In November 2012 LAFKON received an invitation from Medialab-Prado to work on a campaign for the Libre Graphics Meeting 2013. Focus was to create a design that involves the different voices of people and communities connected to Libre Graphics and reflects at the same time questions and prejudices around the topic

The result was the combination of a global READ/WRITE interface and a local poster engine using the GNU/Linux commandline as interface to a diversity of libre (graphics) software.

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Main Q&A

questions asked (follow links for answers given)

Isn't Freedom just another word for nothing left to lose? This is fine for people in developing countries, but I can afford Photoshop. Why bother? So now I will design for free too? What is this aptitude about? Does working with Free software mean using Free fonts too? If GNU/Linux would do black boxes like Apple, but in a proper way, wouldn't it take off more easily? Why doesn't this work like I'm used to? Is this software for poor people? What is this command-line about? ¿Necesito café para vivir mejor? Bruno Maag said designing the Ubuntu fonts by working closely with the Ubuntu community reminded him of being back in school. Will I be questioned about all my decisions, too? Why do you keep using this software if it makes you cry using it? What do I do when I find a bug? But isn't Photoshop way more awesome than GIMP? Isn't this stuff just for people who have too much free time? Will this run on my PC? Two of the most famous products of Berkeley are LSD and Unix. I don't think that this is a coincidence. Why is nobody ever talking about this at ATypI? Photoshop already works for me. Why should I use something else? I'm tired From a famous print graphic designer: Why can you design a webpage by editing the source code and not do the same for print design? Will my .indd files open in Scribus? Why do these programs all look different? Who do I call when the software breaks? Will it break my computer? Will this run on my Mac? If I can use the command-line, why use a graphical interface? The developers have to eat. How do people earn money writing Libre Graphics applications? ¿Por qué pensamos que lo gratis es indefectiblemente de mala calidad? Will my .sla files open in InDesign? I read that Scribus/Inkscape don't have support for Pantone, does that mean I need to work in black and white? How long does it takes to generate a PDF via Scribus? Isn't Libre Graphics just for PROS? My company needs proprietary software to get a competitive edge. Does it make sense to use GNU/Linux if my hardware is proprietary? How you can I work and make better the world? Does Free software look too ugly for designers? Shouldn't I rather spend my time on doing really good design? Aren't Libre tools just cheaper copies of Adobe? Why are there so many GNU/Linux distributions? How do you choose one of them? Will I turn into a geek when I use Libre Graphics? Why is this button not where I expect it? Won't people steal my work if I release it under a permissive license? I asked about Libre Graphics on the mailinglist. Why did nobody answer? If I care about my tools, will it make me less creative? Isn't Libre Graphics just for amateurs? Libre fonts are incomplete, otherwise they'd be for sale, right? Can I use free and open source software and keep what I produce with it for myself? Can you tell from the final design that it was made by free software? If not, what's the point? Why do they not teach Libre graphics at school? Will using Free Software make me look less professional? Isn't this going to blow over soon? DOSSIER DE PRENSA PRESS KIT Do I need to learn to program if I want Libre graphics? What is this LGRU? If I want to contribute to Libre Graphics, do I need to code? Isn't free software for academics? Will I be able to be equally productive? Why do you teach us open source tools? Does Libre Graphics mean the same as Open Design? Libre -- why use such a fancy foreign term? Will it run on my iPhone? Do I now have to buy a black Thinkpad too? My clients don't pay for this, do they? Which famous designers use open source software? How can you be busy with free software when there are still people going hungry? What do you mean Free? Haven't these people ever looked at usability? I read that Scribus/Inkscape don't have support for Pantone, does that mean I can't do stuff with Pantone colors? Can I ever go back? Does Scribus have support for Pantone? Why are there so little female developers? How will my designs change with this? How can I make time for this if I need to take care of my children too? Why do they call me an end-user? ¿LO LIBRE ES GRATIS? My tools are just tools, what's the fuzz? ¿DEJARÁ DE PICARME EL KERNING? How much is it? Call me wind because I am absolutely blown away. Why is there so many different licenses? How do I choose one? Will my clients still trust me? I'm a developer. Why would I want to collaborate with designers? How long does it takes to generate a PDF via Scribus? Isn't this just for poor people? Do I need to learn everything again? Free means worse, right? Will it be fun? I'm a designer. Why would I want to collaborate with developers? Waarom staat hierover niks in Items? prueba libre graphics Surely you can't do a proper print design workflow in Libre Graphics tools?! Isn't this just some American liberal obsession? Why can't Adobe just go open source? WILL IT BREAK MY MIND? Isn't this just for a really small incrowd? Why have I never read about this in Computer Arts? Where's my Pantone compatibility? ¿Merece la pena desaprender? oops...error. If I can use a graphical interface, why use the command-line? Where did the names 'C' and 'C++' come from? If my hardware is proprietary, why should I care about software? Does it matter what software I use, as long as the result is good? Un imprimeur: Ah ça ne marche pas? Mais c'est quel logiciel ça aussi? Can I ever go back? How many manuals do I need to read before I can start? ¿puedo asistir aunque no tenga ni idea de quÉ significa software libre? I don't like GNU/Linux systems, does that mean I can't use libre graphics tools? ¿por qué no se enseña el software libre en las escuelas? Is Open Design always produced with Libre Graphics? Why do I have to read the f**cking manual? What's the reward of this? This is way beyond the comfort zone? Will my design look different after all? Isn't Adobe going to be angry with us? How many famous designers use open source software? Who should your computer take its orders from? How to donate in order to contribute for using Open Source programs/tools? If I were a Teaenge Mutant Ninja Turtle, now I'd say "Kowabunga, dude!" If my designs look the same, why should I go through the trouble? I tried a Libre Graphics app and it's really slow and I couldn't get much work done. But I see some weird new feature was added to the latest release. Why aren't the developers working on the basics? Does Pantone support Scribus? So this is like the Free vs. the Pro? Is Free always better? If the government doesn't support Libre Graphics, why ask me? Is this like becoming a vegetarian? ¿DE VERDAD QUE GIMP ES LO MISMO QUE PHOTOSHOP? My teacher never heard of Scribus. Are you sure I can use it to do layout? Are Libre graphics tools cheap, knock off clones of proprietary tools What Will Future creative Tools look like? Inkscape is really useless! Do I have to work in English now? Why is no one else using this if it is that good? Designers need to make a living somehow. acabo de descubrir la gráfica libre ¿llego tarde? Do you want a operating system to have named its commands after digestive noises: awk, grep, fsck, nroff, ... What would be the advantage of using free software, if proprietary tools soon offer the same 'hackability'? Where is the manual? When is the next version coming out? PIENSAN LOS ROBOTS EN OVEJAS MECÁNICAS? Free means bad enough to give away, right? FLOSS is great for experimentation and even greater for commercial work. Isn't Free software for web and not for print? Is there any advantage for my clients? I am a designer. Why would I want to collaborate with designers? Good to find an expret who knows what he's talking about! Why bother with free software if I can pirate adobe stuff? Why do I need so many different programs? I just want one that works! So this is like the Free vs. the Pro version? Isn't Libre Graphics just for alternative people? Shouldn't the government support Libre Graphics? If I can't code, why should I care about source code? Where is the helpdesk for all this? Wat als mijn vrienden geen Linux hebben? Do I really need Photoshop to be a graphic designer? Is my printer going to accept my file? Will I ever be the same again? If I can have an Adobe Suite for free, why bother? If I want to do great design, how can these tools help? Are Libre graphics tools cheap, knock off clones of proprietary tools? ¿dejaré de comer manzanas? Est ce que travailler avec des logiciels libres implique de publier son travail sous licence libre ? If I am really creative, it should not matter what tools I use? What's wrong with Adobe? Doesn't using Open Source tools make ugly design? Well known designers don't use Open Source. Will I be well known if I use it? The quill pens used by Leonardo were not made by Adobe so his works were not so professional? FLOSS is great for experimentation but not for work. I tried a Libre Graphics app and it had the features I expected, but the user interface was really different to what I'm used to. How can I get a version that is convenient for me to use? What if I am interested in design and not in technology? But OS X is Free software too? But if I use Open Standards, that should be enough? ¿PODREMOS INVENTAR NUEVAS METÁFORAS? Why develop Free Software if you could be paid for the same work? If proprietary programs are so bad, why are people still using them? GIMP is just like Photoshop, isn't it? I letrially jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!

the setup

The rendering of the lgm posters was split into two asyncronous parts, because the actual poster generator involved some stuff that no administrator wants to have running on a stable web server. Part 1 is a simple input interface, that does nothing more than writing plain text files entered via a html textarea. This may run on most standard web server. Part 2 synchronizes with the online part, generates posters and uploads new files. It ran on a machine in our studio.

software involved:

awk (pattern scanning and text processing language) basename (strip directory and suffix from filenames) cat (concatenate files and print on the standard output) convert (convert between image formats as well as resize an image, blur, crop, despeckle, dither, draw on, flip, join, re-sample, and much more) cp (copy files and directories) cut (remove sections from each line of files) date (print or set the system date and time) dirname (strip last component from file name) echo (display a line of text) egrep (print lines matching a pattern) exit (cause normal process termination) export (Exporting tables of contents) expr (evaluate expressions) fdupes (identifies duplicate files within given directories) find (search for files in a directory hierarchy) fold (wrap each input line to fit in specified width) ftp (classical file transfer client) grep (GNU grep, egrep and fgrep) gs (Ghostscript) head (output the first part of files) inkscape (vector-based drawing program) java (the Java application launcher) ls (list directory contents) mv (move files) ne (easy-to-use and powerful text editor) pdftk (tool for manipulating PDF documents) ps (report a snapshot of the current processes) recode (Character set conversion utility) rev (reverse lines of a file or files) rm (remove files or directories) scribus (Open Source Desktop Page Layout - stable branch) sed (The GNU sed stream editor) shuf (generate random permutations) sleep (delay for a specified amount of time) sort (sort lines of text files) tac (concatenate and print files in reverse) tail (output the last part of files) touch (change file timestamps) uniq (report or omit repeated lines) wc (print newline, word, and byte counts for each file) wget (retrieves files from the web) Xvfb (Virtual Framebuffer 'fake' X server) and last but not least processing and the Number One HTTP Server On The Internet

Thank you!

Laura Fernández and Myriam Cea from Medialab-Prado, Hajo Doorn (Worm, Rotterdam) and Femke Snelting (Con­stant, Brus­sels) for advice and funding the project. Gráfica Liebre for managing production in Madrid. All curious people for asking questions and the Libre Graphics Crowd for providing kind answers.


Available according to GPL/GFDL/CC-BY-SA