de Deja Vu même, non. Généralement si les gens veulent faire des modifications ils nous les envoie directement. Il y a un grec qui a refait le grec pour DejaVu. Il nous avait envoyé un pdf avec ce qu'il avait fait. Ça avait relancé un peu la discussion sur notre travail à nous et on a commencé à refaire des modifications. Harrisson : Mais vous avez toujours un dessin par glyphe? Vous n'avez pas plusieurs... Denis : Si on a quelques variantes, par besoin linguistiques. Pour le a on peut choisir le a scolaire et le a typographique. Il y aussi le g à double contre-poinçon et le ŋ. Le n avec un crochet utilisé dans les pays nordiques, en sami puis dans quelques langue africaines mais le problème c'est que la forme majuscule est différente. Pour le sami c'est un N majuscule normal avec le crochet tandis qu'en Afrique c'est souvent un n minuscule agrandi avec le crochet. Et certains ont le crochet sous la ligne de base, d'autre au dessus. On a trois variantes. Pierre : Qui existent dans Unicode? Déjà référencés comme des choses séparées? Denis : Non, pour Unicode c'est un seul caractère. Donc on a un caractère et 3 glyphes pour ce même caractère, qui sont référencés selon la langue, selon l'interface aussi si elle le permet. Yi : J'ai encore une question. Par exemple si on ouvre une page internet en chinois, parfois il y a des problèmes d'affichage. Les caractères manquant ne sont pas substitué par des carrés mais il manque carrément des caractères et même en changeant le codage, rien ne change. Et d'autre fois il n'y a pas de problèmes d'affichages. Je veux dire sur un même site, le même jour. Denis : C'est bizarre. Là le problème peut venir du navigateur utilisé, la librairie qui gère Unicode ou les polices de caractères. Ce qu'il faut savoir avec le codage c'est qu'une page html peut être définit par un codage, mais ce que le navigateur va d'abord lire c'est ce que le serveur lit. Dons si le serveur dit que j'utilise le codage x et que la page html dit codage y, c'est le codage x qui est pris en compte. Pierre : Ce qui n'est pas toujours idéal. Nicolas : Ça veut dire que si tu veux une page en chinois sur un serveur américain, il faut que le serveur ai détecté à l'origine que ta page est en chinois. Denis : Je sais pas si tous les navigateurs suivent ça à la ligne. Nicolas : Mais le problème que tu décris est plus étrange, parce qu'il y a des trous. Yi : Oui, c'est même pas une erreur d'affichage, il manque des signes. Ludi : Mais peut être bientôt le DejaVu chinois? Harrisson : Ou reprendre ça d'ailleurs? Denis : Oui, il y a Arne Götje qui travaille sur une Sans Serif qui serait compatible avec DejaVu, il a accès à une base de donnée avec les traits et il aimerait faire une police de caractères qui soit compatible avec DejaVu. En parlant de caractères asiatiques, il y a une police de caractères pour le japonais qui est assez bien, c'est M+. Avec un licence spécifique, mais une licence libre. Ce qui est intéressant c'est qu'ils font 4 gras différents. Yi : Oui il y en a une en chinois aussi qui vient de sortir il n'y a pas très longtemps mais avec une seule version pour l'instant qui correspond à la base chinoise. Denis : Ce qui pourrait aussi être intéressant c'est Droid. Apparemment c'est une licence libre. Ils ont une police fallback avec des caractères chinois en regular. Yi : J'ai même essayé dans Scribus de comparer avec les typos classiques de Microsoft pour voir la différence et c'est vrai que... enfin l'auteur lui-même précise que ce n'est pas encore au point, il reste des choses à améliorer. Denis : Ce qui vraiment intéressant aussi c'est dans Pango, il y a un an et demi, ils ont implémenté pour qu'on puisse travailler en lignes verticales. Ludi : Moi j'ai une dernière question, pour revenir à la base du fonctionnement de DejaVu, au niveau de l'organisation, comment ça se passe? Est-ce que vous travaillez parfois ensemble dans un même lieu ou c'est toujours à distance? Denis : Pour l'instant c'est toujours à distance. On est quasiment toujours sur IRC, quand il fait jour. (rires) Il y a aussi des gens sur différents fuseaux horaires. Mais donc oui assez souvent on travaille sur IRC. On fait des modifications et puis on fait une capture d'écran, on la met sur un serveur temporaire et on passe le lien sur IRC et on a des commentaires ou bien directement on met ça dans les sources et puis on voit les commentaires. Pierre : Donc vous avez un mode de communication, un mode humoristique uniquement verbal? Denis : Oui, on a déjà pensé à as se rencontrer mais ça c'est jamais concrétisé. Avec Ben, on s'est déjà vu plusieurs fois. Pierre : Ben était à Fosdem aussi non? (Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting ) Denis : Oui. Pierre : Donc il y a eu un moment où vous étiez ensemble. Denis : Mais c'est vrai que nous deux on est pas loin, 40 mn... mais toujours par IRC. OSP : OK. Merci beaucoup Denis. Denis : C'était un plaisir. OSP : À bientôt.]]>


Wed, 24 Sep 2008 18:07:49 +0000

Le Palais Châlet

Sun, 05 Oct 2008 15:05:28 +0000

This flyer has been done by hand and by gimp with our beloved DJ Atka, to promote a new clubnight: Le Palais Chalet. Palais Chalet first event will be this 24th of October, and is called La Corneille d'Or. Pierre Normal, from pneu record label and Dolina will play live. Atka, DJ Athome and Le Caniche Noir will put records. It will be in Brussels, 20:00, at compilothèque, 50 quai des péniches, where we've done our previous print party. Don't hesitate to come, no doubts we'll hear there future OSP hymns, and sure we'll get inspired by boccocini and coktails.]]>

doubt, critique, reason, hope

Tue, 07 Oct 2008 15:11:52 +0000

Modern Typography: an essay in critical history... his revised edition (published in 2004) ends in an interestingly different way*: "The phrase ‘democratization of typography’ has become common, referring to the wide availability of the tools of production for type and typographic design. One may take this with some skepticism: after all, for the majority, the generation and production of these tools is still largely in the hands of a few corporations — though the open source software movement may provide an alternative. If democracy implies a spreading of power to the people, this is the wrong description of what is going on here: it is more a simple spreading of typography among the masses. The astonishing development in this period has not been the contribution of any designer or writer, but rather the spread of the means of making sophisticated typography to anyone with a computer. The domain of typography has been opened up, as never before, and there is a much wider interest in the activity now than there was even twenty years ago. (...) The great negative of the modern — irrevocable and disastrous damage to the natural world — gathers terrifying pace. Enlightenment thus proceeds, amid much babble and confusion. The watchwords remain: doubt, critique, reason, hope.” (Robin Kinross in: Modern Typography: an essay in critical history. Hyphen Press, 2004) Thank you Dave Crossland for the reminder :-) * 1992 ending: "The attempt of this essay has been to point to the effort of reason that has extended over centuries and which, in typography, has shown itself in a concern for fundamental issues: the means by which the processes of production can be controlled; the ways in which the needs and desires of readers and users can be incorporated into the shaping of products; the description and ordering of the activity and its materials. Reflection and discussion are the chief means by which this process has been effected: thus the 'black art' has been lifted from its dark, magical origins, into what is sometimes (though still too rarely) a forum of articulate practice and constructive criticism. There is some connection between this critical rationality and an approach to the production of artifacts and their eventual form. This connection will be left undefined here: it is open for discussion and exploration."]]>

Data analysis as a discourse

Wed, 08 Oct 2008 07:06:19 +0000

An interview with Michael Terry (ingimp) At the Libre Graphics Meeting 2008 in Wroclaw, just before Michael Terry presents ingimp to an audience of curious Gimp developers and users, we meet up to talk more about 'instrumenting The Gimp' and about the way Terry thinks data analysis could be done as a form of discourse.
Michael Terry is a computer scientist working at the Human Computer Interaction Lab of the University of Waterloo, Canada and his main research focus is on improving usability in open source software. We speak about ingimp, a clone of the popular image manipulation programme Gimp, but with an important difference: ingimp allows users to record data about their usage in to a central database, and subsequently makes this data available to anyone. (This conversation will also be included in the forthcoming Constant publication Tracks in electronic fields) Femke Snelting [FS] Maybe we could start this conversation with a description of the ingimp project you are developing and why you chose to work on usability for Gimp? Michael Terry [MT] So the project is ‘ingimp’, which is an instrumented version of Gimp, it collects information about how the software is used in practice. The idea is you download it, you install it, and then with the exception of an additional start up screen, you use it just like regular Gimp. So, our goal is to be as unobtrusive as possible to make it really easy to get going with it, and then to just forget about it. We want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible, so that we can understand how the software is actually used in practice. There are plenty of forums where people can express their opinions about how GIMP should be designed, or what’s wrong with it, there are plenty of bug reports that have been filed, there are plenty of usability issues that have been identified, but what we really lack is some information about how people actually apply this tool on a day to day basis. What we want to do is elevate discussion above just anecdote and gut feelings, and to say, well, there is this group of people who appear to be using it in this way, these are the characteristics of their environment, these are the sets of tools they work with, these are the types of images they work with and so on, so that we have some real data to ground discussions about how the software is actually used by people. You asked me now why Gimp? I actually used Gimp extensively for my PhD work. I had these little cousins come down and hang out with me in my apartment after school, and I would set them up with Gimp, and quite often they would always start off with one picture, they would create a sphere, a blue sphere, and then they played with filters until they got something really different. I would turn to them looking at what they had been doing for the past twenty minutes, and would be completely amazed at the results they were getting just by fooling around with it. And so I thought, this application has lots and lots of power, I'd like to use that power to prototype new types of interface mechanisms. So I created JGimp, which is a Java based extension for the 1.0 G imp series, that I can use as a back-end for prototyping novel user interfaces. I think that it is a great application, there is a lot of power to it, and I had already an investment in its code base so it made sense to use that as a platform for testing out ideas of open instrumentation. FS What is special about ingimp, is the fact that the data you generate is made as open part as the software you are studying itself. Could you describe how that works? MT Every bit of data we collect, we make available: you can go to the website, you can download every log file that we have collected. The intent really is for us to build tools and infrastructure so that the community itself can sustain this analysis, can sustain this form of usability. We don’t want to create a situation where we are creating new dependencies on people, or where we are imposing new tasks on existing project members. We want to create tools that follow the same ethos as open source development, where anyone can look at the source code, where anyone can make contributions, from filing a bug to doing something as simple as writing a patch, where they don’t even have to have access to the source code repository, to make valuable contributions. So importantly, we want to have a really low barrier to participation. At the same time, we want to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Yesterday I talked with Peter Sikking, an information architect working for Gimp, and he and I both had this experience where we work with user interfaces, and since everybody uses an interface, everybody feels they are an expert, so there can be a lot of noise. So, not only did we want to create an open environment for collecting this data, and analysing it, but we also want to increase the chance that we are making valuable contributions, and that the community itself can make valuable contributions. Like I said, there is enough opinion out there. What we really need to do is to better understand how the software is being used. So, we have made a point from the start to try to be as open as possible with everything, so that anyone can really contribute to the project. FS ingimp has been running for a year now. What are you finding? MT I have started analysing the data, and I think one of the things that we realised early on is that it is a very rich data set; we have lots and lots of data. So, after a year we’ve had over 800 installations, and we’ve collected about 5000 log files, representing over half a million commands, representing thousands of hours of the application being used. And one of the things you have to realise is that when you have a data set of that size, there are so many different ways to look at it that my particular perspective might not be enough. Even if you sit someone down, and you have him or her use the software for twenty minutes, and you videotape it, then you can spend hours analysing just that twenty minutes of videotape. And so, I think that one of the things we realised is that we have to open up the process so that anyone could easily participate. We have the log files available, but they really didn’t have an infrastructure for analysing them. So, we created this new piece of software called “StatsJam”, an extension to MediaWiki, which allows anyone to go to the website and embed SQL-queries against the ingimp data set and then visualise those results within the Wiki text. So, I’ll be announcing that today and demonstrating that, but I have been using that tool now for a week to complement the existing data analysis we have done. One of the first things that we realized is that we have over 800 installations, but then you have to ask, how many of those are really serious users? A lot of people probably just were curious, they downloaded it and installed it, found that it didn’t really do much for them and so maybe they don't use it anymore. So, the first thing we had to do is figure out which data points should we really pay attention too. We decided that a person should have saved an image, and they should have used ingimp on two different occasions, preferably at least a day apart, where they’d saved an image on both of the instances. We used that as an indication of what a serious user is. So with that filter in place, then the “800 installations” drops down to about 200 people. So we had about 200 people using ingimp, and looking at the data this represents about 800 hours of use, about 4000 log files, and again still about half a million commands. So, it’s still a very significant group of people. 200 people is still a lot, and that’s a lot of data, representing about 11000 images they have been working on, there's just a lot. From that group, what we found is that use of ingimp is really short and versatile. So, most sessions are about fifteen minutes or less, on average. There are outliers, there are some people who use it for longer periods of time, but really it boils down to them using it for about fifteen minutes, and they are applying fewer than a hundred operations when they are working on the image. I should probably be looking at my data analysis as I say this, but they are very quick, short, versatile sessions, and when they use it, they use less than 10 different tools, or they apply less than 10 different commands when they are using it. What else did we find? We found that the two most popular monitor resolutions are 1280 by 1024 and 1024 by 768. So, those represent collectively 60% of the resolutions, and really 1280 by 1024 represents pretty much the maximum for most people, although you have some higher resolutions. so one of the things that’s always contentious about gimp, is its window management scheme and the fact that it has multiple windows, right? And some people say, well you know this works fine if you have two monitors, because you can throw out the tools on one monitor and then your images are on another monitor. Well, about 10 to 15% of ingimp users have two monitors, so that design decision is not working out for most of the people, if that is the best way to work. These are things I think that people have been aware of, it’s just now we have some actual concrete numbers where you can turn to and say, now this is how people are using it. There is a wide range of tasks that people are performing with the tool, but they are really short, bursty tasks. FS Every time you start up ingimp, a screen comes up asking you to describe what you are planning to do and I am interested in the kind of language users invent to describe this, even when they sometimes don’t know exactly what it is they are going to do. So inventing language for possible actions with the software, has in a way become a creative process that is now shared between interface designer, developer and user. If you look at the 'activity tags' you are collecting, do you find a new vocabulary developing? MT I think there are 300 to 600 different activity tags that people register within that group of 'significant users'. I didn’t have time to look at all of them, but it is interesting to see how people are using that as a medium for communicating to us. Some people will say, “Just testing out, ignore this!” Or, people are trying to do things like insert html code, to do like a cross-site scripting attack, because, you have all the data on the website, so they will try to play with that. Some people are very sparse and they say 'image manipulation' or 'graphic design' or something like that, but then some people are much more verbose, and they give more of a plan, “This is what I expect to be doing”. So, I think it has been interesting to see how people have adopted that and what’s nice about it, is that it adds a really nice human element to all this empirical data. Ivan Monroy Lopez [IM]: I wanted to ask you about the data, without getting too technical, could you explain how these data are structured, what do the log files look like? MT So the log files are all in XML, and generally we compress them, because they can get rather large. And the reason that they are rather large is that we are very verbose in our logging. We want to be completely transparent with respect to everything, so that if you have some doubts or if you have some questions about what kind of data has been collected, you should be able to look at the log file, and figure out a lot about what that data is. That’s how we designed the xml log files, and it was really driven by privacy concerns and by the desire to be transparent and open. On the server side we take that log file and we parse it out, and then we throw it into a database, so that we can query the data set. FS Now we are talking about privacy… I was impressed by the work you have done on this; the project is unusually clear about why certain things are logged, and other things not; mainly to prevent the possibility of 'playing back' actions so that one could identify individual users from the data set. So, while I understand there are privacy issues at stake I was wondering... what if you could look at the collected data as a kind of scripting for use? Writing a choreography that might be replayed later? MT Yes, we have been fairly conservative with the type of information that we collect, because this really is the first instance where anyone has captured such rich data about how people are using software on a day to day basis, and then made it all that data publicly available. When a company does this, they will keep the data internally, so you don’t have this risk of someone outside figuring something out about a user that wasn’t intended to be discovered. We have to deal with that risk, because we are trying to go about this in a very open and transparent way, which means that people may be able to subject our data to analysis or data mining techniques that we haven’t thought of and extract information that we didn’t intent to be recording in our file, but which is still there. So there are fairly sophisticated techniques where you can do things like look at audio recordings of typing and the timings between keystrokes, and then work backwards with the sounds made to figure out the keys that people are likely pressing. So, just with keyboard audio and keystroke timings alone you can often give enough information to be able to reconstruct what people are actually typing. So we are always sort of weary about how much information is in there. While it might be nice to be able to do something like record people’s actions and then share that script, I don’t think that that is really a good use of ingimp. That said, I think it is interesting to ask, could we characterize people’s use enough, so that we can start clustering groups of people together and then providing a forum for these people to meet and learn from one another? That’s something we haven’t worked out. I think we have enough work cut out for us right now just to characterize how the community is using it. FS It was not meant as a feature request, but as a way to imagine how usability research could flip around and also become productive work. MT Yes, totally. I think one of the things that we found when bringing people into to assess the basic usability of the ingimp software and ingimp website, is that people like looking at things like what commands other people are using, what the most frequently used commands are, and part of the reason that they like that, is because of what it teaches them about the application. So they might see a command they were unaware of. So we have toyed with the idea of then providing not only the command name, but then a link from that command name to the documentation – but I didn’t have time to implement it, but certainly there are possibilities like that, you can imagine. FS Maybe another group can figure something out like that? That’s the beauty of opening up your software plus data set of course. Well, just a bit more on what is logged and what not... Maybe you could explain where and why you put the limit and what kind of use you might miss out on as a result? MT I think it is important to keep in mind that whatever instrument you use to study people, you are going to have some kind of bias, you are going to get some information at the cost of other information. So if you do a video taped observation of a user and you just set up a camera, then you are not going to find details about the monitor maybe, or maybe you are not really seeing what their hands are doing. No matter what instrument you use, you are always getting a particular slice. I think you have to work backwards and ask what kind of things do you want to learn. And so the data that we collect right now, was really driven by what people have done in the past in the area of instrumentation, but also by us bringing people into the lab, observing them as they are using the application, and noticing particular behaviours and saying, hey, that seems to be interesting, so what kind of data could we collect to help us identify those kind of phenomena, or that kind of performance, or that kind of activity? So again, the data that we were collecting was driven by watching people, and figuring out what information will help us to identify these types of activities. As I’ve said, this is really the first project that is doing this, and we really need to make sure we don’t poison the well. So if it happens that we collect some bit of information, that then someone can later say, “Oh my gosh, here is the person’s file system, here are the names they are using for the files” or whatever, then it’s going to make the normal user population weary of downloading this type of instrumented application. This is the thing that concerns me most about open source developers jumping into this domain, is that they might not be thinking about how you could potentially impact privacy. IM I don’t know, I don’t want to get paranoid. But if you are doing it, then there is a possibility someone else will do it in a less considerate way. MT I think it is only a matter of time before people start doing this, because there are a lot of grumblings about, “we should be doing instrumentation, someone just needs to sit down and do it.” Now there is an extension out for Firefox that will collect this kind of data as well, so you know… IM Maybe users could talk with each other, and if they are aware that this type of monitoring could happen, then that would add a different social dimension… MT It could. I think it is a matter of awareness, really, so when we bring people into the lab and have them go to the ingimp website, download and install it and use it, and go check out the stats on the website, and then we ask questions like, what kind of data are we collecting? We have a lengthy concern agreement that details the type of information we are collecting and the ways your privacy could be impacted, but people don’t read it. FS So concretely... what information are you recording, and what information are you not recording? MT We record every command name that is applied to a document, to an image. Where your privacy is at risk with that, is that if you write a custom script, then that custom script’s name is going to be inserted into a log file. And so if you are working for example for Lucas or DreamWorks or something like that, or ILM, in some Hollywood movie studio and you are using ingimp and you are writing scripts, then you could have a script like “fixing Shrek’s beard”, and then that is getting put into the log file and then people are going to know that the studio uses ingimp. We collect command names, we collect things like what windows are on the screen, their positions, their sizes, we take hashes of layer names and file names. We take a string and then we create a hash code for it, and we also collect information about how long is this string, how many alphabetical characters, numbers, things like that, to get a sense of whether people are using the same files, the same layer names time and time again, and so on. But this is an instance where our first pass at this, actually left open the possibility of people taking those hashes and then reconstructing the original strings from that. Because we have the hash code, we have the length of the string, all you have to do is generate all possible strings of that length, take the hash codes and figure out which hashes match. And so we had to go back and create a new scheme for recording this type of information where we create a hash and we create a random number, we pair those up on the client machine but we only log the random number. So, from log to log then, we can track if people use the same image names, but we have no idea of what the original string was. There are these little gotches (“gotchas” – that means “things to look out for”) like that, that I don’t think most people are aware of, and this is why I get really concerned about instrumentation efforts right now, because there isn’t this body of experience of what kind of data should we collect, and what shouldn’t we collect. FS As we are talking about this, I am already more aware of what data I would allow to be collected. Do you think by opening up this data set and the transparent process of collecting and not collecting, this will help educate users about these kinds of risks? MT It might, but honestly I think probably the thing that will educate people the most is if there was a really large privacy error and that it got a lot of news, because then people would become more aware of it because right now – and this is not to say that we want that to happen with ingimp – but when we bring people in and we ask them about privacy, “Are you concerned about privacy?”, and they say “No”, and we say “Why?” Well, they inherently trust us, but the fact is that open source also lends a certain amount of trust to it, because they expect that since it is open source, the community will in some sense police it and identify potential flaws with it. FS Is that happening? Are you in dialogue with the Open Source community about this? MT No, I think probably five to ten people have looked at the ingimp code – realistically speaking I don’t think a lot of people looked at it. Some of the Gimp developers took a gander at it to see how could we put this upstream, but I don’t want it upstream, because I want it to always be an opt-in, so that it can’t be turned on by mistake. FS You mean you have to download ingimp and use it as a separate program? It functions in the same way as Gimp, but it makes the fact that it is a different tool very clear. MT Right. You are more aware, because you are making that choice to download that, compared to the regular version. There is this awareness about that. We have this lengthy text based consent agreement that talks about the data we collect, but less than two percent of the population reads license agreements. And, most of our users are actually non-native English speakers, so there are all these things that are working against us. So, for the past year we have really been focussing on privacy, not only in terms of how we collect the data, but how we make people aware of what the software does. We have been developing wordless diagrams to illustrate how the software functions, so that we don’t have to worry about localisation errors as much. And so we have these illustrations that show someone downloading ingimp, starting it up, a graph appears, there is a little icon of a mouse and a keyboard on the graph, and they type and you see the keyboard bar go up, and then at the end when they close the application, you see the data being sent to a web server. And then we show snapshots of them doing different things in the software, and then show a corresponding graph change. So, we developed these by bringing in both native and non-native speakers, having them look at the diagrams and then tell us what they meant. We had to go through about fifteen people and continual redesign until most people could understand and tell us what they meant, without giving them any help or prompts. So, this is an ongoing research effort, to come up with techniques that not only work for ingimp but also for other instrumentation efforts, so that people can become more aware of the implications. FS Can you say something about how this type of research relates to classic usability research and in particular to the usability work that is happening in Gimp? MT Instrumentation is not new, commercial software companies and researchers have been doing instrumentation for at least ten years, probably ten to twenty years. So, the idea is not new but what is new, in terms of the research aspects of this, is how do we do this in a way where we can make all the data open? The fact that you make the data open, really impacts your decision about the type of data you collect and how you are representing it. And you need to really inform people about what the software does. But I think your question is... how does it impact the Gimp’s usability process? Not at all, right now. But that is because we have intentionally been laying off to the side, until we got to the point where we had an infrastructure, where the entire community could really participate with the data analysis. We really want to have this to be a self-sustaining infrastructure, we don’t want to create a system where you have to rely on just one other person for this to work. IM What approach did you take in order to make this project self-sustainable? MT Collecting data is not hard. The challenge is to understand the data, and I don’t want to create a situation where the community is relying on only one person to do that kind of analysis, because this is dangerous for a number of reasons. First of all, you are creating a dependency on an external party, and that party might have other obligations and commitments, and might have to leave at some point. If that is the case, then you need to be able to pass the baton to someone else, even if that could take a considerate amount of time and so on. You also don’t want to have this external dependency, because of the richness in the data, you really need to have multiple people looking at it, and trying to understand and analyse it. So how are we addressing this? It is through this Stats Jam extension to the MediaWiki that I will introduce today. Our hope is that this type of tool will lower the barrier for the entire community to participate in the data analysis process, whether they are simply commenting on the analysis we made or taking the existing analysis, tweaking it to their own needs, or doing something brand new. In talking with members of the Gimp project here at the Libre Graphics Meeting, they started asking questions like, “So how many people are doing this, how many people are doing this and how many this?” They’ll ask me while we are sitting in a café, and I will be able to pop the database open and say, “A certain number of people have done this, or, “no one has actually used this tool at all.” The danger is that this data is very rich and nuanced, and you can’t really reduce these kind of questions to an answer of “N people do this”, you have to understand the larger context. You have to understand why they are doing it, why they are not doing it. So, the data helps to answer some questions, but it generates new questions. They give you some understanding of how the people are using it, but then it generates new questions of, Why is this the case? Is this because these are just the people using ingimp, or is this some more widespread phenomenon? They asked me yesterday how many people are using this colour picker tool – I can’t remember the exact name – so I looked and there was no record of it being used at all in my data set. So I asked them when did this come out, and they said, “Well it has been there at least since 2.4.” And then you look at my data set, and you notice that most of my users are in the 2.2 series, so that could be part of the reasons. Another reason could be, that they just don’t know that it is there, they don’t know how to use it and so on. So, I can answer the question, but then you have to sort of dig a bit deeper. FS You mean you can’t say that because it is not used, it doesn’t deserve any attention? MT Yes, you just can’t jump to conclusions like that, which is again why we want to have this community website, which shows the reasoning behind the analysis. Here are the steps we had to go through to get this result, so you can understand what that means, what the context means, because if you don’t have that context, then it’s sort of meaningless. It’s like asking, what are the most frequently used commands? This is something that people like to ask about. Well really, how do you interpret that? Is it the numbers of times it has been used across all log files? Is it the number of people that have used it? Is it the number of log files where it has been used at least once? There are lots and lots of ways in which you can interpret this question. So, you really need to approach this data analysis as a discourse, where you are saying, here are my assumptions, here is how I am getting to this conclusion, and this is what it means for this particular group of people. So again, I think it is dangerous if one person does that and you become to rely on that one person. We really want to have lots of people looking at it, and considering it, and thinking about the implications. FS Do you expect that this will impact the kind of interfaces that can be done for Gimp? MT I don’t necessarily think it is going to impact interface design, I see it really as a sort of reality check: this is how communities are using the software and now you can take that information and ask, do we want to better support these people or do we…For example on my data set, most people are working on relatively small images for short periods of time, the images typically have one or two layers, so they are not really complex images. So regarding your question, one of the things you can ask is, should we be creating a simple tool to meet these people’s needs? All the people are is just doing cropping and resizing, fairly common operations, so should we create a tool that strips away the rest of the stuff? Or, should we figure out why people are not using any other functionality, and then try to improve the usability of that? There are so many ways to use data I don’t really know how it is going to be used, but I know it doesn’t drive design. Design happens from a really good understanding of the users, the types of tasks they perform, the range of possible interface designs that are out there, lots of prototyping, evaluating those prototypes and so on. Our data set really is a small potential part of that process. You can say, well according to this data set, it doesn’t look like many people are using this feature, let’s not much focus too on that, let’s focus on these other features or conversely, let’s figure out why they are not using them…Or you might even look at things like how big their monitor resolutions are, and say well, given the size of the monitor resolution, maybe this particular design idea is not feasible. But I think it is going to complement the existing practices, in the best case. FS And do you see a difference in how interface design is done in free software projects, and in proprietary software? MT Well, I have been mostly involved in the research community, so I don’t have a lot of exposure to design projects. I mean, in my community we are always trying to look at generating new knowledge, and not necessarily at how to get a product out the door. So, the goals or objectives are certainly different. I think one of the dangers in your question is that you sort of lump a lot of different projects and project styles into one category of “Open Source”. “Open source” ranges from volunteer driven projects to corporate projects, where they are actually trying to make money out of it. There is a huge diversity of projects that are out there; there is a wide diversity of styles, there is as much diversity in the Open Source world as there is in the proprietary world. One thing you can probably say, is that for some projects that are completely volunteer driven like Gimp, they are resource strapped. There is more work than they can possibly tackle with the number of resources they have. That makes it very challenging to do interface design, I mean, when you look at interface code, it costs you 50 or 75 percent of a code base. That is not insignificant, it is very difficult to hack and you need to have lots of time and manpower to be able to do significant things. And that’s probably one of the biggest differences you see for the volunteer driven projects, it is really a labour of love for these people and so very often the new things interest them, whereas with a commercial software company developers are going to have to do things sometimes they don’t like, because that is what is going to sell the product. ]]>

Full exclusive rights in perpetuity

Wed, 08 Oct 2008 21:38:04 +0000

Hi, OSP. I found you on Open Font Library. I am building a website containing webmasters resources, and I'd like to have 3 original exclusive fonts that I can give away to members who join my site. I'd like to pay you to create 3 original fonts - are you willing? If you have 3 old fonts on your harddrive that you created and have not sold or given away to anyone else yet - then those might work as well. Anyway, email me or call me and let me know if you're interested. I can pay $75 per font. I want full exclusive rights in perpetuity. I'm contacting several different Open Font Library creators with this offer. All the best, xxx xxxxx ---- Dear xxx, I don't think you got the point. Our work, and the idea behind the Open Font Library project, is exactly the opposite of making money through selling "exclusive rights in perpetuity". We think our fonts are worth more than the $75 you are prepared to pay, so we create *Free Fonts* because we think that it is more valuable to share them with others and have them used, developed and distributed by everyone, anywhere, for every occasion. You could give them away to your members too, if you'd like to. Good luck with your website! OSP]]>

Software history mapping night

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 07:59:47 +0000

Wednesday 22 October 20:30-22:00 In a first attempt to draw a collaborative map of the many different tools that together define the practice of digital design, OSP attempts to recollect facts and anecdotes gathered over the last few years.
At Software history mapping night we'll gather around the table to start a visual cartography of design software. Fontlab, Fontforge, Pagemaker, Sodipodi or Ghostscript: When did it start? Who was involved? Where did it connect? We will live-broadcast the session from a central Brussels location and if you have stories to tell, facts to add or experiences to share, you are more than welcome to join the discussion through video stream and/or chat. [stream- and chat addresses announced on this site next week] ]]>

Le Sale Boulot with NotCourier

Tue, 14 Oct 2008 08:19:45 +0000

Excellent Brussels based graphic design studio collerettecocofilllsd just released a book called "Le Sale Boulot", from german Franco-Chilean artist Vladimir Cruells. Main font used is NotCourier we designed. We're proud! http://collerettecocofilllsd.com/blogblog/]]>

FLOSS+Art book launch party

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 20:18:33 +0000

The FLOSS+Art book (that we proudly were commissioned to design :) ) will be out this thursday at Mute Magazine HQ! Book preview, panel discussion and software party! Don't miss the opportunity to also check out the Libertinage font set we developed for this book: 26 variations of the Linux Libertine font! Which will be available here and there soon... Available HERE! Thursday 23 October / 18:30 - 20:30 Mute Magazine HQ The Whitechapel Centre 85 Myrdle Street London E1 1HL Long live free edition and free fonts!]]>

Tonight: SHMN (update)

Wed, 22 Oct 2008 08:23:45 +0000

The OSP's have gathered around their respective working tables in Brussels and Barcelona, to prepare Software History Mapping Night, tonight from 20:30 - 22:00 (GMT+1). For this occasion, Nicolas has created a rudimentary, quick, lo-tech collaborative mapping tool: http://www.ospublish.constantvzw.org/map http://www.ospublish.constantvzw.org/map/sandbox (crazy layers!)* In a SVG compliant browser (Firefox works but Opera is more stable), this tool displays the SVG files that have been uploaded to ospublish.constantvzw.org/map/svg. It does this in order of upload, and allows you to navigate layer by layer! We are drawing our map layers in Inkscape on A3 size, landscape (which is interpreted as 1488.19 x 1052.36 pixels for some reason). If you want to add a layer yourself, be sure to not flow text in a box (will result in a black rectangle). Select text>unflow in Inkscape. You'll also need to use webfonts (times, arial, georgia, verdana, courier etc.) To add files: upload them to map/svg (or to test use: map/sandbox/svg). Use this ftp info:
server: ospublish.constantvzw.org username: ospublish_map login: softhistmap
(The ftp access has now been disabled; if you want to contribute: e-mail us!) For a webcam view on our working table, view: http://www.giss.tv:8000/history.ogg Sorry, there is no sound. If you need help or want to stop by to say hello, we're all here: irc://freenode/softwarehistory OSP is looking forward to your layers! *More about what, how and why in this post.]]>

New Arrival

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 08:42:06 +0000

Just arrived from the printer: Routes + Routines, a booklet designed by OSP's Yi Jiang and Ludivine Loiseau documenting Peter Westenberg's Hasseltse Netwerkwandelingen.]]>

SHMN (Inkboard)

Sun, 26 Oct 2008 18:55:26 +0000

thread where people get all excited over it, and manage to bring down a server as a result :-) It's hard not to get overexcited over tools that have collaboration built into them. They give rise to book covers that I'll repost again&again, and to LAN parties, like last week's Software History Mapping Night. Strange, that the tech back kitchen for this was also about software history. As far as I could tell, Inkboard isn't part of Inkscape's lifeline at the moment. Nothing wrong with that. This was a constraint that Nicolas answered with very nice php. Inkscape compiles fine with Inkboard support in both Ubuntu and Gentoo. We have been able to see the extra menu between Effects and Help: We have been chatting away with the Pedro XMPP client, but we have not been able to share and work on a common SVG document, which was one of the ideas for the SHMN. Another idea: collaboration is not entirely in the tools :) In Gentoo the Inkboard useflag is called jabber, and this is the recipe for compiling Inkscape with Inkboard support (and other things) in Ubuntu.]]>

Designing with LaTeX

Tue, 28 Oct 2008 08:28:21 +0000

Designing with TeX: episode I OSP is currently working on a book containing essays, interviews and images following from the Constant festival/seminar Tracks in electronic fields and we are laying it out in LaTeX! LaTeX is a tool developed in the context of academic publishing, specifically for technical or scientific documents. It combines markup à la CSS with powerful algorithms automatizing widow / orphan control and intelligent image placement. We've grown more and more interested in LaTeX because it is specifically developed for typographically sane paper publications, and as far as you can get from regular canvas-based typesetting. We are also curious to experience from up close the sophisticated typographic system developed by Donald Knuth. How will we be able to design with LaTeX? Will we need to change our workflow? Space for experiment and playing around? Can we use the design patterns built in to the tool, in another context? Will the book 'look-and-feel' like a scientific publication in the end?
There are several reasons to want to know the definitions of LaTeX commands: from the simplest “idle curiosity”, to the pressing need to patch something to make it “work the way you want it”. None of these are pure motives, but knowledge and expertise seldom arrive through the purest of motives. http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=ltxcmds
Installing fonts in LaTEX has the name of being a very hard task to accomplish. But it is nothing more than following instructions. However, the problem is that, first, the proper instructions have to be found and, second, the instructions then have to be read and understood. http://www.ntg.nl/maps/29/13.pdf
Ivan and Pierre are the OSP's to take the first plunge. Ivan has tetex installed on his Gentoo system, and Pierre texlive on Ubuntu. Getting the Belgian-French Azerty keyboard working was not easy, and also installing other fonts than the default took some time. But once done, they are quickly producing those typical academic standard publications from OpenOffice documents, though this time with quite a different kind of content. The book is planned to come out before the end of this years so we will report back with more concrete design samples soon.]]>

A pièce of coin

Fri, 31 Oct 2008 10:57:29 +0000

The hard and well documented work of a Dutch Belgian Python artist and designer - Stani - to produce a coin devoted to Dutch contemporary architecture, using only floss. The stroke font he design for it is simply beautiful (currently no info on availability). Via Dave's understanding blog.]]>

Awkward Gestures

Sun, 02 Nov 2008 19:40:37 +0000

The Mag.net reader 3: Processual Publishing. Actual Gestures, edited by Alessandro Ludovico and Nat Muller. From the introduction: "a radical change is to be detected between the lines: publishing on paper is not about rigorously selling and distributing content to a specific target readership. It is more a 'gesture' that creates a space of intimacy between the publisher/editor and the reader.This space of intimacy is definitely a 'physical' one" Download the publication in PDF or order a paper copy here: http://www.moreismore.net/en/magnet-reader-3-processual-publishing-actual
OSP is included in the chapter Hacktivist Publishing with Awkward Gestures, designing with Free Software: "While a familiar gesture is one that fits perfectly well in a generally accepted model, an awkward gesture is a movement that is not completely synchronic. It’s not a counter-movement, nor a break from the norm; it doesn’t exist outside of the pattern, nor completely in it. Just as a moiré effect reveals the presence of a grid, awkward behaviour can lead to a state of increased awareness; a form of productive insecurity" Download the text here: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/wp-content/uploads/awkward_gestures.pdf]]>


Sun, 02 Nov 2008 22:03:35 +0000

Open Font Library for several days. We built Libertinage by copying and pasting parts of Linux Libertine glyphs or simply by all-turning glyphs. There are 27 variations, one for each latin letter in the alphabet + the 'Full' version, containing all modifications. Un petit goût nonante. ]]>

What is in a name

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 11:34:54 +0000

Rob Myers text 'Open Source Art Again' makes me bring it up here:
The name Open Source was deliberately chosen for its meaninglessness and ideological vacuity. This was intended to make the results of a very strong ideology more palatable to large corporations by disguising its origins. That ideology is Free Software. ((Rob Myers, Open Source Art Again, 2006 http://www.robmyers.org/weblog/2006/09/19/open-source-art-again/ (Find an extended version of this text in FLOSS+Art, GOTO10, 2008) ))
When we started OSP in 2006, we were only vaguely aware of the many cultures within F/LOSS and merely interested in the idea of Open Source because it felt as an invitation to "open up your sources". We were trying to re-do design practice, and that seemed a good place to start. For us, however confused our understanding might have been at the time, Open Source was an inspiring thought that went much further than what software we used under which license. At this point I would say we are most of all interested in the generative and generous 'four freedoms' that form the core of Free Software and try to imaginatively apply them to design. I guess you could describe what we do as a creative version of Free Culture activism, although also that term is not without confusion.
The representational freedom of artists, part of which is the freedom to depict and build or comment on existing culture, to continue the conversation of culture, is the freedom of art. ((idem))
Which might explain why we replaced our full name by the acronym 'OSP' in the blog header, why we prefer the Free Art License over more neutrally formulated Creative Commons Licenses and if you've followed this site for a while, you must have noticed that we slowly became more careful about using the terms 'F/LOSS' and 'Free Software' rather than 'Open Source'. We understand why the difference between Free Software and Open Source Software matters and are grateful for the relentless energy of people around us to make the difference clear. But besides the fact that our lateral kind of practice does not really work from a clear cut definition, Free Software thinking poses problems when you try to extend it to a larger domain than just software. It tends to want to separate the 'useful' from the 'artistic' expression (what does that mean for design?), and in general it does not go well with non-digital objects. Interesting problems, but we're not sure what to think about all this yet. So, after all, for now, we decided to stick to our initial name: Open Source Publishing!]]>

The most useful book

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 14:39:42 +0000

Nous sommes heureux de vous inviter à la présentation du livre collectif : - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vomit' can ich i'neun dî'neun? en quoi puis-je vous etre utile? - - - - - - - - - - - - - qui accompagne l'exposition - - - - - - - - - - - - - Les 86 livres les plus utiles - pour nous The 86 most useful books - for us - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vendredi 7 Novembre 2008 15:00 Patio - Abbaye de La Cambre Bruxelles - - - - - - - - - - - - - Il y aura nous, le livre, l'exposition, un drink et plein plein de trucs. On pourra y apprendre à peler un oeuf avec une fourchette, gagner 1000 euros avec une photographie, faire du feu, être invisible, rester éveillé sans café, et plein encore! Tirage ultra limité prévu à 46 exemplaires, sans luxe ni détours, mais super beaux, et surtout bien utiles. - - - - - - - - - - - - - Vomit' can ich i'neun dî'neun? est un livre réalisé collectivement entre le 3 et le 7 Novembre 2008, dans l'atelier de typographie de La Cambre, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels, dans le cadre du CASO Livre. ------------ Starring ------------ Espace Urbain: Cecile Vandernoot Larissa Vanhee Sculpture: Marion Fabien Cyril Verde Laure de Selys Dessin: Gabrielle Weissen Szymon Dabrowski Photo: Maxime Brygo Candice Cellier Ludivine Sibelle Typographie: Aude Metz Chloé Vargos Pauline Gervasoni Elise Borel Mathilde Boucher Kevin Cocquio Design industriel: Julien Beutter L'assistant: Harrisson = = = = = = = Logiciels utilisés pour la réalisation de cet ouvrage: Ubuntu 7.10 - Xsane Image Scanner - Gimp - Open Office - Gthumb Mac OsX, OsX86 - Text Edit - Photoshop CS3 - Indesign CS3 Appareil photos: - Lumix X10 - Nikon D1X - Canon G9 - Polaroid Scanner: Canon CanoScan 1240U Papier: Offset de photocopie de base 80g Clairefontaine Trophée 80g Fardes récupérées Imprimante: Canon LBP 810 Fontes: Spectrum 1959 Not Courier Sans (http://openfontlibrary.org/media/files/OSP/309) Impression des couvertures sur une presse épreuve FAG Control 625 = = = = = = = = Le Maurice: Pour 1 litre de Maurice: Faire mariner pendant 12h au frais, dans 1.5l de thé vert infusé 3mn: 1 verre de sucre brun 4 citrons pressés 1 botte de menthe 150g de gingembre coupé très fin. Servir en base/sirop avec de la bière, de l'eau pétillante ou du vin blanc. = = = = = = = = ]]>

Semiotics of the Kitchen Radio (update)

Wed, 12 Nov 2008 09:00:05 +0000

Saturday November 15, 15:00 (doors open: 14:30) Live broadcast from FoAM, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34 Brussels Listen on-line: http://www.constantvzw.be:8000/kitchen.ogg Emission en Français + English Studio audience welcome! As part of the ongoing series Verbindingen/Jonctions 11, OSP prepares a live radio broadcast in the FoAM Open Kitchen. Experimenting with the displacement of multi sensory experiences, we'll think out loud about the preparation and distribution of food as metaphor, structure, vocabulary and rhythm. Download playlist here Yi Jiang serves us black and green tea with fitting accompaniments while we listen to: an interview with artist Kate Rich about cooking and trade, a conversation with Nicolas Malevé about Cake PHP frameworks and other recipes, a reportage on Colruyt computer systems, Christophe Piette (R.O.T) playing kitchen sounds, Ivan Monroy Lopez performing his essay on man pages and manuals, a text-to-speech cookbook, pickles from Anderlecht, 'Comédie de moeurs' (readings by Rachelle Sassi) and of course a mouthwatering playlist. Martha Rosler, Semiotics of the Kitchen, 7" (1975), CakePHP logo, Pickles et Frères, Pickles from Anderlecht (2008), Kate Rich & Kayle Brandon, Cube-Cola Poster Land (2006) ]]>

Views from the kitchen

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 11:53:50 +0000

Recorded in FoAM's Open Kitchen, 15 November 2008. Sounds (raw!): http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/documents/sound/kitchen Playlist & credits: conduite.pdf Images: Peter Westenberg: http://gallery.constantvzw.org/main.php?g2_itemId=22398 (Free Art License) Alex Davies: http://flickr.com/photos/alexdavies/sets/72157609143437321/ (All rights reserved)]]>

Interesting questions

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 09:52:28 +0000

Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht (NL)? Extrastatecraft, a project led by Keller Easterling asks interesting questions about the relation between protocol and practice. The JvE offers great facilities (including financial support) for extra-academic research and with the appointment of Florian Schneider as 'advising researcher', the design department might be ready for your F/LOSS energy. "How do organizations like the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or McKinsey determine management protocols? How do construction networks, more than the singular creations of architects and urbanists, disseminate materials and processes that determine how the world is calibrated? How do markets and financial instruments create templates that shape space?" Only a few more days left to apply! ]]>


Mon, 01 Dec 2008 15:35:00 +0000

Wishing you (OpenOffice, Ubuntu, Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Debian, Scribus, Creative Commons, One Laptop per Child, Open Clip Art, DejaVu project, Open Font Library or any other F/LOSS or Open Content project) were here, at the European Ministerial e-Inclusion Conference ... [caption id="attachment_1552" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Sir Tim Berners Lee addresses the audience in a videomessage"]Sir Tim Berners Lee addressing the audience in a videomessage[/caption] ]]>

OSP in 75

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 15:28:26 +0000

OSP is invited for a workshop day at 75 school, in Woluwe, Brussels. Wednesday 17 December. Music playlisting, video browsing, recipes printing, font remixing and pancake making. ]]>

Free Magenta!

Mon, 15 Dec 2008 11:35:21 +0000

Qu'attend-on pour libérer le magenta ? A very good article by Pascal Riché on the website of rue89 on how the trademark law makes it possible for companies to own a color for a specific commercial field.
Autrement dit, si vous voulez repeindre votre maison en magenta (appelé ainsi à cause de la bataille du même nom), pas de souci; en revanche, si vous utilisez cette couleur pour un usage qui se rapproche de près ou de loin à la téléphonie, Deutsche Telekom peut mettre ses avocats à vos trousses.
Spotted via Calcyum, thanks. ]]>

The Official Scribus Manual

Mon, 29 Dec 2008 22:52:59 +0000

Just out and hopefully in the post soon: The Official Scribus Manual! For less than 30 euros, we ordered ourselves 438 pages of printed documentation, examples and other invaluable info. And at least €12 from each copy goes towards the Scribus project. Get yours here: http://www.flesbooks.com/scribus1.3manual/

OSP wishes you a happy new year

Fri, 02 Jan 2009 12:46:34 +0000


The Fernand Baudin Prize 2008

Fri, 02 Jan 2009 13:18:59 +0000

“The Fernand Baudin Prize” has been initiated by several graphic artists-teachers who work in the book world. The prize is supported by Brussels-Export. The principle aim of this initiative is to encourage the creation of the contemporary book in the Brussels-Capital region by honouring the most beautiful books. It is also intended to bring this creativity to the notice of a wide public and give it an international dimension through an exhibition and a catalogue which will be distributed abroad. Belgium and particularly the Brussels-Capital region have undeniable roots in the tradition of the book. This know-how, which has been under-valued compared to that of its Dutch, Swiss or German neighbours (who, for a long time, have honoured their books), will now come to the fore on the international scene through the existence of a prize which will support its innovations and its creators. Participants The following may participate: 1) Graphic artists (workshops, design bureaux etc. are also admitted) 2) Publishers 3) Printers and/or book-binders 4) Artists Rules and application form OSP is part of this competition (and has been commissionned to create the FBP logo ;) )]]>

Palais Châlet

Fri, 02 Jan 2009 15:18:01 +0000

16 Janvier Liège, Belgium Palais Châlet spécial de soutien - Révérberations Touchantes - With Live Bruno Coeurvert Pierre Normal Dj's JB from Paris, Athome, Atka, Le Caniche Noir, Le Diamant Tendre 20h, Rue chauve-souris 62, Liège, 2 euros. Feel welcome to spend this lovely, romantic and supporting night. Where OSP crew meet, where they party, where they hear their favorite music, and where they they dance. This party is a support to the 11nth of November arrested people. "L’arrestation et l’inculpation le 11 novembre de neuf personnes, sous couvert de lois d’exception, terrorisantes, qui semblent n’avoir d’autre raison que de maintenir, par la violence, au pouvoir ceux qui les ont mis en place, nous concerne tous." Link to the support comitees]]>

Linux Limousine

Mon, 05 Jan 2009 17:42:29 +0000

We're currently working on a poster for the support comittees for the nine people accused of “criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity". They were arrested the 11th of november 2008, in France, and 2 of them are still in jail. They and others are the victims of a witch-hunt in which the word “terrorism” is applied to any ideas and practices which challenge the status quo. An international movement is emerging in their support. For the poster, we re-mixed an open font, the Free Sans (think of Free Avec ;) as Pierre might say) from Free UCS Outline Fonts. Even if the license is a bit unclear:
From FreeSans font: Copyleft 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 Free Software Foundation.
We did a version with A, R, a, and t glyph modified. The general aspect of the font completly changed. There's only the regular weight yet, but other may follow. Other versions as well... Those "terrorists" were arrested in the Goutaillou Farm, in Tarnac, Corrèze. Corrèze is part of the Limousin region. This is why we called it Limousine. It is also referred to the Limousine car, or limo, which may come from this etymology:
Le nom limousine viendrait du Limousin, la région de Limoges, dont les habitants portaient une vaste pélerine pour se protéger de la pluie, ou en référence à Charles Jeantaud, né à Limoges (1843-1906), l'inventeur de ce type de carrosserie appliquée aux premières voitures confortables. L'origine la plus probable est celle du véhicule hippomobile appelé limousine.
We hope they'll go free soon. Site of the US support committee for the Tarnac 9 Site des comités de support]]>

Logo Galore

Sat, 10 Jan 2009 10:49:51 +0000

Logo for Le Vecteur Cultural space in Charleroi city Button version: This logo that can be adapted in multiform patterns: = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Logo for The Fernand Baudin Prize Submit!!! = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Logo for Parallellipeda Parallellipeda will be an exhibition on Art and Science, which will occur in Leuven next year, curated by Edith Doove, ed.project For that, we developped an abstract font that creates 3D "cubic" patterns: A second abstract font is under construction. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =]]>

Unimaginable tools

Fri, 23 Jan 2009 11:06:57 +0000

ol5196998m-m1"Only rarely, if indeed ever, are a tool and an altogether original job it is to do, invented together. Tools as symbols, however, invite their imaginative displacements into other than their original contexts. In their new frames of reference, that is, as new symbols in an already established imaginative calculus, they may themselves be transformed, and may even transform the originally prescriptive calculus. These transformations may, in turn, create entirely new problems which then engender the invention of hitherto literally unimaginable tools"
Joseph Weizenbaum. Computer power and human reason: from judgment to calculation. MIT, 1976 ]]>

Edit: Norms, formats and supports

Sun, 25 Jan 2009 13:45:31 +0000

5 to 7 March, Bordeaux We're preparing a journey to Bordeaux, France where OSP will contribute to the conference Edit: Norms, formats and supports with a workshop and a lecture. editFrom the conference description: "Signs and pictograms which organize the flow of movement in cities and towns according to graphic “pie charts” and other diagrams, which serve to guide political decisions and economic diagnoses – a multitude of visual norms which are ignored and “invisible” and have been chosen by some unknown person at some arbitrary time – control and direct our daily lives. Only when new supports appear (on internet in particular) is our attention drawn to this world of norms and codes which generally remain unquestioned. Why?" Other participants include: Ruedi Baur, Bruno Latour, Edward Tufte, Robin Kinross, Steve Rushton and Norm. More info at: http://www.rosab.net/edit]]>


Sun, 01 Feb 2009 17:49:16 +0000

Our friend and Dj Athome just recieved a new logotype for his inspiring radioshow. We asked artist ROGER3000 to do calligraphy for. Rough, spontaneous and good style ;) Digitalisation using XSane Image Scanner, and image correction in Gimp. BIS-ARTSHAKER is being played by DJ ATHOME aka HOPHEAD and guests every wednesday 20:30-22:00 at Radio Panik 105.4 fm (Bruxelles) since 1997. You can listen to it each week on STREAMING or download the current radio shows. www.radiopanik.org]]>

Feature or bug?

Wed, 04 Feb 2009 12:04:17 +0000

The FLOSS+Art book is finally rolling off the print-on-demand press and in the spirit of the kinds of practices described in the book, GOTO10 distributes our 'source files' as a bittorrent: ((You can order a printed copy of the FLOSS+Art book here: http://www.metamute.org/en/shop/floss_art or download the pdf + sourcefiles as a bittorent: http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4671426/FLOSS_Art_v1.1))
Rather than just providing a “free” PDF, FLOSS+Art.v1.1.eBook-GOTO10 is also available and contains all the Fonts, Images, PDF and Scribus source files that were used to make the book. Feel free to branch a translation or fork the chapters!
In that same spirit, an OSP-friend sent us a design-bug-report:
In the .pdf version, the Libertinage fonts are only appearing for the 14 first pages. From then on, it is something like Times New Roman. However, the fonts for the "footnotes" remain the same throughout the book. This thing happened with "Evince" and the "Acrobat Reader" on my linux, and I thought that maybe my computer was too slow or hadn't enough memory... I asked someone to check under Mac OSX, same thing. Finally, I got the .pdf printed at copy-shop (Windows) and it happened also.
The font-issue he is experiencing, is luckily not a technical problem ((Even if we at OSP try to reserve the right to make mistakes, it would have been sad to discover a technical mix up after having gone through an already rather painful production process. We had misunderstood the way RGB / CMYK conversion works in Scribus, and some texts in the first version of the book had come out in 97% grey instead of full black.)) but might be a design version of the "feature-not-a-bug" phenomenon. For the FLOSS+Art book, Harrisson and Ludivine created Libertinage ((The font is included with the design source files, and also available from the open font library: http://openfontlibrary.org/media/files/OSP/322)), 27 different variations on the free software font Linux Libertine. Linux Libertine was designed to be used in place of staple-font Times New Roman, so it is not surprising that it looks & feels more or less the same: ((http://linuxlibertine.sourceforge.net/Libertine-EN.html)) libertinagevstimes_th Times New Roman (top) vs. Linux Libertine ((Instead of the usual The Quick Brown Fox jumped over the lazy dog, this text on silk pyjamas is used in Scribus Font Preview. http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/type/woven-silk-pyjamas-exchanged-for-blue-quartz)) Each text in the FLOSS+Art book has been typeset in another version of Libertinage. The A-Z versions are subtle derivations; in each version only one letter of the alphabet has been altered. For the introduction (which ends on page 14!) and footnotes, we used Libertinage Full, the most extravagant of all 27 variations. I wished I had a nicer type specimen to show you those transformations, but you get the point: libertinage_th Libertinage Full and Libertinage A-E. In Libertinage Full, each letter of Linux Libertine has been transformed and functions as an index to the A-Z variations. As The New Hackers Dictionary explains, "a bug can be turned into a feature simply by documenting it". ((http://www.jargon.net/jargonfile/b/bug.html)) Now the question remains whether it is a design bug or a design feature, that the difference between a text typeset in Libertinage A and one typeset in Libertinage B is easily overlooked?]]>

Call for participation: Useless Tools

Thu, 12 Feb 2009 22:08:50 +0000

+ + + + + + + + + + + + 6612411 Museums narrate the history of man’s evolution through the display of tools (silex, knife, jar, etc.). In contrast, we are looking for useless tools. This call will result in a vitrine of objects titled 'Object Inutile' to be displayed at the Musée de Préhistoire in France (late Spring 2009) and the Thompson Gallery at San José State University, U.S.A. (Fall 2009). Along with the objects will be an audio-guide that describes and explains each object in its owners’ words. This project is one display within a larger exhibition titled 'Early Man On a Modern Road' by Dore Bowen and Isabelle Massu. The exhibition is coordinated with the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of the Origin of Species. You can consult our website for more information on the full exhibition at http://www.aux2mondes.org/earlyman CALL FOR PARTICIPATION Email us a picture of your useless tool and a description based upon these questions. Send to isa@aux2mondes.org. We will contact you if your object is selected.
  1. What is your useless tool called?
  2. When was it made?
  3. What is it supposed to do?
  4. Why do you think it is useless?
  5. If you like, add a personal story about the object.
THE CONCEPT OF USELESS TOOLS 1) We are not necessarily looking for tools that don’t work or that time has passed by; we are looking for tools that you find to be useless. Tools suggest that a certain activity has value. When you define a tool as useless you are defining its activity as useless. (A clock, for instance, is for coordinating activities with other human beings. To find a clock unuseful is to find timeliness, precision, and sociability unuseful.) [For a theoretical discussion concerning the phenomenology of useless tools in Fluxus art see the essay "The Function of Dysfunction" 2) In addition to value, useless tools are related to consumerism. Over the past half-century machines have been produced to fulfill all sorts of unnecessary functions, or to fulfill necessary functions but without precision. The egg topper scissors is a good example (see image above). This tool was produced to facilitate the breaking of the top of an egg. Most people break the top of an egg with a knife and still do. Why the production of such useless tools? Since most consumers have all the tools necessary to live, capitalism produces weird and sometimes wonderful tools that are, essentially, useless. 3) And finally, tools (and their related values) are associated with class. Presumably, the working class man knows about cars, the middle class woman about specialty cookware, and the upper class businessman about fine watches. In France a signature middle class tool is the pince a sucre, a device to pick up sugar cubes without using the hands. It is essentially unnecessary as a tool (it’s easier to pick up sugar cubes with the hands) but it marks a certain disdain for manual labor and the body, and thus is a symbol of middle class cleanliness and propriety. To find this tool useless means that you find its class values useless. Such a choice acts as commentary and critique on class. 4) How does the idea of useless tools relate to the larger theme of the exhibition—Darwin’s theory of evolution? Related to the idea of unuseful tools is the notion of evolutionary maladaptation. When a behavior is no longer adaptive it is called 'maladaptive'. Wikipedia notes that maladaptation can "signify an adaptation that, whilst reasonable at the time, has become less and less suitable and more of a problem or hindrance in its own right." Useless tools can help us to understand maladaptation as they testify to traits or behaviors that we no longer considered valuable. In 1859 Darwin wrote in the Origin of Species, "We see beautiful adaptations everywhere and in every part of the organic world." In its failure to perform as expected, the useless tool makes awkward maladaptations visible as well. + + + + + + + + + + + +

Lions and tulips

Wed, 18 Feb 2009 09:53:21 +0000

Designing with TeX: episode II "Users only need to learn a few easy-to-understand commands that specify the logical structure of a document". If only we had sooner understood that user here is writer, not designer, we might have given up earlier. The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2 goes on to explain: "They almost never need to tinker with the actual layout of the document" ((The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX2 in 141 minutes; by Tobias Oetiker; Hubert Partl, Irene Hyna and Elisabeth Schlegl; Version 4.26, September 25, 2008)). tex_lion1tulips-3001 'Funny' lions (TeX and LaTeX) and digital tulips (ConTeXt) It is harder than we imagined, to start from scratch. How on earth does one change a font? How to work across packages? Marking up a LaTex document does resemble working with CSS or HTML, but only slightly. Each command, each tag is particular to the magnificent world of LaTeX itself. Many times we meet the paternalist humor of TeX's father, as it has infected the whole TeX community it seems. We learn to understand the tong-in-cheek concept of 'badness' (depending on the tension put on hyphenated paragraphs, compiling a .tex document produces 'badness' for each block on a scale from 0 to 10.000), and a long history of wonderful but often incoherent layers of development, that envelope the mysterious lasagna beauty of TeX's typographic algorithms. One day we will try to draw you that on the map. But however exciting to designers like us, LaTeX does resist anything that shifts it's model of 'book', 'article' or 'thesis'. Fit for academic publishing but too tight for the kind of publication we'd like Verbindingen/Jonctions 10 to be: multilingual, multi-format, multi-layered. Small changes can be made without much trouble, but major ones (try for example to combine a custom paper size AND change the display of headers simultaneously) explode the document beyond repair. At the point we are ready to give up, we remember Pierre Marchand's comment to our earlier post. Following his advice, we finally decide to try out ConTeXt, another 'macro package' that uses the TeX engine. "While LaTeX insulates the writer from typographical details, ConTeXt takes a complementary approach by providing structured interfaces for handling typography, including extensive support for colors, backgrounds, hyperlinks, presentations, figure-text integration, and conditional compilation" ((http://wiki.contextgarden.net/What_is_ConTeXt)). This could be what we were looking for. ConTeXt was developed in the 1990's by a Dutch company specialised in 'Advanced Document Engineering'. They needed to produce complex educational materials and workplace manuals and came up with this interface to TeX. "The development was purely driven by demand and configurability, and this meant that we could optimize most workflows that involved text editing." ((http://www.tug.org/interviews/interview-files/hans-hagen.html)) However frustrating it is to re-learn yet another type of markup (even if all two are based on the same TeX language, none of the LaTeX commands works in ConTeXt and vice versa), many of the things that in LaTeX we could only achieve by means of 'hack', now are built in and readily available. There are plenty of questions, bugs and dark areas still but we breath again. We're in the middle now of typesetting the book we've been working on for so long, so it is a bit early to know whether we will succeed in the end. To be continued!]]>

Rien a envier!

Thu, 19 Feb 2009 16:47:37 +0000

Enfin! FLOSS+Art Book is Launched! Damn it looks good! p1080853 p1080861 Print is nice, typographic grid kicks, and "n'a rien a envier" to proprietary software book production. The 26 libertinage fonts work very well combined with NotCourier. Fidget letterines enhance. Dynamic layout, good rythm from start to end. Not boring visually for a text book. We're very very proud! Small step for printing, big step for open design!]]>

Open Revival

Mon, 23 Feb 2009 20:55:34 +0000

"With the written word an absolute fundamental component of daily communication, typography and fonts are vital to providing aesthetic harmony and legibility to our textual works. There are thousands of fonts available, of which only a small number are useful or any good for setting vast quantities of text, and of which an even smaller number are available to be freely distributed and shared." The Open Baskerville project is an attempt to collaboratively re-create a high quality revival of Baskerville, ultimately available under an Open Font License or GPL. The project has an issue tracker and all font source files are available via a repository. You can add a missing glyph or adjust the kerning; the site at http://klepas.org/openbaskerville/ explains in detail how this works, and why the initiators ended up using the 1913 Stephenson, Blake specimen. A suivre! Thanks nitrofurano for reminding us :-)]]>

GRRRR - objectivity of the unperfect,

Tue, 24 Feb 2009 09:35:59 +0000

K-SET website, I found the link to swiss drawing artist GRRRR website I was looking for a long time. Though I'm fan for a long time of his work, from Maika 2 (www.noraduester.net => music) record sleeve to Vitra 2006 catalogue, I hardly found traces of his activity. (GRRRR - 4 Rs - is not an easy keyword for google search! ). sea_perseus pelle Impressive urban landscapes, where structure, destruction and chaos are harmoniously gathered through organic black lines. Between meditative observation, and witnessing nervous and versatile urban activity, GRRRR works oscillate between ligne claire and expressionism, linking harmony and defaults... maika2 Drawings also express a web cultural background infused with squats, human photocamera and alternative comics. Those images are the humble wanderer and patient retranscription of unspectacular scenes, half molded by human hands, half by traces of complexity of nature. If drawings shows industrial objects, it is with the defaults of the human hand. If they show human construction, it is with long and patient observation and retranscription of its activity. grrr1 I was surprised to find digital version of his illustrations, where crude pixelated treatment to drawing emphases radicaly and harmoniously his drawing style. Moreover, animated movies and music videos testimonates of a serious activity, out of the boundaries of inked paper. The GRRRR link page was also a good surprise. Among others, there are links to few open source applications we're used to play with, such as Gimp, Inkscape and so on... Curiosity convinced me to go over shyness, and contact him, though I'm not use to such intrusive behavior... After an exchange of few emails, GRRRR kindly accepted to give a little interview. Here it is. = = = = = = - May you introduce your work? i do drawings: i start my work with pen, paper and a nice spot for a little rest and to have a seat... then my goal is to fill the very last corner of that sheet of paper with observations my surroundings, these drawings later evolve into murals, picturebooks, animations and other media. i started with comics which lead me into drawing on the street to have any backgrounds for the stories, this than turned into a large collection of "urban-landscape"-drawings from where i started a research in density/patterns/"bildrauschen" which will lead into...? ...and very soon after i self-published comics i began to put my work on the internet (see www.GRRRR.net), i really like the anarchistic, self-expressive and low-cost aspect of this worldwide network and update my website regularly. - What is the background you're coming from? i have been raised lowerclass by my single mother but in switzerland - quite a rich country, so im more like from the middleclass... and then came comics, squats, artschool, internet, extensive travelling, artmarket... right now im high on books ;)... - How did you get into open source softwares? out of curiosity, because open-source belongs to everyone and the best things in life are free... :) - Did the use of open source softwares changed the way you work? Not directly, but its generally better to work with open structures, when i started publishing on the net i also thought about using (at that time still proprietary) flash-graphics, but vectors didn't fit my drawings, i much prefered the pixelated gifs and pngs, and the HTML-structure proofed to be much more extendable, cross-platform-friendly and able to stand the time... i was about to learn linux but then mac went unix too and i got lazy ;)... i work on mac os x, with programs like: gimp cyberduck firefox vlc mpeg streamclip scribus neooffice burn pure data extended gawker copernikus posterazor - Why do you consider FLOSS softwares more appropriate to your practice than commercial ones? 1. free of charge, you pay what you want/can... 2. it is public property, i love public space in general... - Is it a problem to use those softwares compared to print workflow or standards? yes and no; as artist i try to do things differently, some disadvantages can turn out to be inputs for new ideas... but till now i haven't found an opensource-program for my animation-work, so I still have to this with an old apple-software... - Do you know other artists or designers working with FLOSS? just a few, generally its only those creative people that come from the conceptual, the computer-programing side who are into linux and opensource... visual designers working on macs don't care, for example they're too lazy to install first x11 and then the gimp etc... though its really not that complicated: i just managed to install scribus with fink :) (though my first attempt, installing it through macports failed...) all you need is an internet-connection, a little time but most important: curiosity! ingo_giezendanner]]>

Tales of Interrogated Type (Parallel Publishing)

Mon, 02 Mar 2009 00:26:43 +0000

View Larger Map OSP is preparing for a long drive: Pierre, Yi, Ivan and Femke leave Brussels Tuesday morning to be later joined by another Pierre (our special guest), Harrisson and Ludivine (now in Paris producing a tape/vinyl version of their worldmap for Cinéma du Réel), in Bordeaux. There we'll meet an interdisciplinary team of students and work on a series of small publications in response to the conference 'Edit! norms, formats, supports'. Workshop description

Tales of Interrogated Type (Parallel Publishing)

In the publishing business, the term 'parallel publishing' is used to describe the production of the same content or information in more than one medium (typically paper and screen). In this workshop, OSP would like to test out how to work collaboratively on a document that is produced simultaneous with a conference, and how its content might change in the transformation from live event to publication. Together with participating students, we will set up a temporary workspace (virtual and physical) from where we can respond to themes brought up in the conference. As a point of departure, we will bring with us some of our favourite anecdotes about the creation, production and distribution of 'engineered' typography. During the workshop we would like to gather a collection of stories and tales that interrogate the practice of norms, formats and supports. Performative exercises, experiments, interviews and visual comments will be gathered in small publications, launched every conference day. with:
  • Pierre Huyghebaert (BE; typographer, designer, cartographer)
  • Yi Jiang (BE/CN; designer, illustrator)
  • Ivan Monroy Lopez (NL/MEX; mathematician, programmer, writer)
  • Femke Snelting (BE/NL; designer, artist)
  • Pierre Marchand (FR; programmer, typographer)
  • Harrisson (BE/FR; designer)
  • Ludivine Loiseau (BE/FR; typographer, designer)
  • Nicolas Malevé (ES/BE; programmer, data activist)
  • ]]>

parallel publishing I

Thu, 05 Mar 2009 14:05:32 +0000

bordeaux, we decided to collectively re-enact an esther ferrer performance. this is a youtube that gives an idea of her movements. with this as starting point, we drew our own paths in the capc... ferrer_edit1 ferrer_edit0]]>

parallel publishing II

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 10:06:09 +0000

workshop's first publication is ready. every participant has created a fictional petites annonces for it. some pictures of making, collating and distributing. we're also on irc at #crying_room on irc.freenode.org :) 01112 http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/?level=album&id=26]]>


Mon, 09 Mar 2009 09:06:56 +0000

Wendy): liberation liberation2 http://liberafiontes.jottit.com/]]>

Compatible dates

Tue, 10 Mar 2009 08:05:38 +0000

Monday 24 March 2009 Ada Lovelace Day "I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same." http://www.promessotheque.com/AdaLovelaceDay Friday 27 March 2009 Thank A Developer Day "The general idea is to appreciate the creators behind your favorite Free Software application or/and component (preferred target is a not so well known piece of code) by sending an email to the author." http://thankadev.wordpress.com/]]>

Palais Chalet 3

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 08:39:49 +0000

le 13 mars Palais Chalet - griffes de velours - avec en concert : Nora Düster de Zurich The Dreams de Strasbourg un live de : Maison Concett de Milano et aux platines : Athome, Atka, Caniche Noir, Diamant T. cocktails au Sailor’s Trap Bar début : 20h30 toujours aussi scherp ! Compilothèque, Quai des péniches 50, BXL]]>

A table!

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 13:02:12 +0000

Puerto. Une association qui offre un soutien aux personnes qui sont en difficulté entre autres en leur proposant un repas équilibré à prix réduit. 3  services (entrée | plat | dessert)  pour moins de 4 euro par personne,  pour un total d'une quinzaine de personnes environs. Un vrai challenge! Le livret sera illustré non seulement par les les mains du graphiste mais aussi par celles des habitants . Une  session de dessin a été organisée le 23 février après diner. complet_s_final1 En attendant que les légumes soient découpés,  le four préchauffe...  on espère pouvoir vous faire les partager bientôt avant l'été. post1]]>


Sat, 14 Mar 2009 09:42:56 +0000

Designing with TeX: episode III Thanks to the super active ConTeXt mailinglist, we are finally able to load our own fonts! And of course, once we know how, we are almost disappointed that it is so easy to do. if you compile this file: \definetypeface[Libertinage][rm][Xserif][Libertinage] \setupbodyfont[Libertinage, 24pt] \starttext \input knuth \stoptext with this command: texexec --xtx fontsample.tex you end up with this. ]]>

The exception that proves the rule

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 09:33:41 +0000

wire Felix Kubin writes: "As an antidote to globalisation, Ich Bin suggest local megalomania: Mulhouse for capital! 'Avec le Gewuerz et le Schnaps.' The record was designed by the talented Monsieur Harrisson, a French refugee now residing in Brussels (...)"
So, OSP makes an exception for Harissons' *last ever* design in proprietary software: we're proud to announce that his cover for Ich Bin is featured as sleeve-of-the-month in Wire!]]>

OSP + BPI = Cinéma du réel

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 16:49:18 +0000

4002 OSP has been sollicitated by documentary Cinéma du Réel festival to construct a map for an alternative reading of the movie selection. Though book-like brochure is the most efficient and practical way to organise complex information of a 3 day with more than 100 documentaries, gathered in 7 different fields, this form seemed too restrictive for its director, Javier Paquer. The linearity of pages goes against the idea that those movies have complex and multiple relations between them, and programmation is articulated in contexts wich need to be expressed in a way that audience could do their own choice as if they were travelling in a heteroclite thought meaningfull environment. For that he asked OSP to graphically interprete this diversity and homogeneity... Modus operandi We worked in a very close relation, and the map is more done by its director than us. General image is based on a famous image from Chris Marker's “La Jetée” movie. jetee_master The map reflects also a current situation of movies / documentaries / television / cinema situation. It offers a subjective interpretation mixing production and context. A pleasure to realise, especially with it's director humor. Moreover, spending 2 weeks on inkscape was a pleasure we didn't expected. Program is stable and pretty much reliable. If you don't go to far in the special features (types on curves, clones...) you're ready for print. And don't forget to vectorise ALL the fonts! This deep breathe ino inkscape also shown the importance of a collaboration between users and developpers. It's funny to find stitches in interface, or counter intuitive logic when you're using the software. For that, we'll have few suggestions for the inkscape board... Most interesting features we used were around the clone functions. Drawing one pictogram, cloning it all around the map and modify this whole by just changing the mother clone is very effective. Those special features are delicate to handle if you move out of Inkscape. This clone feature react strangelly when svg are imported in other programs. The CYMK Elephant Scribus is necessary to get files ready for printing. We imported the inkscape files as SVGs, and converted colors into CYMK manually. (Something should be done at that stage). PDFs looked good. Print culture is not that developped in FLOSS world, but it is very frustrating to see how archaic methods of conversions we had to invent just to get a basic quadrichromical document. This means last minutes corrections are compliquated, as everything is turned into paths and ungrouped. The biggest threat was to obtain overprint of the black color. Drawing and lines are so thin that we couldn't dare to print in "réserve" (traduction needed) To avoid it, we did 2 inkscape files: one with Cyan Magenta and Yellow, and separate one with Black. We imported those 2 files in scribus to convert RGB inkscape file to CYMK (manually). Parisian graphic designer “Dasein”, on charge of the brochure, gathered the films. Check were stressy, due to the fact clones, groups, and “types on curves” reacted very lunatiquelly. Blurs and transparencies have to be avoided. It just don't work once exported, or with heavy and risky file treatment. PDF is pleasantly light. 2.6 Mega for this impressive 440 x 550 mm document. This map is integrated in the general programm brochure, and is re-interpreted in large scale in Centre Georges Pompidou, where the festival will occurs. ]]>

OSP full scale in Beaubourg

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 17:31:17 +0000

As a side effect of the BPI/cinéma du réel festival, OSP has been asked to "perform" the program map in full scale in the Centre Georges Pompidou main hall, where the festival occurs. The map is a derivative from the printed one, folded into the brochure. It networks the festival selected movies and the subjective links between them. FONTS din DIN As the Centre Pompidou graphic chart is very restrictive, we had to use the DIN font. But impossible to use the FF DIN from fontshop, licensed. So we encoded the first cut of the open source DIN, from drawing of 1932 we get in Berlin in our previous adventures. Only capitals yet, but work is in progress. atlas ATLAS For the printed map, we used a font Harrisson designed few years ago: the Atlas font, with country shapes instead of letters as glyphs. This font will be soon released with OFL license. We'll tell you the inner story of this font later. MONTAGE montage_a4 The re-drawing of our file "en dur" was a very strong and singular experience. We had the feeling of being into the file, and re-interpreting SVG code montage_a42 It was like crossing the screen, and performing the choreography of the interface is a nice journey! The installation is the translation of the file into an object, the transformation of vectors into movements. collaborateurs It is a new interpretation, a new version. It's the gap between the mouseclick and the gesture by editing on another support. We felt the distance and the similarities of the interface choreography and the gesture choreography. A new articulation... yeux_digit yeux_dur torodigit toro_dur It becomes something human again. FIX plan Collaborators of this piece were convinced by the idea and came to help. Among them, FIX, a Paris renowned graffiti artist. Graffiti crosses our problematics in many fields. First he tried to follow the original computer file to the maximum, but result was poor: all sensibility and spontaneity in the marking the piece was disappearing. Paradoxical situation for a tagger... It was important that he could take the work for himself, and not being just an executant... So we simply redefined space of movement for him to translate the vectors with his feelings. fix He could then confront his drawing and calligraphy experience to a new tool for him: 3M 471 model tape. And adapt his habits and talent. He found new ways to use it and we could all benefit from it. The success of this job was to share a space of translation. And the interpretation gives a lively vibration to the general aspect of the installation. It's an articulation. game With FLOSS, the resistance of the tool is now for us such a daily meal, that it has become a work field, an investigation space, and a playground.]]>

Hic Sunt Leones

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 21:20:11 +0000

Cinema du Réel festival, OSP worked with Michael Murtaugh on HIC SUNT LEONES, a collective slideshow of on-line visual contributions gathered during the festival. capture-wwwhicsuntleonesfr-mozilla-firefox1 Javier Packer, director of the festival, describes the project as follows: "HIC SUNT LEONES means 'Here are lions' in Latin. Romans used to write this on maps over unexplored territories suggesting unknown dangers could lie there. What does 'Cinéma du Réel' mean to you? What images of the world would we like to share with others in this improbable and undefined community created by the user of the project? What uncharted lands? What dangers?" http://www.hicsuntleones.fr Contributors can choose at what point they want to insert their upload, and as a result images start to respond to each other, make and break groups of images, build a narrative. The slideshow was screened in the festival's public space. The playlist-code is available here: http://activearchives.org/wiki/Software]]>


Sun, 22 Mar 2009 16:06:30 +0000

The association "Jazz in Antwerpen" asked us to do the visual of their concert agenda. We proposed this black and red Not-Courier logo. In good jazz magazines this month :) ]]>

OSP + Open Source / Open Course

Tue, 24 Mar 2009 17:23:34 +0000

mardi 31 mars 2009 @ ERG, Bruxelles 2412606153_62d4f8c1d5 Open Course / Open Source : une journée d’information et de rencontre sur le logiciel libre dans le domaine de l’art. Présentations, partage d’expériences, print-party and more ... Auditoire P7 • Erg, 87, Rue du page, 1050 Bruxelles http://www.multimedialab.be/blog/?p=1204 De 09h30 à 12h00 : Marc Wathieu : Open Source, une introduction. Durée : +/-20 min Web : http://www.multimedialab.be/ Lionel Maes : Présentation de son projet «Homeostatic» Durée : +/- 60 min Web : http://www.psykolio.com/flux/ Sébastien Denooz et Stéphane Noël : Dernières nouvelles de la planète SPIP Durée : +/- 60 min Web : http://www.workplace.lescorsaires.be/an12/ Harrisson : Présentation du travail de OSP sur le livre «CROSS-over» Web : http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/works/kanttekeningen-sidemarks Durée : +/- 60 min De 14h00 à 17h00 : Open Source Publishing : Re-Print Party (cuisine, mise en page et impression) Web : http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/]]>

Turning around practises

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 15:23:06 +0000

Boektegoed through open source software was a challenge. Being so used to use your computer through patterns of habits, it was quiet an experience. Turning around practises, un bouleversement qui est inévitable. bouleversement]]>

The ecstasy of influence

Sun, 29 Mar 2009 19:14:43 +0000

La Selec is a magazine edited by enthousiasts of La Mediatheque, a public service for renting records, movies, games and so on. Each issue La Selec invites a local artist to produce a poster inspired by their recommended selection of medias. This month it was Harrisson, so was consequently OSP. Here's the poster we did for this mythical institution. poster_selec_ok Slogan comes from an Harpers magazine Jonathan Lethems article, which is really worth to read: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/02/0081387 Poster was done with Inskape 0.46 and Scribus on Ubuntu 8.10. Font is NotCourier Sans. Illustration inspired by the work of Czech painter Josef Lada (1887 - 1957), Jean de la Fontaine (1621 - 1695), and many many other influencing things... LONG LIVE THE MEDIATHEQUE! ============= Poster Playlist: MUSIQUES CLASSIQUES TITILLEES FS3255 – Salvatore SCIARRINO Variazioni/Framento e adagio XC800R – Carl CRAIG & Moritz VON OSWALD Recomposed XT240J – Jimi TENOR Recomposed XA518L – ANGEL + Hildur GUNADOTTIR In Transmediale XV398B – Esther VENROOY + Heleen VAN HAEGENBORGH Mock Interiors XV184E – Jozef VAN WISSEM A priori Xx ou Hx – Anne-James CHATON + Andy MOOR Le Journaliste NC0897 - Arnaud CATHRINE + Florent MARCHET Frère animal HB4746 – Charles PENNEQUIN + Jean-François PAUVROS Tué mon amour XD139B – Myra DAVIES Cities and Girls HB4850 – Denis PODALYDES Voix off HA0049 – Fantaisie littéraire CLASSIQUE BA6296 – R. BALLARD, L'Astrée – Musiques d'après A. BOËSSET… le roman d'Honoré d'Urfé VA0413 – Eric ROHMER Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon EC5680 – Béla BARTOK / Dmitri CHOSTAKOWITCH par Yossif IVANOV Concertos pour violon CHANSONS FRANCOPHONES NB1079 – BATLIK En mâchant bien NL1506 – Loïc LANTOINE A l'attaque! NL4414 – LIBEN Tout va disparaître MUSIQUES DU MONDE MH7075 – LENINE Labiata MN8937 – YOM New King of Klezmer Clarinet MP2242 – Erwan KERAVEC Urban Pipes JAZZ / POST-JAZZ UC2695 – Thomas CHAMPAGNE Charon's Boat UM0267 – Rudresh MAHANTHAPPA Kinsmen UE6442 – ErikM + AKOSH S. Zufall RAP / HIP-HOP / GRIME / BLUES / etc… KP9392 – PUPPETMASTAZ The Takeover KF5141 – FOOD FOR ANIMALS Belly KA6501 – ARABIAN PRINCE Innovative Life KA3112 – AGNOSTIC MOUNTAIN GOSPEL CHOIR Ten Thousand POP / ROCK XPxxxx – PATTON Héllénique chevaleresque récital XA544X – ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Merriweather Post Pavilion XG672A – GRAMPALL JOOKABOX Ropechain FICTION [4 cotes] – Jacques ROZIER [coffret 5 DVD] VR0220 – Dominique ABEL + Fiona GORDON Rumba VE0261 – Victor ERICE L'Esprit de la ruche VB0737 – Victor ZVIAGUINTSEV Le Bannissement DOCUMENTAIRES TB4501 – Bruce WEBER Let's Get Lost TB7645 – Steven SEBRING Patti Smith – Dream of Life TW2751 – Jack HAZAN A Bigger Splash TN2811 – Sandrine BONNAIRE Elle s'appelle Sabine ------------------------------------------------------------ You can download the SVG file of the fox and crow here: poster-selec-renard ]]>

Re-Print party: Quatre Quarts II

Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:07:40 +0000

Tuesday 31 March 13:00-16:00 Auditoire P7 • Erg, 87, Rue du page, 1050 Bruxelles toolsAt Open course / Open source, OSP performs a second run of a Print Party that happened almost a year ago at the exact same location. This time we have changed roles to serve you another assorted collection of stories about engineered fonts, a live cooking lesson, design 9 new numbers in Inkscape and FontForge, prepare a fresh 16 page booklet in Scribus and of course end with commandline, cake and ... print! Here's one we prepared earlier: quatre-quarts-multi-track-print-party]]>

Warm Gray Liberation

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 18:05:24 +0000

From the CBUD-mailinglist: Subject: RE: FW: Licensee Application From: "DUURKOOP, JULIA" Date: Wed, 1 April 2009 11:20:25 -0400 To: "Daniel Fary" Dear Daniel: Thank you for your inquiries and follow-up e-mails. After consulting with executives, engineers and lawyers at the Company, we have decided to insert a series of gray tones to the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM. The Company has decided to extend the Pantone® Warm Gray Series in order to create more awareness for Color Universal Design as practiced by the members of your organization because we have understood that gray tones play an important role in a colorblind barrier-free color pallet. To allow the integration of the Pantone® Warm Gray Series in various colorblind proofing and document preparation softwares, we have decided to release this series in the Public Domain. The current Pantone® Warm Gray Series will be extended with 20 additional intermediate tones. Compatible with our patented numbering system, we will add Pantone® Warm Gray 13 and Pantone® Warm Gray 17 between Pantone® Warm Gray 1 and Pantone® Warm Gray 2, Pantone® Warm Gray 23 and Pantone® Warm Gray 27 between Pantone® Warm Gray 2 and Pantone® Warm Gray 3 and so on. Please be reminded that your organization is not authorized to use any other PANTONE Trademarks, copyrights and/or other intellectual property in connection with any of your products or services unless a formal license agreement is entered into between our companies.”]]>

Gender Art Net

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 08:38:03 +0000

gender-art-net01 gender-art-net02 Soutenu par l'European Cultural Foundation le projet est conçu par la productrice et commissaire Bettina Knaup, en collaboration avec Constant vzw. L'équipe du projet se compose de curatrices, artistes, statisticienne, développeurs, de Berlin, Barcelone, Amsterdam (Dunja Kukovec, Laurence Rassel, Diana McCarty, Maria Perez, Katalin Timar, Urska Merc) et d'étudiants le la section European Media Studies de l'Université de Postdam  (Lenore Hipper, Inés Matres, Sebastian Moering, Laura-Helen Rüge) Le projet explore les relations entre genres, territoires, artistes, œuvres, groupes, réseaux et événements à travers différentes thématiques / fils de discussions. La base de données du projet se nourrit d'informations encodées par l'équipe éditoriale et d'informations extraites dynamiquement sur les sites web représentatifs des artistes. OSP travaille à rendre visibles, dynamiques et interactifs ces différents niveaux d'informations. En collaborations avec Anne-Laure Buisson (statistician, feminist activist, Brussels), nous  cherchons à distribuer/spacialiser un ensemble de mots clés significatifs en relation avec les artistes. Les mots extraits des sites sont filtrés via des techniques de statistiques multi-variées pour générer des représentation en deux dimension reprenant les mots et les artistes, indiquant les relations entre eux et les particularités du lexique et des centres d'intérêts des artistes. Une série de graphiques, agissants comme des clichés ou petites cartes thématiques de l'atlas sont ainsi obtenus. Les informations encodées par l'équipe éditoriale localisent les lieux d'origine et de travail des artistes, associent les artistes à des fils de discussion et réseaux, et relient des œuvres/projets à des lieux. OSP développe une interface qui permettra de parcourir en ligne cette carte feministe du ciel artistique européen. Ici un aperçu de nos recherches en cours (layouts réalisés avec Inkscape, R, Php, MySql, et Processing)]]>

Warm gray's liberation is officially delayed

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 15:37:04 +0000

Even if our earlier post was based on a real and outrageous e-mail exchange between Gimp developer David Neary and the marketing department of Pantone (trying to find a solution so that FLOSS softwares could use the copyrighted colorsystem)... and even if the Color Universal Design (CUD) organization does exist (and is interesting!)... the liberation of twenty new warm grays was only one of the many dreams that OSP had on this sunny Belgian 1st of April (and we hoped the same for those 1866 other jailed colors). A well-known colorblind OSP co-author of the hoax confirms: "Adding shades of gray is not a solution. Instead, give the vision defect preview in Scribus a try".]]>

Jeffrey Zeldman on Open Source and the web

Thu, 16 Apr 2009 06:54:22 +0000

Jeffrey Zeldman Discusses the Future of Open Source' (filed under: 'The Internet'), the CSS guru compares the use of Open Source Content Management Systems to what webstandards did for the web. Looking forward to hear more... and will he mention SVG? jeffrey Excerpt from a longer interview, soon available here too: http://bigthink.com/ideas/jeff-zeldman-discusses-the-future-of-open-source sorry, only available in fl*sh]]>

Even when you are done, you are not done

Fri, 17 Apr 2009 06:30:12 +0000

A conversation with Chris Lilley Almost a year ago at the Libre Graphics Meeting 2008, OSP sat down with Chris Lilley on a small patch of grass in front of the Technical University in Wroclaw, Poland. Warmed up by the early May sun, we talked about the way standards are made, how 'specs' influence the work of designers, programmers and managers and how this process is opening up to voices from outside the W3C. team Chris Lilley (top row, right) on the 2008 W3C team photo. Chris Lilley is trained as a biochemist, and specialised in the application of biological computing. He has been involved with the World Wide Web Consortium since the 1990's, headed the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) working group and currently looks after two W3C activity areas: graphics, including PNG, CGM, graphical quality, and fonts, including font formats, delivery, and availability of font software. Download: chris_lilley_osp.odt Femke Snelting (FS): I would like to ask you about the way standards are made... I think there's a relation between the way Free, Libre and Open Source Software works, and how standards work. But I am particularly interested in your announcement in your talk today that you want to make the process of defining the SVG standard a public process? Chris Lilley (CL): Right. So, there's a famous quote that says that standards are like sausages. Your enjoyment of them is improved by not knowing how they're made ((“Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.” Otto von Bismarck, 1815 - 1898)). And to some extent, depending on the standards body and depending on what you're trying to standardize, the process can be very messy. If you were to describe W3C as a business proposition, it has got to fail. You're taking companies who all have commercial interests, who are competing and you're putting them in the same room and getting them to talk together and agree on something. Oddly, sometimes that works! You can sell them the idea that growing the market is more important and is going to get them more money. The other way... is that you just make sure that you get the managers to sign, so that their engineers can come and discuss standards, and then you get the engineers to talk and the managers are out of the way. Engineers are much more forthcoming, because they are more interested in sharing stuff because engineers like to share what they're doing, and talk on a technical level. The worst thing is to get the managers involved, and even worse is to get lawyers involved. W3C does actually have all those three in the process. “Shall we do this work or not” is a managerial level that's handled by the W3C advisory committee, and that's where some people say “No, don't work on that area” or “We have patents” or “This is a bad idea” or whatever. But often it goes through and then the engineers basically talk about it. Occasionally there will be patents disclosed, so the W3C also has a process for that. The first things are done are the 'charters'. The charter says what the group is going to work on a broad scope. As soon as you've got your first draft, that further defines the scope, but it also triggers what it's called an exclusion opportunity, which basically gives the companies I think ninety days to either declare that they have a specific patent and say what it's number is and say that they exclude it, or not. And if they don't, they've just given a royalty-free license to whatever is needed to implement that spec. The interesting thing is that if they give the royalty-free license they don't have to say which patents they're licensing. Other standards organizations build up a patent portfolio, and they list all these patents and they say what you have to license. W3C doesn't do that, unless they've excluded it which means you have to work around it or something like that. Based on what the spec says, all the patents that have been given, are given. The engineers don't have to care. That's the nice thing. The engineers can just work away, and unless someone waves a red flag, you just get on with it, and at the end of the day, it's a royalty-free specification. FS: But if you look at the SVG standard, you could say that it's been quite a bumpy road ((http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/news/whos-afraid-of-adobe-not-me-says-the-mozilla-foundation)) ... What kind of work do you need to do to make a successful standard? CL: Firstly, you need to agree on what you're building, which isn't always firm and sometimes it can change. For example, when SVG was started the idea was that it would be just static graphics. And also that it would be animated using scripts, because with dynamic HTML and whatever, this was '98, we were like: “OK, we're going to use scripting to do this.” But when we put it out for a first round of feedback, people were like “No! No, this is not good enough. We want to have something declarative. We don't want to have to write a script every time we want something to move or change color.” Some of the feedback, from Macromedia for example was like “No, we don't think it should have this facility,” but it quickly became clear why they were saying that and what technology they would rather use instead for anything that moved or did anything useful... We basically said “That's not a technical comment, that's a marketing comment, and thank you very much.” FS: Wait a second. How do you make a clear distinction between marketing and technical comments? CL: People can make proposals that say “We shouldn't work on this, we shouldn't work on that”, but they're evaluated at a technical level. If it's “Don't do it like that because it's going to break as follows, here I demonstrate it” then that's fine. If they're like “Don't do it because that competes with my proprietary product” then it's like “Thanks for the information, but we don't actually care.” It's not our problem to care about that. It's your problem to care about that. Part of it is sharing with the working group and getting the group to work together, which requires constant effort, but it's no different from any sort of managerial or trust company type thing. There's this sort of encouragement in it that at the end of the day you're making the world a better place. You're building a new thing and people will use it and whatever. And that is quite motivating. You need the motivation because it takes a lot longer than you think. You build the first spec and it looks pretty good and you publish it and you smooth it out a bit, put it out for comments and you get a ton of comments back. People say “If you combine this with this with this then that's not going to work.” And you go “Is anyone really going to do that?” But you still have to say what happens. The computer still has to know what happens even if they do that. Ninety percent of the work is after the first draft, and it's really polishing it down. In the W3C process, once you get to a certain level, you take it to what is euphemistically called the 'last call'. This is a term we got from the IETF ((The Internet Engineering Task Force, http://www.ietf.org/)). It actually means 'first call' because you never have just one. It's basically a formal round of comments. You log every single comment that's been made, you respond to them all, people can make an official objection if you haven't responded to the comment correctly etcetera. Then you publish a list of what changes you've made as a basis of that. FS: What part of the SVG standardization process would you like to make public? CL: The part that I just said has always been public. W3C publishes specifications on a regular basis, and these are always public and are freely available. The comments are made in public and responded to in public. What hasn't been public has been the internal discussions of the group. Sometimes it can take a long time if you've got a lot of comments to process or if there's a lot of argumentation in the group: people not agreeing on the direction to go, it can take a while. From the outside it looks like nothing is happening. Some people like to follow this at a very detailed level, and blog about it, and blablabla. Overtime, more and more working groups have become public. The SVG group just recently got re-charted and it's now a public group. All of its minutes are public. We meet for ninety minutes twice a week on a telephone call. There's an IRC log of that and the minutes are published from that, and that's all public now ((Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Feedback Page: http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/feedback.html)) FS: Could you describe such a ninety minute meeting for us? CL: There are two chairs. I used to be the chair for eight years or so, and then I stepped down. We've got two new chairs. One of them is Erik Dahlström from Opera, and one of them is Andrew Emmons from Bitflash. Both are SVG implementing companies. Opera on the desktop and mobile, and Bitflash is just on mobile. They will set out an agenda ahead of time and say “We will talk about the following issues.” We have an issue tracker, we have an action tracker which is also now public. They will be going through the actions of people saying “I'm done” and discussing whether they're actually done or not. Particular issues will be listed on the agenda to talk about and to have to agree on, and then if we agree on it and you have to change the spec as a result, someone will get an action to change that back to the spec. The spec is held into CVS so anyone in the working group can edit it and there is a commit log of changes. When anyone accidentally broke something or trampled onto someone else's edit, or whatever -which does happen- or if it came as the result of a public comment, then there will be a response back saying we have changed the spec in the following way... “Is this acceptable? Does this answer your comment?” FS: How many people do take part in such a meeting? CL: In the working group itself there are about 20 members and about 8 or so who regularly turn up, every week for years. You know, you lose some people over time. They get all enthusiastic and after 2 years, when you are not done, they go off and do something else, which is human nature. But there have been people who have been going forever. That's what you need actually in a spec, you need a lot of stamina to see it through. It is a long term process. Even when you are done, you are not done because you've got errata, you've got revisions, you've got requests for new functionalities to make it into the next version and so on. FS: On the one hand you could say every setting of a standard is a violent process, some organisation forcing a standard upon others, but the process you describe is entirely based on consensus. CL: There's another good quote. Tim Berners Lee was asked why W3C works by consensus, rather than by voting and he said: “W3C is a consensus-based organisation because I say so, damn it” ((“Consensus is a core value of W3C. To promote consensus, the W3C process requires Chairs to ensure that groups consider all legitimate views and objections, and endeavor to resolve them, whether these views and objections are expressed by the active participants of the group or by others (e.g., another W3C group, a group in another organization, or the general public).” General Policies for W3C Groups: http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/policies#Consensus)) That's the Inventor of the Web, you know... (laughs) If you have something in a spec because 51% of the people thought it was a good idea, you don't end up with a design, you end up with a bureaucratic type decision thing. So yes, the idea is to work by consensus. But consensus is defined as: 'no articulated dissent' so someone can say “abstain” or whatever and that's fine. But we don't really do it on a voting basis, because if you do it like that, then you get people trying to make voting blocks and convince other people to vote their way... it is much better when it is done on the basis of a technical discussion, I mean... you either convince people or you don't. FS: If you read about why this kind of work is done... you find different arguments. From enhancing global markets to: 'in this way, we will create a better world for everyone'. In Tim Berners-Lee's statements, these two are often mixed. If you for example look at the DIN standards, they are unambiguously put into the world as to help and support business. With Web Standards and SVG, what is your position? CL: Yes. So, basically... the story we tell depends on who we are telling it to and who is listening and why we want to convince them. Which I hope is not as duplicitous as it may sound. Basically, if you try to convince a manager that you want 20% time of an engineer for the coming two years, you are telling them things to convince them. Which is not untrue necessarily, but that is the focus they want. If you are talking to designers, you are telling them how that is going to help them when this thing becomes a spec, and the fact that they can use this on multiple platforms, and whatever. Remember: when the web came out, to exchange any document other than plain text was extremely difficult. It meant exchanging word processor formats, and you had to know on what platform you were on and in what version. The idea that you might get interoperability, and that the Mac and the PC could exchange characters that were outside ASCII was just pie in the sky stuff. When we started, the whole interoperability and cross-platform thing was pretty novel and an untested idea essentially. Now it has become pretty much solid. We have got a lot of focus on disabled accessibility, and also internationalization which is if you like another type of accessibility. It would be very easy for an organisation like W3C, which is essentially funded by companies joining it, and therefore they come from technological countries... it would be very easy to focus on only those countries and then produce specifications that are completely unusable in other areas of the world. Which still does sometimes happen. This is one of the useful things of the W3C. There is the internationalization review, and an accessibility review and nowadays also a mobile accessible review to make sure it does not just work on desktops. Some organisations make standards basically so they can make money. Some of the ISO ((“International Standards for Business, Government and Society” International Organization for Standardization (ISO), http://www.iso.org)) standards, in particular the MPEG group, their business model is that you contribute an engineer for a couple of years, you make a patent portfolio and you make a killing off licensing it. That is pretty much to keep out the people who were not involved in the standards process. Now, W3C takes quite an opposite view. The Royalty free license ((“Overview and Summary of W3C Patent Policy” http://www.w3.org/2004/02/05-patentsummary.html)) for example, explicitly says: royalty free to all. Not just the companies who were involved in making it, not just companies, but anyone. Individuals. Open Source Projects. So, the funding model of the W3C is that members pay money, and that pays our salaries, basically. We have a staff of 60 odd or so, and that's where our salaries come from, which actually makes us quite different from a lot of other organisations. IETF is completely volunteer based so you don't know how long something is going to take. It might be quick, it might be 20 years, you don't know. ISO is a national body largely, but the national bodies are in practice companies who represent that nation. But in W3C, it's companies who are paying to be members. And therefore, when it started there was this idea of secrecy. Basically, giving them something for their money. That's the trick, to make them believe they are getting something for their money. A lot of the ideas for W3C came from the X Consortium ((“The purpose of the X Consortium was to foster the development, evolution, and maintenance of the X Window System, a comprehensive set of vendor-neutral, system-architecture neutral, network-transparent windowing and user interface standards.” http://www.x.org/wiki/XConsortium)) actually, it is the same people who did it originally. And there, what the meat was... was the code. They would develop the code and give it to the members of the X Consortium three months before the public got it and that was their business benefit. So that is actually where our 'three month rule' comes from. Each working group can work for three months but then they have to go public, have to publish. 'The heartbeat rule', we call it now. If you miss several heartbeats then you're dead. But at the same time if you're making a spec and you're growing the market then there's a need for it to be implemented. There's an implementation page where you encourage people to implement, you report back on the implementations, you make a test suite, you show that every feature in the spec that there's a test for... at least two implementations pass it. You're not showing that everyone can use it at that stage. You're showing that someone can read the spec and implement it. If you've been talking to a group of people for four years, you have a shared understanding with them and it could be that the spec isn't understandable without that. The implementation phase lets you find out that people can actually implement it just by reading the spec. And often there are changes and clarifications made at that point. Obviously one of the good ways to get something implemented is to have Open Source people do it and often they're much more motivated to do it. For them it's cool when it is new, “If you give me this new feature it's great we'll do it” rather than: “Well that doesn't quite fit into our product plans until the next quarter” and all that sort of stuff. Up until now, there hasn't really been a good way for the open source people to get involved. They can comment on specs but they're not involved in the discussions. That's something we're trying to change by opening up the groups, to make it easier for an open source group to contribute on an ongoing basis if they want to. Right from the beginning part, to the end where you're polishing the tiny details in the corner. FS: I think the story of web fonts shows how an involvement of the Open Source people could have made a difference. CL: When web fonts were first designed, essentially you had Adobe and Apple pushing one way, Bitstream pushing the other way, both wanting W3C to make their format the one and only official web format, which is why you ended up with a mechanism to point to fonts without saying what format was required. And than you had the Netscape 4, which pointed off to a Bitstream format, and you had IE4 which pointed off to this Embedded Open Type (EOT) format. If you were a web designer, you had to have two different tools, one of which only worked on a Mac, and one of which only worked on PC, and make two different fonts for the same thing. Basically people wouldn't bother. As Hakon ((Håkon Wium Lie proposed Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in 1994. http://www.w3.org/People/howcome/)) mentioned the only people who do actually use that right now really, are countries where the local language is not well provided for by the Operating Systems. Even now, things like WindowsXP and MacOSX don't fully support some of the Indian languages. But they can get it into web pages by using these embedded fonts. Actually the other case where it has been used a lot, is SVG, not so much on the desktop though it does get used there but on mobiles. On the desktop you've typically got 10 or 20 fonts and you got a reasonable coverage. On a mobile phone, depending on how high or low ended it is, you might have a single font, and no bold, and it might even be a pixel-based font. And if you want to start doing text that skews and swirls, you just can't do that with a pixel-based based font. So you need to download the font with the content, or even put the font right there in the content just so that they can see something. FS: I don't know how to talk about this, but... envisioning a standard before having any concrete sense of how it could be used and how it could change the way people work... means you also need to imagine how a standard might change, once people start implementing it? CL: I wouldn't say that we have no idea of how it's going to work. It's more a case that there are obvious choices you can make, and then not so obvious choices. When work is started, there's always an idea of how it would fit in with a lot of things and what it could be used for. It's more the case that you later find that there are other things that you didn't think of that you can also use it for. Usually it is defined for a particular purpose and than find that it can also do these other things. Pierre Huyghebaert (PH): Isn't it so that sometimes, in that way, something that is completely marginal, becomes the most important? CL: It can happen, yes. Nicolas Malevé (NM): For me, SVG is a good example of that. As I understood it, it was planned to be a format for the web. And as I see it today, it's more used on the desktop. I see that on the Linux desktop, for theming, most internals are using SVG. We are using Inkscape for SVG to make prints. On the other hand, browsers are really behind. CL: Browsers are getting there. Safari has got reasonably good support. Opera has got very good support. It really has increased a lot in the last couple of years. Mozilla Firefox less so. It's getting there. They've been at it for longer, but it also seems to be going slower. The browsers are getting there. The implementations which I showed a couple of days ago, those were mobile implementations. I was showing them on a PC, but they were specially built demos. Because they're mobile, it tends to move faster. NM: But you still have this problem that Internet Explorer is a slow adopter. CL: Yes, Internet Explorer has not adopted a lot of things. It's been very slow to do CSS. It hasn't yet done XHTML, although it has shipped with an XML parser since IE4. It hasn't done SVG. Now they've got their own thing... Silverlight. It has been very hard to get Microsoft on board and getting them doing things. Microsoft were involved in the early part of SVG but getting things into IE has always been difficult. What amazes me to some extent, is the fact that it's still used by about 60-70% of people. You look at what IE can do, and you look at what all the other browsers can do, and you wonder why. The thing is... it is still a break and some technologies don't get used because people want to make sure that everyone can see them. So they go down to the lowest common denominator. Or they double-implement. Implement something for all the other browsers, and implement something separate for IE, and than have to maintain two different things in parallel, and tracking revisions and whatever. It's a nightmare. It's a huge economic cost because one browser doesn't implement the right web stuff. [laughing, sighing] NM: My question would be: what could you give us as a kind of advice? How could we push this adoption where we are working? Even if it only is the people of Firefox to adopt SVG? CL: Bear in mind that Firefox has this thing of Trunk builds and Branch builds and so on. For example when Firefox 3 came out, well the Beta is there. Suddenly there's a big jump in the SVG stuff because all the Firefox 2 was on the same branch as 1.5, and the SVG was basically frozen at that point. The development was ongoing but you only saw it when 3 came out. There were a bunch of improvements there. The main missing features are the animation and the web fonts and both of those are being worked on. It's interesting because both of those were on Acid 3. Often I see an acceleration of interest in getting something done because there's a good test. The Acid Test ((The Acid 3 test: http://acid3.acidtests.org is comprehensive in comparison to more detailed, but fragmented SVG tests: http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/WG/wiki/Test_Suite_Overview#W3C_Scalable_Vector_Graphics_.28SVG.29_Test_Suite_Overview)) is interesting because it's a single test for a huge slew of things all at once. One person can look at it, and it's either right or it's wrong, whereas the tests that W3C normally produces are very much like unit tests. You test one thing and there's like five hundred of them. And you have to go through, one after another. There's a certain type of person who can sit through five hundred test on four browsers without getting bored but most people don't. There's a need for this sort of aggregative test. The whole thing is all one. If anything is wrong, it breaks. That's what Acid is designed to do. If you get one thing wrong, everything is all over the place. Acid 3 was a submission-based process and like a competition, the SVG working group was there, and put in several proposals for what should be in Acid 3, many of which were actually adopted. So there's SVG stuff in Acid 3. FS: So... who started the Acid Test? CL: Todd Fahrner designed the original Acid 1 test, which was meant to exercise the tricky bits of the box-model in CSS. It ended like a sort Mondrian diagram ((“Acid Test Gallery” http://moonbase.rydia.net/mental/writings/box-acid-test/)), red squares, and blue lines and stuff. But there was a big scope for the whole thing to fall apart into a train wreck if you got anything wrong. The thing is, a lot of web documents are pretty simple. They got paragraphs, and headings and stuff. They weren't exercising very much the model. Once you got tables in there, they were doing it a little bit more. But it was really when you had stuff floated to one side, and things going around or whatever, and that had something floated as well. It was in that sort of case where it was all breaking, where people wouldn't get interoperability. FS: It was... The Web Standards Project ((“The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all” http://www.webstandards.org/)) who proposed this? CL: Yes, that's right. FS: It didn't come from a standards body. CL: No, it didn't come from W3C. The same for Acid 2, Håkon Wium Lie was involved in that one. He didn't blow his own trumpet this morning, but he was very much involved there. Acid 3 was Ian Hickson, who put that together. It's a bit different because a lot of it is DOM scripting stuff. It does something, and then it inquires in the DOM to see if it has been done correctly, and it puts that value back as a visual representation so you can see. It's all very good because apparently it motivates the implementors to do something. It's also marketable. You can have a blog posting saying we do 80% of Acid Test. The public can understand that. The people who are interested can go “Oh, that's good”. FS: It becomes a mark of quality. CL: Yes, it's marketing. It's like processor speed in PCs and things. There are so much technology in computers, so than what do you market it on? Well it's got that clock speed and it's got this much memory. OK, great, cool. This one is better than that one because this one's got 4 gigs and that one's got 2 gigs. It's a lot of other things as well, but that's something that the public can in general look at and say “That one is better”. When I mentioned the W3C process, I was talking about the engineers, managers. I didn't talk about the lawyers, but we do have a process for that as well. We have a patent advisory group conformed. If someone has made a claim, and it's disputed then we can have lawyers talking among themselves. What we really don't have in that is designers, end-users, artists. The trick is to find out how to represent them. The CSS working group tried to do that. They brought in a number of designers, Jeff Veen ((Jeff Veen was a designer at Wired magazine, in those days. http://adaptivepath.com/aboutus/veen.php)) and these sort of people were involved early on. The trouble is that you're speaking a different language, you're not speaking their language. When you're having weekly calls... Reading a spec is not bedtime reading, and if you're arguing over the fine details of a sentence... (laughing) well, it will put you to sleep straight away. Some of the designers are like: “I don't care about this. I only want to use it. Here's what I want to be able to do. Make it that I can do that, but get back to me when it's done.” NM: That's why the idea of the Acid Test is a nice breed between the spec and the designer. When I was seeing the test this morning, I was thinking that it could be a really interesting work to do, not to really implement it but to think about with the students. How would you conceive a visual test? I think that this could be a really nice workshop to do in a university or in a design academy... FS: It's the kind of reverse-reverse engineering of a standard which could help you understand it on different levels. You have to imagine how wild you can go with something. I talk about standards, and read them -not before going to bed- because I think that it's interesting to see that while they're quite pragmatic in how they're put together, but they have an effect on the practice of, for example, designers. Something that I have been following with interest is the concept of separating form and content has become extremely influential in design, especially in web design. Trained as a pre-web designer, I'm sometimes a bit shocked by the ease with which this separation is made. CL: That's interesting. Usually people say that it's hard or impossible, that you can't ever do it. The fact that you're saying that it's easy or that it comes naturally is interesting to me. FS: It has been appropriated by designers as something they want. That's why it's interesting to look at the Web Standards Project where designers really fight for a separation of content and form. I think that this is somehow making the work of designers quite... boring. Could you talk a bit about how this is done? CL: It's a continuum. You can't say that something is exactly form or exactly presentation because there are gradations. If you take a table, you've already decided that you want to display the material in a tabular way. If it's a real table, you should be able to transpose it. If you take the rows and columns, and the numbers in the middle then it should still work. If you've got 'sales' here and if you've got 'regions' there, then you should still be able to transpose that table. If you're just flipping it 90 degrees then you are using it as a layout grid, and not as a table. That's one obvious thing. Even then, deciding to display it as a tabular thing means that it probably came from a much bigger dataset, and you've just chosen to sum all of the sales data over one year. Another one: you have again the sales data, you could have it as pie chart, but you could also have it as a bar chart, you could have it in various other ways. You can imagine that what you would do is ship some XML that has that data, and then you would have a script or something which would turn it into an SVG pie chart. And you could have a bar chart, or you could also say show me only February. That interaction is one of the things that one can do, and arguably you're giving it a different presentational form. It's still very much a gradation. It's how much re-styleability remains. You can't ever have complete separation. If I'm describing a company, and [1] I want to do a marketing brochure, and [2] I want to do an annual report for the shareholders, and [3] I want to do an internal document for the engineering team. I can't have the same content all over those three and just put styling on it. The type of thing I'm doing is going to vary for those audiences, as will the presentation. There's a limit. You can't say: here's the überdocument, and it can be styled to be anything. It can't be. The trick is to not mingle the style of the presentation when you don't need to. When you do need to, you're already halfway down the gradient. Keep them as far apart as you can, delay it as late as possible. At some point they have to be combined. A design will have to go into the crafting of the wording, how much wording, what voice is used, how it's going to fit with the graphics and so on. You can't just slap random things together and call it design, it looks like a train wreck. It's a case of deferment. It's not ever a case of complete separation. It's a case of deferring it and not tripping yourself up. Just simple things like bolds and italics and whatever. Putting those in as emphasis and whatever because you might choose to have your emphasized words done differently. You might have a different font, you might have a different way of doing it, you might use letter-spacing, etc. Whereas if you tag that in as italics then you've only got italics, right? It's a simple example but at the end of the day you're going to have to decide how that is displayed. You mentioned print. In print no one sees the intermediate result. You see ink on paper. If I have some Greek in there and if I've done that by actually typing in Latin letters on the keyboard and putting a Greek font on it and out comes Greek, nobody knows. If it's a book that's being translated, there might be some problems. The more you're shipping the electronic version around, the more it actually matters that you put in the Greek letters as Greek because you will want to revise it. It matters that you have flowing text rather than text that has been hand-ragged because when you put in the revisions you're going to have to re-rag the entire thing or you can just say re-flow and fix it up later. Things like that. PH: The idea of time, and the question of delay is interesting. Not how, but when you enter to fine-tune things manually. As a designer of books, you're always facing the question: when to edit, what, and on what level. For example, we saw this morning ((Andy Fitsimon: Publican, the new Open Source publishing tool-chain (LGM 2008) http://media.river-valley.tv/conferences/lgm2008/quicktime/0201-Andy_Fitzsimon.html)) that the idea of having multiple skins is really entering the publishing business, as an idea of creativity. But that's not the point, or not the complete point. When is it possible to enter the process? That's something that I think we have to develop, to think about. NM: The other day there was a presentation by Michael Dominic Kostrzewa ((Michael Dominic Kostrzewa. Programmers hell: working with the UI designer (LGM 2008))) that shocked me. He is now working for Nokia, after working for Novell and he was explaining how designers and programmers were fighting each other instead of fighting the 'real villain', as he said, who were the managers. What was really interesting was how this division between content and style was also recouping a kind of political or socio-organizational divide within companies where you need to assign roles, borders, responsibilities to different people. What was really frightening from the talk was that you understood that this division was encouraging people not to try and learn from each other's practice. At some point, the designer would come to the programmer and say: “In the spec, this is supposed to be like this and I don't want to hear anything about what kind of technical problems you face.” PH: Designers as lawyers! NM: Yes... and the programmer would say: “OK, we respect the spec, but then we don't expect anything else from us.” This kind of behaviour in the end, blocks a lot of exchange, instead of making a more creative approach possible. CL: I read about (and this is before skinning became more common) designers doing some multimedia things at Microsoft. You had designers and then there were coders. Each of them hated the other ones. The coders thought the designers were idiots who lived in lofts and had found objects in their ears. The designers thought that the programmers were a bunch of socially inept nerds who had no clue and never got out in sunlight and slept in their offices. And since they had that dynamic, they would never explain to each other (...) (policeman arrives) POLICEMAN: Do you speak English? PH: Yes. POLICEMAN: You must go from this place because there's a conference. CL: Yes, we know. We are part of this conference (shows LGM badge). POLICEMAN: We had a phone call that here's a picnic. I don't really see a picnic... PH: We're doing an interview. POLICEMAN: It looks like a picnic, and professors are getting nervous. You must go sit somewhere else. Sorry, it is the rules. Have a nice day! grass Transcription: Ivan + Femke]]>


Sat, 18 Apr 2009 08:50:32 +0000

Pre-announcement: print/pixel conference

Mon, 20 Apr 2009 19:45:57 +0000

Communication in a digital age, Rotterdam) PRINT/PIXEL International conference on the shifting relation between online and print publishing Tuesday-Wednesday 12-13 May 2009 | 12-17:00 (public sessions), 20-22:00 (professional sessions) The conference investigates the shifting relationship between online and print publishing. Both can no longer be separated, but complement each other. Yet few advanced comprehensive publication and design strategies beyond ad-hoc copy-paste do exist, and the recent crisis of print news media and advent of new technologies such as e-books and print-on-demand are about to upset the world of designers, editors and publishers. Will XML, cross-media content management systems, ePub, networked on-demand publishing and generative design soon be everyone's vocabulary? International cutting-edge designers, software developers, publishers and researchers - many of them being all of these at once - will give insight into their solutions and discuss the future of publishing. Speakers a.o.: Open Publishing Lab Rochester Institute of Technology (USA), Simon Worthington (OpenMute publishers, UK), Petr van Blokland (graphic designer and typographer, NL), Gerrit Imsieke (Le-Tex publishing services, Germany), Lou Lichtenberg (Stimuleringsfond van de Pers, NL), media workgroup of NRC Handelsblad (NL), Alessandro Ludovico (Neural magazine and Mag.net cultural publishing project, IT), accompanied by a real-time newspaper project by Peter Zuiderwijk (NL) and students of the WdKA Minor Editorial Design, conference blogger Arie Altena (NL) and the CrossLab of the Willem de Kooning Academy. The afternoon conference sessions can be freely attended. The professional session in the evening is primarily meant for media and design professionals and will include concentrated versions of the afternoon presentations along with workgroup-like peer discussions. Attendance fee: EUR 50/evening or EUR 80/two evenings, for members of non-profit organizations: EUR 30/evening, EUR 50/two evenings. Locations: WdKA main building, Blaak 10, Rotterdam [public sessions] and Groot Handelsgebouw, at Rotterdam Centraal station [professional sessions] For more information on the print/pixel conference, contact: Saskia Brandt Corstius, s.w.brandt.corstius at hro.nl]]>

Take Away Archive

Fri, 24 Apr 2009 09:24:49 +0000

25 April to 31 May, open every weekend from 14:00-18:00 Opening: Friday 24 April 18:00-24:00 Rue de la Senne 17, Brussels posters http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/index.php?level=album&id=28 For the opening of a temporary workspace at Zennestraat 17 Rue de la Senne, we have installed the Constant Take Away Archive, a retrospective of books, posters, CD's and flyers, published by Constant since 1997. It's a unique chance to update your printed matter collection with vintage must-haves, some by OSP, many by Harrisson. Opening tonight! C O N S T A N T * P O S T E R S 01  Not-CourierSans (OSP: Ludivine Loiseau), 2008 02  Capture [Les Halles] (Harrisson) 200? 03  Stitch and Split (Harrisson), 2005 04B + 04A  Jonctions/Verbindingen 4 (Harrisson), 2004 05  Copy Cult (Harrisson), 2000 06  Open Content Logo Repository (Femke Snelting), 2005 07A + 07B  Jonctions/Verbindingen 10 (Harrisson), 2007 08  The Laurence Rassel Show (Terre Thaemlitz), 2006 09  Jonctions/Verbindingen 5 (Harrisson), 2001 10  Jonctions/Verbindingen 8 (Harrisson), 2004 11  Routes + Routines (Harrisson + Peter Westenberg), 2005 12  Jonctions/Verbindingen 9 (Roger Teeuwen), 2006 13  Digitales 2004 (Harrisson), 2004 14  Cinema Du Reel [BPI] (OSP: Ludivine Loiseau + Harrisson), 2009 15  Unravelling Histories (De Geuzen), 2005 16  The Exctasy of Influence [La Mediatheque] (OSP: Harrisson), 2009 17  Place @ Space [Z33] (Peter Westenberg), 2008 18  Jonctions/Verbindingen 6 (Harrisson), 2002]]>

LGM analogic planning

Thu, 30 Apr 2009 12:45:16 +0000

LGP 2009 Montreal is on his way (OSP is very excited!) and the LGM website offers this fine view of the planning exercice for the talks. Beautiful way of showing the still open program. [caption id="attachment_2513" align="alignnone" width="440" caption="Paper made"]Paper made]]>

yes, a busy month

Tue, 05 May 2009 17:08:14 +0000

NotCourierSans in use (Nova Imaginary Property programme)[/caption]4 + ½ OSP's are on their way to Montreal, Canada where they will participate in the Libre Graphics Meeting from 6-9 May (expect more news as soon as they land). Next Saturday May 9, a special session of Open Source Open Course in the context of Journées du Libre with amongst others Michel Cleempoel, Stéphane Noël, Olivier di Stefano and of course Marc Wathieu. OSP reports from the Pixel/Print conference in Rotterdam 12-13 May while on May 14 Cinema Nova's Imaginary Property kicks off with a presentation by the Parisian editors and Scribus champions Le Tigre. Many more things to see and experience there but don't miss the OSP Screencast on 28 May. But not before on May 15 the GenderArtNet project has been launched on line! May ends in style with an edition of Palais Châlet on May 29 in B32 artspice, Maastricht and the distribution of the last leftovers (if any) from the Take Away Archive on 30 + 31 May.]]>

wish you were here at lgm

Wed, 06 May 2009 13:48:25 +0000

yivan2 yivan2 ]]>

on the ground

Wed, 06 May 2009 18:07:03 +0000

Here are the first pictures. p1080358]]>

Retrouvailles and Alexandre

Wed, 06 May 2009 19:45:34 +0000

Alexandre-Prokoudine-magic-glue-between-developers again in the corridors of LGM 2009, we've been able to physically get pictures taken by him in his sans-fatigue hunt for images at LGM last year! I don't know if he gimped the files but on the protraits we're looking like out of a shiny Rock&Folk magazine... (but it's a beautiful surprise, thank you Alexandre!) Kitchen during the Printparty ]]>

Reportage : day 2

Fri, 08 May 2009 04:29:12 +0000

our talk. In the middle of the day, Ginger Coons put the fluid into the audience, and his very vigorous talk bring a rare momentum of open and deep discussion at LGM. So just before eating, we have a more clear picture of the gradient of opinions on how to try to push publishing floss farther. At the type workshop of the mid-day, we follow the steps to install always more fresh Fontmatrix and discover how to theme Fontforge (some OSP manuals to come) with full-of-energy Nicolas Spalinger and Pierre Marchand. "Les utilisateurs de logiciels libres ne les utilisent pas, ils s'en servent." — Pierre Marchand, LGM 2009, Montréal, in the corridors img_0163]]>

lgm top nine

Sun, 10 May 2009 16:31:59 +0000

1. The show must go on. 2. The slides are not the content. 3. I try not to open a terminal in front of people. 4. It's the engineers who are responsible for the bugs and explosions. 5. The preferences are the graveyard of any good idea. 6. The more links an architect got on the internet, the greater the rank on the coin. 7. When we say it's planned, it's not only planned -- the commits are actually happening. 8. You take a picture of a tomato, and the end user sees a lemon. 9. If that purple is not really purple, you need to tune your monitor.]]>

New work on Fonts at W3C

Wed, 13 May 2009 06:44:22 +0000

Chris Lilley writes: "W3C is collecting ideas for work related to downloadable fonts on the Web. This email summarizes the current situation, and asks for feedback on a draft charter for a future W3C Font working group or interest group. Please send feedback on the charter to the publicly archived mailing list www-style@w3.org." Read his overview and respond on the CREATE mailinglist: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/create/2009-May/001752.html (it's interesting to see how a relatively modest event such as LGM, continues to produce waves in many related domains)]]>

Panik Party

Sat, 16 May 2009 16:46:53 +0000

33_posterpanikok Among the 100 people involved in the creation and realisation of this poster, OSP. 2 of them are hidden in the picture (free poster for the one who spot them) and 3 other helped the setup... This poster was done during the first year graphic design course at ERG, Brussels. This course has been commissionned by Radio Panik to design the poster of their annual (and legendary) party. Panik is a Brussels associative radio, one of the last of the real Free Radio. It is a fresh and colorfull wind in the grey landscape of commercial broadcast. Everything on the poster is done by hand. It can be cut in 49 different flyers, as the verso is printed with infos for the evening (line up, logos...). Once cut, the poster becomes a gigantic puzzle... Back is done in Scribus, with handrawings processed in Gimp. You can check some more pics here... And listen to Panik there... Hope to see you at this party that will be one of the hottest of the year!]]>

Update your NotCourier !

Sun, 17 May 2009 16:23:57 +0000

notcouriersans_111 A new version of the impolite NotCourierSans is available on the Open Font Library : NotCourierSans 1.1 As reminder, NotCourierSans is a re-interpretation of Nimbus Mono whose design began in Wroclaw at the occasion of the Libre Graphics Meeting 2008. For more detailed information explore the files included in the font package (FONTLOG.txt) or go through the Font Info section (Font Log and Comment) in the font (open the font file in FontForge and go to Font Info in the Element menu). This NotCourierSans 1.1 has been expanded by a work on cyrillic glyphs. Paulo Silva aka nitrofurano, is programmer and graphic designer in Porto. He removed serifs from cyrillic characters, removed all kerning pairs and replaced the repeated glyphes with references (accented characters and alike). I took the opportunity to clarify bonus glyphs position. NotCourierSans 1.1 contains 2 ornamental glyphs encoded in the private use characters: - in U+E000, the OSP frog mascot - in U+E001, the 75 ligature added during an OSP workshop in Le 75, École Supérieure des Arts de l'Image, on Wednesday 17 December. These sugars are accessible through the Ornament Open Type features. You can test it in Fontmatrix Super thanks to Nicolas Spalinger who helped me to build a fresh new package following the new Open Font Library model package (foo-open-font-sources-1.0.tar.gz) Super thanks to Pierre Marchand for his support and advices, particularly for the Font Info and special glyphs encoding. Very soon a new post about Fontmatrix and how to make a font talkative. merci LGM 2009 for the possibility and idees around fonts that it sows. Look at the recent appearances of NotCourierSans here, here ou ici. Please update your .fonts folder ! ]]>

Palais Chalet Maastricht

Mon, 18 May 2009 18:47:31 +0000

taupeweb 29 mai 2009 Palais Chalet Live: Pierre Normal Bruno Cœurvert Dj's Hugo Sanchez and the Palais Chalet Crew B32 artspice, Bourgognestraat 32, 6221 bz Maastricht And don't miss Atka 's superheroes in a collective exhibition from may 8 to 31 C'est notre muse a tous. ]]>

Puerto Kookboek in progress

Tue, 19 May 2009 14:05:03 +0000



Tue, 19 May 2009 16:12:15 +0000

Open Source doesn't mean free access, nor open space or open air; it presumes a seamful approach to design as a response to the increasing reliance on technology and its accessibility" http://jaromil.dyne.org/journal/research_2009.html...]]>

interview at the airport

Tue, 19 May 2009 17:31:44 +0000


Conversion is costly

Wed, 20 May 2009 00:14:03 +0000

Notes from print/pixel Last week, OSP attended the print/pixel conference in Rotterdam, a two day event gathering publishers, designers, marketeers and document engineers to look at the ever shifting relation between digital and paper publishing. ((The organisers kindly supported our trip up north.)) For an integral report, see blog-posts by Jouke Kleerebezem and Arie Altena here: http://blog.wdka.nl/communication-in-a-digital-age. Our notes are fragmentary. Green = Femke Red = Lauren “Pixels do not exist on screens only. And 'print' is a statement in programming as well. Actually, we are printing pixels all the time.” Florian Cramer starts with reassuring the audience that although books will most likely never cancel websites and vice versa, designers might be underprepared for the parallel publishing of the future. “Would you consider a career in e-book design?” It was a bold move, to begin the conference with The Reader, an e-book device by Sony (not available yet in Belgium or The Netherlands). Marc Regeur, Product Manager New Business Sony Benelux, supplied us with slogans: 'Impact Through Innovation', 'Electronic Ink Is The Heart of the Electronic Reader', 'Proprietary Standards Are A Hindrance To The Overall Success Of The eBook' , followed by 'We Are Solidifying The Standard By Making The Open .epub Format Integrate Well With Adobe CS3' and 'We Add Value For The Consumer By Leaving Their Choices Open. We Just Point Them In The Right Direction'. We were also reminded of Sony's first product, the electric rice cooker. (("As the war plants had closed down, there was more electricity than was needed at the time. This surplus fed Ibuka’s desire to produce items which were needed for everyday life. The electric rice cooker, made by merely interlocking aluminum electrodes which were connected to the bottom of a wooden tub, was a primitive product. The result depended heavily on the kind of rice used and the weight of the water. Tasty rice was a rarity, as the rice cooker produced mostly undercooked or overcooked rice." http://www.sonyinsider.com/2009/03/16/one-of-sonys-first-products-a-rice-cooker/)) And now they bring us The Reader? The horrifying thought of incompatible books... Amazon's Kindle uses it's own proprietary format, Sony has decided to work with an open format instead: .epub (we were confused at first because it was referred to as the 'Adobe .epub standard'). Marc Reguer explains that “Sony did not want to make the same mistake as they did in the music business”. The Reader is prepared for Digital Rights Management like any other Sony device, but customers are allowed 64 copies of each of the files they buy. Also, Sony provides public domain books on The Reader. “Public domain? Well, that's basically DRM-Free content” Afterwards Florian Cramer questions if the ebook reader offers any self-publishing possibilities. Is the consumer limited to a small selection of books? Or would it for instance be possible for students to publish a graduation catalogue as an ebook. Could people publish material for free on the internet and read them on ebooks? Florian Cramer states that it is quite ironical that in the country with such a large tradition in bookdesign there seems to be no opportunity for students to actively engage with ebooks. Reuger answers that "one could publish content in a pdf, size A5 and potentially read it on an ebook. But that would involve some form of piracy. Neither can we accept student research projects into the technology of ebooks at the moment. We are not able to give people this possibility. On a global scale, The Netherlands is still a small country." So it seems that the technology of ebooks does have some very tight limitations in opposition of what is promised. What is the benefit for the consumer if one can only read a very tight selection (of probably only best-sellers)? The discussion follows with a marking question by Allessandro Ludovico. Throughout the lecture Reuger underlines the honourable effort of the Sony company by their free distribution of ebooks for schools. Ludovico challenges this idea by asking if Sony thinks about publishing old classics or important literatures "As a symbolic gesture to tradition of publishing?" Reuger answers that they would have to look at this from a case to case basis, but that finally, "it will remain the responsibility of the publisher". Obviously these touchy subjects demonstrate Sony's ambiguous position vis-a-vis open formats. In fact they seem as limited as their self-acclaimed philanthropy. This highly critical departure is followed up by a deep investigation into the technology offered by Le-Tex for publishing ebooks. Le-Tex historically provided typesetting services, production editing and a specialist non-pdf-input. They produced an over all of 1500 pdf-based ebooks. Gerrit Imsieke from the German 'content engineering' company Le-Tex services (not a surprise that the DIN institute is on their list of clients) went into the details of the .epub format that is developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum. (("The work of the IDPF will foster and promote the development of electronic publishing applications and products that will benefit creators of content, makers of reading systems and consumers." http://www.openebook.org)) Le-Tex offers two flavors in ebook-design. A paginated and a reflowable design which is designed for small screens, visual impaired and audio-listening. As people need to be able to enlarge the type size it is not possible to use traditional page numbers and the technology demands a new treatment of the traditional book-format. This seems a challenge for designers to me. Funny that Le-Tex did not quite find a suitable solution for this problem. It becomes clear that typesetting for ebooks happens through a html+css like structure which is of course a total different treatment than the traditional typesetting profession. Here Le-Tex underscores the important possibility of interactivity supported by ebooks. By making items clickable, ebooks can be given different structures in opposition to traditional books. Intriguing to discover this .epub standard which is in fact a salad of 15 pre-existing standards: xml, svg, css... and how the concept of the reflowable book creates a different paradigm for design. Issues such as font encoding normalization and de-hyphenization are clearly more pressing concerns for Iemseke than typographic excellence. He explains that encoding errors can only be detected visually and this makes conversion between media costly. Imsieke states that the price per page is still too high “even when done by cheap students or outsourced to people in India”. When asked later, he estimates that 30% of current document engineering happens in India. A division of labour I would like to investigate further. (Free Fonts are unmissable for e-publishing too: e-books require font embedding and Le-Tex has therefore decided to work with Linux Libertine.) Petr van Blokland delivers his exposé on the similarities between programming and design with the usual confidence: “you should be the director of your workflow”, “you can only survive when you define” and “to design a workflow means to break the iterative loop”. Blokland defines his design theory as non-linear approach which iterates through possibilities and works by exclusion. "Only by actually trying out the possibilities you get closer to the answer." He states that "for graphic designers there is too much to choose from, there is no way to find out the everbest solution. All the possibilites are there, there are just too many options." For Blokland a personal query and a personal opinion is the only solution. It is hard to find out the actual thread of his lentghy and meandering exposé. At first his lecture almost seems a step-by-step-help plan which solves every designers troubles. Luckily it becomes clear that for Blokland designers should enrich their personal workflow by learning the language of the tools and by engaging towards the development of own programs. This is his solution for 'setting out strategies' and 'managing the option overload'. I can completely relate to his statement that "after a while there is nothing more than your application allows you to do. By learning that language you can go beyond the confined space." A good answer to this would exactly be to learn script languages which do broaden a designer's workflow. Blokland also raises some curiosity about his Xierpa project which will be released soon under an open source license. An over all tool for designing tools, designing databases and much more… Xierpa is another sophisticated workflow tool (or software). It is Python based, includes amongst others a scheduler, a bookbuilder and through an interactive visualisation, Xierpa can translate a conversation with a client directly into a database. In fact, the model IS the database. If design is to be considered conditional, what are the kinds of conditions it proposes? When it sets its own rules ... what conditions of work, what exclusion and inclusion does it produce, what relationships does it propose, what laws? I've been reading Rule or Law, an essay by Gerrit Noordzij, and try to bring up different types of conditions. ((“Tschichold (...) wanted his rules to be obeyed without discussion. He addresses designers in a language for programming robots. I am not the first to observe this, but I seem to be alone in my conclusion that Tschichold’s rules obstruct design, undermine civilization, and offend humanity.” http://www.hyphenpress.co.uk/journal/2007/09/15/rule_or_law)) His whole raisoné becomes clear when Blokland answers Femke's question ((“If you automate a workflow, at what point do you think intervention is possible or even desired?")). "Time can be held as a pragmatic issue when dealing with intervention. But besides that design should always be conditional. Because if it is not, than it is just production. It should always reflect a decision or a condition." The Open Publishing Lab presents a series of projects and ideas, trying to implement services that “enable” self-publishing, allowing inexperienced people to “share their stories”. Their strategies range from a self-publishing advisor, a social networking game to a full web-to-print solution: Page2Pub. Page2Pub is a clever FireFox extension that allows users to select any material published on line, strip and re-apply styling and than lay-out the collaged content in a pdf, templates are provided. Page2Pub collects content from the web and transforms it into well-formatted, ad-hoc publications. Their approach is positivist, energetic and of course “consistent with open source” but also strangely disinterested in both the content and the materiality of what ends up being published. Wondering what “Keyhole Markup Languages” are? And whether anyone has already tried out their wonderful idea to make a MRI-scan of a closed book? For the evening session, we move to the Orchid Room, a proper business setting to discuss the matter with a professional perspective. We are joined by an advertising professional from Germany plus more designers and publishers. While the whole theme of publishing through different media is subjected to different opinions in the evening discussion, it seems quite disappointing that there is no real discussion going on. Some speakers tend to opinionate the whole discussion without really answering the urgent questions. It often ends up in frightening statements around the dominant rise of new media through new technologies (operated by the OPL lab that funnily enough contribute themselves to this evolution). Well... you could also say that each of them try to deal with the situation at hand. It is interesting to see different responses to The Financial Crisis, from Germany, the US or The Netherlands. Whereas most participants have horror stories to tell about the demise of the publishing industry, Dutch participants seem not too impressed. Florian Cramer wonders whether “this is what makes the conference avant-garde, because here in The Netherlands the bad news has not arrived yet” The ease by which participants keep fantasizing about the possibilities of 'de-materialized publishing' makes me nervous. I try to ask another question. What formatting is going on they think, and how could form and content remain interlinked? But it only leads to more confusion ((The people from OPL think I am talking about quality standards. The next morning, we apologize to each other for the misunderstanding but before I can clarify my question, Tona Henderson suggests: “I have been discussing your question with my colleagues and we thought that maybe we should think about a Dublin Core for design”. That has me silent for a while, but it is actually an interesting thought!)) I'm than surprised to hear Alessandro Ludovico, avid collector of punk-zines, declare that content exists before (and without?) form. This little stir-up causes some speakers to follow up this fact by stating that it is indeed necessary to rethink the forms of liquid news. A slightly wrong side path about content being shaped by the content is soon answered by Alessandro Ludovico who states that the content stands on itself and derives its form from the medium. Thank you, Alessandro! Finally a useful statement. While the whole discussion seemed a little dispersed a personal conclusion can be that through the rise of reflowable, liquid news, it is a designer's responsibility to research the new publishing media in order to find useful solutions for publishing liquid news. We're all exhausted after this but find ourselves a warm welcome in Het Poortgebouw, where Kenny has prepared the guestroom and we're invited to wine and conversation in the kitchen. The next morning starts with a presentation of the work done at the media workgroup NRC Handelsblad, a 'quality newspaper' from The Netherlands. We're presented with another intelligent workflow that is developed from within the company and able to reflect different working cultures within the company. It allows NRC to publish content in 13 parallel formats. Editorial sites, marketing sites, digital outlets to media outputs such as phone, ebook, iphone, newsletter and journals are all presented. NRC&Media tries to model new innovations in publishing liquid news by researching the different formats. Of course this does not happen flawless as NRC&Media is split up in many sections each providing different newsfeeds. The problem of publishing liquid news coherently is often aggravated because of the fact that formatting content is at the same time telling a story too. “There would not be so many problems if you divide content and form strictly”. Yet another version of the technocentric W3C mantra, even sadder because it is so easy to understand that in difficult economic times, when newspapers need to explode their product families and reduce costs simultaneously, 'flawless integration' is a more profitable kind of wishful thinking than the messiness of dealing with specific qualities of each particular format. I don't mean that a pdf is not reflowable and a mobile phone screen only 200 pixels wide. As Gerrit Imsieke already mentioned, “conversion is costly”. The presentation ends with a Citizen Kane quote. Not sure whether bitter irony was intended?
Thatcher: Is that really your idea of how to run a newspaper ?! Kane: I don't know how to run a newspaper, Mr. Thatcher. I just try everything I can think of.
This is followed up by Lou Lichtenberg from the Netherlands Press Fund who raises the apocalyptic question "Do newspapers still have a future?" and the statement "the news of the future is Facebook". One useful conclusion from this lecture can be that papers need to be reinvented but it did not reach further. Simon Worthington presents Mute magazine, Mute-POD and their 'feral' distribution system More is More. He is interested in employing Amazon, Google and other mainstream systems in order to make alternative forms of publishing and distribution possible. For small scale publishers, books are actually the only kind of publishing product that you can make a living from. Allessandro Ludovico is the current research fellow at the Communication in a digital age programme. He presents a first chapter of his forthcoming book. , asking what paper can do in 'non-material' times. “Print is liberating”, he sais; quoting André Breton that “One publishes to find comrades”. Print is for Ludovico about fostering ideas, a viral but physical communication model. What follows is a dazzling tour through radical examples of self-publishing, the underestimated networked distribution system of the post, co-opted sympathetic printers that made political zines possible, mimeographs and dripping colors. I discover the Underground Press Syndicate Directory ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_Press_Syndicate)) and remember The Ranters ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranters)). It ends with the strangely encouraging statement that “This mutation of print will not be easy nor straightforward”. I'm sorry that I have to leave before the final discussion begins. At the end of the conference, Florian Cramer challenges NRC&Media, Matthew Berner, Gerrit Imsieke, Alessandro Ludovico, Simon Worthington and the OPL-ers for some last critical notes on the whole pixel/print conference. The whole essence of publishing is questioned on the background of networking media and self-publishing features such as those presented by OPL. Publishing does no longer simply happen from content to consumer, from A to B. Nor does it involve the traditional model from the professional publisher to the amateur reader. Everyone can publish content, everyone can publish books through POD-publishing, the strict line between the professions no longer exist nor does it happen unambiguously. The rising complexity of publishing media demands new innovations which is for instance a goal of NRC&Media, the professional angle. But, innovation can happen as easily through amateur initiatives, NRC&Media discusses. "There is definitely a distinction between amateurs and professionals. Both have their advantages. Being an amateur can give a sort of freedom which you don't have when working on larger scales as professionals do. It opens up the space for personal approaches and critical notes. Working on a small scale does give you this sort of freedom." The OPL lab happily receive this premise by expressing their enthusiasm of projects being initiated even when they are poorly programmed or designed. A same kind of anarchic enthusiasm is aired, as appealing as Ludovico's lecture on a constellation of fanzines. The pleasure of expression through the contemplative act of publishing! Next Florian Cramer asks the presenters which name they would have given this conference as the name initially raised some questions ((OSP for example proposed to call the conference print/vector ;-) )). While all think print/pixel is concise enough some interesting answers are given. 'Publishing / programming' offered by Le-Tex involves the shift in technologies. Matthew Berner rethinks it from the design angle and operates the term 'System Design', as designing nowadays is as much rethinking the system. OPL lab offers 'Print 2.0', 'Integration conversions' and 'Publishing, real soon now'. NRC handles the topic from quiet a pragmatical perspective: "We really have this practical problem of designing a paper or different outputs on a small screen. One issue is scalability. A lot of design solutions will need to answer the idea of scalability. So — 'Perspectives on scalability'?" Finally Alessandro Ludovico states that as being part of the lecture organization it is hard to offer a critical answer. "The only thing I can add is a sort of urgency for printing, publishing. 'The need for publishing' — that could be a valuable title." Cramer brings up that these terms are all very heavily related to webdesign. Is the web after all overpowering print? Or how is the interaction between both? He states that Wikipedia as a whole is a webdesign as it derives its structure from the content. This is a total different approach than a traditional design-process. The form now, is completely derived from the structure, interface, programming… The whole idea of reflowable, liquid content is an idea that ignores a fixed design. It does not involve formations that correspond to the content but to the structure of the medium where it is being published. The similar issue of customization brought up by the POD system (FC mentions the Piet Zwart Graduation catalogue designed by OSP as an act of customization) is mentioned as a new print model. FC aims his question at NRC and asks if NRC would use the option of letting the end-user customize their own news. NRC answers that this whole idea of newspapers having a wall of curators and filters is opposite treatment of the profession. "My editors have the idea that news has to be accessible to all, and reach as much people as possible. Customization is a process that a customer should do themselves. I think it is an overrated concept." The mood is stirred with a last these that "this is a conference of almost perfect combinatorics" which is answered with loud laughter. "The amount of communality was so high that we did not really have to go deep into certain subjects in order to understand each other… I would really want to have this same group of people again, and I am sure that other topics would be touched. But that it would be as interesting at least!" [Applause] ]]>

Les enfants du transparent

Thu, 21 May 2009 14:44:46 +0000

These days i'm in Malmö for The Art of the Overhead festival. For some years now, this art festival has done media archeology about the overhead projector. There was a workshop/space this week, there will be performances this weekend, there will be a psychedelic closing party next weekend, etc. We're happy to see that the print for the festival was done with free software: scribus, inkscape, gimp, openoffice... From the festival's documents: The reason for why we used simple overhead projectors was because of their open surface, where you could directly work with your materials. Over a two-week period, the old school overhead projector is re-activated as a powerful instrument for projecting alternative visions of our contemporary new media culture.]]>

Runny technicolor

Wed, 27 May 2009 22:55:37 +0000

Dans le cadre du festival "Imaginary Property", OSP vous invite au Novale jeudi 28 mai 2009 à 19 h. Au programme : le jaune interdit et le rouge bientôt libre, un décodage de morceaux de vie montréalais au LGM 2009, une projection vers des formats inconnus et un aperçu de montage vidéo en mode texte wiki party avec hacking d'Active Archives. As a contribution to the Nova festival ’Imaginary Property’, OSP presents a selection of cutting video wiki party, real life LGM 2009 Montreal, instructional videos, live-drawing-from-far, interviews, color and colour clips, digital slide shows and other moving material for the screen. While serving Canadian cocktails, they’ll browse through some or their adventures in free software, open content licensing and collaborative work.]]>

A Postcard from Stuttgart

Sat, 30 May 2009 07:27:58 +0000

p1050932 I'm in Stuttgart for a week to teach a workshop. In the school library, I read Eye Magazine. The current issue A New Golden Age? has many familiar observations about the way typography is going through exciting times. Sybille Hagman brings up typography as teamwork and the need to divide tasks between experts. Paul Carlos: 'Unexpected intersections and amalgations' and Nicole Dotin: 'The web (...) pushed all these innovations further than they would have gone on their own' but the Free Font Movement as we know it, is sadly nowhere mentioned. Editor Deborah Littlejohn seems only one small step away though from speaking about Libre Fonts, when she summarizes typedesigners' view on the situation:
Their description of our time as one of consolidation, efficiency, historicity and neutrality show a field still grappling with the ramifications of typography's democratised tools. From this perspective, we get a sense of why Modernism's default aesthetic habits die hard. Considering the reverberating 'echo chamber' created by constant software upgrades and new utility platforms, type designers are out of breath just keeping up.
[caption id="attachment_2799" align="alignright" width="400" caption="April Greiman, sketch for: Does it make sense? (Design Quarterly #133, 1986) "]April Greiman, sketch for: Does it make sense? (Design Quarterly #133, 1986) [/caption] I don't think it is nostalgia only, that blows me away when re-discovering April Greimans early experiments with the mutable scale of digital imagery. I haven't seen her book Hybrid Imagery since I was in school myself I think. Greiman is a Californian designer who started to explore digital imagery as early as 1984. Hybrid Imagery is an account of her love affair with 'The Mac' as she affectionally calls the blend of software and hardware she was discovering at the time. Naive, of course, but some of her observations resonate:
The "undo" function allows you to take back something you just did, without a trace; or, with another click, restore it. The traditional way of thinking would call this a great way to correct mistakes. In fact, you learn to think of it as means to attempt them.
You are always working in a state of visual perfection. The first word of your first vague thought is in high-resolution 12 pt. Univers 55 type or whatever. Even raw beginnings have a finished look.
A presentation by Aram Bartholl, later that night at the Akademie, shows that 25 years later, we still are coming to terms with similar questions of location and relation.]]>

Gestes Numériques

Mon, 01 Jun 2009 14:14:01 +0000

StephaneLoicMarcMichel Our colleagues from Open Source Video published a video-registration of the discussion that took place at the yearly Journées du Libre. Enjoy Loic Vanderstichelen, Stéphane Noël, Michel Cleempoel and Marc Wathieu as they present with humour and enthusiasm why F/LOSS is relevant for art- and design education (in French). http://osvideo.constantvzw.org/journees-du-libre-09/]]>

Future Farmers Free soil

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 10:24:00 +0000

bar-and-bus A journey through the history and currents of free education, counter-institutional movements and the economy of information in Silicon Valley + beyond. Free Soil presents a bus tour, exhibition, outdoor film/video festival & on-site exchange in conjunction with the 2nd Biennial 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge in San Jose, California. This tour takes inspiration from the spirit of counter cultural activities prevalent in this region in the late 1960’s, namely the activities of the Mid-Peninsula Free University, Homebrew Computer Club,draft-resisters and the back-to-landers. These prototypical models of alternative education formed in reaction to the growing influence of the military-industrial complex on American universities. Courses were taught on topics ranging from intentional communities and  sand-casting candles, to Maoist political theory , “To Be Gentle,” and "The Art of Giving Away Bread." ...Join 30 artists, scientists, curators on a 1.5 day long journey that includes small walks, lectures, mini-workshops and other particpatory events. The Tour lasts 7 hours and includes lunch, drink and snacks. As part of the Free Soil Bus Tour Project a reader will be collated and printed by this occasion. This reader is primarily a resource for people engaged in experimental/alternative learning projects. Marthe is now working hard on this reader by trying Scribus. And OSP is willing to get on the bus at last stop, to share the joy of this journey in coming weeks, someday in sunny June. ]]>

And the winner is...

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 15:08:20 +0000


OSP + Scribus = Prizewinning Design!

Fri, 05 Jun 2009 18:36:34 +0000

dsc03255 Yesterday OSP received a Plantin-Moretus prize 2009 for best designed book in the category non fiction. The jury about Cross-over: "It was love at first sight". The book, published by BAM and Lannoo and edited by Liesbeth Huybregts, uses Libre Fonts and is produced with Scribus and many other F/LOSS tools. We think it is probably the first publication made in Free Software crowned 'best designed book' and we are sure it is not going to be the last! The prize is named after Plantin Moretus, a 16th century printing and publishing house in Antwerp renowned for its high quality cartography, typography and engraving. OSP feels honoured :-) [more pictures] ]]>

Libre Fonts

Sun, 07 Jun 2009 08:40:41 +0000

Open Font Library is preparing a brand new site (an idea of what's in store: http://openfontlibrary.org/wiki) and this sparked off an interesting discussion about terminology. How to name fonts that are made available on the OFL site? Free Fonts sounds nice, but risks to blur with gratis (and non-free) fonts promoted under the same term. Others are all for using it because even if confusing, Freedom is important. There are many arguments against the use of the word FLOSS Fonts: it is an acronym, a software term (there is no consensus about whether fonts are software), and it sounds ugly. The software-argument works against Free Software Fonts too, of course. Open Fonts mixes with Open Type (which again has nothing to do with their license) and is felt to be ambiguous and evasive. But for the same reason, others are in favour of the term because Open is more inclusive and alludes to the 'open endedness' of a font or process. The current proposal is to use Libre Fonts, even when it introduces an unfamiliar term to English speakers and would need some explanation. OSP likes this nicely awkward cross-language invention so we have adopted the term Libre Fonts and renamed our tags. We hope it sticks around. Thread on the openfontlibrary list: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/openfontlibrary/2009-May/002097.html]]>

Pour la premiere fois dans ta ville

Sun, 07 Jun 2009 14:03:58 +0000

Pierre Normal (pneu) and The Dreams en tournee. 16 June - Strasbourg, Le Troc Café, Rue du Faubourg de Saverne 17 June - Zürich, Kalki, Kalkbreitenstrasse (Palais Chalet) 18 June - Lausanne, Espace Autogéré 19 June - Stuttgart, Club für Flüssigkeiten & Schwingungen 20 June - Genève, L’Ecurie, (Palais Chalet) 21 June - Luzern, tbc 22 June - Genève, Duplex, 波(なみ) La Vague, rue des amis 7, 22h, (Palais Chalet) Handmade xerox poster done by OSP (lettering) and ATKA (polpetto). Don't miss it if you're near!]]>

Libre Graphics Meeting 2010 in Brussels

Thu, 11 Jun 2009 08:12:56 +0000

About the Libre Graphics Meeting The Libre Graphics Meeting exists to unite and accelerate the efforts behind Free, Libre and Open Source creative software. Since 2006, this annual meeting has been the premiere conference for developers, users and supporters of projects such as GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Krita, Scribus, Hugin, the Open Clipart Library, and the Open Font Library gather to work on interoperability, shared standards, and new ideas. Work at prior LGMs has pushed the state of the art in important areas such as color management, cross-application sharing of assets, and common formats. Face-to-face meetings and opportunities for collaboration are important to developers and users alike; in the form of tutorials, talks, workshops, and birds-of-a-feather (BOF) the event offers many formal and informal opportunities to interact. The conference is free for everyone to attend. LGM 2010 is hosted by Constant and the Libre Graphics Community. For more information, visit www.libregraphicsmeeting.org -----

Libre Graphics Meeting 2010 à Bruxelles

Les prochaines rencontres Libre Graphics (LGM), cinquièmes du genre, se tiendront au mois de mai 2010 à Bruxelles. Ce prochain printemps sera l'occasion pour les utilisateurs et développeurs de logiciels Libres et Open-source destinés à la création graphique de se réunir dans la capitale européenne pour un brassage d'idées, mais aussi un grand moment de partage de créativité et d'innovations. A propos du Libre Graphics Meeting Ces rencontres ont été créées pour coordonner, unifier et accélérer les efforts consentis pour faire évoluer les logiciels Libres et Open-source destinés à la création graphique. Ces rencontres annuelles se sont imposées depuis leur première en 2006 comme le point focal des conférences pour développeurs, utilisateurs et enthousiastes de projets tels que The GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Krita, Scribus, Hugin, the Open Clipart Library, et the Open Font Library. Et ceci avec une vision particulièrement orientée vers l'interopérabilité, les innovations et l'application de standards communs. Les travaux résultant des premières LGMs ont considérablement fait progresser des secteurs essentiels comme la gestion de la couleur, le partage inter-applications des acquis et les formats communs. Les tête-à-tête et occasions de collaboration sont riches et essentiels pour les utilisateurs et développeurs : les LGMs permettent d'offrir une multitude d'occasions formalisées ou non d'interagir, sous la forme d'ateliers, exposés, cours et démos et, enfin, de discussions ouvertes. Ces rencontres sont ouvertes à toutes et à tous, gratuitement. LGM 2010 est organisée par la communauté du Libre Graphics et Constant v.z.w. Pour plus d'informations, visitez www.libregraphicsmeeting.org]]>

Cookbook Launch

Mon, 22 Jun 2009 05:56:56 +0000

22 June, 16:00 @ Puerto, Varkensmarkt 23, Brussels cover_recto_th Join us this afternoon for the long awaited festive launch of the Puerto Livre de Cuisine Kookboek: 70 delicious recipes, written, translated (Dutch and French) and illustrated in collaboration with the inhabitants of Puerto. Puerto is an organisation working from the center of Brussels, where they generously support anyone in need of a home. The book was laid out in Scribus, Gimp and Linux Libertine and is now available for only 12,50 €. If you're in Brussels, order your copy at: puerto@archipel.be or buy the POD-version from lulu.com! All benefits support the work of Puerto. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Some pictures of the launch: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/?level=album&id=33 ]]>

Adjustment of a bone under the skin

Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:20:35 +0000

DIN - Das Ist Norm - Loch Ness project to the surface of the Saint Laurent river again in a discussion with Denis Jacquerye from Deja Vu. Back in Brussels, we meet Denis in the temporary OSP Studio at Rue de la Senne to begin to define on what criteria and with which tool to work (name dropping : stroke parts - stroke fonts in FontForge - svg fonts in Inkscape - Metafont - ...). So we browse through some of the pictures we brought back from the DIN archive. From the different versions we have seen in the archives, it seems that the main DIN letters models are based on solo strokes drawn on a grid at small size. It was the regular usage for most of the texts in the engineering environment. The thickness of the tool used (pencil, drawing pen, ball nose mill) defined the boldness of the strokes and the round or less round shape of their extremities, like flesh on bones. Later this was also applied to larger lettering, so strokes became surfaces and the drawing began to be defined by the contour, by its skin. Simple geometric extrapolation from strokes were operated, using the unit of the grid as unit for the thickness of the stroke, to normalize sizes. In the oblique letters, the angle of the shape at the end of strokes became angled and goes farther than the regular width, defined by the grid. So, as these letter parts could be less open in their 'fill' version than in their 'stroke' one, the core was moved a little towards the inside of the glyph to fit in the grid. That shift from calligraphy to typography is traditionaly hidden in the progressive adaptations by generations of letterers. But in the case of the DIN lettering, as a norm, the movement must be described in detail. And that effort produced the beautiful figure that appeared before Harrisson and me two year ago on a screen of the library of the DIN Institute... din-skin-bones]]>

Opening the blackbox of printing

Sat, 27 Jun 2009 19:30:51 +0000

Salto. He lives and works in Ulbeek, Limburg (B) where he restores a former brewery, and transforms it into a platform for the production and conception of extraordinary publications. ulbeek Every printed book is an original On this mornings' motorway road to Campine, Pierre remembers for Femke his first (and only) meeting with Georges Charlier, around 10 years earlier. Thierry Van Hasselt, comics author and publisher, had spot books outputted by a fantastic printer, that built a model printshop on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands, near the Meuse, in a haunted park. This man would be able to provide extraordinary color separation and printing quality, maybe the best in the world... Thierry and me felt they needed this kind of quality in order to reproduce the subtle greasy drawings in Gloria Lopez, Thierry's book they were working on at the time. Follows a fever meeting and tour by former photographer Georges through the whole chain he has built: a repro-table with natural light and Nasa photo sensor, to avoid the brutal lighting of hi-res scanners (too high contrast); ultra high care color separation with in-house software recipes; exotic screening with an optimised solution of half 600 lpi and half stochastic rasterization and luxurious printing, combining warm grey, transparent and an opaque black 'skeleton' to match the matte quality of a litho crayon. Far from the kind of glitter fireworks printers usually send us as new year's eve auto-promotion, this exceptional person was convinced that every book, even in large scale print run, is an original, the original. And that every stage in the process is a step to achieve the final and best result in the hands of the viewer, or user. A statement we 100% shared for the contemporary comics like Fréon was publishing. A few weeks after, Thierry literally lived there on the machine and an impressive volume was produced. The tunnel of production Today Georges Charlier explains how he felt frustrated by the tunnel view approach to much contemporary printing workflows. The effect of ISO-standardization might be that overall printing quality has increased, but often there is not much space for experimentation and above all specific quality. "In the United States, color specialist became known as agitators, as troublemakers. In the interest of survival, the printing business tries to streamline the process from digital file to a printed product as much as possible" Printer without printshop It might be the result of very practical and economical constraints, but it does not come as a surprise that Georges habitually uses the presses of his colleagues rather than his own printshop. Out of necessity, he has learned how to practice high quality printing without attaching himself to his own machine park. The experience of traveling between materials and setups has made him aware of the differences between presses of various makes. As a way to enforce a serious conversation with press manufacturers, he eventually made up his own 'acid test'. A collection of seemingly simple black and white images enables the analyses of radical shifts in quality between machines. We imagined the tense silence in the Heidelberg boardroom when he unfolded his test sheets, the complete management had gathered for the occasion. He printed the same sheet not only on the respectable German presses but also on a Roland, a Mitshibishu, a Komori and a KBA. Afterwards, in the corridor, the staff of engineers thanked him for pointing out to their bosses that even at Heidelberg there was room for improvement. Material knowledge On multiple levels, our conversation touches on the way material and knowledge, objects and software are intimately interwoven. It has motivated Georges to develop his own tools, and also his own paper. After an intense collaboration with the technical staff of a small paper factory in The Netherlands, he managed to develop a paper fit to his needs: a slightly ivory, matte but silky surface which supports the reproduction of a series of photographs by Bauhaus photographer Moï Ver. But the company went bankrupt, and although he still has access to the recipe, without their expertise and equipment he will not be able to produce the same quality paper ever again. Spectral colors "I met likeminded people like in the Netherlands, and we said to each other: let’s drop the old Lab color system, and try instead to build a new spectral system". Georges is busy developing color systems that are not limited to the traditional 3, 4, 6 or 7 values, but that are based on various separation operations that depend on what we want to store and retrieve on paper. When the CIE Commission internationale de l'éclairage begin to build the RGB color models in the 1920's, it made sense (and fit with the mathematical computation power available at the time), to simulate the regular way our eyes simplify, with the help of three kinds of cones, infinite physical color wavelengths into three color values, as an event, before they are quantified and evaluated by our brain. These models were developped using some statistical averaging between samples of observers. And these subjective observations were than normalized to build a model that pinpoints specific and measurable wavelengths. So the perception of these observers ended up in two overlapping simulations at work when we look at printed pictures: the one their cones have provided, and the result of the combination of three different inks chosen for their direct relation with the wavelengths that please these same cones. This synchronized simplification helped further models based on RGB (notably XYZ and Lab) and paved the way for the current ISO separation model used widely for most of the quadrichromatic printed images nowadays. But we lost a diversity of color events in that double reduction: mostly all saturated colors in between, and colors that look the same under certain conditions but not under others (a phenomenon linked to metamerism). And if we experience everyday marvelous and rich color events in our brains, all different depending on our sex and origin, we have also progressively standardised the way we perceive printed color separation and the amount of colorised experiences we've acknowledged not to find in there. Georges' openness to rethink the color model will not only benefit color reproduction, but also in another field of his activity, the archiving of sensible material. And it's use can even be enlarged with the archiving of information about actual pigments in the file format that stores the full spectral data of an image. White gloves Explorations He is finishing a special edition of images from the archives of the Scott Polar Research Institute. He puts on white gloves and shows us 5 cahiers of photographs taken by Herbert Ponting. The images document the catastrophic Terra Nova expedition undertaken by Robert Falcon Scott in 1912. Duplicates rather than reproductions, these contemporary platinotypes are meant to survive their originals (assumed life span ca. 1000 years). Their exceptionally refined quality is accentuated by the bristle character of their subject matter. Scott and their party never returned from the Terra Nova expedition. But the penetrating gaze of those adventurous men, dressed in layers of self repaired clothes, will miraculously survive after being photographed, archived, scanned, digitized, described, retouched and finally printed in three monochromes on acid free paper. PD*27005129 Captain Scott in his cabin]]>

Pelgrimage to Pragma

Mon, 29 Jun 2009 21:34:47 +0000

Designing with TeX: episode IV pragma Today we drove up North to the headquarters of Pragma in Hasselt (NL), La Place from where ConTeXt, a document markup language and document preparation system based on TeX, is being developed. The goal of the journey was to resolve some of the issues we encounter while designing a multi lingual publication for Constant. We returned a little wiser about ConTeXt and the things it can do well, and cannot (yet) do. We also brought back a few working installations, a beautiful solution for image linking, the understanding that CMYK is easy, some answers to the problem of line-height switching plus a basic hack for multiple language streams. This all against the usual tarif. So, in case you were wondering what happened to our project to design with TeX: we are still working on it!]]>

Free Pink!

Tue, 07 Jul 2009 04:33:09 +0000

Image_with_pinkish_color_banned "Green Dam Youth Escort (绿坝·花季护航: Lǜbà·Huājì Hùháng) recognizes pornographic images by analyzing skin-coloured regions, causing the barring of this image of pink color pigs." The Chinese government has mandated that, beginning July 1, every PC sold in China must include a censorship program called Green Dam. This software is designed to monitor Internet connections and text typed on the computer. It blocks undesirable or politically sensitive content and optionally reports it to authorities. Green Dam was developed by a company called Jin Hui and is available as a free download... WindowsXPGreenDamGirls]]>

LGM 2010: date and venue

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 14:56:01 +0000

27 - 30 May 2010 in De Pianofabriek, Brussels Plogger Image Plogger Image Plogger Image Plogger Image Plogger Image Plogger Image Plogger Image Still nearly 9 months to go, but preparations for a next edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting in Brussels have started. In our quest for the ultimate LGM 2010 venue, we checked out many potential spaces, but finally settled for De Pianofabriek in our neighbourhood St. Gilles. With the main Midi station and historic city centre at walking distance, its location is ideal to begin with. The Pianofabriek venue consists of several interconnected buildings which used to belong to piano factory Gunther. Built at the end of the 19th century, a recent renovation transformed it into an artslab / cultural center housing class rooms, an exhibition space, meeting rooms, workshop spaces, a theatre, a dance rehearsal hall and much more. Its lively atmosphere will be a productive context for the kinds of workshops, presentations, work meetings and informal exchanges that make up LGM, and we hope that in-between intensive work, participants find time to enjoy the many nice bars, restaurants and café's around nearby Parvis de St. Gilles!]]>

Open kitchen clipart

Mon, 27 Jul 2009 01:35:11 +0000

clipart_complet After the release of our Puerto Livre de Cuisine Kookboek, all the drawings and illustrations now are available as clipart on Open Clip Art Library. Thanks to nitrofurano: download all files in one go with wget! Download script and run from the commandline with: $ bash kitchenclipart.sh Let's cook together :-)]]>

Patents threat on photomosaic plugin

Fri, 07 Aug 2009 17:28:17 +0000

developper's website:
The image mosaic plug-in for the GIMP is no longer supported or distributed. Mr. Robert Silvers, the holder of a patent related to the technology that was used in the plug-in, argued that the software would directly infringe his patent rights. It is not clear if the patent is applicable in this case. But I have neither the time, interest or money for legal action. So I complied with the cease and desist request. PHOTOMOSAIC® is a registered trademark of Runaway Technology, Inc. The photomosaic process is patented (US Patent No. 6,137,498) and protected by the patent, copyright, and other intellectual property laws of the United States and other major countries.
It seems though that someone else has taken the development further:
This software is currently being updated for Gimp 2.2. Please check back regularly. In the meantime, the Gimp 1.x version and instructions can be found below, although they may be somewhat unreliable.
This second version of the plugin avoided the technology covered by the patent or ... sanely ... ignored it? ]]>

Legal Soup

Tue, 18 Aug 2009 16:08:41 +0000

1. Unlimited Use License Judging from the mysql errors flying around, the Open Records Generator software developed by David Reinfurt, is not actively maintained at the moment. Still, this GPL licensed software presents an interesting mix of buyers and users: "The buyer receives full rights to modify and reuse the software for future applications" (found on: http://o-r-g.com/STORE/OPEN-RECORDS-GENERATOR)
Open Records Generator is available as Open Source Software. By purchasing this product from O R G inc., you will also receive the complete source code. Using this code, the buyer is free to alter, adapt and evolve this software to fit future projects.

2. Ecology

Dutch webdesign agency Spranq developed the much publicised Ecofont, based on the idea that if you punch holes in Vera Sans, you decrease the amount of toner used by 20%. The font can be downloaded for free, and on the project site they refer to the fact that Vera Sans is 'open source', but unfortunately none of this is carried over in to the derivative work. We wrote:
Hello, We saw an article on the Ecofonts you released in this month edition of Items. What a great idea to establish a connection between typography and ecology and also to create an inspiring example of how an 'open source' font can be used. We were therefore a bit disappointed to find that clear information on its legal status is missing. You indicate that you may download Ecofont for free, but the required original license is not included (See copyright Vera Sans: "The above copyright and trademark notices and this permission notice shall be included in all copies of one or more of the Font Software type faces"), and thus it is not clear what users can and can not do with your work. It creates unnecessary confusion about open source fonts, and wouldn't it be nice (and beneficial for the environment!) when other designers would feel invited to contribute a serif version or apply the same principle to another font? Kind regards, OSP
(Spranq responded within an hour and the downloadable font now includes a correct copyright notice)

3. You may use this font only if you ...

@fontface is changing the rules of 'free' typography, which is confusing fontdesigners everywhere. (Free Font License found on: http://www.myfonts.com/viewlicense?id=706)
You may use this font for Font-Face embedding, but only if you put a link to www.exljbris.nl on your page and/or put this notice /* A font by Jos Buivenga (exljbris) -> www.exljbris.nl */ in your CSS file as near as possible to the piece of code that declares the Font-Face embedding of this font.

We will get to know the machine and we will understand

Wed, 26 Aug 2009 12:37:25 +0000

Female Icons, a project by De Geuzen but I think OSP-readers might like to read it as well? Julianewhen you hear people talk about women having more sense for the global, intuitive and empathic… and men are more logic… even if it is true… it seems quite a good thing to have when you are doing math or software?" Juliane is a Brussels based computer scientist, feminist and Linux user of the first hour. She studied math, programming and system administration and participates in the Samedies (a group of women maintaining their own server). In February 2009, she was voted president of the Brussels Linux user group. Download interview: juliane.odt ]]>

Mamma Roma - La Sonic Party

Tue, 08 Sep 2009 09:06:26 +0000

Mamma Roma are 3 pizzerias in Brussels. Collerettecocofilllsd designed a logo, OSP adapted it for a flyer and poster. This caracter will be declined on the pizza delivery boxes. Done in Inkscape.]]>

Follow The Sound Fonts

Tue, 08 Sep 2009 10:02:16 +0000

LPDME. It's remixes of the Avant Garde font, semi bold, in it's GPL version: URW Gothic, part of the Ghostscript urw-fonts-1.0.7pre44 package. Valek Filippov version with cyrillics can be downloaded here. sample_urwgothic 2 fonts were designed: Whisky Jazz and Distilled Spirit, both used in the project to give strange rythm. Please note the M letter which is a nice graffiti inspired trick. (We love it!). sample_DS_and_WJ Take them here: whiskyjazzbeta and distilledspirit They're raw and unfinished, but correspond to a spontaneous enthousiasm. It's beta versions, only the capitals were done. If anybody feels the pleasure of forging other letters, feel welcome! Black lettrines comes from 19th century font samples. This work is released under Free Art License. ]]>

Follow The Sound Festival

Tue, 08 Sep 2009 10:18:20 +0000

RBDX to do colored background for each support. FTSPOSTER posters_FTS_ok posters_FTS_ok2 posters_FTS_ok3 ]]>

Friting in Brussels 20 09 2009

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 08:59:27 +0000

Alley Cat Race will occur next sunday in Brussels. alley_frite_flyer Starts 20/09/09 — 14:00 (day without car) Rue de la Victoire 96 — 1060 Bxl map Distribution of spoke cards + checkpoint map Ends Place du Jeu de Balle — Aperitive, music, results etc. Inscription: 3€ Trip: +/- 35km, 9 checkpoints (incl. 3 task checkpoints) Recommended: Lights, Water, Helmet, Lock, Pen, Map of Bxl (19 communes) Registration: www.fixedgearbrussels.com Flyer done in Inkscape 0.46!]]>

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

Tue, 15 Sep 2009 18:29:32 +0000

P1060690← This letter proves that we just handed in a dossier at the Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sport and Brussels (Vlaamse Gemeenschap). With Constant colleague Peter Westenberg, OSP wrote an application to ask for support for the Libre Graphics Meeting 2010. There is only a very small chance that it will make it (LGM is sort of hors catégorie) but wouldn't it be nice if the committee 'Architectuur en Vormgeving' also thinks that LGM is relevant? Full dossier (in Dutch, 25 MB): http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/documents/LGM2010/LGM2010VG.pdf]]>

0.47 in 47 sec

Wed, 16 Sep 2009 13:08:41 +0000

o.47 Install Inkscape 0.47 pre release: http://webupd8.blogspot.com/2009/06/download-inkscape-047-pre-release.html Wow! This is mind blowing! To get quadrichromical images from Inkscape, our "rock in the shoe" way is to save vectorial drawing in SVG, and import it in Scribus. To get the right colors, we recompose svg-rgb colors in scribus-cymk. It's a fastidious work, and limitative, but it works very well. PDF we printed this way are perfect. We feared that new release of inkscape would disturb this way of proceeding. But we couldn't believe our eyes when scribus perfectly imorted spiro curves and generated a ready-to-print PDF. Yihaaa!]]>

Spinning SVG

Fri, 18 Sep 2009 06:03:22 +0000

Can't help but re-blog: friend & neighbour Michael Murtaugh is experimenting with SVG animation, using svgweb to make this cat spin :-) http://automatist.org/blog/?p=139]]>

Watch this thread: LGM site and logo proposal

Thu, 01 Oct 2009 08:33:38 +0000

sketch After heated debates, intensive collaborative working sessions and many hesitations, OSP feat. Alexandre Leray finally proposed a new identity for the upcoming Libre Graphics Meeting to the Libre Graphics community. Since the next meeting will take place in in our home town Brussels, we felt that it was important to at least try to shift the way our favourite tools are represented. We wrote to the Create mailinglist:
Our main design concern was about how to represent digital tools in their diversity, from Desktop Publishing to 3D modeling, from typography to batch processing etc., showing by this means the multiplicity of the projects gathered at the Libre Graphics Meeting. This is the role assigned to the background, a static SVG composition of some of the most significant digital tools from the libre projects. This background, present on all the pages, zooms and pans randomly on each page loading, thanks to a small javascript. This gives to the readers unexpected exploration of the territories of that "map of creative tools".
detail Dynamic background in SVG: unexpected explorations of the "map of creative tools"
The logo is a play with the M of Meeting, shifting between 2D and 3D perception; between static and movement. 3 squares for a flag. A flag for a meeting. A flag for a place, and for a space. A typographic flag for an italic M. 3 squares for pixels. 15 degrees rotated squares for vectors. 3 squares of progressive sizes to evoque movement. 3 sizes overlapping for 3D optical effect. 3 windows floating. The typeface used, is OSP-DIN.
planche Logo proposal: A flag for a Meeting. A flag for a place, and for a space
As the background is very present, we decided to base mainly the website on text. It is set with Dave Crossland's open typeface Cantarell, available for download at Open Font Library. This humanist sans-serif font was designed for on screen reading therefore it is very legible even on small sizes. This choice was made to promote the Open Font Library, the GPL and Fontforge with which was made the font, but also the new @font-face CSS rules newly (re-)introduced in Firefox 3.5 (among other web browsers). Not to mention that Dave is a very active Create member and a professional type designer. We picked up the yellow color as a way to keep the foreground legible. The latter is made of two colors, a navy blue and a brown, to differentiate two levels of information. We also decided to "mute" the partners logos by converting them to a single color in order to keep the whole homogeneous.
It's no easy task ;-) to design for such a divergent mix of developers, free software activists, artists and designers but we're determined to find a constructive middle ground and keep the energy of our proposal alive. Watch this thread and give your 2 cents: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/create/2009-September/thread.html#2056 http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/create/2009-October/thread.html#2063 Logo proposal: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/documents/LGM2010/logo (please install OSP-DIN) Website sketch: http://lgm.alexandreleray.com]]>

Thank You PoDoFo

Fri, 02 Oct 2009 08:18:44 +0000

When budget is limited and time is short: PoDoFo tiling + wallpaper glue + NotCourierSans to the rescue! P1060715 P1060711 Clementine mounts the Constant Verlag colophon for its launch last night in 17 Rue de la Senne ]]>

The transformer

Fri, 09 Oct 2009 11:28:37 +0000

marie_neurath The transformer (Marie Neurath) at work Today a long awaited booklet arrived in the post: The transformer, principles of making Isotype charts written by Robin Kinross & Marie Neurath. It is inspiring in its modest but precise description of unorthodox working methods developed by philosopher, sociologist, and economist Otto Neurath and his associates. To produce 'pictures out of data', a central role was given to 'the transformer'. Marie Neurath explains:
It is the responsibility of the 'transformer' to understand the data, to get all necessary information from the expert, to decide what is worth transmitting to the public, how to make it understandable, how to link it with general knowledge or with information already given in other charts. In this sense, the transformer is the 'trustee of the public'

Cimatics landscapes

Mon, 09 Nov 2009 14:33:02 +0000

Cimatics-preview01 Earlier this year, we were invited to work on the identity of the Brussels-based Cimatics A\V Platform. Cimatics is a framework for initiating and facilitating audiovisual productions, events, publications and workshops. To launch the new identity, we developed a new family of fonts! We hope you're ready for the libre dingbats attack URW Gothic L dusty noisy text bloc jam? We'll go more into the design process and release these fonts at two live events later this month. Stay tuned. ☔☺☔ ✈ ❍ ✌]]>

cœur + œuf

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 18:08:25 +0000

Yi and Femke consider cooking heartless vegan food from now on We're correcting the second edition of the Puerto Cookbook (first edition sold out!) and stumble over a trivial but frustrating small bug in Scribus. Maybe too long to explain here (you're welcome to read our bug report), but it means a lot of scrolling back and forth through the Unicode chart to locate the obligatory œ ligature and correct 'heart' (cœur) and 'egg' (œuf) in French.]]>

A postcard from Amsterdam

Fri, 13 Nov 2009 16:16:50 +0000

Alessandro Ludivico proudly presents the latest issue of Neural with OSP-designed ad for By Data We Mean At a conference in Amsterdam, the Ippolita collective proposes us to build (and use?) convivial tools, a method for users that 'neither want to rule nor to be ruled by the Society of the Query':
  • Detect and locate the borders of your local world
  • Decide in advance how many times / until when you will play the game
  • Mesh up different existing tools
  • Enjoy because no sacrifice is allowed (you are not representing anyone, you are not saving the world!)
Read more about Tools for Conviviality in this text by Ivan Illich: http://clevercycles.com/tools_for_conviviality/ ]]>

Tracks in electr(on)ic fields

Sun, 15 Nov 2009 20:09:49 +0000

Tuesday Mardi 24/11

Booklaunch: Tracks in electr(on)ic fields

@ Verbindingen/Jonctions 12: By Data We Mean Zennestraat 17 Rue de la Senne, Brussels Bruxelles We are very happy to announce the launch of the long awaited book Verbindingen/Jontions 10: Tracks in electr(on)ic fields. Nearly two years in the making, this book is the result of our adventures in TeX, LaTex and ConTeXt plus a cover in Scribus feat. Spiro. The booklaunch marks the opening of a new edition of Jonctions/Verbindingen: By Data We Mean More news as soon as the books arrive from the printer :-)]]>

☔☺☔ ✈ ❍ ✌

Mon, 16 Nov 2009 09:01:30 +0000

Thursday Jeudi 26/11

Dingbat Liberation Fest + Populated Fonts

@ Verbindingen/Jonctions 12: By Data We Mean Zennestraat 17 Rue de la Senne, Brussels Bruxelles

Dingbat Liberation Fest

14:00 > 17:00 [EN] Dingbat kitchen! The fonts OSP started from and the dingbats that they sample come from a something that could perhaps be called a Commons. Dingbats have sneaked into most computers nowadays. They’re as much a part of the Unicode Standard as the Roman Alphabet. Dingbats are there for grabbing. It’s just a matter of locating them in your hard disk. [FR] Un atelier cuisine autour des dingbats communs. Les polices de caractères et dingbats à partir desquelles OSP a travaillé, proviennent d’un échantillon de quelque chose qui pourrait être appelé un bien commun. Ces symboles se sont infiltrés dans la plupart de nos ordinateurs. Ils font partie de la norme Unicode comme l’alphabet romain. Reste à les localiser sur votre disque dur.

Populated Fonts

17:00 > 18:00 [EN] A presentation of the typographic design process that connects the Cimatics platform identity with Verbindingen/Jonctions 12: a development and extension of a pictures/glyph translation process. Around dingbats and into the em, Ivan et Ludi will present an attempt (crack) to develop images contained into data and Unicode standards (or its negative). The Showery Weather, the Have a Nice Day!, and the black blocks of the Unicode Standard are circumventing the old AsciiArt engine to generate matrix landscapes populated by text. [FR] Présentation du design typographique qui relie l’identité de Verbindingen/Jonctions 12 au graphisme de la platforme Cimatics: le développement et l'extension d’un processus de traduction image/glyphe. Autour du dingbats, Ivan et Ludi présentent une tentative de révéler des images cachées ou contenues dans les données et les standards. Une bande de pictogrammes "temps de pluie", un smiley et quelques blocs noirs du standard Unicode contournent le vieux moteur AsciiArt pour générer des paysages matriciels, peuplés de texte. In collaboration with En collaboration avec le Festival Cimatics 2009]]>

Dingbat Carpet

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 07:35:18 +0000

Ludi draws a giant 26FD Unicode dingbat (from the recent 5.2 character additions) More images: http://gallery.constantvzw.org/main.php?g2_itemId=29200]]>


Sun, 22 Nov 2009 17:59:16 +0000

P1100655-post O S P Noisettes - Black - Melk]]>

Dingbat Liberation Fest II

Fri, 04 Dec 2009 16:13:00 +0000

Friday December 11 Location: CASCO, Office for Art, Design and Theory Utrecht (NL)

☔ ✈ ❀ ☺ ❍ ✌ ☺ ✈ ❉

[caption id="attachment_3675" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Marzipan production at the Dingbat Liberation Fest I"]Marzipan production at the Dingbat Liberation Fest I[/caption]Next week, OSP is happy to re-play Dingbat kitchen with students from the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design. "Dingbats have sneaked into most computers nowadays. They're as much a part of the Unicode Standard as the Roman Alphabet is. Dingbats are up for grabs; it’s just a matter of locating them on your harddisk. The font projects OSP develops and the dingbats they sample, function in a something that could perhaps be called a Commons. But how can we really get our hands on them? Let's find out and liberate (y)our dingbats!" Ingredients - 800 grams ground almonds - 800 grams powdered sugar - a bit of water - almond essence - rolling pin - 1 large bowl - 1 large spoon - grease proof paper - multiple installs of Inkscape - cookie cutters - a beamer (preferably 2 that can project side by side) - an internet connection - natural food coloring (3 different colors) - a complete overview of the Unicode standard - a complete set of Unicode numbers 2700–27BF including their descriptions, printed on paper slips and folded inwards - 200 sheets of black paper (A4) - 200 sheets of white paper (A4) - 15 cutters - glue - 2 serving trays or 3 large plates - tape - 3 digital cameras - cardboard or cutting mats]]>

OSP wins Fernand Baudin Prize

Thu, 17 Dec 2009 19:04:37 +0000

Tracks in Electr(on)ic Fields, published by Constant and designed by OSP with ConTeXt and Scribus, has been awarded one of 9 prizes for

The Most Beautiful Book of Brussels and Wallonia

✵ ✯ ✵ Screenshot-vj10-cover-recto.pdf page11 page317 page77
More about the prize: http://www.prixfernandbaudinprijs.be About the design and production process (also included in the publication): Related posts: Sources: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/sources/vj10 We are so proud!]]>

Bienvenue to Hadopi logo

Thu, 14 Jan 2010 10:22:22 +0000

Hadopi is a big thing in France. At its origin, a piece of legislation that implements the three strikes model for illegal downloads. You receive three warnings and then you are 'banned' from the internet. The authority who is in charge of applying the sanction is the Hadopi. A new logo has been created for Hadopi. And provoked a flurry of discussions about ... typography. It seems that the logo is made with a proprietary font that can only be used by France Telecom (called Bienvenue, ironically). The graphic designers who made the logo issued a statement saying that it was a wrong version of the logo that had been sent by mistake and released the 'right' one made with two other commercial fonts. The problem being they only acquired the licenses for those in the morning of the second release, leading to the suspicion they had them on their hard drives before having bought them. Read more: http://www.itespresso.fr/logo-hadopi-meli-melo-dans-la-typo-33128.html http://www.lepost.fr/article/2010/01/11/1881457_logo-hadopi-illegal-y-avait-mieux-a-pirater-que-france-telecom.html Laurence, thanks for the tip]]>

O S P double

Thu, 14 Jan 2010 15:26:11 +0000

étapes: ouvre une double page à OSP pour notre carte Cinéma du réel 2009. osp-etapes_int_small > voir + osp-etapes_cover_small osp-etapes_texte01_small osp-etapes_texte02_small osp-etapes_texte03_small ]]>

nY-web, literary blogging

Mon, 18 Jan 2010 10:56:54 +0000

nY— website en tijdschrift voor literatuur, kritiek & amusement, voorheen yang & freespace Nieuwzuid. nY-web exists indepently next to the paper edition with it's own editorial staff, writers categories and settings. While nY is a magazine with a profound literary history it confirms it's existence as an independent web platform, that is to say — it uses full virtues of publishing online. Coded within the Django framework the nY website covers four zones with independent qualities. Showtime for publishing news and debates. Transit zone covers translations for literary texts, reconnecting the field of flemish literature to more languages. Untimely meditations offers a platform for short essayist reflections on images, texts and others. The homepage functions as a timeline record registering the activity of the four major zones — showtime, untimely meditations, transitzone and long hard looks. Articles grow in length showing the quantity of comments. Alexandre built a custom module for paragraph commenting— based on a concept of Michael Murhtaugh — which enables readers to interfere on texts in the side margins. This module replies on the demand of nY for being not only a platform of publishing but also a platform of discussion and interaction. Finally nY-web came to it's existence. The art of blogging in a different light, that is sure!]]>

Tools for conviviality

Wed, 27 Jan 2010 23:35:39 +0000

Stuttgart, I read Tools for Conviviality, a pamphlet by social philosopher Ivan Ilich (1973). A 'convivial society', he argues, is a society in which everyone can act autonomously, and this can be achieved through the design and use of 'convivial tools':
People feel joy, as opposed to mere pleasure, to the extent that their activities are creative; while the growth of tools beyond a certain point increases reglementation, dependence, and impotence. I use the term "tool" broadly enough to include not only simple hardware such as drills, pots, syringes, brooms, building elements, or motors, and not just large machines like cars or power stations; I also include among tools productive institutions such as factories that produce tangible commodities such as corn flakes or electric current, and productive systems for intangible commodities such a those which produce "education," "health," "knowledge" or "decisions."

Valentine scripting

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 11:09:10 +0000

Poster and flyer designed and produced in OpenOffice This week and next, colleague and friend An Mertens (a.k.a. Ana Foor) works out of the Elsene local library Sans Souci. She'll be listening to your account of meeting a loved one for the first time, those habits that keep your relationship alive or which imaginary place you would like to visit with your best friend. Just like an oldfashioned Ecrivain Public, Ana Foor will transform these conversations into unique Valentine letters and -stories published on the fly. In the waiting room, a selection of (Dutch language) romantic literature is available, plus a choice of styles and formats presented in a catalog developed/designed by OSP's Femke, Ludivine, Ivan, Nicolas and Pierre M. For practical and conceptual reasons, we wanted to produce the customised stories and letters with the help of the well-known word processing tool OpenOffice, and were curious to see what could happen if we'd use that same tool for designing and printing the catalog, poster and invitation too. Most of all we couldn't resist to play with odfpy, a Python library that can generate .odt documents from scratch. It got us into various strange and exotic problems, just the way we like it :-) Templates This form lists all possible styles presented in the catalog We designed a set of 6 basic lay-outs mixed with 9 different decorative 'spices' and this for three different types of content (story, poem or letter). On top of that, there are three types of media to choose from (web, A4 sheet and booklet). To help identify each of the styles, we came up with a flexible system of re-combinatorial template names that also somehow explains how the project works:
  • Sexy Maan
  • Lavendel Panter
  • Lungo Ijs
  • Espresso Stormen
  • Chocolade Valleien
  • Koraal Verlangen
  • Kristallen Maan
  • Roze Panter
  • Champagne Ijs
odfpy "Unlike other more convenient APIs, this one is essentially an abstraction layer just above the XML format. The main focus has been to prevent the programmer from creating invalid documents." Nicolas had pointed us to the odfpy library a while ago, and this lovely catalog seemed the ultimate opportunity to experiment with it. odfpy adds a Python-scripting interface to OpenOffice; with the help of this library you can dynamically generate files in the Open Document Format (.odt, .ods). odfpy uses OpenOffice in the background, but without its graphical user interface. To see what elements an .odt-file consists of, 'extract' it like a .zip or .tar file <office:body><office:text><text:sequence-decls><text:sequence-decl text:display-outline-level="0" text:name="Illustration"/><text:sequence-decl text:display-outline-level="0" text:name="Table"/><text:sequence-decl text:display-outline-level="0" text:name="Text"/><text:sequence-decl text:display-outline-level="0" text:name="Drawing"/></text:sequence-decls><text:p text:style-name="Standard">Hello World</text:p></office:text></office:body> Fragment of content.xml The Open Document format is written in a rather clean kind of xhtml, which means it is legible compared to most other Word Processing or Desktop Publishing files we looked at. Still that did not mean it was evident how odfpy generates a frame, or calculates the size of a font. The odfpy documentation is rudimentary; it provides extensive information on the hierarchy of frames, elements and styles but for example not a list of what style-options are available. While it is nice to know at what point a frame needs to be generated, without the syntax for a single or triple border, whether it is red or shaded you can only guess. We designed sample files and than browsed their 'source', reverse engineering document settings and -styles with the help of the Open Document file specifications. It obviously took us a ridiculous amount of time to generate 162 different templates in this way. # -*- coding: utf-8 -*- # drawing hearts in the snow! from odf.opendocument import OpenDocumentText from odf.text import P, Span from odf.style import Style, TextProperties, ParagraphProperties, BackgroundImage, GraphicProperties from odf.draw import Frame, TextBox from texts import * from liblove import * From the header of character_spices.py: A heartwarming address Even when the odfpy-scripts Ivan was writing and rewriting, started to read more and more like love letters themselves ... even with our general distrust of efficient methods ... would we have been better off doing all this by hand? With the printer deadline approaching rapidly, we had to settle for a very basic set of styles but managed to use nearly every OSP font currently available. This publication will be both a stalenboek and fontcatalog. herbal_scripts.zip After having installed odfpy, run $ python name_of_script.py in your commandline and generate many .odt files at once OSP_fonts_ok.zip Sneak preview: Drop the contents of this folder into [yourhomefolder]/.fonts and restart OpenOffice Output to different media Our next concern was to generate a pdf that could be handled by the in-house city council printer of Elsene. We had 162 A4 .odt files and three A5 .pdf files (produced in Scribus) that needed to be combined into one pdf. We wrote a bash-script that takes all .odt files inside a folder, transforms them into pdf, resizes them from A4 to A5 and than gathers all files into a multi-page pdf. transform.sh Using some of our favorite tools: unoconv, ps2pdf, psresize and pdftk transform a series of A4 .odt files into a multi-page A5 pdf. As we were working on generating the files until the last minute, we failed to notice that we somehow introduced full color into a pdf that would need to be printed in black-and-white. Also, the printer needed PDF1.3 and we were generating default PDF1.4. In a quick fix, we added ghostscript to the already long list of pdf-tools used in the bash-script; probably making many other steps redundant (ps2pdf has ghostscript integrated for example) but no time for clean-up or rewrite. transform_gray.sh Still not all trouble was over. Our printer reported that he was unable to deal with part of the embedded fonts (Unable to read .ttf? Using an old-style rip?) but probably inspired by our friendly persistance, he figured out a way to transform our files into postscript once more, regenerate the font-images from there and finally ... the file passed. Textflow and style names OpenOffice: Where did the characterstyles go? The custom publications An will produce on the fly are based on the same .odt templates that we printed in the catalog. In a first dry-run, we realised that they needed to be corrected since the documents we had generated for the printed catalog, basically consisted of single frames. Also, it took a bit of work to generate documents that made the applied styles correctly available in the OpenOffice style menu. We managed by making each of the documents 16 pages (maximum length of the booklet) but gave up on making character styles behave correctly. podofoimposePoDoFo is a library to work with the PDF file format and includes also a few tools. The name comes from the first two letters of PDF (Portable Document Format)” After Ludivine converted three of our favourite templates into css stylesheets for web-output (we love @fontface!), our last challenge was to deal with was imposition. Since early OSP-days we've been experimenting with several ways to generate A5 booklets, but we never managed 2 x 8 pages on an A4 (A7 booklet). Pierre Marchand pointed us once again to PoDoFO, a pdf-processing tool to which he once added podofoimpose, adding the useful function to run custom imposition 'plans'. With only a bit of trouble and help, we installed PoDoFo on our machines (We're using Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.10): Start with downloading ('check out') the latest files with svn (install svn with $ sudo apt-get install subversion) $ svn co https://podofo.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/podofo/podofo/trunk podofo Download and install the libraries PoDofo depends on: $ sudo apt-get install build-essential g++ cmake libz-dev libtiff-dev libjpeg-dev libfreetype6-dev libfontconfig-dev $ sudo apt-get install liblua5.1-0-dev Than, copy the files into a folder into your home directory (you need to create the folder first): $ mkdir /home/[your_user_name]/src/podofo $ cp /home/[podofo_download] /home/[your_user_name]/src/podofo From inside the build folder, you now need to compile PoDoFo from source with the help of the cmake-compiler (install cmake with $ sudo apt-get install cmake) $ cd /home/[your_user_name]/src/podofo/build $ mkdir $ cd $ cmake ../podofo $ make $ sudo su $ make install podofoimpose can read imposition instructions from files written in lua, a scripting language that is used with ConTeXt for example. With the help of a proper paper dummy, Ludivine managed to write the correct 'plan' to output A7 booklets :-D InOctavo.plan PushRecord((pgroup*count)+9, (count*2)+1, rot2, 0, tw) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+16, (count*2)+1, rot1, 2*th, 0) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+13, (count*2)+1, rot1, 2*th, 3*tw) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+12, (count*2)+1, rot2, 0, 4*tw) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+1, (count*2)+1, rot1, 2*th, tw) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+8, (count*2)+1, rot2, 0, 2*tw) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+4, (count*2)+1, rot1, 2*th, 2*tw) PushRecord((pgroup*count)+5, (count*2)+1, rot2, 0, 3*tw) Turning and twisting: imposition from scratch You can use the plan like this: $ podofoimpose output.pdf input.pdf InOctavo.plan lua A loose hand When the printed catalog is finally delivered, the result is not what we expected. Pages are out of order and it seems they only printed the left bottom crop/bleed mark and than everything has been cut out of the format at the top and right side. When we try to complain, we realise that dealing with an in-house city council printer has its complications. To explain our exotic project to them is not easy. But we do not flinch and keep smiling, even if we did not hand in any certified pdf's ... and even omitted page numbers! In the end, the responsible politician grants us a re-print. So ... after all: A Happy Valentine!]]>

Collaborative Futures

Mon, 01 Feb 2010 09:47:43 +0000

Collaboration can be so strong it forces hard boundaries. The boundaries can intentionally or unintentionally exclude the possibility to extend the collaboration. Potentially conflict can also occur at these borders" For this years' Transmediale Festival, the F/LOSS Manuals project took up the challenge to write, edit and publish a collaborative publication in 5 days while test driving the alpha-release of their booki platform. Collaborative Futures has many thoughts and observations on collaborative practice, happily sticking its tongue out at the 'pleasant social terminology' of Web 2.0. All text released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. Download the e-pub and pdf version: http://www.transmediale.de/en/collaborative-futures From the announcement:
The Book Sprint, an intensive and innovative methodology for the rapid development of books saw five people locked in a room in Berlin's IMA Design Village for five days to produce a book with the sole guiding meme being the title – Collaborative Futures. They had to create the concept, write the book, and output it to print in 5 days. Collaborative Futures was facilitated by Adam Hyde and written by Mike Linksvayer, Alan Toner, Marta Peirano, Michael Mandiberg and Mushon Zer-Aviv with a number of guests who contributed chapters and passages. The process opened up a new and networked discussion focusing on a new vocabulary of the forms, media and goals of collaborative digital practice. As the transmediale.10 publication the Book Sprint was based on an idea by Adam Hyde and Stephen Kovats to enact the festival notion of futurity in the form of a flash publication. Aleksandar Erkalovic in part developed and tested the alpha version of the 'booki' collaborative platform live and on-site with which 'Collaborative Futures' was created. The contents of the book are now available online, and a special limited edition of 200 copies featuring a great cover designed by Laleh Torabi will be available for sale during transmediale.10, opening next Tuesday Feb 02, at the House of World Cultures in Berlin.

Cutting Edge

Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:54:05 +0000

Libre Graphics Meeting 2010! Download flyers: cuttingedge.zip]]>

Exhibition Prix Fernand Baudin

Mon, 08 Feb 2010 07:57:18 +0000

26 February – 10 March 2010 Exhibition in Brussels presenting the bookawards and nominations of the Fernand Baudin Prize 2009, the prize of the Most Beautiful Books in Brussels and Wallonia. BIP Rue Royale, 2-4 1000 Brussels Opening, award ceremony of the honorary diploma’s + release of the catalogue: 25th of February 2010 at 6 pm For it’s second edition 2009-2010, the Prize was extended to the Walloon Region thanks to the support of Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI) and the Walloon Agency for Export and Foreign Investments (AWEX). The international jury convened at the Erg to choose the most beautiful books that were designed, published or printed in Brussels and Wallonia in 2009. The jury consisted of the following six members: Roger WILLEMS, graphic artist, publisher, chairman of the Jury (NL) Willem OOREBEEK, artist, teacher (NL) Jean-Marie COURANT, graphic artist, curator, teacher (F) David POULLARD, typographer, teacher (F) Jan WOUTER HELSPEEL, graphic artist, teacher (B) Drita KOTAJI, book historian, teacher (B) The 83 received books, presented by category (general literature (fiction), general literature (non-fiction), artists’ books, art books and catalogues, architecture and urban planning books, books for young people and comic books) were placed at the disposal of the jury. 20 books were nominated and the Prize was awarded to 10 books, that were given the title “Winner of the Fernand Baudin Prize 2009”. The three parties of the award winning book; the graphic designer, the publisher and the printer, will receive an honorary diploma.]]>

TeX, Fata Morgana et une promesse

Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:10:38 +0000

Les organisateurs du Prix Fernand Baudin nous ont demandé de répondre à trois questions concernant le livre, en vue d'intégrer les réponses dans le catalogue en préparation actuellement. Nos réponses sous forme d'extraits traduits en français du texte publié à la fin du livre. (Full version in English) — Brèves explications du concept/déroulé du livre: "Making Of" - p.323 : "Cette publication a été conçue et produite à l'aide d'outils numériques très peu utilisés habituellement en dehors du champ des publications scientifiques : TeX, LaTeX et ConTeXt. Alors que la plupart des contributions et traductions de ‘Traces dans les champs électr(on)iques’ arrivaient à leur stade final, nous, OSP, avons commencé à discuter de la manière de réaliser un livre qui réponde avec justesse au thème du festival lui-même (OSP est un collectif de designers qui utilisent des logiciels en licence libre, et dont la relation au logiciel est particulière à dessein). Une investigation des connexions intimes entre forme, contenu et technologie se trouve au cœur de notre pratique. Ce qui suit est le rapport d'une expérimentation qui s'étira sur un peu plus d'un an." — Quel est le détail/aspect/page/partie du livre que vous appréciez et dont vous aimeriez parler? "Making Of" - p.325 : "Un logiciel libre exotique comme TeX, fermement ancré dans le contexte académique plutôt que dans celui du design commercial, pourrait nous aider à ré-imaginer notre adresse habituelle à poser du texte sur une page. En opérant ce décalage de champs d'utilisation, nous espérons découvrir une autre expérience du faire, et trouver une relation plus constructive entre forme, contenu et technologie [...] Layouter une publication en LaTeX est une expérience entièrement différente que de travailler sur un logiciel visuel de type wysiwyg. Les décisions de mise en page sont appliquées par le biais de balises qui rappellent dans une certaine mesure le travail en CSS ou en HTML. Le résultat mis en page ne se produit qu'après avoir compilé le document, et c'est là que la magie de TeX opère. Le logiciel passe plusieurs fois à travers un document balisé .tex, décidant incrémentiellement où poser la césure dans tel ou tel mot, où placer un paragraphe ou une image. En principe, le concept de page ne s'applique qu'après le succès de la compilation. Le travail de design se déplace donc radicalement de l'acte de placement absolu vers celui de co-gérer un flux. Chaque élément reste placé de manière relative jusqu'au dernier passage, et pendant que les messages d'erreurs, les alertes et les décisions de césures défilent en commande en ligne, la sensation d'élasticité est quasi tangible. Et en effet, quand l'élasticité maximale d'un paragraphe est dépassée, des mots jaillissent littéralement hors de la grille (un exemple page 34). [...] En feuilletant à plusieurs reprises les manuels et nombreux guides qui existent, nous avons plaisir à découvrir une nouvelle culture. Bien que nous grinçons parfois des dents à l'humour paternaliste qui semble avoir infecté tous les recoins de la communauté TeX et qui est clairement inspiré des mots d'esprit du père fondateur, Donald Knuth lui-même, nous ressentons comment la légèreté, la structure souple de TeX permet une structure de travail moins hiérarchique et non-linéaire, ce qui rend plus facile la collaboration sur un projet. C'est une expérience assez exaltante de produire un lay-out dans le dialogue avec un outil, et le processus de conception prend une qualité presque rythmique, itérative et incrémentielle. Il commence aussi à devenir clair que cette souplesse vient avec un prix." — Parfois, certains aléas, contraintes, problèmes techniques vous ont poussés à prendre certaines décisions dont vous voudriez parler pour que nous comprenions mieux l'histoire du livre. Pouvez-vous les décrire? "Making Of" - p.326-329 : "«Les utilisateurs ont juste besoin d'apprendre des commandes facile à comprendre qui spécifient la structure logique d'un document », promet L'Introduction Pas Si Courte À LaTeX. [...] Cela explique pourquoi LaTeX cesse d'être facile à comprendre une fois que vous essayez de dépasser son modèle strict de «livre», «article» ou «thèse» : les «utilisateurs» qui abordent LaTeX ne sont pas des graphistes et auteurs comme nous. À ce point, nous hésitons à arrêter ou continuer [ ...] En février, plus de six mois après le début du processus, nous envisageons brièvement de passer à OpenOffice [...] ou de revenir à Scribus [...] Puis nous nous souvenons de ConTeXt, un ensemble relativement jeune de macros qui utilise le moteur de TeX lui aussi. «Alors que LaTeX isole l'auteur des détails typographiques, ConTeXt offre une approche complémentaire en fournissant des commandes structurées de traitement typographique, y compris un support étendu des couleurs, arrières-plans, hyperliens, présentations, intégration figures-textes et de compilation conditionnelle». C'est ce que nous recherchons. [...] Même s'il est frustrant de réapprendre un nouveau langage de balises (même si les deux sont basées sur le langage TeX, la majorité des commandes LaTeX ne fonctionnent pas dans ConTeXt et vice-versa), la plupart des fonctions que nous ne pourrions atteindre qu'au travers de hacks en LaTeX, sont intégrés et facilement disponibles dans ConTeXt. Avec l'aide de la liste de diffusion de ConTeXt, très active, nous trouvons un moyen d'utiliser, enfin, nos propres polices et si tout un tas de questions, bogues et zones sombres subsistent, on dirait que nous nous approchons de pouvoir produire le type de publication multilingue, multi-format et multi-couches que nous imaginons pour Traces dans les champs électr(on)iques. [...] Comme le temps passe, nous trouvons qu'il est de plus en plus difficile de consacrer du temps concentré à apprendre et c'est une leçon d'humilité que l'acquisition d'une sorte de fluidité semble nous pousser dans toutes les directions. La nature extensible du processus nourrit aussi notre insécurité. Peut-être nous devrions essayer aussi cet ensemble de commande? Avons-nous lu ce manuel correctement? Avons-nous lu le bon manuel? Avons-nous vraiment compris ces instructions? Si nous étions nous-mêmes des développeurs, pourrions-nous savoir ce qu'il faut faire? Paradoxalement, plus nous investissons dans ce processus, mentalement et physiquement, plus il est difficile de lâcher prise. Refusons-nous de voir les limites de cet outil, voire, plus effrayant, nos propres limites? Pouvons-nous accepter que l'expérience que nous espérions se révèle beaucoup plus banale que les résultats sublimes dont nous avions secrètement rêvé? [...] En août, lors de l'écriture de ce rapport, le livre est plus ou moins prêt à partir chez l'imprimeur. Bien qu'il semble «beau» selon certains, à cause de bogues inattendus et des contraintes du temps, nous avons dû laisser tomber quelques-unes des interventions que nous espérions mettre en œuvre. En y posant le regard, il ne se révèle clairement pas être le genre d'expérience typographique révélatrice dont nous avons rêvé et, malheureusement, nous ne saurons jamais si cela est dû à notre propre compréhension limitée de TeX, LaTeX et de ConTeXt, aux limites inhérentes à ces outils eux-mêmes, ou à notre décision brute de terminer de force le lay-out en deux semaines. Probablement est-ce un mélange de tout ce qui précède, et c'est d'abord un soulagement que la publication existe enfin. Revenant sur le processus, je me souviens des paroles pleines de sagesse de Joseph Weizenbaum, qui affirmait que «seul rarement, voire jamais, un outil et un travail original conjoints sont inventés ensemble» (Joseph Weizenbaum, Puissance des ordinateurs et raison humaine: du jugement au calcul. MIT, 1976). Pendant que ce livre s'effondrait presque sous le poids des projections qu'il devait porter, j'ai souvent pensé qu'à l'extérieur du monde de la publication académique, la puissance de TeX est un peu comme une Fata Morgana. Hypnotisante et toujours hors de portée, TeX représente la promesse d'un paysage technologique alternatif qui maintient notre rêve de changer les habitudes logicielles en vie." Femke Snelting — Aussi, il nous serait nécessaire d'obtenir deux exemplaires supplémentaires avant le 6 janvier pour les expositions et prise de vue avec des livres neufs. Pensez-vous cela possible? Oui. INFORMATIONS GÉNÉRALES: Titre(s) et sous-titre(s): Tracks in electr(on)ic fields - VJ10 Auteur(s): Collectif Éditeur(s): Constant vzw Équipe graphique et/ou collaboration(s): Pierre Huyghebaert et Femke Snelting Imprimeur: Offset Geers Traducteur(s): Collectif Langue(s): EN, NL, FR Nombre d'exemplaires: 1000 ISBN: - Dépôt Légal: - Poids: 383 gr Date de parution: Novembre 2009 INTÉRIEUR: Format fermé: 130 × 185 mm Format ouvert: 260 × 185 mm Nombre de pages: 332 p Nombre de cahiers: 11 Papier(s): blanc offset 80 gr/m² Impression: offset quadri r°/v° Type de reliure ou de brochage: dos carré collé + Otabind Police(s) de caractère: Latin Modern Roman, Latin Modern Typewriter COUVERTURE: Format fermé: 130 × 185 mm Format ouvert: 278 × 185 mm Nombre de pages: 4 Papier: blanc couché 175 gr/m² Impression: offset quadri r°/v° Finition : coupe trilatérale]]>


Sat, 20 Feb 2010 11:42:19 +0000

Did you notice there are 2 versions of the LGM2010 logo around? One we proposed in October 2009 and another we designed this month. After numerous and lengthy discussions at OSP-headquarters, we decided to ask for your opinion. Which logo should prevail: with drip or without? The winning version will be printed on T-shirts for sale at the Libre Graphics Meeting in May. ]]>

To drip or not to drip

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 19:34:45 +0000

Vote Now!]]>

Support LGM2010!

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 06:00:48 +0000

At the yearly Libre Graphics Meeting, developers and users of our favorite tools get together to work on better software. For some of them, a trip to Brussels is easy to fund, others cannot afford the journey without our help. Let's pull our resources together and raise 10.000 $ (7350 €) so that they can meet face-to-face, exchange and collaborate on the kinds of tools we like to use. Pledgie campaign page: http://pledgie.com/campaigns/8926 Press release: http://create.freedesktop.org/wiki/Press_Release_2 How can you help LGM2010?
  • Donate to the Pledgie campaign (small contributions welcome too!)
  • Spread this message on your (micro)blog (tag: !lgm), social network, mailinglist
  • Copy + paste the code below and add a dynamic banner to your site:

Banners to match

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 16:03:57 +0000

Anything else we can do to make you donate a few dollars to LGM2010 :-D?

Dingbats in a monkey

Thu, 25 Feb 2010 16:33:22 +0000

The Dingbats Liberation Fest adventure continues in Nancy from March 25 to May 6. Invited by the my.monkey gallery, OSP présentera quelques uns de ses travaux et ouvrira un nouvel atelier Dingbats Liberation Fest into the grid. Le projet de fonte collaborative Dingbats Liberation Fest propose de redessiner les caractères Dingbats et Miscellaneous Symbols d'Unicode. Après 2 premiers workshop à Bruxelles (festival VJ12) et Utrecht (CASCO), the font already gathers more than 70 ! characters. Passez ajouter votre version ! Parmi nos (re)découvertes, les noms de caratères Unicode en français : http://www.unicode.org/fr/charts/charindex.html ❈ : GROS ÉTINCELLEMENT ❛ : GUILLEMET DE FANTAISIE EN FORME DE GROSSE VIRGULE SIMPLE CULBUTÉE ]]>

A beautiful compliment

Sat, 27 Feb 2010 09:00:19 +0000

"Livre de texte dense, a priori sans soucis de graphisme, et je découvre que c'est tout l'inverse." (("Book of dense text, a priori without concern about graphic design, and I discover that it's quite the opposite" Ariane Bosshard in: Prix Fernand Baudin: les plus beaux livres à Bruxelles et en Wallonie 2009)) More pictures: http://gallery.constantvzw.org/main.php?g2_itemId=30910 ]]>


Sat, 27 Feb 2010 17:00:27 +0000

Alexandre Leray has written a nice tutorial on how to create your own pledgie-badge: http://rw.stdin.fr/CookBook/Pledgie Thank you ginger coons for your tasty habanero pepper and don't forget to donate to http://pledgie.com/campaigns/8926!]]>

Governmental support for LGM

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 11:39:07 +0000

a subsidy dossier in October 2009? The Design and Architecture committee of the Flemish ministry for culture has decided to grant our application and support LGM 2010. Besides the fact that any financial support is more than welcome in hard times like these, it is above all an encouraging expression of support for Libre Graphics as a whole, and the importance of Free, Libre and Open Source tools for cultural production in particular. ]]>

Biscoitos da Sorte

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 22:20:38 +0000

Ricardo Lafuente and Ana Carvalho imported/exported a Print Party to Porto. With live Fortune Cookies ... how brave! (Recipe for cookies + messages)]]>

Thank You for Voting!

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 11:36:39 +0000

Should the logo we proposed for the Libre Graphics Meeting drip or not? 50 readers voted, and yes was selected in total 51 times and no 34 times (more than one answer possible). Apart from that, strong opinions were voiced on- and offline. Interestingly, these often were against the drip. So, we'll probably need to keep things as they are -- we'll circulate flyers and stickers with melted squares, and the M for Meeting flag on official channels. For T-shirts, we'll prepare you a surprise :-) Keep donating to LGM 2010 by the way: http://pledgie.com/campaigns/8926 ]]>

Contour book one

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 13:29:35 +0000

675 417 km2 pour Luce contour lines of France scale 1:385142 interval : 30 m strokes : 0.05 pt 16 binded sections cover : green cardboard 300 g + clothed back single copy Sur base des élévations au pas de 250m proposées au téléchargement par l'I.G.N. France. Calcul des courbes de niveaux et sortie Postscript opérés par GRASS (r.contour & ps.map). Conversion PDF par Ghostscript et imposition Podofoimpose.]]>

Launching OSP-works

Sun, 07 Mar 2010 22:00:41 +0000

5 years of Free, Libre and Open Source design experiments. Now available in chronological order: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/works]]>

Hop frogs on the map

Mon, 08 Mar 2010 00:24:57 +0000

identi.ca/osp make his best to track our recent activity via our differents IP addresses, where Brussels seems synthetise by 4 positions, here with the background lazy to display, osp frogs above water. A few minutes later, a new osp -Ivan- connection from Schaerbeek, North of Brussels, strangely shrink the scale by positionning a bright new frog on Bruges, 100km+ away, and muxing a big taurus frog on Brussels. ]]>

Open Clip Art Library

Tue, 09 Mar 2010 00:39:23 +0000

A brand new version of the Open Clip Art Library just came out! 26175 (and growing) scalable vector graphics, all available under a public domain license: they may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived. http://www.openclipart.org]]>

Out of stock

Tue, 16 Mar 2010 10:26:27 +0000

NotCourierSans posters have been sent to Anderlues, Berlin, Bordeaux, Bruxelles, Buvrinnes, Cambrai, Chicago, Garden Grove, Gent, Helsinki, Ixelles, JKL, Köln, Merley Wimborne Dorset, Montesson, Munich, Portland, Romrod, Roscoff, Rotterdam, Saint Etienne, Saint-Maurice, Santa Barbara, Sèvres, Singapore, Southampton, Venegazzù, V.N. Gaia, Winton Bournemouth Dorset, Zürich ]]>

Nancy -1

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 21:22:38 +0000

OSP se prépare à my.monkey Dessin/grattage Unicode à la mine de plomb, scriptage Scribus vers étiquettes, collection d'objets, préparation d'un mode d'emploi et suivit du projet en place en ligne. Encore beaucoup de quoi s'occuper. Demain premier tests debuggage de Nancy. ]]>

Nancy -0,2

Thu, 25 Mar 2010 16:22:01 +0000

some open pictures from... the my.monkey Facebook account (via a tagging of Damien and Pierre ×PLMD)! ]]>

Hello I'm NANCY ♥

Sun, 28 Mar 2010 12:29:11 +0000

Cube Cola Libre and 54 commits later ... Please meet NANCY (a new OSP-software project), download the Dingbat Liberation font (DLFo) and much more at: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/nancy Re-thinking Miscellaneous Symbols: Flêche grasse à pointe arondie vers la droite? Taking a fragment of the UTF-8 plane into our hands Serving liters of Cube Cola Cuba Libre The début of a new OSP-software project: NANCY ♥ The OSP-frog made it all the way to Nancy]]>

Font Secrets Revealed

Wed, 31 Mar 2010 16:08:05 +0000

You're welcome for a series of talks by Dave CrosslandThursday, April 1 at 10:00, 13:00 and 17:00 Address: Ecole de Recherche Graphique (ERG), Rue du Page 87, 1050 Bruxelles 2010-04-01_dave_crossland_poster_2]]>


Thu, 08 Apr 2010 13:18:28 +0000

Exhibition: 8 May → June 4 2010 Opening: May 7 18:00-21:00 De Pianofabriek, Fortstraat 35, 1060 Brussels What if a team of talented artists, illustrators, graphic designers and graffiti writers starts working with Free, Libre and Open Source softwares for the first time? What if their trials and errors are printed on the Plus-tôt-Te-Laat Rhizograph and then handed over to students of the Ecole de Recherche Graphique (ERG) for a make-over? Results of this serial experiment on show until June 4 at De Pianofabriek in the context of the Libre Graphics Meeting 2010. With: Nurse, Laurent Baudoux, Manuel Falcata, Gwenola Carrere, Lodovico Corsini, Jerome Degive, Julien Meert, Martin Meert, Benoit Plateus, Jonathan Poliart, Emilie Seron. Assistants: Harrisson, Pierre Marchand, Ludivine Loiseau An initiative of OSP (Open Source Publishing) in collaboration with Plus-tôt Te Laat and support of De Vlaamse Gemeenschap, De Vlaamse GemeenschapsComissie and http://www.multiseatcomputer.be.]]>

Gender Art Net - Folding step

Mon, 12 Apr 2010 21:42:34 +0000

Gender Art Net poster is now ready for folding. Project presentation and workshop - Berlin - April 16-17 _2010 (more coming) 1000 posters - A2 recto black - verso CMYK 1 plis horizontal - 4 zig zag + 1 roulé ]]>

Gender Art Net - presentation + workshop

Sat, 17 Apr 2010 11:21:05 +0000

OSP defied volcanic dust and gathers in Berlin to present and discuss the first stage of the GenderArtNet project at project space uqbar. With: Bettina Knaup, Maria Ptqk, Bojana Pejic, Anne Quirynen, Femke Snelting, Ludivine Loiseau, Anne-Laure Buisson, Nicolas Malevé and others.
Nicolas talks about maps Ludi presents the design process

please computer | make me design

Sun, 18 Apr 2010 17:13:04 +0000

[Full programme] OSP @ Journée Open-Course/Open-Source N’avez-vous jamais rêvé que votre ordinateur fasse tout ce que vous voulez? C’est possible! Osez prendre les commandes de votre ordinateur en participant à cet Open Course/Open Source axé sur le design par le texte. De la monoculture à la diversité logicielle. Un panorama des logiciels libres pour la création (typo)graphique avec le groupe Open Source Publishing]]>

Final call to submit talks for LGM 2010

Wed, 21 Apr 2010 13:06:33 +0000

Deadline: Saturday May 1 Please submit your talk for LGM 2010 at: http://create.freedesktop.org/wiki/Conference_2010/Submit_Talk Here is the latest press-release: San Francisco and Brussels, Thursday 15 April 2010 – The Libre Graphics Meeting is an annual working conference for the free software graphics application community. Developers from the full spectrum of graphics applications — image editors, photography, 3-D and 2-D animation, vector art, graphic design, typography – collaborate with each other on interoperability, push the state of the art in application functionality and user experience, and get important face-to-face interaction with users. LGM 2010 will take place between May 27 and 30th at De Pianofabriek in Brussels, Belgium. Developers from GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Krita, Scribus, Hugin, the Open Clipart Library, the Open Font Library, and other open source projects are scheduled to appear. Technical talks will showcase new work in digital asset management, natural-media simulation, and internationalized font design. The program will also emphasize real-world usage of open source graphics software in professional publishing houses, multimedia production, and both the secondary education and art school classroom. Developers, users, or community members who would like to give a talk at LGM 2010 are encouraged to submit a proposal by following the instructions at http://libregraphicsmeeting.org. The deadline for submissions is May 1.]]>

Expanded Service Airway

Thu, 29 Apr 2010 16:45:36 +0000

this indispensable LGM-participant will be able to get a visa for Belgium in time. [gallery link="file" orderby="rand"] All we can do now is wait and hope they arrive from our door to his in less then 4 days... ]]>

SILEX-LEX: exchanging layers

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 06:32:41 +0000

Here are snapshots of SILEX-LEX round 1. Artists, designers and illustrators experimented with Inkscape, a Rhizograph and each other's layers. Round 2 follows next week in preparation of the vernissage on May 7. [gallery link="file" orderby="rand"] ]]>

The new Rosa B is out with some OSP action

Mon, 10 May 2010 08:31:24 +0000

Rosa B, the web magazine, released in its new Vintage: the of Edit! colloque, which occured in Bordeau, France, in march 2009. OSP was invited in this harvest and you can follow some Millesime traces of our passage there: The parallel publishing workshop The Michel Aphesbero, Francois Chastenet, Harrisson and Robin Kinross interview www.rosab.net/format-standard/]]>

Archipel is under construction

Tue, 18 May 2010 18:08:19 +0000

An organology of contemporary musics "Archipel is a navigation on emotions and their history through sensorial zones." La Mediatheque asked OSP for a full scale project: a new section called Archipel. It is an honour for us to collaborate with this gigantic library of media institution. Archipel will be a serie of fictional islands where supports will be mixed and organised through sensitive keywords and subjective browsing. OSP team has on charge graphics for its visualisation, identity, graphics, web consultation and on site installation. The website deals with complex database and break through SVG interface, where Michael Murtaugh seems to get fun. Furnitures are also part of the project, And Mathieux Gabiot leads this new design dimension of open source publishing - we're currently working on a GPL-based license for 3d objects. After an draft installation at BPI during Cinema Du Reel 2010 festival in Beaubourg last month, public launch will occur this fall. More to come soon!]]>

LG-school @ De Pianofabriek

Tue, 18 May 2010 19:41:13 +0000

Wednesday 26 May *** A day with: ginger coons, LUST, Akkana Peck & OSP Introduction + discussion: De Pianofabriek Workshops: Various locations A day before the international Libre Graphics Meeting starts, art/design students and their teachers are welcome to join LG-school for an intense day. LG-school looks at what Free Software could mean for teaching, learning, experimenting and making creative work. The day starts with an introduction on why Free Software could be interesting for designers and artists, followed by hands-on parallel sessions. The day ends with a plenary discussion moderated by Pierre Huyghebaert and Femke Snelting. We'll share experiences with each other and with Free Software developers already arriving in Brussels for the Libre Graphics Meeting. At LG-school we will speak mainly English and some French and Dutch; the discussion has simultaneous translation in French. If you haven't inscribed yet, please e-mail to femke @ constantvzw.org There will be several computers available with Linux installed -- bring your own laptop if you can. If you plan to participate in the LUST workshop, try to arrive with Processing installed [2]. SCHEDULE 11:00 Introduction 11:30 Presentations 12:30 -- lunch 13:30 Parallel workshops 16:30 -- break 17:00 Discussion 18:30 -- end WORKSHOPS Akkana Peck [US] Akkana Peck is a Linux software developer and writer who has worked on projects that include web browsers, HTML editors, system software, email programs, scientific visualization and, of course, GIMP. She is also the author of Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional http://shallowsky.com http://gimpbook.com Workshop: GIMP and GIMP Scripting: an introduction to the GNU Image Manipulation Program, what it can do, and how to extend it by writing custom scripts and plug-ins. http://create.freedesktop.org/wiki/Writing_GIMP_scripts_and_plug-ins Location: Atelier du Web (Rue du Fort 37) *** ginger coons [CA] ginger coons is a designer, artist, pseudo-academic, occasional writer and all-round renaissance woman. Her work specializes in topics of intellectual property, civil liberties and truth in production. This applies just as much to her writing as to her visual practice. As a research mercenary, she has examined the implications of e-readers on the environment, dynamic typography and geosocial networking, among others. She blogs regularly on the above topics and with illustrations at adaptstudio.ca/blog. Workshop: Digital illustration, lazy tactics and the public domain. Location: De Pianofabriek *** LUST (Daniel Powers) [NL] LUST is a studio for graphic and interactive design based in The Hague (Den Haag), Netherlands. Their design philosophy revolves around Process-based and Generative-based Design. Interested in exploring new pathways for design at the precarious edge where new media and information technologies, architecture and urban planning and graphic design overlap. Topics include: graphic design, typography, abstract cartography, mapping, architecture, urban media installations, archiving data-visualizations, random mistake-ism, fonts, type design, new media interactive webdesign, internet art, big bang chaos. http://lust.nl Workshop: an introduction to free software/building your own tools, The workshop which will focus primarily on processing. Location: De Pianofabriek *** OSP (ALexandre Leray, Ludivine Loiseau, Stephanie Vilayphiou e.a.) [BE] OSP is a graphic design agency using only Free and Open Source Software. Closely affiliated with the Brussels based digital culture foundation Constant, OSP aims to test the possibilities and realities of doing graphic design using an expanding range of tools. OSP is serious about testing the possibilities and limitations of F/LOSS in a professional design environment, without expecting to find (or offer!) the same experience as the ones they are used to. Actually, they are interested in experimenting with everything that shows up in the cracks. http://ospublish.constantvzw.org Workshop: please computer | make me design. A workshop on fun poster generation, using simple command-lines (especially GNU textutils tools). Location: Interface3 (Rue du Méridien 30) *** De Pianofabriek Fortstraat 35, Brussels (at 10 mins. from Brussels South Station) --- [1] http://www.libregraphicsmeeting.org [2] http://processing.org/download]]>

Warming up to LGM 2010

Sun, 23 May 2010 13:10:58 +0000

This sunny Sunday afternoon, Ricardo, ginger, ale, Ana and Femke gather in the Constant office backyard to get ready for LGM arriving in town.]]>

Button Party

Tue, 25 May 2010 06:55:54 +0000

Preparing badges for LGM-participants More pictures: http://gallery.constantvzw.org/main.php?g2_itemId=31913]]>

LGM Day zero — LG-school

Wed, 26 May 2010 21:12:11 +0000

[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4528" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="*Something* in preparation"]*Something* in preparation[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4530" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Last junk food before LGM refined catering!"]Last day of junk food![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4531" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="OSP gang"]OSP gang[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4534" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Ginger presenting her workshop — no computer, no slides, just sharp sentences!"]Ginger presenting his workshop — no computer, no slides, just sharp sentences![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4536" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="HD swing : Windows > Linux for the workshop > Windows (1/2h for 10 discs)"]HD swing : Windows > Linux for the workshop > Windows (1/2h for 10 discs)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4535" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Lunch contacts exchange..."]Lunch contacts exchange...[/caption] ]]>

LGM radio

Wed, 26 May 2010 21:45:11 +0000

The Radio Panik show "Good morning Stallman" interviews 3 LGM fellas. Audio condensed. Listen to the podcast.]]>

ABCLGM Typographic Workshop

Thu, 27 May 2010 10:41:56 +0000

The people attending this workshop will learn about one way to dissect the shapes of the latin alphabet, and use this theorical model to make a typeface together in a fast paced design game. The game will involve drawing letters on paper, making use of a real life version control system, and uploading the results to the Open Font Library. No previous experience of typeface design required. By and with Dave Crossland (type designer), Ludivine Loiseau (graphic designer), Pierre Marchand (font developer) and Sebastien Sanfilippo (type designer) In the context of LGM - Libre Graphique Meetings 2010.]]>

on the track of the Bauhaus

Sat, 05 Jun 2010 07:32:48 +0000

Typogravieh Lebt symposium organized by the Bauhaus-university of Weimar. We are now at the venue, about to start... It's going to be great!]]>

Au revoir LGM2010

Sat, 05 Jun 2010 13:34:11 +0000


The four freedoms, two rules and one jam

Sat, 05 Jun 2010 14:31:45 +0000

GPL principles seems useful. Freedom 0 - use it Freedom 1 - study it Freedom 2 - modify it Freedom 3 - share it Attribution Do not enclose it (Free Art Licence)]]>

please computer | make me design

Fri, 11 Jun 2010 13:30:55 +0000

Unix philosophy principles such as "Make each program do one thing well" or "Make every program a filter", from text concatenation to PDF generation. You can see the recipes and the results of the 2nd workshop session `please computer | make me design`, or how to design posters using only the command line here. Feel free to download the working packages and try out for yourself. On Mac OS, all the commands are already available, on Linux, you would need to install `enscript`. Many thanks to Hong Phuc, Frederik, Eric, Adrien, Félix, Julien for the great posters they've produced, and to Pierre M. and Wendy for their help setting up the session! ]]>

Kick out the jam

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 08:00:09 +0000

7 OSP funky geeky sheeps players inTypogravieh lebt's trailer. Vielen Dank Martin & the typovieh-team. Our Bauhaus typo symposium was more than leben. Here is a color record of the adventure to the Bauhaus University, Weimar. viehturing: Ligatier, Cascading Stylesheeps, Captain Futura u.a. Nach einjäriger Pause hat sich das Typogravieh endlich auscouriert und lebt wieder!]]>

Libre Graphics Magazine #0

Fri, 18 Jun 2010 13:10:17 +0000

During LGM 2010, Ana, ginger and Ricardo (+ a.l.e and Femke) edited, designed and published Libre Graphics Magazine #0. You can download it here: http://libregraphicsmeeting.org/2010/download/lgmag_00.pdf

Almost there!

Wed, 23 Jun 2010 07:33:22 +0000

Click here to lend your support to: Libre Graphics Meeting 2010 and make a donation at www.pledgie.com ! We're busy closing the books on LGM 2010 and soon deciding where to go for LGM 2011 (Brasil? Montreal? Vietnam? Follow the discussion at: http://lists.freedesktop.org/mailman/listinfo/create) so we almost did not notice that it's only a very little stretch to our initial goal of raising 10.000$ on Pledgie :-)]]>


Thu, 01 Jul 2010 08:34:41 +0000

We're happy to launch our foundry, today. Have a look http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/foundry There's no excuse to not write more this summer! They've been made using free tools: FontForge, Inkscape... They're released under free licenses. Some are collaborative works. Some will be in development. Little materials light peculiar happy. Little long length there louder. Enjoy your weekends.]]>

Speak my language

Tue, 06 Jul 2010 13:30:12 +0000

Fork/Memo blog.  It documents the work of Lafkon studio. Lafkon is Christoph Haag and Benjamin Stephan -- two graphic designers working with unconventional tools for graphic design, including Latex and shell scripts among others Unix commands, to make generative designs. With the Unix philosophy in mind, they show how written language -- be it found in the graphic resources coded in plain text (SVG), the scripts, and even in the filenames --  can be used as a powerful interface/means to produce graphics. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="352" caption="One of the Linux Audio Conference 2008 posters"]One of the Linux Audio Conference 2008 posters[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4706" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Individual SVG files get connected thanks to their filename"]in out[/caption] The Icing on the cake: all the material they produce is released under copyleft licenses! http://www.forkable.eu/memo/ http://www.forkable.eu/ http://www.lafkon.net/]]>

One thing leads to another

Sun, 11 Jul 2010 11:36:28 +0000

Following a trackback, Alexandre discovered the work of Lafkon studio a few days ago. Than, through Antonio Roberts' comment on this same post, I find out about his work with animated fontfiles. Antonio writes: "Font files are files that attribute a style to the otherwise plain text that we see on screen. The computer treats this only as an attribute of the text and can understand it regardless of what font file is used or how it looks to the viewer" http://www.hellocatfood.com/2010/06/30/i-am-sitting-in-a-room/ Exploring his blog further, I am intrigued by a series of inkscape-animations, and learn they are based on the svgbuild script in Ed Halley's Programmer's Notebook: "This script takes a SVG (scaleable vector graphics) file, and uses the InkScape application to render each frame of a movie animation. If viewed in sequence, a virtual "camera" is animated along a tour of the image as it is constructed, entity by entity, from nothing up to the final construction." http://halley.cc/code/?python/svgbuild.py Ed Halleys' notebook contains many more interesting things to play with. buzz.py ("a phrase generator which assembles phrases from random pieces") or strokes.py ("Routines for recognizing handwriting strokes and gestures"). It will lead to something else one day.


Fri, 23 Jul 2010 08:41:59 +0000

Yesterday Constant met with Evan Roth to discuss gestures and standards, confessions and F/LOSS, archiving and collaboration. More soon.]]>

Interleaved formats

Fri, 23 Jul 2010 20:21:14 +0000

svg logo This interview may be a good read. It deals with some aspects of the "current state" (June 2010) of SVG implementations. It's got a really sweet format. It's a two-sided interview, meaning that Doug Scheppers and Patrick Dengler interview each other. It's not often that I come across interviews that are interleaved:
I asked Patrick some questions, and he asked me some.
To read about technologies that I may (or may not) get a chance to explore is super enjoyable. This time, my favorite was: an HTML version of SMIL called HTML + Time. The interview has an addendum :)]]>

In the mail

Tue, 03 Aug 2010 09:02:44 +0000

Freesouls. Captured and released. Joi Ito, 2008 From Weimar (Germany): Lorem Ipsum: Zentralorgan der Freien Klassen Kommunikation. 2010 Thank you Christopher + Martin :-)]]>


Tue, 03 Aug 2010 11:16:33 +0000

we have read and others we should. Download as .csv file: 030810_export

The Library

Tue, 03 Aug 2010 15:48:12 +0000

Download the list as .csv file: OSP-library_030810 The OSP-library is a modest pile of books that we think is relevant to our practice. Some we have read and others we should. We'll keep adding titles; suggestions welcome! After testing several ways to catalogue the collection, we settled with LibraryThing for the time being. It's not ideal ... though it is a good project (they allow users to export collections as .csv file (book data, no tags), use multiple sources for bibliographic data and have a sensible privacy policy) the software nor data is under a free license. We tried Alexandria and than exported our booklist as a static html page but the amount of times the software crashed drove us insane. Also it is a bit disappointing that Alexandria almost completely relies on data from amazon.com. A rewrite is on it's way so we are looking forward to that. We most of all want to use http://www.openlibrary.org, a project initiated by http://www.archive.org. We like their concept "a wiki page for each book" and the site contains a fair amount of information already. For posts on individual books, we started to use a plugin that can pull data from http://www.openlibrary.org. But we'll need a bit of patience before jumping ship: the team is currently working on adding the indispensable feature that allows us to make lists. And the ability to import data from file would be nice too!]]>

Coming to terms

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 08:08:55 +0000

If everything is both neutral and imbued with values at the same time, how can we separate instrumentality from ideology? This is essentially what I take the distinction between Free and Open to be about. Free is an ideological standpoint, the idea that users of software should have the right to look under the hood, to know exactly what their software is doing and to make changes to it, should they so choose. Free is about freedom, which is an admirable thing. Free takes on the idea that freedom can be built into code and its licensing schemes. Open, on the other hand, speaks to the instrumental. It speaks to the idea that companies don't want to put the word Free on their products, for fear that people will fail to make the distinction between freedom and monetary freeness, as they do." ginger coons coming to terms with Open, Free and Libre. Apparently something we all go through, but hers is eloquent and frank like we know her: http://www.adaptstudio.ca/blog/2010/08/coming-to-grips-with-my-own-opinions-about-open-libre-and-free.html ]]>

Standards and their Stories

Wed, 01 Sep 2010 06:36:53 +0000

SVG Open. [openbook booknumber="/b/OL16960548M"] Here are some quotes from chapter 1 of "Standards and their Stories", edited by Martha Lampland and Susan Leigh Star. Among other things, this introductory chapter makes a point for the invisibility and pervasiveness of standards :)
standards are so pervasive that they have become taken for granted in our everyday environment, they may become completely embedded in everyday tools of use. We have to listen to infrastructure and bring imagination to understanding its components and how they work. With time, this process can lead to what Callon calls "irreversibility" [...] functional irreversibility--what would it take to change the meaning of a red light to "go" and a green light to "stop"? The strangeness of infraestructure is not the usual sort of anthropological strangeness [...] Infrastructural strangeness is an embedded strangeness, a second-order one, that of the forgotten, the background, the frozen in place.]]>

LGM 2011: date + place confirmed

Thu, 09 Sep 2010 08:17:01 +0000

View Larger Map The sixth edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting will take place from 10-13 May 2011 in Montreal, Canada. The local team builds on experience of having organised two earlier meetings in the same city, plus this years' LGM will make a special effort to connect to the lively art- and design scene present sur place. So, save the date and we hope to meet again in Canada's Cultural Capital next spring! ]]>

Call for proposals: Libre Graphics Magazine 1.1

Sat, 11 Sep 2010 12:14:15 +0000

Libre Graphics Magazine is seeking submissions for its first numbered issue, which loosely follows the theme First Encounters/Taking Flight. Submissions can range from the written, to the visual, to the interactive. If it can be flattened and printed, it could appear in our print edition. If it moves or requires user input to be seen properly, it might just be a good fit for our web edition. Proposals for articles or works (or even already completed works), may be submitted until October 3, 11:59 Eastern time. Proposals for articles should be no more than 100 words, although the articles themselves may be up to 1000 words. Proposals and work may be sent to submissions@libregraphicsmag.com Read the full call at: http://libregraphicsmag.com]]>

Listen to F/LOSS

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 07:38:23 +0000

At FLOSS-weekly you can find a collection of 130+ longer interviews with Free Software developers, including some involved in our favourite projects: #11: Python (Guido van Rossum: "If you give the same task to different programmers, they'll come up with different solutions. When programmer B at some point has to maintain the code of programmer A, it is tempting to rewrite the code instead, because it would not be the same solution programmer B would have chosen") #52: Processing (Ben Fry: "Working in code, changes the type of things I can look at") #76: Inkscape (Jon Cruz: "Vector graphics are the shapes themselves") #81: OpenStreetmap (Steve Coast: "Maps are never complete. They are always changing" ) ]]>

One nouveau flyer voor Constant vzw/asbl

Fri, 17 Sep 2010 01:06:51 +0000

OSP Works: flyer for Constant which OSP is a subdivision of. 4 different flyers. Play on languages, loops… Made with Scribus. more here ]]>

This Fall

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 11:11:19 +0000

This fall @ OSP: Yes, winter will probably be hot too. ]]>


Sun, 10 Oct 2010 15:31:26 +0000

Heure-en-famenne Last Thursday and Friday OSP gathered in Heure-en-Famenne to discuss future plans and current projects. After almost 5 years of work we wanted to take a bit of time to look back and forward. We made several resolutions and decisions. Some will be already visible in the coming weeks now, others only in the years to come.]]>

Impossible choice

Sun, 10 Oct 2010 20:35:03 +0000

Vote for our favorite Open Source Graphics Software to win'. It is a clever campaign I guess: data about popular applications should be useful in deciding what books will sell. Packt gives away one proprietary e-reader to a random voter and I only hope there is also a generous donation to the winning projects (no mention of any on the Packt site). What a strange idea that I would want to choose between Inkscape, Blender, Scribus, Gimp and jmonkeyengine. How counterproductive to assume competition between complementary projects. Imagine asking a carpenter whether she likes her hammer better than her screwdriver? ]]>

diff git imagemagick

Tue, 19 Oct 2010 10:03:54 +0000

From wikipedia: In computing, diff is a file comparison utility that outputs the differences between two files. We have been playing with git. There's more coming! For now, this quick prototype (30M) illustrates some ideas about diff, and images files. It will hopefully be improved in the future :) In the context of a configuration file, we are combining git's flexibility regarding the choice of a difftool with the image compare features of Imagemagick: [difftool "mydifftool"] cmd = composite $LOCAL $REMOTE -compose difference x: It's a digest of two stackoverflow threads: Are there revision control systems for images? How do I view 'git diff' output with visual diff program? It's all lo-fi.]]>

Open Sauces

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 12:27:07 +0000

Just out: The fOam Open Sauces book + insert! The book contains essays, recipes and images documenting Open Sauces:
"a sequence of experimental courses, matched with drinks, improvised music and esteemed guests. While savouring the foods, the guests will be engaged in table conversations, sharing experiences, recipes and ingredients needed to demystify cultural, environmental, technical and ethical aspects of contemporary food systems"
The scenario for Semiotics of the Kitchen Radio, an OSP broadcast that fOam hosted in their space, is published in a separate booklet. ]]>

./configure && make art

Tue, 26 Oct 2010 18:00:19 +0000

The 2010 edition of the Make Art festival will take place at Maison de l'Architecture in Poitiers, France, from the 4th to 7th of November. This year theme is in-between design: rediscovering collaboration in digital art. OSP will give a small lecture and be part of the exhibition with the project Nancy, an installation for collaborative symbol font creation. Many OSP friends will be present as well: ginger coons (Libre Graphics Magazine), Calcyum, Emanuele Bonetti and Loredana Bontempi, <stdin> just to name a few of them. Make Art 2010, Festival of free art and technologies Make Art is an international festival dedicated to free/libre arts and technologies, distributed digital artworks and net art. The sixth edition of Make Art focuses on works halfway between art and design, collaborative, scalable and participative methods. The adventure "in-between design" begins here, to be imagined in this creative development, where everyone can participate and where artwork keeps on evolving. Are these projects just curiosities or a real alternative to the graphic conformism ruled by an industry that dictates its aesthetic codes? Please come and join us to answer this question... Make Art is organized by the collective GOTO10, and its design is by Lafkon.]]>

a poetic and political necessity

Fri, 29 Oct 2010 17:17:33 +0000

Next week another delegation of OSP travels to Tel Aviv to present at the conference Open Code Versus Military Culture? Aspects in Israel Digital Culture organised by the Shenkar College for Engineering and Design. Following the talk, there will be a worksession at the Israeli Center for Digital Art. From the conference description:
"The interest in the effects of technology on culture, and reciprocally, the effects of culture on technology, peaked with the unprecedented spread of the Internet. This conference seeks to promote public discussion about the significant relationships among technology, politics, culture and art. Israel has a very successful hi-tech industry. However, the local digital-technological culture is largely shaped by defense industries and software corporations."
http://www.shenkar.ac.il/digitalcultureconf/digitalcultureconf_eng.html Talk description: Unimagining practice Contemporary creative work depends largely on software tools. Full of "accepted ideas" about the way things ought to be done, tools are unavoidably shaped by conventional models of production and distribution. In 2006, OSP decided to use Free, Libre and Open Source Software only. We had grown frustrated with the perceived neutrality of the default designer toolset and wanted to take part in the construction of software that circumscribes what we make. In this talk we'll go through some of the consequences of that choice: how it changed our habitual vocabulary, radically reorganised our workflow and in what way we engaged with the F/LOSS community developing those tools. Workshop description: Territorial practice A two day worksession on F/LOSS cartographic tactics at the Israeli Center for Digital Art Even if cartography is generally produced from a bird's eye perspective, details cannot be drawn from a remote location; they must be confirmed/corrected/added on the spot. The territory must be literally practiced by annotating and drawing. Working on location with territories and the people living onto it, offers both beautiful and efficient ways of exchanging practiced of space, and builds connections while mediating localized knowledges. Being able to consult, create, publish and exchange maps, to have access to cartographic data and know precisely where the openings are is both a poetic and a political necessity. On Thursday 10 November, in the morning, OSP starts with a presentation of maps we are interested in, some of the projects we have worked on and the questions they raise. For the afternoon session, we invite participants to bring samples of maps they like/dislike, data they think that deserves geo-location, ideas for maps or edits to existing maps. On Friday 11 November, we will group participants according to their interests and work together in response to needs, questions and ideas. Depending on the input of the participants, the work will concentrate more on practical issues or conceptual ones. Tools and materials we could decide to work with on day 2: OpenLayers, OpenStreetMap, drawing, geonames, GPS-tracking, gpsbabel, web services and API's... ]]>

Fund Libre Graphics Magazine 1.1!

Mon, 01 Nov 2010 09:12:37 +0000

Mardigrafe printing house and Studio XX in Montreal, we look forward to a spicy mix of well-known authors and new discoveries, served up in a carefully designed and illustrated publication. Visit http://libregraphicsmag.com for more information and contribute to the print run of Libre Graphics Magazine issue 1.1: http://www.pledgie.com/campaigns/13812!]]>

Time for a new adventure

Tue, 02 Nov 2010 10:02:39 +0000

Dear Ubuntu, A few weeks ago I needed to re-install my computer. Using the convenient Startup Disk Creator, I prepared a USB-stick with a fresh version of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, rebooted the computer and clicked 'install'. While the Ubuntu slide-show took my mind off the wait and the automatized installation process was taking place, I fondly remembered the nervous excitement that installing earlier versions would bring. Although I sometimes miss that sense of adventure, I admire the rapid development that Ubuntu has gone through. Compared to my first experience in 2006, the install is now faultless, fast and pleasant. But the last slide took me by surprise. It reads: “Take a look at the Ubuntu Software Center to install (and remove) software from our online repository, which we carefully organize to be safe and up to date.” And: “If you need something that isn't available through us, find out if there is a Debian package or another repository available. That way, it will be really easy to install and you will receive automatic updates.” Software from our online repository available through us? I opened the Applications menu on the completed Lucid Lynx install and took a thorough look at the Ubuntu Software Center for the first time. I discovered that the cardboard box icon that represented the repository has been replaced by a brown paper shopping bag and also the vocabulary has changed. 'Ubuntu Software' covers the main category of the Debian archive; the rest now falls under 'Other Software', including packages in the categories contrib, non-free and potentially packages for sale. The term 'Third party' was awkward already, but to replace it by 'Other' seems vague on purpose. Even more alarming is that the Software Center refers to some non-free resources as 'Canonical partners'. I use Ubuntu since 2006 because I sympathize with your attempt to invite users along that traditionally do not side with Free Software. I certainly enjoyed the increasing stability and ease-of-use that the distribution provides, without sacrificing command-line access. By offering non-free packages such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Skype as 'Third party sources', you made me aware and responsible for my own choice to install non-free software. To a user migrating from MacOS X like me, collaborating with people using proprietary tools, it seemed a healthy approach to digital practice; a clean break between free and non-free is easier said than done. Through the project's obvious care for interface-issues, Ubuntu also seemed to avoid the over-simplified GUI vs. command-line position that is present in many F/LOSS projects and I secretly hoped that with your attention for design, you would one day find us a way out of there. The latest developments are unfortunately not very promising as they seem to be about hiding rather than finding interesting hybrid expressions. To compare installing Free Software to shopping is missing the point in such a grotesque way that I have decided to refrain from installing Ubuntu in the future. Here is more background on this decision: If you want to be in contact with software as an actual material, you need an operating system that can be questioned and experienced. For years, subsequent versions of Ubuntu offered the kind of reflexive environment that I was looking for, if only in contrast with the system I moved away from. The current redesign and rephrasing that is supposed to help make using Ubuntu a more reliable and predictable experience, leaves me feeling alienated from how and why this technology is being produced. It obscures the characteristics of the system, equals out the variations between different sources that it is built upon and ultimately starts to internalize a commercial vocabulary. Speaking of Technology, we are Dreaming of Society ((Mirko Tobias Schaeffer: Designing a Better Tomorrow: How design is informed by metaphors, images and associations of social progress http://river-valley.tv/designing-a-better-tomorrow)). Over the last few years, I spent many hours with 'sudo apt-get install' and Synaptic ((Synaptic is a Graphical User Interface for apt-get or Aptitude, the Debian package-manager.)), browsing exotic softwares that I happily installed, tried and uninstalled. In that way I learned about dependencies and libraries and ultimately about the many cultures of software. This sense of interdependence, of richness and diversity has been a source of inspiration for many of the activities and ideas we developed at OSP ((“We launched OSP because our portfolio started to fill up with designs for alternative music, copyleft activities and Linux Install Parties and the gap between the language of our work and the jargon of the commercial software we used became more obvious with every new job. We were also interested in the role that software plays in the creative process and trying to find out how our digital tools could become a creative and substantial element in design itself. But since the software packages of Adobe Inc. have become quite the standard in art academies, creative studios and printshops, it is difficult to detect their influence, let alone analyse their effect.” Awkward Gestures. OSP in The Mag.net reader 3: Processual Publishing. Actual Gestures, edited by Alessandro Ludovico and Nat Muller. 2008)). The changes in the re-branded Ubuntu remind me of how much the software repository is at the heart of a Linux-distribution. By defining what goes into the categories main, contrib or non-free and deciding which update is considered stable and which one is unstable, the package managers make the repository a primary location for taking position on software. Re-phrasing the terminology around it, both visually and in terms of language is therefore an important shift, as it redefines the politics of use. The fact that Ubuntu wants to develop revenue models ((“In order to monetize, Canonical needs to change its user base, Enderle said. However, it first needs to provide a platform that's more polished so people are more likely to buy. Adding the Unity interface for highly mobile computing is an 'important' step in making Canonical's platform more user-friendly, but 'they still have a long way to go and will need to change the perceptions surrounding the product as well if they want to attract people who will spend money on it” Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat Pokes Its Head Out. Richard Adhikari in LinuxInsider http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/71012.html)) is obviously not a problem in itself. It is important that projects like yours find ways to be sustainable, and with such a widely used distribution you probably need more money than I can imagine. But in order to monetize the project, you apparently feel the need to hide the interesting trouble that comes with Free Software, and so you decided to put a grocery store at the heart of it. I think it is a mistake to speak about Free Software as products free for the taking, especially as they will soon be joined by others being for sale. At first I found it hard to believe that part of the Ubuntu redesign was commissioned to people not engaged in free culture whatsoever and sad to see them consequently use proprietary tools with no apparent discomfort. ((For the redesign of the Ubuntu Font, Canonical decided to commission the London design agency Dalton Maag Ltd. The font is released under a free license, but designed using the proprietary tool FontLab without interaction from the Free Font community. http://www.daltonmaag.com/docs/FontDevelopment.pdf. See also Nathan Willis: Ubuntu's font beta sparks discussions about open font development http://lwn.net/Articles/396711/)) Had I cared to look at the Brand Communication Guide, this should not have come as a shock. The new visual strategy is built around so-called voice, audience and developer sliders and the whole design concept is meant to elegantly express a series of binary oppositions: Community (Ubuntu Orange) vs. Commercial (Canonical Aubergine), Consumer vs. Enterprise, End-user vs. Engineer. “If you find that you have positioned a slider in the centre, think carefully about the purpose of your communication and what it is trying to say. In general, the only time it’s useful to say “both” is for transitional or gateway pages, like a home page” ((Ubuntu Brand Communication Guide http://design.canonical.com/brand/A.%20Brand_Communication_Guide_v1.pdf)). It worries me that Canonical, a company committed to both F/LOSS and design is so unambitious about visualizing the vibrancy of the Free software community. This is bad news for F/LOSS as a whole, bad news for the excellent Libre Graphic tools out there that could have gained from your support, but also for design itself. Once again it is being reduced to a cover-up, facilitating the disconnect between the technologies it is supposed to represent. The decision I made in 2006 to move away from integrated, seamless systems literally has caught up with me. It is fair to say that the urge to try out other F/LOSS operating systems is partially motivated by the feeling that I am getting used to the Ubuntu-way to such an extent that it is hard to stay aware of it (I almost missed the changes happening to the package manager). The direction Ubuntu is taking right now, means that in order for “people to love and appreciate free software” ((http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Brand)) you make it a priority to be in direct competition with proprietary systems. You decided to replace the Human-theme by the Light-theme (“Visually, light is beautiful, light is ethereal, light brings clarity and comfort” ) and are busy with Core Brand Values. Now Ubuntu starts to speak like the proprietary tools I wanted to leave behind, it is time to move on. The cardboard box icon that has been in use throughout various Gnome-icon sets always seemed a bit of an empty metaphor. Looking at it in this context, it gains power as a subtle allusion to transportability, modularity, storage and archive. It ultimately refers to opening Pandora's box ((Using her fingers, the maid pried open the lid of the great jar, Sprinkling its contents; her purpose, to bring sad hardships to mankind. Nothing but Hope stayed there in her stout, irrefrangible dwelling, Under the lip of the jar, inside, and she never would venture Outdoors, having the lid of the vessel itself to prevent her, Willed there by Zeus, who arranges the storm clouds and carries the aegis. Otherwise, myriad miseries flit round miserable mortals; Furthermore, full is the earth of much mischief, the deep sea also. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/329658.html)), unleashing the unruly forces of Free Software. It is this unreliable potential that I have grown to love and appreciate in Free Software and I would like to find an operating system that reflects it. A distribution that cares about interface, does not confuse openness with consistency, is not afraid to risk reliability over solidarity and can think beyond circles when it comes to visually representing a community. One that does not mistake users for consumers, nor has a binary view on differentiating between them and developers. Before saying goodbye I would like to thank you because without Ubuntu I would not have made it this far. I truly hope you will stay around, convincing many other users to consider Free Software. But I am ready to embark on a new adventure. Kind regards, Femke]]>

Stop competing, Start collaborating

Tue, 02 Nov 2010 23:16:41 +0000

Troy Sobotka explaining why designers should collaborate with Free Software projects and stop responding to contests:
"We need a round table interaction where literature, art, design, philosophy, psychology, and sociology can be engaged. We need a cross pollination of creative fields and studies. We need to have developer minds and creative minds becoming passionate and excited about alternate perceptions of the future"
"The very notion of Libre / Free software holds cooperation and community with such high regard you would think that we would be visionary leaders regarding the means and methods we use to collaborate. We are not. We seem to suffer from a collision of unity with diversity. How can we more greatly create a world of legitimate discussion regarding art, design, aesthetic, music, and other such diverse fields when we are so stuck on how much more consistent a damn panel looks with tripe 22 pixel icons of a given flavour?"
http://troy-sobotka.blogspot.com/2010/10/spec-work-and-contests-part-two.html :-)]]>

446 Nancy A5

Thu, 04 Nov 2010 16:41:34 +0000

make art opening starts at 19 pm Hurry up ! Dingbats Liberation Fest Characters are crowding the walls. Get your D.L.F contributor certificate ✄ ]]>

la bouche de la reine

Fri, 05 Nov 2010 14:26:13 +0000

Courtesy: Inkscape parallel-stroke hatching]]>

Nancy → Poitiers

Sat, 06 Nov 2010 09:46:37 +0000

After we turned the simplest design into a complicated process involving Fontforge, Subversion, Scribus Python scripter, PoDoFo, glue and good wills, the Dingbats Liberation Fest font (rev.106) is now visible in good company (DejaVu for the closer and some  amazing pieces of art around) at make art - in between design festival.[gallery] ]]>

Infiltrating culture in a positive way

Sat, 06 Nov 2010 12:33:11 +0000

The opening talk therefore sounds like a manifest, asking to valorize Free Software, in order to "infiltrate culture in a positive way". Pierre Marchand, member of the OSP collective, presenting a collaborative ornamental font, supports this proposal totally: "In our domain, the freedom of software is the single tool to completely share culture. It is necessary, there would be nothing without it" http://www.lanouvellerepublique.fr/LOISIRS/Festivals/Make-Art-prend-son-envol-et-libere-son-public]]>

from cage to pipeline

Sun, 14 Nov 2010 08:57:12 +0000

blog. ]]>

Text engine القطع الأثرية

Mon, 15 Nov 2010 17:07:16 +0000

We are not here to be correct

Tue, 16 Nov 2010 15:15:30 +0000

Manufactura Independente have made PropCourier Sans, the display and identity font for Libre Graphics Magazine ... a super derivative of our own NotCourierSans ("We are not here to be polite")! Download hopefully available *soon* :-) Via: http://www.adaptstudio.ca/blog/2010/11/while-you-were-out-i-made-you-a-type-specimen.html]]>

Scribus Re-loaded

Sun, 21 Nov 2010 22:19:38 +0000

Since a few months the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie supports the Scribus team. The goal is to make the program ready for new developers and users from Asia and Africa and this is *very* good news for the rest of us too! The project goes under the code name "Scribus-OIF" and involves intense work on two related but very different axis: a complete rewrite of the text-engine, and a new take on the properties panel. It all started with the need to support complex text-layout. In Arabic script for example, different glyphs are used for the same character, depending on their position in the word. Ligatures are another example of a complex text-layout. The team also decided that it was important to disentangle the text-engine code itself and to make it easier for newcomers to contribute to the project. We'll talk about all this more soon but it does not stop there. Work is under-way to provide sophisticated paragraph based lay-outs and last but not least, the undo function for text will finally be added :-D The second part of the work concerns the properties palette. You could see this central part of the interface as a representation of the Scribus datamodel, a good place to make developers and designers start thinking together. To invite contributions by people with different skills, the code for the properties palette will be detached from the main code-base and modularized to a high degree. While impatiently waiting for all these developments to take an effect, expect a series of posts about Scribus Re-loaded in the upcoming months. We will detail the text-engine, discuss Scribus Persona, look closer at the properties palette and QT-designer, test-drive the frame-rendering feature and more. Go Scribus Go!]]>

Scenario for vowels, consonants and a text-engine

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 19:48:44 +0000

Scenario for vowels, consonants and a text-engine describes the sophisticated new text-engine that the Scribus team is preparing us at this very moment)) a paragraph in Scribus. The first word consists of three vowels and a consonant. The Scribus text-engine receives this cluster of characters as a first input. Now the shaper will start to work; it has to decide what features need to be applied to the cluster. Do characters need to be re-ordered? Do ligatures need to be applied? If the answer is 'yes', the shaper will ask the font-software if there is a ligature available that can be used. Each cluster is treated in this way and subsequently added to the list of glyphs. This list of glyphs output by the shaper is than entered into the second part of the text-engine, the block-compositor. The block-compositor is in contact with the line-lay-outer. It knows that a certain line starts at a given point and it also knows about the width of the frame containing it. The block-compositor will ask the line-lay-outer to come up with a certain amount of propositions per line. Per proposition, a penalty is given, based on the quality of the break (does it require hyphenation?) and the amount of stretching needed to reach the width of the frame. Now the block-composer can produce an oriented graph ((http://mathworld.wolfram.com/OrientedGraph.html)) on the basis of which it can decide what is the least penalized route ((Compare the concept of badness in TeX: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/TeX/definition/badness))). But a second parameter is also taken into account: what combination of line-propositions will result in the most uniform distribution of line-width per paragraph? After the block-compositor has found the optimal solution, the text engine outputs the paragraph to the canvas.]]>

Archipel Opening

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 20:43:35 +0000

Archipel is both a permanent collection, a website and a travelling exhibition. It intends to propose an intuitive exploration of adventurous music and images appeared since the early twentieth century. Archipel has chosen to group these discs and films as "islands" involving artists (or works) that share similar creative practices. An archipel that can be visited, where one can get lost without being an expert or already initiated to art known as "experimental". A project by the Médiathèque de la Communauté française de Belgique. Graphic identity - Harrisson OSP Website through SVG interface - Michael Murtaugh Installation, furniture and plans - Mathieu Gabiot Discover the third dimension of Open Source Publishing. The furniture pieces will be released under a Free Art-based license. Wednesday December the 1st : www.archipels.be online (web site preview) Thursday December the 2nd - 18:30 - 21:30 : Installation Opening + Baudouin Oosterlynck concert Passage 44 Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, 44 1000 Bruxelles]]>

When Free Culture infiltrates art and design fields...

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 20:59:36 +0000

Manystuff has enlightened a lot of this kind of projects, either on/with Open Source or around free of charge culture, public domain... Here is a summary:
  • Free Kevin — A Hacker screening series — Can't find the torrent link anymore...
  • General Public Library —  http://www.artingeneral.org/exhibitions/504 and http://www.generalpubliclibrary.info/ : Nguyen invited designers, publishers, curators, artists, galleries, and musicians to contribute publications to the project that reflect the donor’s practice, methodology, inspiration and interest. Visitors are encouraged to donate a favourite book to the library during the exhibition. — Although the project shares the same acronym as GNU's General Public Licence, licenses are not the subject here. But the project has the merit to gather projects closer to this philosophy: aaaarg, Free Kevin...
  • Morf — A magazine for graphic design (in Dutch) — Free of charge for students, paying for non-students. Republication/translation of major articles together with new articles.
  • The Dor — The Dor is an ever-growing digital archive of out of print artist books. Eventually, it will culminate in an online database of hard to find artists books, which users may page through and print on demand. Currently, it finds form as a temporary office, where loaned titles are scanned, documented, and sometimes reprinted. Visitors may also contribute to this ever-growing library of titles. The project is made possible by collaborations with book collectors, artists, curators and friends.
  • Sexy Machinery — Architectural magazine as a way of exploring issues of copyright and ownership
  • Open Source Digest — Compilation of texts from the public domain. But if this digest is open source, where are the sources? ;)
  • A Wikipedia Reader — CC-BY-NC-SA — Artists are asked to make a parcours of reading in Wikipedia.
  • Free — Exhibition "explor[ing] how the internet has fundamentally changed our landscape of information and our notion of public space." A lot of material around this exhibition is available online, with long essays. Looks much more interesting than the introductory speech confusing free as in freedom and free as in free beer. Hopefully, during the exhibition, artist Steve Lambert made a speech/city-walk about the history of free culture as in freedom and/or as in free beer (punk rock culture, Free Software history...). No copyright/left mentions though, and without any notice it is "all rights reserved"...
  • Re-Applied Art — Workshop by Dexter Sinister asking the participants to re-use a hundred items from Dot Dot Dot magazine archive.
  • Agreement to Receive & Exchange this Book — An attempt at an alternative currency during an art book fair.
We can still see some confusion in some of this project about what is free or open source, but we welcome these initiatives. Hope this list will grow faster and faster!]]>

Chaîne typo-graphique ouverte

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 09:14:15 +0000

ERG. In September started a fisrt "arts numériques" open source course at the École de Recherche Graphique. Visit the course wiki. The students will be proud to present the first specimens of their pictures-fonts. And in exclusivity we will play with Pierre Marchand's new friend Fonzie - live ! Come with a picture and live with a font. flyers d'invitation réalisés par les étudiants Tomorrow, Friday December the 10th at 11:00 central corridor near room 12 École de Recherche Graphique, 87, rue du page - 1050 Bruxelles]]>

Territorial practice

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 09:50:44 +0000

Open Code Versus Military Culture? Aspects in Israel Digital Culture. It feels both close and very far away. [caption id="attachment_5416" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Arriving late night at Dizengoff square, Tel Aviv"][/caption] Open Code Versus Military Culture? was initiated by digital artist Tsila Hassine, asking pertinent questions about the relationships among technology, politics, culture and art. These questions are obviously ultra relevant in the light of the political situation in the Middle East and even more pressing in Israel where technological culture is largely shaped by defence industries and commercial software corporations. The conference and work session gave us the opportunity to sense the connections between military, culture and commerce in the Israeli context. It happened through the voices and gestures of the very people involved in the decision making, each having different interests. Two-day conference: Open Code Versus Military Culture? The morning sessions came as a bit of a shock, especially for those of us who had just arrived in Israel. A retired brigadier spoke about the importance of 'Thinking out of the box' in response to security threats, and an entrepreneur explained how the civilian market could profit from military research and innovation in a nice way. Their understanding of the dynamics of technological development had a lot in common: both the military and the entrepreneur impose the emergency of a 'time to market' to developers, thinking in an abstract world. Through this phraseology, the cost of human life, in the case of the military, is understood in terms of commodity and the presence of a product delivered timely on the market, for the industrial, as a military operation. Logically then, the computer industry in Israel would sell security-related services, benefiting from the reputation of its army. And due to a constant assimilation of war and marketing, as a response to immediate threat, the Israeli industry would lack time and investment to create infrastructure. As the military culture is one of secrecy, no wonder that it doesn't provide a fertile ground for open source development. As a contrast, a second entrepreneur representing the RedHat-Israel company came to present their open source model for the computer industry. This capitalist with a friendly face celebrated the rebirth of centralized mainframes through the buzzword of cloud-computing, arguing this was the first true innovation driven by F/LOSS. The first question mark was expressed in a presentation about Tsofen, an organisation trying to open up the labour market of the Israeli High Tech Industry for qualified Arab IT engineers living in Israel. By the time the second session Critical Perspectives on the Uses and Discourses of Digital Technology and the Military had started, entrepreneurs and military representatives unfortunately had already left the premises. Dr. Eyal Weizman (flown back to London right after his lecture before any questions could be asked) held a stunning talk on the issue of proportionality, presenting the design of the separation wall on the West Bank as a form of collaborative design. "Our algorithmic society has become irrevocably obsessed with calculating and reducing the evil it has itself perpetrated" ((Talk partially overlapped with this text:  http://www.allvoices.com/s/event-6743881/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5vcGVuZGVtb2NyYWN5Lm5ldC9leWFsLXdlaXptYW4vbWF0ZXJpYWwtcHJvcG9ydGlvbmFsaXR5LXBhdWwtaGlyc3QtbWVtb3JpYWwtbGVjdHVyZS0yMDEw)) Sheizaf Rafaeli from Haifa University toured us through Digital Culture in Israel and showed that it is at the same time vibrant, diverse and dispersed. The reality of the World Wide Web in fact allows very different communities to exist in parallel, without being connected at all. The presentation by Eran Sachs was both impressing and moving, as he related his experience in military service (where he was taught signal theory and analysis by ear as part of his service with the IDF Electronic Intelligence unit) to his art sound projects, connecting both with his ad hoc slogan "want + can → will": about driving habits of israeli roads; an art sound project in the evacuated buildings of Hebron where he produced sound to visualize space by throwing stones on walls; a precise, humorous and detailed explanation about what the convolution of waves means; to a sudden final, beautiful and vibrant assembly of some of these parts in a call for convolution as a civilian strategy of smooth but strong counter-power to current politics. After that, the Minister of Improvement of Government Services talked to us about the new government website for a while until he finally was called away to appear on tv. The day ended with an exposé from Professor Langdon Winner about how Open Source might in the end be the only hope for saving democracy in The United States. The second day of the conference was devoted to cultural practice. The first panel was called Cultural and Artistic Approaches to Code Practices and as you might have guessed, this was the panel we were in. Matthew Fuller started off with Executing Software Studies, and the need to look at software as a culture. For the OSP presentation we had decided to speak through very concrete and detailed examples about the ways F/LOSS tools help unimagine practice. We were trying to be sincere but it also felt rather futile. Ayelet Karmon and Yair Reshef gave an informative overview of various projects applying code-practices to physical objects and the session was concluded by Mushon Zer-Aviv ((based on ideas discussed here: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/09/01/the-case-for-open-source-design-can-design-by-committee-work)), a graphic designer based in Tel Aviv. He ended his talk Towards Open Source Design with the statement that "[T]he substantial parts of design that still cannot be easily quantified or assessed on shared rational ground should be managed  through trust and leadership. A resilient community of practice must be  able to develop design leadership whose work and guidance is respected  and appreciated even without the convenient meter of coding meritocracy.", an idea we tried to challenge at the dinner table (with not much success yet, but we might have another chance at an upcoming LGM). The last sessions were devoted to data visualization. It started with a short presentation of openknesset.org, a group of activists monitoring the Israeli Parliament. In the same vein, Roberto Therón stated that data visualization is a tool to foster change. Interestingly, his practice of data viz is related to collective methodologies as the ones developed in collaboration with Media Lab Prado that welcome open contributions, modifications of the project through a dialogue with the participants; the production of data visualisation is the occasion for an exchange within emerging communities of researchers ranging from academics, hackers, activists and artists. Ted Byfield impressed with a sharp analysis that ended with a call for politically oriented graphs ((some of it can be found here: http://streamingculture.parsons.edu/parsons-the-new-school-for-design-050710-0516pm/)). Vinca Kruk from Metahaven Design Collective did an attempt to unravel the Eden Abergill case, but unfortunately only managed to scratch the surface of the complicated context in which these images continue to appear. Worksession: Territorial Practice The two day OSP-workshop Territorial Practice took place in Holon, a suburb south of Tel Aviv. As we hoped, working collectively with maps proved to be a productive interface to speak with participants on different levels. [caption id="attachment_5407" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Francis Alys, The Green Line. “Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political, and Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic”"]The Green Line, Francis Alys[/caption] We discussed perspective, delieniation, territory and cartography as a subjective process. We consequently tried to construct the map of the Holon neighbourhood through observation and notetaking on the ground and than combined our observations into multi-layered collective images. We were happy to have a chance to work for two days with Nira, a retired urban and regional planner who used to work for the government in Jerusalem; with Orna, a photographer, architect and activist living with her daughter in Jaffa and with Sva, a multidisciplinary artist whose activities range from dance to practical philosophy. [caption id="attachment_5414" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Orna gave us a selection of her beautiful textile-mounted maps of the area, now de-classified but in use by British military in the 1910-20's"][/caption] The second day, a group of interaction design students from Shenkar School of Art and Design joined. They energetically updated the OpenStreetMap data on the Holon area and stated that 'they will never look at maps the same way again'. [caption id="attachment_5434" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Notes on Walking Paper print"]Notes on Walking Paper print[/caption] The Open Street Map project and the wonderful Walking Papers project ((http://walking-papers.org/)) proved to be interesting tools for dialog. They provided us with a provisional and fragile basis for a conversation between participants, but also helped understand better our own approaches/practices/sensibilities vis-a-vis questions of mapping. [caption id="attachment_5415" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Participants re-enact Esther Ferrer's performance: Walking is the way"][/caption] More images: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/image/index.php?level=album&id=48 Examples discussed in the workshop Francis Alÿs, The Green Line: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/arts/design/13chan.html Peter Westenberg, Op, van, -se: http://westenberg.constantvzw.org/?p=57 The Towards project: http://www.towards.be Text: Cartography as a common good http://www.towards.be/site/spip.php?article367 List of Free, Libre Open Source cartographic resources: http://www.stormy-weather.be/wiki/index.php/MappingRessources Animation of 2008 commits to Openstreetmap: http://vimeo.com/2598878 Jaffa, Autobiography of a City: http://www.jaffaproject.org/ Map Compare, comparing openstreetmap to Google Maps: http://tools.geofabrik.de/mc/ Ben Fry, All streets: http://benfry.com/allstreets/ Esther Ferrer, Walking is the way: http://www.arteleku.net/estherferrer The relation of territory to maps: http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Map-territory_relation Ohad Matalon: http://www.taviartgallery.com/ViewExPhoto.php?p=0&n=84&pic=956 OpenStreetMap of our small area in Holon after edition by us, the Hebrew version of streetnames were added by Talkat. Notes]]>

Use Cases and Affordances

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 09:01:40 +0000

Enjoying the first issue of Libre Graphics Magazine First Flight too? In the mean time, the editorial team started working on a brand new one! The theme for the upcoming magazine is Use Cases and Affordances:
Our software tools, in their affordances and potential use cases, define for us, to a certain extent, what we may and may not do. Those decisions are put in place by the people who design the tools. Together, as users, developers and all areas between the two extremes, we boil in a constantly reconfiguring sea of use possibilities, material and mental affordances.
Interesting :-) Read the full call here: http://www.adaptstudio.ca/blog/2010/12/libre-graphics-magazine-12-call-for-submissions.html and don't forget to order a printed issue! ]]>

The first months of 2011

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 16:57:58 +0000

January Start with a bang: Monday January 3 all OSPs gather for a Scribus experiment. You'll hear more about once we get there! Antoine from l'École Estienne, Paris joins us for an internship of three months. We have new plans for some kind of OSP-school (writing more project proposals, handing in applications ...). Ludi and Pierre H continue to infuse their students with F/LOSS energy at ERG and La Cambre. Reprint of Openbaar Schrijver available by the end of the month. February With the help of a stagiair from the Centre de recherche informatique et droit (CRID) we are continuing work on a license for 3D objects. Special Print Party celebrating the fact that text and images from Trotski, Emma Goldman, Selma Lagerlof, Fitzgerald and Paul Klee have fallen into the public domain in Belgium. Some of us travel to London to work with students from the Communication Art & Design department at the Royal College of Art who want to develop a publication using Scribus. March Launching Tot Later, a novel by Ana Claese, designed by OSP. Hopefully Harrisson will be home from the hospital (he's undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplantation). April OSP is travelling to Vietnam :-) We are still looking for part of the funding so not sure how many of us will be able to make the trip. Presentations, workshops and work with Vietnamese designers on a font and a publication planned. All of this the outcome of meeting Hong Phuc Dang at LGM 2010. May May is LGM month! Two OSP-representatives travel to Montréal from May 10-13 to participate in the 6th Libre Graphics Meeting, something we look much forward to. This year's edition will be extra exciting with so many new developments going on (Libre Graphics Magazine, Scribus Reloaded, many new participants joining).]]>

First 2011 work, Circular Facts website

Mon, 03 Jan 2011 12:19:25 +0000

a customised Wordpress template with a gorgeous index page in Unicode for the Circular Facts website. Circular Facts website index]]>

About Travels of Baron Munchausen

Mon, 03 Jan 2011 19:30:21 +0000

[This is the about section of the the Travels of Baron Munchausen publication :-)]
How should I disengage myself? I was not much pleased with my awkward situation -- with a wolf face to face; our ogling was not of the most pleasant kind. If I withdrew my arm, then the animal would fly the more furiously upon me; that I saw in his flaming eyes. In short, I laid hold of his tail, turned him inside out like a glove, and flung him to the ground, where I left him.
On January 3 2011, the first working day of the year, OSP gathered around Scribus. We wanted to explore framerendering, Scribus bootstrapping and to play around with the incredible adventures of Baron von Munchausen. The idea was to produce some kind of experimental result, as a follow-up to our earlier attempts of turning a frog into a prince. One day we asked Scribus team-members what their favourite Scribus feature was. After some hesitation they pointed us to the magical framerender.
The Framerender is an image frame with a wrapper, a GUI, and a configuration scheme. External programs are invoked from inside of Scribus, and their output is placed into the frame! By default, the current Scribus is configured to host the following friends: LaTeX, Lilypond, gnuplot, dot/GraphViz and POV-Ray Today we are working with Lilypond. We are also creating custom tools that generate PostScript/PDF via Imagemagick and other command line tools.
LilyPond is a music engraving program, devoted to producing the highest-quality sheet music possible. It brings the aesthetics of traditionally engraved music to computer printouts. We wrote a small wrapper that produces two facing pages. On page 1: text is manually selected. On page 2: every letter from the selection is replaced with musical notes; and a musical score with accompanying lyrics is generated by Lilypond.
We typeset the first 5 chapters of the stories that Rudolph Erich Raspe wrote in the voice of the legendary Baron Munchausen. In a rudimentary English, he relates about incredible adventures that happen to him in rapid succession. We started reading them because the passage where Munchausen brings himself out of the swamp by pulling his own boots is often brought up when talking about the Bootstrapping of a computer. Some say he was pulling himself out by his own hair. We have yet to find this exact reference in the Project Gutenberg text. Maybe someone can help? :-)
The shapes of Univers Else are obtained from scanning printed textpages that were optically composed by cheap phototypesetting machines 30 years ago. With it's round angles, floating baselines and erratic kerning it has the kind of delirious brashness necessary for typesetting stories of half horses, wolves turned inside out like a glove, fifty ducks destroyed by one shot and fighting lions with crocodiles.
I recollected that Turkey-beans grow very quick, and run up to an astonishing height. I planted one immediately; it grew, and actually fastened itself to one of the moon's horns. I had no more to do now but to climb up by it into the moon, where I safely arrived, and had a troublesome piece of business before I could find my silver hatchet, in a place where everything has the brightness of silver...
Pull all files from our repository at: http://git.constantvzw.org/?p=osp.git]]>


Thu, 06 Jan 2011 10:32:33 +0000

In collaboration with Jérôme Degive (Pica Pica), OSP is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of the new Atelier de Création Sonore Radiophonique website. Tracks details and generic to follow. ]]>

As cool as it can be

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 17:05:11 +0000

Tesseract (an OCR program and library), there's a new friend around, the first meeting with Potrace was quite impressive, we can't wait to see what will happen next. You can dowload the source code of Fonzie with Git on the osp repository with the command git clone http://git.constantvzw.org/osp.git]]>


Sun, 16 Jan 2011 08:18:15 +0000

[/caption] Four-hundred posts to OSP-blog since January 20, 2006 when we wrote: OK, It is time now. Browse the archives: http://ospublish.constantvzw.org/archives]]>

Dingbat Dictée

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 21:53:38 +0000

Recipe for teaching Unicode poetry to students of all ages: ((Previously tested in Brussels and Kiel.))
  1. Print out listings of the following Unicode blocks: Dingbats (2700–27BF), Miscellaneous Symbols (2600–26FF) and eventually Miscellaneous Symbols and Arrows (2B00–2BFF). It is important you include the descriptions in the language of your choice. Below are German, English and French sample files.
  2. Contextualize the Dictée by showing this picture for example.
  3. One person selects a number of descriptions he or she finds interesting
  4. Read out the number, followed by it's description
  5. Allow participants a set time to come up with a proposal that fits the description. Depending on the medium of choice, rhythm can vary: pencil up to 30 seconds; cutting or digital drawing: up to 10 minutes.
  6. Compare results of participants to each other and to official Unicode blocks
unicode_german U2600_FR.pdf U2700_FR.pdf ]]>

Hit any key to exit

Mon, 31 Jan 2011 21:28:34 +0000

Finally... How to choose and install four three new distributions Since announcing that it was time for a new adventure, colleagues and friends have advised me what to install and why (see notes below). In the last few weeks I tried to follow up on their tips and I have tried out many distributions. I decided for a multi-boot with Debian, Fedora plus two other distributions. The plan was that by using the same home partition for different installs, it should be easy to move between them. In the quiet period between Christmas and New Year, I started up Ubuntu for the last time. I used the usb-live-creator to make a bootable usb-stick with a Debian iso-image on it. Once finished, it ironically congratulated me: 'Now you can run Ubuntu from a stick!' I reboot, and the adventure begins. In-between downloads and file-checks, partitions, bootloaders, grub-rescue, lost file systems, unknown linux kernels, Master Boot Records, fdisk, ext2, ext3, ext4, i386, initrd and initramfs I often lose track of what I am trying to do. I start to include the term 'newbie' with my searches; most explanations that come up when I just look for the error messages, make no sense to me. The split that Ubuntu makes between different levels of use (color-coding them!) might be patronizing and annoying, but to typecast myself as beginner, dummie, noob … that feels terrible too. Slowly, through trial and error, I begin to see the difference between the messiness of some installers, and my own misunderstanding of the boot-process. I'm not completely confident about manipulating grub.conf yet, but after two days I get to grips with the system again. In the mean time, I have tried to clarify the goal of the exercise:
  1. Find out about projects that are clear about their allegiance with Free Software
  2. Choose a new distribution that I can work with: somehow inviting different levels of use; minimal needs: functional wireless, multiple screens, microphone, preferably out of the box
  3. Learn about Free Software vocabularies, communities, cultures (visual and textual vocabularies of digital desktops)
  4. Switch to a distro that has an interesting approach to design
When most Free Software activists lie awake about non-free kernel blobs, I care about naming schemes, fonts, logo's and icon-sets. The relation between software politics and visual representation is of special interest to us at OSP; we think that Free Software should run more than kernel-deep. Three days later, I settle surprisingly (disappointingly?) close to home with just two very similar distributions running: Debian Squeeze ('unstable') and Trisquel. I have tried to install Fedora as a third option, but encounter multiple problems with the install media (live-usb, live-cd, netinstall). I do manage to boot Fedora 13 at some point but for the final installation-round keyboard and mouse are not recognized so I will return to this later. Debian and Trisquel have very different approaches to 'how free software is made', although both are based on Debian and both use Gnome as the default window-manager. Where Debian clarifies, develops and negotiates it's position based on a constitution, social contract, and policy documents ... Trisquel is more like a cool 'de-branding'-exercise, using scripts to clean out and sometimes replace non-free elements from the Ubuntu kernel. Strict (my Lenovo wireless card won't work as it requires non-free particles) and elegant. It is also one of the rare distributions endorsed by the Free Software Foundation ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions_endorsed_by_the_Free_Software_Foundation)). The Debian community is not busy with design ((famously the Debian typeface is proprietary http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLogo)) as is evident from their laconicly un-styled documents, manuals and other web pages. Debian apparently leaves all interface decisions to the gnome project; the large and widespread project has really no design-team at work. Trisquel is a bit more interesting in that sense; if you don't take their neo-druidism too litteral (release names: Awen, Dwyn, Robur and Taranis), it has an intelligent approach to their redrawing of gnome; uses Droid fonts, presents their logo as a Debian-hommage and provides the nicest packagemanager icon as of yet. But since both Trisquel and Debian use gnome, and the gnome-preferences are stored in the .gconfd folder. In my clever one-home-multiple install solution, both installs point to the same folder so it means that they end up looking exactly the same :-) Two weeks later, I add CrunchBang to the collection. CrunchBang is another recent Debian spin that a friend at Samedies suggests. It's a relief to work with OpenBox (the windowmanager installed by default) and I enjoy the way it invites to edit config files directly, the way the Conky system-manager works and the tone of the CrunchBang forums feels right: assuming an interest in experimental use, but ready to explain even if questions are basic. “Anyone who uses CrunchBang should be comfortable with occasional or even frequent breakage”. The project seems to find a nice balance between GUI and configurability, and prefers to direct you to commandline rather than GUI but does so without the kinds of discouraging warnings that Debian likes to issue. With great power comes great responsibility. Philip Newborough, 'distro leader' of CrunchBang explains why the decision was made to base the newest release on Debian, and not on Ubuntu: “Unlike the Ubuntu project, Debian does not have a commercial sponsor with any commercial interests. This was never an issue for myself, until recently when Canonical seem to have become less of a sponsor and more of a governing party” ((http://reddevil62-techhead.blogspot.com/2010/03/interview-crunchbang-creator-explains.html)) The list of software included is nicely different from most other Debian derivatives, although I am surprised to find Google Chrome, Flash and Skype installed by default; it might be more about delivering 'modern' and 'sleek' than anything else. CrunchBang aesthetics are a sort of contemporary-geek, meaning that most of the visual identity is made up of text, preferably in black-and-white (("The new design will be changing in the opposite direction to that recently taken by the Ubuntu design team, which only seems fitting. So, whereas the new style in Ubuntu is inspired by the idea of “Light”, the new style for CrunchBang will be inspired by the idea of “Dark”. o_O" http://crunchbanglinux.org/blog/2010/11/20/new-website-design/)). The next distro on the list is Arch-Linux (and Fedora of course), but for the time being I'll happily stick with CrunchBang. [to be continued]
N O T E S What I was advised to install: Free Software Foundation endorsed distributions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions_endorsed_by_the_Free_Software_Foundation Only 10 or so? Very limited list. Excluding even Debian; seems extremely purist. Imagery reflects. Quite a few Ubuntu liberation projects, relatively. This discussion between Shuttleworth and Stallman is reffered to: http://www.iosn.net/regional/wsis-2005 » http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-694927630239078625 (Stallman on cooking and recipes. Comparing proprietary software to colonialism in Tunis. Don't let freedom slip through your fingers because you don't bother to close their hands. Divide and rule is the nature of proprietary software; giving local elites privileges; in return they can keep others down. Addicts, creating dependencies through gratis software. Recruiting schools as agents.) Very many projects with Spanish language base, or language issues as a starting point. Ones I find interesting: - BLAG - Trisquel - Ubuntu based - gNewSense - Ubuntu based, next release Debian - Dragora has best image sofar: http://dragora.org/wiki/_media/wiki.png but hardly any documentation in English - Ututo - Gentoo based - all in Spanish Peter L / OpenSuse "It runs QT ten times faster and as I told you years ago, you'll certainly notice the difference in running Scribus." Michael M / Mint "Try Mint. It is just like Ubuntu with the outer layer removed." OSP - Linux Arch - Linux From Scratch (Pierre M: 'Constant needs to run LFS somewhere') - “Debian is always there as a fall-back” - slackware Juliane / Black Snake "If you want to be like a system administrator" Dave C / Fedora I have been using Fedora very happily for 18 month now – it has the most libre policies of any popular distro, and I am very excited about the future of its design team. I think in Fedora’s governance structures and Red Hat’s strategy, RHAT has got the balance between corporate sponsorship/paid contributors and community participation far more right than Debian/Ubuntu, Novell/SUSE, or any others. It also helps that is also the most cutting edge distro as well as the most libre :) And the rpmfusion repos are set up very sensibly too, with a good libre archive for things free in EU but not USA. John H There are at least two really alternative OSes that I think it would be great for you to try: Haiku and Etoile OS. I think there is probably some optimally old hardware for running Haiku available in the Constant offices already. I'll be doing a reinstall of BeOS on my old k6-2 machine when I am back in the states and comparing it to Haiku on the same hardware. Etoile is a re-implemntation of the entire Alan Kay Dynabook project, complete with Smalltalk programmability and modular application blocks that can be linked together into personal applications :) (Linux? both under MIT/BSD license) Nicolas M My last attempt at Debian was… difficult and the technocracy/meritocracy/bureaucracy in place doesn't make me feel more comfortable. I don't feel like leaving Ubuntu yet. Time to experiment multi-boots. I agree the OS is very important but I would really like to understand what is pushing the whole array of closures happening right now and trying to figure out where are the priorities, because we will not be able to be on every front. I have the impression we need to come up with a global critique and proposal from the inside. I think that we need to understand where we made mistakes also ourselves. We, also, made it possible for all this to happen. And nothing was hidden to us. Found this while looking for complementary info about Christophe's text: http://www.debian.org/vote/2010/vote_002 Sophie S / CrunchBang "A Debian GNU/Linux based distribution offering a great blend of speed, style and substance. Using the nimble Openbox window manager, it is highly customisable and provides a modern, full-featured GNU/Linux system without sacrificing performance." Alex L + Stephanie V / Archlinux The odd one out. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way D I S T R I B U T I O N S Debian As one of the largest distributions around, it has been referred to as the 'default fallback option' but I think this non-commercial project deserves more than that. Although technically very close to Ubuntu, politically and culturally Debian is on another planet. Preferring slow releases over cutting edge, an almost obsessive attention for permission structures, organised according to a constitution, social contract, and policy documents, this distro targets administrators as well as desktop users like me. The 'Debian Social Contract' establishes the community as a society. “We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works that do not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have created “contrib” and “non-free” areas in our archive for these works. The packages in these areas are not part of the Debian system, although they have been configured for use with Debian. We encourage CD manufacturers to read the licenses of the packages in these areas and determine if they can distribute the packages on their CDs. Thus, although non-free works are not a part of Debian, we support their use and provide infrastructure for non-free packages (such as our bug tracking system and mailing lists).” http://www.debian.org/social_contract I like how they manage to be clear without purism but I am most of all impressed by the discussions this self-defined rule of conduct allows. The establishment of groups that work on the inclusion of women in kernel development for example, is a result of a community that has does not take inclusiveness for granted. Though both Ubuntu-women and Fedora-women exist, Debian was the first to recognize the issue. Its societal approach (elections and votes!) obviously also accounts for a bureaucratic culture that is taking itself extremely serious. Seems largeness of project also invites reflection on why, what, how. “The Debian project has been working in removing non-free firmware from the Linux kernel shipped with Debian for the past two release cycles. At the time of the releases of Debian 4.0 “Etch” and 5.0 “Lenny”, however, it was not yet possible to ship Linux kernels stripped of all non-free firmware bits. Back then we had to acknowledge that freedom issues concerning Linux firmware were not completely sorted out” Why not Fedora: "Red Hat is in a tough spot. Most of their revenue streams are based on sales, support, and training while the open nature of Linux has resulted in thousands of freely-available Linux resources on the Web. Their survival depends on having a product that is proprietary enough to make you dependent upon them for upgrades and support. And when they became a publically-held company they were under pressure to meet the expectations of Wall Street analysts for revenue growth and cash flows every quarter. (Did you think it was just a coincidence that they were churning out new versions of what is now Fedora at an average of two a year?) In time, Red Hat's dominance will likely kill off smaller commercial distributions like Mandrake and TurboLinux and dealing with Red Hat will be no different than dealing with Microsoft." http://www.aboutdebian.com/ Visual culture is brutal. Amazingly little attention for detail, typography, lay-out. Looks like early days computer culture. http://www.snt.utwente.nl/logo/logo.php?style=2&text=FTP%20Service Naming scheme: Toy Story :-O Debian = Debra Murdoch + Ian "If you can boot from a CD, boot a live CD that has grub2 and use it to reinstall grub to the master boot record. There are plenty of tutorials explaining how to do this step-by-step." Master Boot Record http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record Familiar with slight differences ... i need to add myself to the sudo-ers file, the same old warning about using power responsibly etc. and upon opening Synaptic, I get this message: "Granted permissions without asking for password. The '/usr/sbin/synaptic' program was started with the privileges of the root user without the need to ask for a password, due to your system's authentication mechanism setup. It is possible that you are being allowed to run specific programs as user root without the need for a password, or that the password is cached. This is not a problem report; it's simply a notification to make sure you are aware of this" Switching to Iceweasel - a logo that creates trouble: "Some of the icons and artwork used in Firefox are trademarked and copyrighted. According to my limited understanding, this violates DFSG#1 which states the component must be freely redistributable and DFSG #3 which states that the license must allow derivatives. If Debian was granted some sort of special permission to use these trademarked items, it would violate DFSG #8 which states that licenses must not be specific to Debian. I have also seen some discussion over whether Debian can or should use the “Firefox” name without using the official icons." http://n01getsout.com/blog/2006/11/18/why-iceweasel-instead-of-firefox-on-debian "This effect of the Mozilla trademark policy led to a long debate within the Debian Project in 2004 and 2005. (...) 'Iceweasel' was subsequently used as the example name for a rebranded Firefox in the Mozilla Trademark Policy, and became the most commonly used name for a hypothetical rebranded version of Firefox. By January 1, 2005, rebranding as a strategy was being referred to as the 'Iceweasel route'." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IceWeasel "There is an extension that lets you change your user agent on-the-fly. Moreover, this site has provided a definition file that lets you browse as if you were on Firefox 2 for Windows XP" Fedora “Freedom. Friends. Features. First.”. Logo: eternal 8. All logos carry tm signs. https://fedoraproject.org/w/uploads/thumb/e/e7/4Foundations.png/150px-4Foundations.png Confident tone: Thanks for downloading Fedora! We know you'll love it! The freedom, friend stuff is a bit much, especially since it blends so well with the other blue F. Do like the way this friendship was presented at LGM. The imagery, tagline puts 'values' high on the list - comparable with Debian. It seems making the difference to Red Hat proper, requires the project to define itself along the lines of this. Remember CC problems: 'sharing' is done amongst friends. Again, the Debian harshness seems more interesting to me. Why exactly? “The four foundations are the core values of the Fedora community. They sprung from work on the Fedora marketing plan, and have replaced the old “infinity, freedom, voice” slogan. The original slogan emerged from the design of the Fedora logo. That logo has become a very powerful and effective part of Fedora's brand and image, but does not sufficiently describe our core values in a clear and effective way.” So, from 'infinity, freedom, voice' to 'Freedom. Friends. Features. First'. Note the full stops replacing comma's. The last F, First might be more interesting than the trophy images promises. “Fedora always aims to provide the future, first”. Well, 'provide the future' is a bit pedantic but there is a sense of curiosity that speaks from the definition of 'first' that I like. It obviously pits itself against the slow development cycle of Debian. Fedora Spins are interesting; a distribution that promotes customization of the distro itself… “Fedora Spins are alternate version of Fedora, tailored for various types of users via hand-picked application sets and other customizations.” "It would be nice to have content in a design spin - but we don't have a policy for packaging content. Content like gimp brushes, color palettes, fonts... eventually one idea was to have a Fedora Design Studio, which would have one for graphic design, web design, etc." http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Talk:Design_Suite Getting frustrated with installation -- try every possible way of creating the Live-usb stick (unetbooting, live-usb creator, commandline) from different sources and with different iso images, but the result is always the same mysterious message: Boot error - Sleeping forever A recurring problem? http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=234025&highlight=LIVEUSB+NO+ROOT https://fedorahosted.org/liveusb-creator/report/1?sort=created&asc=0 Finally, I figure out how to use the netinstall for F12 to install F13 (not latest; netinstall for 14 fails too) and than to upgrade to F14 with the help of http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PreUpgrade Unfortunately no net-install exists for spins. The install is very slow (2 hrs), but successful. While subsequently updating the system (takes over an hour as well) I explore this new territory: Fedora is surprisingly similar in structure, with only small differences, as far as I can discover. Difference between Fedora and Ubuntu: "But when distributions use the same desktop, the way that Fedora and Ubuntu do, then the differences are likely to be unnoticeable to three out of four users. These days, you are even unlikely to find any differences in speed or stability unless you have some unusual hardware configuration." http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/12068_3862556_3/Fedora-vs-Ubuntu-Is-Either-Better.htm Too small partition, running out of space for the update. Decide to install 3rd system and re-size partition using gparted. gparted does not work on LVM Trisquel Visual references, naming scheme: neo-druidry / celtic - releases: Awen, Dwyn, Robur, Taranis. Developed for/in Galician. “Trisquel is a fully free operating system based in GNU/Linux, for home users, small enterprises and educational centers.” http://trisquel.info “Our logo is the triskelion, a Celtic symbol of evolution and wisdom. Our Trisquel (the Spanish name for this triple spiral form) resembles the Debian logo, as a form of recognition of the distro we originally based our project on. The base color we use is #004DB1, and the font is Droid Sans.” http://trisquel.info/en/wiki/logo "Trisquel does not include the vanilla Linux kernel you can find at the Linux project servers, but a cleaned up version of Ubuntu's version of the kernel. Both the upstream versions include non-free binary-only firmware files, and also a lot of binary blobs hidden in .c and .h files in the form of huge sequences of numbers. To provide our users with a fully free kernel we use a set of scripts based in the ones from Linux-libre, with some modifications of our own." http://trisquel.info/en/wiki/how-trisquel-made The 'purifying projects' are scary -- lack humor. Very obedient to Mr. Stallman. Still, the method they choose is super interesting: standing on the hands of giants; nice parasites. Installing trisquel, means no wireless. Help ends me to the FSF list of non-free hardware. I get the point, but what to do? http://intellinuxwireless.org/?n=downloads I can install Skype (with authentication warning - don't really understand what they mean by 'risk'). Also a bit boring; nothing changes? Otherwise everything works very well; even the microphone works euhm ... as well as in Ubuntu. CrunchBang "The new design will be changing in the opposite direction to that recently taken by the Ubuntu design team, which only seems fitting. So, whereas the new style in Ubuntu is inspired by the idea of “Light”, the new style for CrunchBang will be inspired by the idea of “Dark”. o_O" http://crunchbanglinux.org/blog/2010/11/20/new-website-design/ "Not recommended for anyone who requires a stable system. Anyone who uses CrunchBang should be comfortable with occasional or even frequent breakage. Remember, CrunchBang Linux could make your computer go CRUNCH! BANG! :)" http://reddevil62-techhead.blogspot.com/2010/03/interview-crunchbang-creator-explains.html Other packages I tried to install BLAG “works to overthrow corporate control of information and technology through community action and spreading Free Software.” Developed by the “brixton linux action group”, Graphics, language: very English: http://www.blagblagblag.org/images/programming.jpg … quite beautiful. Discovering fluxbox http://fluxbox.org/screenshots/ “BLAG 90000 (oxygen) is based on Fedora 9” Not much has been happening the last year - I will come back once the new version is stable? [live-usb produces infinite sleep as well] gNewSense Visual references, naming scheme: new age? Bonzai tree = logo. “it does not use a lot of the shiny methods that Ubuntu does” “gNewSense is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Its goal is to maintain the user-friendliness of Ubuntu, but with all non-free software and binary blobs removed. The Free Software Foundation considers gNewSense to be a GNU/Linux distribution composed entirely of free software.” “Neither Debian nor Ubuntu are fully free. Ubuntu installs non-free software by default. Debian provides non-free software through its repositories and includes non-free kernel drivers. We were also the first distribution to remove GLX, which Debian had ignored for years” http://www.gnewsense.org Almost similar approach as Trisquel, but somehow less precise. If I need to choose between neo-druids and neo-zen, the first wins. Esthetic choice? Linux Mint Very difficult to feel the political difference between Ubuntu. It is lighter, but how does it make a difference? I really do not see the interest ... seems not very clear? Tests, choosers, comparison http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc --> type of license is not a question http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Comparison_of_Linux_distributions “Ubuntu provides specific repositories of nonfree software, and Canonical expressly promotes and recommends nonfree software under the Ubuntu name in some of their distribution channels. Even if you try to avoid all of that, the default application installer will advertise nonfree software to you.” http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/common-distros.html M I S C E L L A N E O U S How do you know whether swap is at sdb1 or sdb5? > fdisk Nice explanation of GRUB: http://www.linux.com/community/blogs/notes-about-grub-multiboot-configuration-filesystem-compatibility-and-repair.html
============================== ]]>

Looking for students

Tue, 01 Feb 2011 11:37:03 +0000

Bastard Culture and a great talk at LGM 2010) wrote us about the one year master programme he is teaching with a.o. Marianne van den Boomen and Ann-Sophie Lehmann at Utrecht University:
We combine academic analysis and theory with hands on experience in new media. We're looking for enthusiastic students who would like to join our programme in the Netherlands.
Have a look at the Call for students: NMDC_Call-f-students_eng Registering deadline for next term is March 1 2011. ]]>

Lower cases

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 21:22:25 +0000


+ 4

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 19:29:37 +0000

rEfit; 2 create a new partition using Disk Utility; 3 reboot on a Ubuntu 10.10 dvd. - → 3 Wins - 1 failure Myriam, Sebastien and Pierre M. switched their machine to the other side. - notes - to be able to partition is better - to have a working cd driver can help (the USB drive didn't work). At the end of the night, relieved, freed, flabbergasted and more. ]]>


Sun, 06 Feb 2011 17:57:52 +0000

[caption id="attachment_5752" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="2008"]2008[/caption][caption id="attachment_5753" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="2009"]2009[/caption][caption id="attachment_5754" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="2010"]2010[/caption][caption id="attachment_5755" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="2011"]2011[/caption] Gaffer-tape galore at the ULB-campus again, it is that time of year. As always it takes a deep breath before I push the battered swing doors of the main location and dive under in the fluorescent-lit hallways filled with thousands of developers. The yearly Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting gathers participants to any F/LOSS project you can think of. Any project? This year, none of the dev-rooms, lightning-talks, BOFs, keynotes or tracks was devoted to Libre Graphics; fonts and visuals are missing from the overloaded program except for a lightning-talk on Libre Graphics Magazine by ginger coons. Someone behind me whispers: "A yellow slide, and blue hair ... that must be interesting!", and of course it was. [caption id="attachment_5766" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="ginger coons getting ready for her lightning-talk."][/caption] In the opening-speech, Eben Moglen rallies participants to "bring Freedom to their friends in the street", and the gigantic lecture hall, filled-up to the last seat, responds excitedly to the connection Moglen makes between Free Software and current protests in Tunesia and Egypt. "There's no time to waste," he says; "Free Software must bring Freedom to the people". I'm happy too, to see FOSDEM connect to a larger political reality than the F/LOSS-community itself (the 2008 opening speech Tux with Shades, Linux in Hollywood being an all-time low) and hoping that the OS Telephony track will put a bit of nuance to the statement that freedom is "when people bring their data home". [caption id="attachment_5759" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Massive lecture hall fills up for Eben Moglen"][/caption] We meet up with Claudia, Nicu, Michael, Agnez, Juliane, Amalia, Natalia, Pierros, Koen (inviting OSP to Void Warranties in Antwerp), Wauter, John, Jon, Jakub (documenting FOSDEM this time), ginger, Donna (she is now LPI certified!), Peter (happily manning the openSUSE stand), Wynke (organised a LinuxChix meet and explained how the Anti-harassment policy made it to the FOSDEM booklet against all odds) and many more. Some of them we'll meet again tonight for dinner -- it is an opportunity to start preparing LGM 2011. In-between, I manage to see some talks and presentations; as always a mixed bag. The interesting observations from Dave Neary ("Community Anti-Patterns") keep running through my head, and I was fascinated by the talk on Crash Data Analysis in the Mozilla Dev Room. [caption id="attachment_5763" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Dave Neary proposes treatment for community anti-patterns"][/caption] When all talks have ended, I wonder along the row of stands, trying to decide on this years' souvenir: sticker or mug or T-shirt? I settle for a gold-colored pin: Free Software Foundation. Established in 1985. ]]>


Mon, 07 Feb 2011 12:34:22 +0000

Thanks to Paulo Silva aka nitrofurano, Polsku has now a Latin 1 diacritics and ligatures set. The new version is available for download on OSP Foundry.]]>

the Univers Else is yours

Tue, 08 Feb 2011 12:28:32 +0000

Fresh new display case for Univers Else font, with original Crickx vinyl lettering. Check out Speculoos and OSP's dead drop and get Univers Else.]]>


Thu, 10 Feb 2011 15:11:41 +0000

acsr (atelier de création sonore radiophonique) website is now online! We are celebrating tomorrow listening to 2 radiophonic pieces and sharing a meal at La CompilOthèQue, 50 quai des Péniches, Brussels. Website and identity in collaboration with Jérôme Degive (Pica Pica) and WordPress. Featuring Univers Else!]]>

It's possible?

Wed, 16 Feb 2011 10:13:23 +0000

"I will animate a conf to explain how to use Scribus, Gimp and Inkscape in a classroom with studient to make a news paper (look here : Atelier 108 - Des outils libres pour la création d'un journal http://colloque.aquops.qc.ca/cgi-bin/WebObjects/colloque.woa/wo/ In my conf, I will ask everyone to use twitter to make comments, ask questions, etc. I would like to use Scribus and his hability to script to take RSS file and make a booklet of all this posts... It's possible ? How can I make it or where do I begin my search in the doc ?"
We are curious to see the result! Follow the thread here: http://lists.scribus.info/pipermail/scribus/2011-February/041959.html]]>

Developmental Cell Cover

Sun, 20 Feb 2011 11:08:58 +0000

This is a uncommon job in uncommon conditions, as usual. Maybe you heard about, but I 'm currently under a chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for leukemia. I've been hospitalized for few month for marrow transplant. The treatment, though long, heavy and painful, is going well so far. One of the luckiest thing I had during this adventure is the fact that marrow is compatible between my brother and I. The operation is therefore simplier than finding a donor. My brother is a scientist, he leads a research lab in Strasbourg within the IGBMC - Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology. He was - of course - very excited by the adventure, and had to spend some times with me in the hospital. He and his crew were on the way to publish a paper on a specialized magazine named "Developmental Cell". Subject of the research they wrote about is the creation, shaping and development of a little spheric bone: the otolith (similar to the one we have in the ear.) He was on the run and had to propose a cover. There is a competition between the most important articles in the magazine. I saw a chance to do the thing I love to do: graphics. Moreover, this would occupy time in the hight tech room where i'm locked and artificially maintained to life. I did 18 proposals. 17 were handrawn, 1 done in Inkscape. The IGBMC crew met, voted and chose the inkscape one. They really liked the crispness of the spiro curves and the fluidity of movement they wanted to show in the article. The cover was submitted to Cell, and happily chosen. It's the current issue, 15 Feb. 2011, Volume 20, Issue 2. OSP is credited as such:
"On the cover: An artistic rendering of advections generated by cilia, which control the shape and growth of the developing zebrafish otolith. Harrisson generated this image with Inkscape open source software, using the vectorial curves algorithm Spiro. For more information, see Wu et al., pp. 271–278. Credit: Harrisson/Open Source Publishing."
As science text can't be closed, the full pdf is available here. Mechanistic Basis of Otolith Formation during Teleost Inner Ear Development This is how the cover was done. It was payed with an organ. I'm now a living example an open source body, as since the marrow transplant, I've changed blood sign and I'm generating my brothers. I got 2 dna in my same body. I'm a merge of different codes. Funny, isn't it? Guess OSP impact factor is rising!
"Free as a Bone Marrow Transplant"

Today at OSP

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 22:05:01 +0000

Today OSP worked on a brand new super git-repository lay-out, added new fonts to OSP-foundry, advanced the DIN-project, made a start with the cover for Tot Later (a novel by Ana Claese) and in between celebrated that our application for the Libre Graphics Research Unit has been approved. Champagne!]]>

A journey to Vietnam and an open call

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 08:09:27 +0000

Hong-Phuc Dang inviting LGM in Vietnam during the closing session at LGM 2010 Brussels At LGM 2010 in Brussels, we met Hong-Phuc Dang, a young Vietnamese woman full of energy, willing to organize events around Libre Graphics in Asia in addition to her involvement in FOSS/ASIA, a meeting around Free and Open Source Software. We can't believe it's been almost a year of planning and that the trip is actually happening in a month! We will be 5 to leave for this adventurous exchange in the Vietnamese region of the Mekong, making a small tour of some cities, schools, design studios, working with Asian designers on 2 projects. The first one is to draw a typeface directly from the mix of our two cultures and not from the Occidental one adapted to the Oriental one, as it is often the case. The second project, using the first one of course, will be a publication around cartography, geography, cultures and customs. Hong-Phuc Dang and Mario Behling, the team we're joining there, are organizing an exhibition of design works done with Free, Libre and Open Source software. This is an open call, and you are more than welcome to send your proposals to them: dhppat[at]gmail.com or mb[at]mariobehling.de.]]>

Read The Fine Manual

Wed, 09 Mar 2011 17:34:36 +0000

We all worked on the same document to make a poster to announce our public presentation on Friday at 3pm.

Not Gill(ty)

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 14:38:06 +0000

For the second day of the Royal College of Art workshop we paid homage to Eric Gill's typographic work. What better place than London to revisit his classic Gill Sans. We worked from several different sources and ended up creating three very unique versions of Gill Sans. The first version was generated by vectorizing a bitmap specimen of the digital version of the monotype Gill Sans. For the second version we used early sketches of the typeface made by Gill (see image). Finally we took advantage of the letterpress workshop at the Royal College and we printed a specimen from the original lead font. The three versions of RCA Guilt Sans were made using Gimp, Fonzie and Fontforge.]]>

Libre Graphics Meeting 2011, May 10-13 in Montreal

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 15:21:46 +0000

The official announcement for LGM 2011! → Submit your talk here → Support LGM generously @ Pledgie → More info on the LGM website: http://www.libregraphicsmeeting.org


Cutting edge creative tools meet free culture

May 10-13, Ecole Polytechnique Engineering School Programmers and artists from around the world are headed to Montreal for the 6th annual Libre Graphics Meeting in May. The Libre Graphics Meeting is an annual gathering for the users and developers of free and open source creative software: artistic tools that are free for anyone to use and modify. LGM gives software developers, artists, musicians, designers and other creative professionals the opportunity to collaborate, share their work and learn from each other. A Preview Every year, Libre Graphics Meeting focuses on individual and group interaction, emphasizing free media and the software that produces it. This year’s attendees can expect a similar format that will include workshops, presentations, demonstrations, and birds-of-a-feather (BOF) sessions. Leading up to the conference, special lab sessions bring developers and artists face-to-face to make improvements in creative software. Gaps can form when developers and their users don’t meet face to face; LGM gives artists and educators a voice in the building of their tools. Both content creators and developers will present, bringing a diverse community together to advance the technologies and strategies of high-quality free creative software. Submit a talk! LGM’s strength comes from the presenters who talk about their work and inspire others by sharing their experiences, techniques, and best practices. Whether you are a developer, an artist, or an enthusiast, you can be a part of this year’s event by sharing your story and your work. The LGM community wants to hear your proposal for a session. Submit your idea any time between now and April 1, 2011 by visiting http://create.freedesktop.org/wiki/Conference_2011/Submit_Talk]]>

Support LGM 2011

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 15:20:07 +0000

Use this code to display a banner on your own website: And this is how it was made: http://stdin.fr/Bazar/Pledgie]]>

Spring font OSP day

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 19:37:14 +0000

OSP DIN. Spring listing our current favorite fonts, in use for projects or planned to be used : Spring switching on this blog layout, featuring our new Sans Guilt fonts from the RCA workshop. Two versions are used, with some overlaying for the titles emphasising on the hidden dimension of kernings. The body text rendering is provided by the fidel Latin Modern Roman, accompanying the TeX project from the start.]]>

Let's talk about tools

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:50:45 +0000

In the excellent new Libre Graphics Magazine, don't miss the invitation to submit materials for an exhibition that will run parallel to the upcoming Libre Graphics Meeting in Montreal. More details and how to submit at: http://libregraphicsmag.com/tools
Deadline: 22 April 2011!
Let's talk about tools for a moment. We, as humans, distinguish ourselves from other animals by talking about our ability to make and use tools. We make tools, we use tools, we are tools, all at different times and in different amounts. Tools can be physical things used to manipulate equally physical things. At the same time, they can be digital things, used to shift bits. We can love them or hate them. The one thing we can't manage is to escape them. As we define what they do, so too do they define what we do. In the shape of a paint brush, the kink of a bezier curve, the change a gaussian filter exerts over an image, they make our work what it is. We are our tools and our tools are us.
So let's talk about tools, in the best way we know how, graphically. Libre Graphics Meeting, Libre Graphics magazine and Mardigrafe are cosponsoring a juried exhibition of f/loss graphics work on the subject of tools. Break out your own f/loss graphics tools and design a poster (24”x34”) detailing your perception or ideas about tools. All submissions will be included in an online gallery, presented in conjunction with Libre Graphics meeting. In addition, a jury of designers, thinkers and doers will meet in May. They'll pick 15 posters to be printed by Mardigrafe and displayed during Libre Graphics Meeting in Montreal. The editors of Libre Graphics magazine will pick a further eight to be featured in the showcase section of an upcoming issue. So get thinking about your tools, what they mean to you and what you mean to them. Then, get designing.

Document Freedom Day

Sun, 27 Mar 2011 16:20:31 +0000

Next Wednesday March 30th = Document Freedom Day (DFD), a global day for document liberation. Look here for events in your country: http://documentfreedom.org/2011/events/]]>

Only a few days left to propose your LGM-talk

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 07:56:19 +0000

* April 1 * April 20 is the final deadline for submitting your talk for the Libre Graphics Meeting in Montreal! Are you a developer, designer or a mix of both and involved in Free, Libre and Open Source Software for creative use? Please feel welcome to propose a talk here: http://create.freedesktop.org/wiki/Conference_2011/Submit_Talk ((For those talks that are accepted, the LGM community works hard to gather enough funds so that your flight can be reimbursed if necessary. Reimbursement happens only after the conference, depending on the funds available and you will need to pay for your own lodging)). We would like to hear about your work, and meet you in Montreal for a BOF ((Birds of a Feather: people group together based on a shared interest and carry out discussions without any pre-planned agenda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birds_of_a_Feather_%28computing)), a workshop or other forms of exchange that can make our tools even better. ]]>

PA/PER VIEW: Assembly

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 09:26:37 +0000

Assembly: Friday April 1 (18:00 - 20:00) at PA/PER VIEW art book fair WIELS, Avenue van Volxemlaan 354, Brussels (Belgium) This Friday, OSP participates in a discussion initiated by Agency. Agency is the generic name of a Brussels-based agency that was established in 1992 by Kobe Matthys. Agency constitutes a growing “list of things” that resist the binary division between culture and nature, expressions and ideas and consequently between creations and facts, subjects and objects, humans and non-humans, originality and banality, individuals and collectives, etc... Agency calls things forth from it’s list via varying “assemblies” inside exhibitions, performances, publications, etc... Each assembly explores in a topological way a different aspect of the performative consequences of the apparatus of intellectual property for an ecology of art practices. For Assembly (PA/PER VIEW), Agency will call things forth, speculating on the question: How to include book making in art practices? How are typeface designers, book binders, lay-outers, etc... taken into consideration by copyright law? Thing 001452 (Orion) and Thing 001535 (Introductory Language Work) will convene an assembly at PA/PER VIEW in order to bear witness. On April 1, 2011 Agency will invite a diverse group of concerned guests to “translate” on these things: Thorsten Baensch (publisher Bartleby), Sari Depreeuw (legal scholar VUB), Manuel Raeder (graphic designer), OSP (Open Source Publishing: Ivan Monroy Lopez/Seb Sanfilippo/Femke Snelting/etc..), Ziga Testen (graphic designer), etc...]]>

Bon Voyage OSP!

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 07:55:31 +0000

Today 5 OSPs travel to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, to participate in Open Design Week. Alex, John, Pierre, Pierre and Stéphanie will be touring through the Mekong Delta to meet up with local F/LOSS fans through workshops, presentations and an exhibition. The second week is reserved for an intense work session with the aim to produce a collaborative font between Asian and European participants. This font will be used to produce a publication on-the-spot. Open Design Week is initiated by Mario Behling and Hong Phuc Dang. Hong Phuc came to Brussels in 2010 for the 5th edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting, and hopefully she'll be at LGM 2011 too. Bon Voyage OSP!]]>


Sat, 02 Apr 2011 18:29:30 +0000