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Skencil / Release Notes

Skencil 0.6.17 (June 19th, 2005)

  • Prepare for Python 2.4:
    • Update paxtkinter to deal with python's Tkinter changes
  • The .sk file format is now the default file format in the File/Open dialog. Patch by Frank Koormann
  • The script works on HP-UX now. Shared libraries have a .sl extension there. Patch by Olivier Mehani (Savannah patch #3709).
  • Mouse-wheel support for the canvas. The mouse wheel scrolls up/down. Savannah patch #3836 by cafeine
  • Updated the FAQ a bit to better match the one on the web-page.
  • Kinyarwanda translations by Steve Murphy. The translation seems quote incomplete.

Bug Fixes:

  • On some systems math.atan2 raises an exception when called with two zeros. Fix one occurrence in the arrow module. Reported by Joel Biddier
  • Cancelling the drawing of a poly line or poly bezier with ESC resulted in tracebacks until the next mouse click. Reported by Antoon Pardon (Savannah bug #9378). Patch by Valentin Ungureanu (Savannah patch #3141).
  • The "Export Raster" script gives a better error message if ghostscript can't be called. Bug reported by Eric Devost
  • When importing EPS files, skencil didn't parse %%BeginData comments correctly. Fixed by Savannah patch #3134 by Bernhard Reiter
  • The svg export filter now sets the winding rule for all objects to even-odd. Savannah patch #3103 by Philippe Blayo, fixes Savannah bug #5756 by Simon Budig.
  • The SVG filter handles ill-formed transform specifications a bit better. The old version would hang in a regular expression match if the triling closing parenthesis of e.g. a matrix specification was missing. Bug report by Joel Biddier
  • The svg import filter also accepts capital Z as closepath command of a path specification as required by the SVG specification. Savannah Patch #3587 by Bernhard Reiter.
  • In the print dialog, when the user clicked on the file selection button and cancelled the dialog, Skencil would give an exception. This is now fixed.
  • The usage messge printed when the --help option is given on the command line now correctly refers to "skencil" not "sketch" anymore.
  • The source URL in the spec file now refers to skencil as well. It still points to sourceforge, though. Patch by Paul Dickson
  • The script now finds the tcl/tk libraries on OpenBSD as well (savannag bug #12046)
  • Already in 0.6.16, but not mentioned before: Skencil's type1 font parsing code could not cope with some type1 files -- files with no subrs or with flexes. Now it can. Bug report by André Pascual

Skencil 0.6.16 (January 24th, 2004)

  • Skencil is the new name for the vector drawing program formerly known as "Sketch".

    This is only a superficial renaming. All places in the GUI are changed and the main executable is now called skencil (for backwards compatibility you can also start Skencil with "sketch" as before).

    Internally nothing has changed in this regard. The main python package is still called Sketch for instance and the userspecific configuration is still stored in ~/.sketch

    Thanks to Frank Koormann for coming up with the name "Skencil".

  • New icons including a new icon for Skencil itself contributed by Taiabati ( These icons were drawn with Skencil and the raster versions were created with the help of Gimp. The Skencil files can be found in the Examples directory.

  • The script has a new option, --embed-fonts or -e to embed the fonts used by a drawing in the postscript output. Patch by Otto Tronarp

  • The print dialog also has a check box "Embed fonts" now. Patch by Antoon Pardon

  • The script has a new option, --alpha-bits or -A, to make ghostscript ase anti-aliasing. Patch by Tamito KAJIYAMA

  • The script has a new option, --fit. If given it fits the bounding box of the drawing rather than the page to the window size. Patch by Antoon Pardon

  • The color dialog has RGB entry fields now. Patch by Bernhard Reiter

  • Updated German translations

  • Portuguese translations by Lopo Pizarro

  • Updated French translation by Michel Robitaille

  • Updated Swedish translations by Christian Rose

  • WMF export filter by Lukasz Pankowski

  • Antoon Pardon has updated the CGM filters

  • The CGM export filter supports path text now. Patch by Lukasz Pankowski

  • The script that reads GIMP paths is now in the Script subdirectory and activated by default

  • The center of rectangles is now also a snap point. Based on a patch by Valentin Ungureanu

  • The multi line text objects can deal with more variants of boldness and other attributes in fonts. Patch by Antoon Pardon

  • Make Sketch work with Python 2.3 without warnings:

    • Update paxtkinter so that it works with the new Tkinter
    • Change hex literals so they don't trigger warnings about being interpreted differently in future versions
    • Make sure to use ints and not floats where some C-functions expect ints

Bug Fixes:

  • Make work when drawing all visible layers and the grid layer is marked as visible. Patch by Andy Thaller
  • Sketch failed to load .sk files that contained very long lines following a bezier curve. Patch by Andy Thaller
  • Sketch failed to load .sk files that contained empty plugin objects. These objects are now simply ignored when loading such files
  • The SVG export filter makes sure now that text objects do not have strokes. Bug reported by Peter Robins
  • The SVG import filter now uses a black fill by default. Bug reported by John Ellson
  • Fixed the copyright notices which said LPGL but referred to the GPL too. They now have the same license statement as all other LPGPLed files
  • When "Snap to Objects" was active and a new object was created the points that Sketch snapped to were not updated properly. Reported by Valentin Ungureanu
  • Avoid attribute errors in the __del__ method of Font objects. Reported by Antoon Pardon

Sketch 0.6.15 (January 31, 2003)

  • Updated CGM import/export filters from Antoon Pardon

Bug Fixes:

  • Fix the order of the items in the changelog in the spec-file (Andy Grimberg)
  • When using install with the --dest-dir option make sure that the correct filename is put into the bycompiled files (*.pyc). Patch from Ralf Ahlbrink
  • Make Sketch compile with tcl/tk 8.4. Problem noticed by Michael Soibelman.
  • In, handle the 'make' variable parameters (e.g. CC=gcc) properly when they contain multiple equals signs. Patch by Sebastian Stark
  • Allow digits in the keys of format specifiers in the format strings returned by the Info method of a GraphicsObject.
  • The SVG import filter now handles the viewBox attribute of the svg element (it doesn't handle the preserveAspectRatio attribute though). The filter also makes sure that non-text object won't get a font attribute and it understands more color names. Bugs reported by Keith Hopper
  • The CMX import filter handles poly-curves with a large number of points better now. Reported by Tim Wright.

Sketch 0.6.14 (September 21st, 2002)

  • Brasilian Portuguese translation by Wanderlei Antonio Cavassin
  • Swedish translations by Christian Rose
  • New French translation by Michel Robitaille.
  • New Spanish translation by Esteban Manchado Velázquez
  • Updated po/README to explain about the formatting templates (%-format specifiers in strings)
  • CGM import/export filters contributed by Antoon Pardon
  • New example script Script/ which contains the code of the footprints script demonstrated in the Sketch presentations at LinuxTag and EuroPython 2002.
  • Change the license statements of a few files to match those of other modules (LGPL). The affected file are, and in Plugins/Filters/ and Sketch/UI/
  • Already in 0.6.13: The SVG export has some basic support for Text. Based on a Patch by Paul Giotta
  • Updated sketch.spec file based on the one Andy Grimberg used for sketch-0.6.13-3.src.rpm

Internal Changes:

  • The pdfexport filter can now output to an existing reportlab pdfgen canvas.
  • Remove the DEFS= lines from the files. With them, Sketch won't build with current CVS Python and probably won't with 2.3 either. The lines are not needed anyway for Sketch.
  • Added encoding declarations to some files in preparation for Python 2.3 which gives warnings for files that contain non-ascii characters and don't have an encoding declaration.

Bug Fixes:

  • Applying Font settings when no object is selected (so that the default settings are changed) now works again. Reported by Antoon Pardon
  • Nodes inserted into bezier segments are now 'smooth' instead of 'symmetric'. Reported by Antoon Pardon
  • sk2ppm now works when the output filename is omitted. Bug reported by Jan-Oliver Wagner
  • With Tcl/Tk >= 8.1, filenames with non-ascii characters were not handled correctly. This is better now, but it's probably not perfect. Reported by Bernhard Reiter.
  • The SVG export filter now escapes text properly. Bug reported by Stefan Eilers (SF #545267).
  • The extension modules in Sketch/Modules, Filter and Pax now use the Python Memory API correctly as specified for Python 1.5.2 but it should also be compatible with later versions including 2.3 (according to the discussion in April 2002)
  • The postscript output handles writing to an EPS file that's also referenced by the drawing itself. Previously, in such cases Sketch would open the eps file it was writing to again and copy the file into itself filling up the file system. Bug reported by Rodrigo Benenson (SF #550917)
  • The command Style->Update Style now works under Python 2.2 as well. Bug reported by Juan Pablo Romero. Pieter Edelman pointed out that it happens only under Python 2.2.
  • The line dialog now updates when the selected object doesn't have an outline. It just checks the "None" checkbox in this case. In earlier versions it would just ignore the selection change when the newly selected object didn't have an outline. Reported by Antoon Pardon.
  • now looks for the tk header files in /usr/include/tclX.Y (X.Y is the tcl version) as well.
  • Each time the line dialog was opened an empty arrow head was added to the list of arrow heads making the option menu grow by one entry each time the line dialog was opened. Fixed now.
  • Fix a typo in the simple_separation script. Spotted by Esteban Manchado Velázquez
  • referenced the locale module's Error exception which didn't exist in Python 1.5.2.

Sketch 0.6.13 (March 3rd, 2002)

  • You can now assign font properties to multiple objects at once. Suggested/reported/repeatedly whined about ;-) by Jeffrey Boser

  • A multi-line text object. You can create multiline text objects with the menu item Edit->Create->Multiline Text. Contributed by Christof Ecker

  • An import filter for the Acorn Drawfiles. Contributed by David Boddie.

  • The gradient editor now has a button "Reverse" which reverses the gradient in the editor. Patch from Aurelien Gateau

  • Updated translations: Spanish by Esteban Manchado Velázquez, Russian by Andrey Kiselev, Italian by Mauro Colorio.

  • The wmf import filter supports a PolyPolylines now. Patch from Antoon Pardon.

  • A new command line tool, that converts between vector formats Sketch can read and write.

  • A new command line tool, sk2ppm to convert vector files to PPM (portable pixmap)

  • Two new sample scripts in Script:

    reload_image can reload external raster images or update the preview images of EPS files.

    simple_separation provides a very simple form of color separation by creating one ps file for each color used in the drawing.

  • The Illustrator-import filter now gives a warning if the file looks as if it's not generated by AI. Furthermore it understands text alignment now.

  • The SVG import filter parses paths more correctly now. The old version didn't accept numbers without delimiters in between, which is legal in an SVG path if the second number starts with a sign.

  • Some of the scripts in the Script module are now loaded automatically on startup. If you don't want that, put the line

    preferences.standard_scripts = []

    into ~/.sketch/

  • The resolution of EPS images is configurable now. You can set it with in ~/.sketch/ with a line like

    preferences.eps_preview_resolution = 144

    In this example the resolutioin is set ot 144 pixels per inch, which is twice the default value.

Bug Fixes:

  • Quote filenames of EPS files properly when rendering the preview. The previous behavior was a security problem.
  • The script omitted the -lX11 parameter for the paxtkinter module when run under Python 2.1 or with the --tk-autoconf parameter. Spotted by Grant Edwards.
  • The PostScriptDevice's DrawLineXY method used the wrong y coordinate for the end-point.
  • The PostScriptDevice uses floats for font sizes now.
  • Call setlocale to make the gettext functions work properly. There's some strange interaction with tcl/tk for which Sketch/UI/ contains a workaround. Reported by Gregor Hoffleit.
  • Not really a bug-fix, perhaps, but in SafeScripts it's now allowed to call a few of the special python methods, such as __cmp__. The spread script ran into this problem in some cases.
  • The reload panel lists the correct modules again.
  • In the Pax module, the CopyPlane of the pixmap objects allows another pixmap as the destination drawable too.
  • Already done in 0.6.12: Fixed a bug in the stream filter module that prevented Sketch from loading very small images embedded in Sketch documents. Reported by Geoffrey T. Dairiki.

Internal Changes:

  • Plugins can now have plugin specific libraries. This is done with a slightly incompatible way in how the plugin path is handled.

    If A plugin has additional library modules, the library modules should be put into a Lib direcory in the directory where the plugin is placed. Sketch will automatically create a Lib package whose __path__ contains that Lib directory so that the plugin can import modules from there with "import Lib.module". How this works can be seen in both new plugins (multi-line text and the drawfile input filter).

  • Plugins may now have an additional configuration variable, load_immediately. When set to true (default false) it will cause the plugin management code to load the plugin module immediately after it has been scanned.

  • The function Sketch.UI.prompt.get_sketch_modules once again correctly determines which modules belong to Sketch.

Sketch 0.6.12 (July 5th, 2001)

  • View->Load Palette... also supports Gimp palette files.

Bug fixes:

  • The PostScript generator now handles RGBA images used as tiles correctly. Reported by Andy Grimberg.
  • Modifying objects that lay far outside the window could lead to X Errors.
  • Loading AI files sometimes raised exceptions with an AttributeError "'None' object has no attribute 'guess_continuity'". This is now fixed. Reported by Eric Faurot.
  • The CMX import filter handles empty groups gracefully. Bug reported by Yuri Shchedov.
  • Fix some typos in skshow's doc-string. This is basically what's already done with the Debian packages.
  • Changing the paper format could lead to an inconsistent mapping between document and window coordinates. Reported by Antoon Pardon.

Internal Changes:

  • The TrafoPlugin objects have a Trafo method now that returns the transformation.
  • TrafoPlugin.__init__ now accepts a trafo object as the trafo kw-arg and accepts the loading kw-arg.
  • The Append* methods of curve objects now raise a TypeError exception when the first segment appended to a curve is not a line segment. One consequence of this change is that Sketch may not be able to load some sk-files anymore when they contain curves that start with a bezier segment. You can use the new script Misc/ to fix such files.

Sketch 0.6.11 (June 9th, 2001)

  • Updated Spanish translation by Esteban Manchado Velázquez
  • Add /usr/lib/ghostscript/fonts to the default list of font directories (for debian).
  • Include the .spec file in the tarball and distribute the Misc directory with the RPMs as documentation.

Bug fixes:

  • The find_include_dir function in now catches and ignores OSError exceptions, too. Pointed out by Pierre HANSER.
  • The russian translation are now properly contained in the archive as *.mo files too.
  • Drawings that contained non-ASCII characters in strings were not read back correctly when saved under Python 2.1
  • The import filters now remove empty curve objects. The implementation of 0.6.9 didn't cover all special cases. The new one works differently but shuld catch all cases.

Sketch 0.6.10 (May 14th, 2001)

  • Russian translation contributed by Andrey Kiselev

  • Fix so that Sketch can be compiled with Python 2.1. The main change here is that in Python 2.1, the _tkinter configuration can't be taken from the Setup file anymore because of Python's new build process.

    If is run by Python 2.1 or higher it now uses the distutils and code pretty much like Python's to figure out which compiler flags to use for the Tk-specific C-code.

    This change also introduces two new command line options for the configure command:


    Compiler flags to use for building the tk-modules. E.g.

    ./ configure --tk-flags="-L/opt/tk/lib -ltk8.2 -ltcl8.2"


    Determine the compiler flags for Sketch's tk-modules without referring to Python's Setup file as described above. When run under Python 2.1 this will always be done. You can use this flag to force this mode under older Python versions.

    It only works if the distutils are installed. Beginning with Python 1.6 the distutils are part of Python's standard library. For Python 1.5.2 a separate package is available at <>

  • " build" now stops when an error occurs. This should make build problems more obvious.

  • now stops when an unknown command line flag is given.

  • Fix the point extension type to work with Python 2.1

  • In the print dialog, the "rotate ccw." checkbutton is automatically set when the document uses landscape page orientation.

  • The SVG import filter now has basic support for text and images. Contributed by John Shumway.

  • The SVG import filter now works with Python 2.1 (and probably 2.0 as well).

  • The virtual size of the canvas is much larger now to accomodate large paper sizes better.

  • The generator scripts in Pax/Generate create ANSI prototypes now

Bug fixes:

  • In the SVG export filter, add a missing space in the radial gradients SVG code, and set gradientUnits="userSpaceOnUse" in linear and radial gradients. Pointed out by Laetitia MARIN.
  • The warning module would throw exceptions instead of printing error when plugin directories were not readable. Pointed out by Jonathan Soons.
  • The computation of the bounding rectangles of an ellipse threw exceptions on some platforms in some cases. Pointed out by Damien Chrisment
  • Catch import errors for plugins better in In earlier versions an import error in e.g. the SVG import filter would abort the entire application.
  • Fix a bug in the PDF export filter that gave filled arrows the wrong color.
  • Python 2.1 exposed a bug in the rect implementation that gave a document an infinite bounding box in some cases.
  • Changes in the paperformat have the proper effect now on the position of the page on the virtual canvas.
  • Fixed the _type1module to work with Python 2.0.

Sketch 0.6.9 (March 1st, 2001)

  • Italian translation contributed by Mauro Colorio.

  • Bernhard Reiter contributed an expanded version of the script which lets you set more parameters in the dialog. It is now in the Script package so that you can import it with the line

    import Script.export_raster

    In your ~/.sketch/

  • The sk2ps script now has a --rotate/-r option to rotate the drawing. Useful to print landscape format drawings.

  • The line properties dialog no longer sets the color to None when a group or other object is selected that doesn't have line properties

  • Slightly updated FAQ list.

Bug fixes:

  • In some cases the PostScript generator rounded text-coordinates to integers instead of using floats. Pointed out by Kai-Uwe Behrmann.
  • The PDF-export filter supports arrow heads now and handles dash patterns correctly.
  • The XFig import filter supports dashes now
  • Fix a small problem in the SVG inport filter's handling of coordinates in %-units. Patch provided by Philipp Matthias Hahn
  • Several fixes to make Sketch work with Python 2.0. Thomas Gellekum contributed a patch for Sketch/Modules/skcolor.c and Ron Shonkwiler pointed out problems in Pax when using PseudoColor visuals that are also fixed now.
  • In tk versions >= 8.1, key stroke events with non-ASCII characters should work once more for Latin1 characters. Those tk-versions report characters as UTF8 which confused Sketch. Reported by Armin Geisse
  • Fixed a small name error in which could be triggered by buggy user scripts
  • Fix a bug in generating the warning message when keystrokes are overridden by
  • The import filters are a bit more robust. They ignore empty curve objects automatically

Sketch 0.6.8 (August 12th, 2000)

  • Styles can now have explicitly empty fill and line properties.

  • <Ctrl-Space> now does the same as <Space> alone, that is, switch between selection- and edit-mode. Unlike <Space>, <Ctrl-Space> also works when editing text.

  • Pressing Ctrl when moving objects or Bezier-nodes now also constrains to diagonals in addition to horizontal and vertical movement. Based on a patch by Antoon Pardon.

  • You can now click and drag a bezier segment in edit mode. Based on demo code by Simon Budig.

  • Sketch can write PDF files now. For this feature you need reportlab from <>. This filter is quite complete, but there are some limitations. It doesn't suport embedded EPS files, tiled image fills, fonts that aren't among PDFs builtin fonts (it will use Times-Roman instead), and some more esoteric features.

    Note that reportlab 1.0 has some bugs that affect Sketch. They're already fixed in CVS, so they should be in their next release.

  • The SVG export filter supports radial and axial gradients now.

  • Guide-lines no longer snap to other guide-lines when dragging them but they still snap to guide-objects (i.e. objects on the guide layer that are not guide-lines).

Bug fixes:

  • Give a meaningful error message when trying to print a document that has no printable layers. Previous versions would fail with a traceback in that case. The bug affected both File->Save as PostScript and the Print dialog. Reported by Michael Walton.
  • In, use sys.exec_prefix to determine the location of "Setup". Patch contributed by Tessa Lau
  • Sometimes the allocation of a shared memory image fails even though tests at startup showed that they're supported (a common problem on Solaris due to a default configuration which only allows relatively small shared memory images). This case is handled more gracefully now.
  • now also looks in Setup.local (in addition to Setup) for the tkinter configuration. Pointed out by Daisuke Yabuki.
  • In paxtkinter, initialize the Tcl interpreter properly. The old incorrect way was causing problems with a japanese internationalization patch. Pointed out by Daisuke Yabuki.
  • The rectangle object used to print a lot of tracebacks in edit mode when the user didn't select a handle. Fixed now.
  • The information about the currently selected object in the status-bar wasn't always updated correctly

Internal Changes:

  • The stream-filter module includes ASCII85 encode and decode filters and some bug-fixes.

Sketch 0.6.7 (May 5th, 2000)

  • The missing import of the plugins module that prevented Sketch from loading any vector files, including it's native sk-format, is fixed.
  • Correction: The changes in the PIL import code in Sketch 0.6.6 do not make it work with the PIL packages in SuSE Linux 6.2 and 6.3 out of the box. Those packages are broken and have to be fixed as described in INSTALL. The same applies to SuSE 6.4.

Sketch 0.6.6 (April 30th, 2000)

New or Changed Features:

  • French translations contributed by Yves Ceccone and Frédéric Toussaint.

  • Updated Spanish translations provided by Esteban Manchado Velázquez.

  • A few new scripts in the Scripts package: average_points, create_star_outline, inspect_beziers and create_spiral, contributed by Tamito KAJIYAMA and spread which defines eight scripts to distribute the selected objects in various ways, contributed by Michael Loßin

  • A new command line option, --run-script <scriptfile>, which executes the file scriptfile on startup after creating the widgets and either creating an empty new document or loading a document from a file if a document filename was supplied on the command line.

    The script is executed by execfile() with a globals dictionary containg a 'context' object just like a normal user script.

  • If a directory is given on the command line instead of a normal file, Sketch now opens a file open dialog with that directory (suggested by François Pinard).

  • A simple slideshow tool, It's installed together with and Run it with the --help option to get more information on how it works. (originally written as an example for Christof Ecker)

  • A new crosshairs style cursor, activated by the menu item View->Crosshairs. If snapping is active, this cursor is warped to a snap point if the mouse pointer is near one. (suggested by Rainer Menzner)

  • The "Zoom Area" tool can also zoom out now by holding the control key when releasing the mouse button.

  • New sections in the Developer's Guide about the connector module and plugin objects.

  • A new file Misc/magic with an entry for your magic file, as used by e.g. file(1). Contributed by Michael Loßin.

  • An FAQ list.

Bug Fixes:

  • Updated the AI import filter a bit to deal with Illustrator 8 files. (Reported by Fritz Heinrichmeyer).
  • The Python Imaging Library is used as a package now. Some people want to install PIL without the PIL.pth file because of name conflicts with e.g. Zope. This change also makes Sketch work with the pil rpm of SuSE Linux 6.2-6.3 out of the box.
  • The PostScript generator now treats dashes for lines with widths less than 1 point as the screen drawing routines. I.e. the lengths of the dash are computed as if the line width was 1 pt.
  • Fix the bug in the PostScript generator that produced incorrect dashes if two lines with same logical dash-pattern but different line widths were printed one immediately after the other.
  • The View->Outline checkbox menu item now reflects the outline status correctly
  • The eval() security hole in the xfig import filter should be plugged now.
  • The "Update From..." button in the plugin object dialogs works now.
  • Fixed a bug that caused objects to share fill patterns when assigning fill properties to several objects at once. E.g. assigning an axial gradient to two objects and then transforming one of the objects would modify the gradient of he other object as well.
  • Changed a few places where pointers were cast to ints to support 64bit systems properly (reported by Philipp Reisner).
  • Fixed the AFM file parser to accept floating point numbers in various places as the specification says (reported by Rainer Menzner).
  • Fixed a bug where the selection info wasn't updated properly. To reproduce it in 0.6.5: Select the text tool and click somewhere but don't type anything. Select the text tool again and click somewhere else, type something, go to selection mode and press DEL. (reported by Darren Stalder)
  • In, bzip2 isn't called with the -c flag anymore. that flag isn't necessary here anyway and some bzip2 versions didn't like it. (reported by Michael Lossin)
  • Cutting/copying and pasting path text objects works now. (reported by Michael Lossin)

Internal Changes:

  • In preparation for Python 1.6, checked for and corrected list appends with more than one argument.
  • Initialization is a bit simpler now. Programs that use Sketch as a library no only require that the Sketch module is in sys.path and they have to call Sketch.init_lib(). If they want to use the Tk part of Sketch as well they have to call Sketch.init_ui() which implicitly also calls init_lib().
  • The default properties for Text-objects created by scripts have changed. They used to have an empty fill pattern, but a black outline, which doesn't make sense and really was a bug. Now they have a black uniform fill and no outline.
  • The po files are now created with xpot from po-utils. See po/README.
  • The wrapper object for safe scripts doesn't complain about __cmp__ and __coerce__ anymore.

Sketch 0.6.5 (February 10th, 2000)

  • "Snap To Objects" now also works for raster images and eps files. They can even be used as guides by moving them onto the guide layer. They behave just like rectangles in this regard.
  • bzip2 compressed sk-files (and also ai and svg) can now be uncompressed transparently if bzip2 is installed. The same functionality for gzip was already present in 0.5.0.
  • A new example script, Script/ that saves the current selection as an eps file.
  • More accurate papersizes for the A<n> formats, contributed by Martin Glaser. The sizes used to be derived from first principles, so to speak, everytime on start up, but that does not yield exactly the same values that the standard defines. The old code is still there in Sketch/Graphics/, if you're curious.
  • The way paper formats are stored in the sk-files has changed slightly. Only formats of a fixed list are stored by name now, for all others only the dimensions are saved. This was done to prevent problems if users add new formats in their
  • The 'layer up' button in the layer dialog works now.
  • The DSC parser, used for e.g. extracting the bounding box of EPS files, can cope with non-Unix line separator conventions.
  • Fixed a bug in the code that draws axial (linear) gradients on the screen. In some cases the direction of diagonal the gradients was incorrect, most noticable for very large border values. Postscript output was not affected.
  • Removed .ps and .eps from the list of possible file name extensions. They misled users to assume that File->Open was the way to load EPS files.
  • The --imaging-include option of should work properly with relative filenames now.
  • Removed the GPL copyright notices from Pax/clipmask.[ch] because they shouldn't be there. Those files have the same license as the rest of the code in Pax.
  • Fixed a typo in Resources/Fontmetrics/gs.sfd. The font in line 2 is URWGothicL-Book
  • "Zoom Out" was translated incorrectly in de.po
  • Added -lm to _sketchmodule in Sketch/Modules/Setup.config and Sketch/Modules/

Sketch 0.6.4 (January 11th, 2000)

  • Fixed a bug in Sketch's postscript procset (Resources/Misc/ that caused problems when a sketch-eps that contains eps's that use showpage was embedded in a ps file which was then run through psnup (got that? :) ) To reproduce it, create an eps with dvips, embed it in a Sketch drawing, export as eps, embed it in a tex-document, create a psfile from that with dvips and 'psnup -2' it. The resulting psfile executes a superfluous showpage at the end of the embedded tex-eps.

  • Blending of two path-text objects works now. In previous versions attempting this would leave the document in an inconsistent state and the user couldn't undo the operation or even save properly.

  • Fixed bugs in the type1 font file parser and the underlying postscript tokenizer. Some type 1 font files caused segfaults in the tokenizer (e.g. the UTB_____.pfa font that comes with X11).

  • Updated Spanish translation provided by Esteban Manchado Velázquez.

  • More color icons provided by Panos Katsaloulis. Again, if you want to use them, put the line

    preferences.color_icons = 1

    into ~/.sketch/ .

  • Misc/ additional boolean parameter for the export_raster and export_alpha functions, use_bbox. If use_bbox is true only render the contents of the bounding rectangle, otherwise render the entire page.

  • Added Misc/Symbolgroup/, a plugin-object that can be used to build a simple symbol library. See Misc/Symbolgroup/README for more details.

  • Give a more meaningful error message if _tkinter is not configured in Python's Setup

  • The script can also generate ghostscript Fontmap files now thanks to Jeffrey Boser. The script is now at version 1.3.

Sketch 0.6.3 (December 1st, 1999)

  • The default properties for new objects can be set now by pressing the apply button in the fill-, line- and font-dialogs when no object is selected. Sketch will ask whether graphics objects or text objects should be affected. You can select both, of course.

    If you don't like this behavior, you can switch it off by putting the following line into your ~/.sketch/

    preferences.set_default_properties = 0

  • A new button in the lower left corner of the main window (with an X bitmap) that is equivalent to Style/No Fill when pressed with the left mouse button and equivalent to Style/No Line when pressed with the middle mouse button.

  • When editing bezier curves, the ctrl-key now restricts the movement of nodes to horizontal and vertical and when dragging a control point, the angle of the tangent is restricted to multiples of 15 degrees.

  • When drawing bezier curves the ctrl-key now restricts the slope of the tangent to multiples of 15 degrees.

  • When drawing poly-lines, the ctrl-key now restricts the slopes of the lines to multiples of 15 degrees.

  • Selecting a blend group works a little different now, so that clicking on the interpolation selects the entire blend group. In earlier versions only the interpolation object was selected in that case. Clicking on a control object of a blend group still selects just the control object. (The blend group object contains both the control objects and the interpolation objects).

    The reason for this change is that it makes it easier to select two blend groups to create an interpolation betweem them.

    The change also affects the blend dialog if the selected blend group has more than one control object. To change the number of steps in an interpolation you have to select the interpolation object by holding Ctrl and Shift when clicking on the object, just like you would with a normal group to select a contained object.

  • A small change in the way Sketch determines which handle to drag when editing a bezier curve: When a node and one of its control points coincide, it was impossible to drag the control point. Now Sketch selects the control point in that case. Coinciding nodes and control points can occur when gridding is on and they're often found Illustrator files.

  • There's a new directory Misc/ that contains some scripts that I use occasionally. These scripts are somewhat unpolished and will probably need some tweaking to fit your needs.

    I also consider them 'half-supported', that is I test and fix them only as far as I actually use them.

    There are two scripts at the moment. One lets you export raster images via ghostscript, and the other reads paths exported by Gimp.

  • A small reorganization of the sfd files in Resources/Fontmetrics. The Charter and Utopia fonts are now listed in a separate file gsopt.sfd.

    The rationale behind this is that std.sfd contains the standard postscript files--in as far as that can be defined--like Times-Roman or Courier. gs.sfd lists the URW fonts that make up the standard ghostscript fonts, which are basically clones of the standard postscript fonts. gsopt.sfd lists optional ghostscript fonts.

  • The afm-file parser is more tolerant now. It had problems with empty lines.

  • fixed a bug that made the context command 'Select Mask' fail.

  • fixed a bug that caused the first few characters of a path-text to be misplaced if the start position coincided with a node (but not the start-node) of the curve-object.

  • Fixed a small bug in the cmxfilter that flipped the orientation of conical gradients.

  • The command line option --version works again.

  • There a new option for ~/.sketch/, fallback_font. This is the name of the font to use when a font or the corresponding metrics can't be found. The default is 'Times-Roman'

  • Added a note about the slightly broken pyimglib package in SuSE Linux 6.2 to the INSTALL file.

  • Fixed a few typos in the German translation.

  • Updated Spanish translation provided by Esteban Manchado Velázquez.

  • Added a new section about export filters to the developer's guide.

  • parsed macro definitions in Setup incorrectly. This is fixed now. I also documented the --python-setup option.

  •'s build command accepts arguments of the form <KEY>=<VALUE> now. These are passed through to make to let you override variables like CC or OPT. See the generated Makefiles or for more details.

  • The script knows a few more foundries and has a new commandline option '-f' to specify the foundry used when it can't be determined from the afm-file. I also increased its version to 1.2

Sketch 0.6.2 (September 19th, 1999)

  • Import/Export filters for the proposed Web-standard for vector graphics, SVG. For the import filter, but not for the export filter, you need the Python xml-package; see the INSTALL file for details on where to get it.

    Both filters are very primitive at the moment and only handle some simple shapes and fills/strokes. In particular, there's no support for Text or gradient fills among others yet.

  • Cleaned up the documentation to have less practically empty HTML-files and extended the section on font-configuration. It contains information about Sketch's font-path and on how to add fonts.

  • Converted the images in the docs to the PNG format.

  • When editing text objects, you can position the caret with the mouse now.

  • The create_star script is now interactive. It pops up a modal dialog asking for the parameters of the star as an example how to use dialogs is user scripts.

  • The sample scripts and are substantially faster now if there's a large number of objects to be selected.

  • The help message in is more compact now, thanks to Gregor Hoffleit.

  • Fixed a bug in the XFig filter that lead to the rejection of files with "Flush Left" justification (as generated by pstoedit, for example).

  • The AI import filter handles text in ai-files generated by ps2ai better now.

  • The AI filter understands font encodings now.

  • Fixed Sketch/Modules/skrect.c and Sketch/Modules/skcolor.c to avoid Problems with GCC 2.95.

  • Fixed Sketch's font code to not require the EncodingScheme key in afm-files. This key is optional and is not present in afm-files generated by ttf2pfa, for instance.

Sketch 0.6.1 (August 5th, 1999)

  • Spanish messages contributed by Esteban Manchado Velázquez.

  • Color Icons contributed by Panos Katsaloulis. They're not used by default because the set of icons is not complete yet. If you like, you can switch them on by putting the line

    preferences.color_icons = 1

    into ~/.sketch/ .

  • The cursor now changes when the mouse is over a selected object or a guide line. You can switch this feature off by adding the line

    preferences.active_cursor = 0

    to ~/.sketch/ .

  • The AI export filter handles axial and radial gradients now.

  • The AI import filter understands gradients better now. In particular, it can handle AI files with gradients created by Corel Draw correctly now (I hope).

  • The AI import filter knows about guides and places all guides in an AI-file on the guide layer. In former versions the guide paths were mixed with normal paths resulting in incorrect paths.

  • The CMX import filter also loads radial and conical gradients now (in addition to axial gradients).

  • Fixed the bug that caused multiple handles at the same position to become invisible in some situations.

  • Two new sample scripts, create_star and create_text.

  • I added a section to the user scripts documentation, covering 'common tasks' like the creation of objects, manipulating objects and manipulating the current selection.

  • The postscript file generated for a landscape drawing now has a %%Orientation: Landscape comment, if the 'rotate ccw' button is checked.

  • Updated paxtkinter to work with Tcl/Tk 8.1.

Sketch 0.6.0 (May 18th, 1999)

  • Support for non-english messages via gettext. Run with the '--with-nls' option to activate this. So far there's only support for German.

    If you want to add support for a new language, have a look at po/README.

  • The symbolic links created by ` install' use relative filenames now.

  • The Developer's Guide has some more documentation on how to implement import filters

  • The Illustrator export filter handles embedded raster images and some text.

  • The Illustrator import filter handles some embedded raster image formats.

  • Fixed a bug when placing objects (e.g. raster images) while in creation mode.

  • Fixed a bug in the PostScript generator, that could lead to wrong fill/stroke colors.

  • When drawing poly-lines and you start with just a mouse-click and no drag, only only the starting point is defined. If you drag, the first two points are defined.

    The old behavior was to always create the first two points which resulted in zero-length first segment if the mouse wasn't dragged.

  • The reset button in the align dialog has been removed. To switch off alignment in one direction, click on the sunken button.

  • The Type1 font parser is smarter. The old parser had problems with fonts using Mac line separators.

Sketch 0.5.5 (April 22nd, 1999)

  • Improved import filters:

    • AI import filter has some text support now for point text and path text and it handles transformed gradients slightly better
    • The WMF import filter is much more stable and complete now. The version distributed with 0.5.4 was very incomplete and buggy.
    • The CMX import filter is much more stable and complete now. The version distributed with 0.5.4 was very incomplete. The new version suports 32 bit files.
  • The rulers now obey the default unit settings.

  • The vertical rulers can display the text either horizontally, vertically (similar to GTK) or rotated (my favourite). The default is horizontally.

    You configure this by appending

    preferences.ruler_text_type = TYPE

    to ~/.sketch/ (edit this file while Sketch is not running). TYPE can be either 'horizontal', 'vertical' or 'rotated' (including the quotes!).

    The font for the rulers is determined by preferences.ruler_font for normal horizontal characters and preferences.ruler_font_rotated for rotated text. The default values are:

    preferences.ruler_font = '--helvetica-medium-r---10------iso8859-1' preferences.ruler_font_rotated = '--helvetica-medium-r---[0 10 ~10 0]------iso8859-1'

    If you use rotated text, ruler_font_rotated must be compatible with ruler_font, i.e. one must be a rotated version of the other.

    The '[0 10 ~10 0]' is a transformation matrix which rotates the characters by 90 degrees counter clockwise. This syntax was introduced in X11R6, so to use this your X server must be compatible with that X11 release.

    Depending on the quality of your font renderer and your X-configuration, the rotated fonts might look quite ugly, so you might have to test a number of different fonts to get good results. On my system, these settings are quite acceptable:

    preferences.ruler_font = '--lucida-medium-r---11------iso8859-1' preferences.ruler_font_rotated = '--lucida-medium-r---[0 11 ~11 0]------iso8859-1' preferences.ruler_text_type = 'rotated'

  • The align dialog allows you to align the selected objects relative to the lowermost one. It would probably be better to use the first selected object instead, but that's not possible with Sketch at the moment, due to its implementation.

  • Fixed a byte order bug that resulted in wrong colors for images on a big-endian X-server.

  • Fixed some mask-group bugs: The Effects| Create Maskgroup entry is now grayed out correctly again and ungrouping the mask group places the mask on top of the objects now. Both bugs were introduced when I changed the behaviour of Create Maskgroup for Sketch 0.5.3.

  • The AddFunction function of the script-registry has a new keyword parameter 'args'. See the user's guide for more details.

  • If you delete all characters of a text object (with backspace or DEL) and then select a different object or change into another mode, the now empty text-object is removed from the drawing.

Sketch 0.5.4 (March 17th, 1999)

  • A user scripting facility. The user's guide has a new section about user scripts to get you started. The mechanisms to hook user scripts into Sketch are somewhat experimental, though and may change.

  • A new import filter for Corel's CMX format. The filter is incomplete and only handles 16bit CMX files, because I only have sample files for that CMX-version.

  • A new import filter for Windows Metafiles (WMF), again incomplete.

  • The tooltips are active by default now.

  • Setting the unit of the position indicator in the status bar (via its context menu) also sets the default unit used else where in Sketch.

  • The dimensions of rectangles and ellipses are now given in the current default unit.

  • When creating ellipses or rectangles the current dimensions are displayed in the statusbar.

  • Similarly, when transforming an object, information about the current transformation is displayed in the statusbar, such as scaling factors and rotation angles.

  • The ellipse drawing mode has two new variations:

    • When holding down Shift, the ellipse is centered at the start point.
    • When holding down Shift+Ctrl, the ellipse is a circle centered at the start point with the current pointer position on its periphery.
  • Similarly, holding down Shift while drawing a rectangle uses the start point as the center of the rectangle.

  • Path-text has been improved, introducing a slight incompatibility:

    • Characters that don't fit on the path are simply not drawn, but they are still there. In previous versions, these characters were all drawn at the same position at the end of the path.

      It is possible that path-text objects will look slightly different in future versions due to improvements in the algorithms used. In particular, multiple subpaths in a curve may be supported.

    • You can drag the start position of the text along the path by dragging the small rectangular handle in edit mode. This is probably not the best interface. Suggestions welcome.

    • In previous versions, the curve-like objects were automatically converted to bezier objetcs before the path-text group was created. Now, these objects remain as they are, i.e. rectangles will remain rectangles and ellipses remain ellipses.

      .sk files with rectangles or ellipses as the curves in path-text objects will not be read correctly by earlier versions.

  • You can now insert nodes and cut curves at specific positions:

    • Select a curve object in edit mode
    • click on the outline where you want to insert the node or cut the curve. A small filled circle appears.
    • Select "Curve | Insert Nodes" or "Curve | Cut Curve" respectively.

    This new method also affects Line->Curve and Curve->Line. They convert the segment marked with the filled curve.

    The old behaviour is still there.

  • The curve-object in a path-text object and the control-objects in a blend-group can now be converted to a bezier object in place.

  • Added a few new key-strokes.

  • The .sk file version number was updated to "1 2" because of the changes for path-text objects.

  • Bug fixes:

    • In the font dialog, the sizes list is updated together with the entry widget.
    • "Update From..." in the font dialog works now.
    • Images loaded from the same image file share the raster data again.
  • Renamed the script to This new version creates fonts.scale files by default now and is also distributed separately from Sketch. It's now distributed under the GPL and not the LGPL.

Sketch 0.5.3 (February 7th, 1999)

  • Sketch now has an experimental configure, build and install script. This script is modelled after the proposed standard for Python packages and applications currently discussed in the Python distutils SIG, although it's not much more than a wrapper around the old makefiles.

    For details on its use, see the INSTALL file.

  • Python 1.5.2 compatibility:

    I've run Sketch with the 1.5.2b1 release for more than two weeks now, and almost everything works as before, with these exceptions:

    The stricter syntax check for functions with default arguments produced syntax errors in two places. These have been corrected.

    The new sorting order for objects of different types revealed an error in the example file This file is fixed in the new release. The skloader should really make more checks during import.

  • The Drawing modes are now permanent by default. They were mentioned as permanent in the NEWS for Sketch 0.5.2, but this was not really true. Whether they are permanent or temporary is configurable, and the default was `temporary'. To make them temporary again append the line

    preferences.creation_is_temporary = 1

    to the file ~/.sketch/ This file (and the directory) will be created automatically by Sketch after it has run. Editing the preferences file works only if Sketch is not running, because Sketch always writes it on exit.

    This option will be moved into the Options-dialog someday.

  • If you feel adventurous, you can try the tooltips feature, by adding the line

    preferences.activate_tooltips = 1

    to ~/.sketch/ I hacked the code recently to make it work again, but it probably still has some bugs.

  • There's an Illustrator export filter. To save a file in this format, select File|Save As... and supply a filename ending in '.ai'. Due to limitations in the standard Tk file dialog, selecting the Illustrator format in the file type option menu is not sufficient or even necessary.

    The current filter is incomplete.

  • Rectangles may have rounded corners now. To create rounded corners, select a rectangle in edit mode and drag one of the corners.

  • The .sk file version number was updated because of the rounded corner rectangles.

  • Bezier curves (including poly lines) can now be used as guides. Move them to the guide layer and activate Arrange|Snap to guides. This already worked for ellipses and rectangles.

  • When drawing polylines, the first click-drag-release creates the first line and not just the staring point.

  • When creating a mask group, the topmost object becomes the mask. This is more intuitive, I think, than the lower most used before.

  • To create guide lines, you can now simply drag from the rulers into the canvas just as in Gimp or CorelDraw.

  • To delete a guide line just drag it and drop it somewhere outside of the canvas.

  • A new command File|Insert Document lets you load a vector drawing in any of the supported formats and insert it into the current document as a group. You can then ungroup and edit it.

  • The default unit for lengths is now configurable via the options menu. This does not affect the rulers yet.

  • The current position in the status bar shows the snapped position now if snapping is active.

  • Blending of two closed curves with differing numbers of segments produced ill-formed bezier curves. This is now fixed, but results in sligthly different blend groups as before in this special case.

  • Converting a text object to curves results in a group with separate bezier objects for the characters (instead of a single multi-path bezier object).

  • Two new window commands. Windows|Hide Dialogs hides (withdraws) all dialogs currently visible and Windows|Show Dialogs shows them again.

  • Added a few new commands to the context menu for fill and line properties.

  • A new command to select all nodes of a bezier object. Available from the Curve menu and from the context menu.

  • Snapping of guide lines works properly now.

  • If you want 'live' scrolling in the drawing area, where the display is updated while the scrollbars are dragged, add this to your Xresources:

    sketch*canvas_frame.Scrollbar.jump: 0

    The current release is not optimized for this, though, so it might be too slow.

  • various bug fixes

Sketch 0.5.2 (December 09th 1998)

  • Sketch contains a work-around for a bug in the Python 1.5.1 module import code that affected Sketch's import filters.
  • An improved AI import filter with a faster and better parser. It is still not complete. See the comments in Plugins/Filters/ for more details about the implemented features and limitations.
  • A new (and experimental) print dialog is available via 'File/Print...'
  • The script works.
  • The return value of XClearArea is ignored now, because XClearArea is declared void on SGIs.
  • In the layer dialog, the context menu has been reorganized a bit and contains some layer specific entries ('Grid...' for the grid layer (the same as Arrange/Grid...) and 'Guide Lines...' for the guide layer (the same as Arrange/Guide Lines...))
  • In the layer dialog , some of the buttons are grayed out if the corresponding layer attribute cannot be changed (e.g. the grid layer is always locked).
  • The test for X shared memory images should work properly now.
  • fixed the bug where images rotated by exactly 90 degrees were not drawn.
  • the drawing modes (create curve, create rectangle, etc) are now permanent. You have to switch to edit-mode or selection mode explicitly.
  • Switching between modes is now easier. The buttons for edit/select mode and for drawing are now `radiobuttons' and provide both a means to switch from one mode to another and an indicator for the current mode.
  • the button for snap to grid now changes its relief from flat to sunken if snapping is active (instead of changing its bitmap).
  • Added a label to the statusbar that indicates whether the drawing was modified since the last save or since it was loaded/created.
  • doesn't use drem anymore. (drem is not available on Solaris)
  • The color allocation strategy for PseudoColor displays is configurable. The option is not available from the dialog yet.

Sketch 0.5.1 (November 08th 1998)

  • The bezier related commands of the arrange menu are now in the curve menu.
  • Sketch now asks for confirmation (again) when the window is closed via the window manager. File/Exit did work correctly.
  • sketch will print more diagnostic messages by default.
  • the code in Sketch/Modules has been rearranged to increase portability. Interdependencies between compiled modules are now handled in a portable way.
  • The test for X shared memory images should work properly now. Compiling the paxmodule without shared memory support is now possible.
  • sketch used to hang in an infinite loop if a font was not available on the X-server and a MessageBox was popped up with an error message.
  • Ctrl + cursor keys scrolls the viewport
  • the drag&drop bug, when dragging a color from the palette to the pattern widget in the fill panel, has been fixed.
  • fixed Doc/fonts.scale to agree with Doc/fonts.alias

Sketch 0.5.0 (October 31st 1998)

first public release