Today I want to tell you about a conference that I really wanted to go to for 2 reasons: 1 – it was about open source graphics, 2 – it was in London =) You probably guessed it – it’s Libre Graphics Meeting. The conference span over 4 days and was packed with talks, workshops, meetups and parties. I want to thank the organizers for doing such an amazing job. The website is great (on mobile, too), program was available online or was given out at the venue. It was easy to get to the conference, even though London is pretty huge. The venue itself – University of Westminster – is a beautiful place with a park nearby.
First day started with “State of Libre Graphics” – an overview of the many projects in the Libre Graphics Community. Among others: GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, Darktable, Pixls.us and some others. Inkscape had a cool video; I don’t see it on YouTube though. If you want to see what new features it has in action – contact me, I think I can share it. Edit: download link. Here’s a list:
It was followed by a couple lectures, for which I really tried to take sketchnotes, but sadly have to admit that most tables in the Auditorium were broken. So the notes are not so good.
In the evening I took advantage of being in London after all and most it’s museums being free to public admission. So I flipped a coin and went to Victoria and Albert Museum.
Second day started with a bunch of talks devoted to 3d and architectural design. There were talks about FreeCAD, topoBIM and even 3d steganography. If you don’t know what it is, I highly recommend you check it out. That was one of the funniest talks at the conference. Then we were presented with PhotoFlow, a RAW image editor and some more image processing. The people in the community fascinate me: when they feel that some tool or resource is missing, they waste no time – and make their own! Not only that, but they constantly improve, share it with everybody and make talks like this at conferences. And, of course, everybody can contribute – all sources are usually available on GitHub.
Here I just have to note that I had fish and chips for lunch, because when in London, you just have to. At least once 😉
After lunch I attended a meeting of font enthusiasts “Libre tools for documenting, publishing and distributing fonts”. And these guys really know what they’re talking about. The main tool is called FontForge. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like a great one!
More talks followed after that. One I really want to point out was by Pat David about PIXLS.US. It is a resource for the photographers of the open source community, where Pat has assembled a great collection of tutorials, articles, tools and blogs. According to him, it was next to impossible to find any great tuts about open source photo editing, most of them being all the same and monetized, so he once again had to take matters in his own hands and made PIXLS.US (I think he pronounced it like ‘pixels dot us’).
Once again in the evening with some time to spare I just had to visit Sherlock Holmes Museum. It is tiny, costs £15 and had a queue outside, but I was so happy anyway! Of course, everybody knows, who are the best Sherlock and Watson ever:
Here’s me being happy:
On Sunday we had more great talks to follow, starting with a bunch of font themed ones. Like this one by Tom Lechner Hodor Hodor:
After lunch I attended a workshop about html2print by Stéphanie Vilayphiou, which turned out to be quite popular. I was lucky to get a seat =) Here’s what it looked like from outside:
We talked (and some people tried) to prepare print layouts based on html. I guess it’s pretty neat to automate everything and make changes simple with just changing a line in code. This is the tool here. It looks pretty neat and easy to set up. Stéphanie also brought a bunch of books made using the html2print technology. It can definitely make life easier for book publishers and newspaper editors. One thing about it that makes me uneasy is inability to correct for small typographic issues, such as hanging articles or accidental holes in text due to unfortunate space placing. Usually those are corrected manually, but in case of html2print, that’s not possible from what I understood. It was pretty impressive tho to watch them code and debug in real time 😉
There were some workshops in the morning, of which I didn’t find any especially fascinating, so I used the time to visit Tate Gallery. I must admit I wanted to visit Tate Modern, But Tate Britain proved to be just as good. For those of you, who like me are not aware that there are several Tates, please note that ) All free to visit, but at a distance from one another.
After that I went to the venue to hear the last talks of LGM16. They were mostly focused on education and teachers using open source tools in universities and schools. I was amazed to hear how popular they are despite many companies pushing proprietary software to be used and taught at unis. A lot of great artwork and projects comes out of teachers working with community.
Two last talks of the day were for me the most interesting ones. First one was by Richard Hughes about ColorHug – an open hardware spectrograph he makes and sells. Richard is in fact from Red Hat and I think I might have seen him at DevConf.Cz. Sadly for me he became very popular after the talk and we didn’t get a chance to chat. And the next one was from Document Liberation Project, the best showmakers there. The guys are funny and laid-back. I enjoyed their talk very much – be sure to check it out once the videos are out there.