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Inkscape Sodipodi Comparison

Inkscape started as a fork of Sodipodi and Inkscape would not be where it is today without having had the base of Sodipodi to build on. As the two programs evolve it becomes increasingly useful to compare the two so that the developers of each can consider what features to copy from each other, and so that users can which program is useful for which drawing task or suits them best.

  • Overall, Inkscape progresses faster and has more developers working on it. Inkscape's developer and user lists are currently more active.
  • Sodipodi's renderer is noticeably faster, but less correct (often has artifacts with complex self-intersecting paths).
  • Sodipodi's freehand tool is different from Inkscape's. Inkscape and Sodipodi have improved different aspects of the freehand tool since the fork. Sodipodi uses for the freehand tool an algorithm similar to that of the calligraphic tool, with parameters like drag and mass (not adjustable, however, as of 0.34); this makes the tool seem to adapt how closely the curve should match the mouse's path, whereas in Inkscape one must choose a fixed tolerance in advance.
Situation as of Inkscape 0.40: Some people prefer the behavior of Sodipodi's freehand, while others prefer Inkscape. See FreehandComparison page for example screenshots from both categories of users. After 0.40, Inkscape CVS will experiment with incorporating sodipodi's improvements.
  • For documentation, Inkscape has a detailed manpage, several big SVG tutorials and a complete shortcuts reference in SVG and HTML. The Sodipodi documentation is limited to a brief text-only shortcuts list and various web pages. (Some of Inkscape's documentation could be helpful for Sodipodi use too.)
  • Inkscape fixed scores of bugs that Sodipodi has not yet fixed. Most applicable fixes from Sodipodi since the fork have been ported to Inkscape. On the other hand, the tons of new features in Inkscape undoubtedly introduced their own bugs. Inkscape employs a very intensive bug tracking process, that seems to help stabilize new features, though. Overall, people seem to agree that Inkscape is more robust and crashes less.
  • Inkscape's package for Microsoft Windows is self-contained and easy to install. A single package makes things simpler and more convenient for testers and ordinary users.
Sodipodi requires a separate installation of GTK libraries which although more complicated can be helpful if you wish to use less diskspace/bandwidth by sharing the same version of GTK (and settings) with other applictions GTK applications such as the GIMP, GAIM and more.

Inkscape may in future try to also provide this kind of split package but given how rapidly Inkscape changes the most up to date version of GTK is almost always required anyway. To save bandwith the file inkscape.exe has been offered to testers allowing them to avoid a full upgrade every time but it would not be recommended for ordinary users.

  • Opinion is mixed as to which interface is better. Overall, most people seem to prefer Inkscape's use of a Single Document Interface (SDI) to the use of a Controlled Single Document Interface (CSDI) in Sodipodi where to the Toolbox is the main window and the panels are all in other separate windows.
  • Inkscape has tools and tool controls attached to each editing window as toolbars. This seeks to minimize the need for floating windows and makes the most important controls more predictably positioned and faster to reach. Sodipodi has one big floating toolbox shared by all document windows.
Sodipodi's interface has been described as more GIMP-like. Inkscape's interface, on the other hand, resembles some of the commercial vector applications, most notably Xara X.
Users with dual-screen setups and complex Window manager software tend to be those most likely to prefer the Sodipodi style interface as it allows/requires them to organise everything themselves.
One disadvantage to Inkscape's approach is that toolbars may either be partially cut off when the editing window is too small, or prevent the window from getting as small as possible. Inkscape toolbars are, in theory, detachable, so they can be removed from the editing window and float freely as separate windows. In practice, however, this is hardly usable because GTK does not make such detached toolbars stay on top, so they sink to the bottom very soon and are rather cumbersome to dig up again, especially if you have many windows. Let's hope GTK will fix this one day. (Windows need to set the correct hint to let the window manager know they are utility windows, the proceeding point may already be out of date and the following comments seem to confirm it).
Also, any Inkscape toolbar can be permanently hidden; you can easily make a "bare" window without any buttons, if you are willing to use keyboard shortcuts instead of toolbar buttons.
  • Inkscape's dialogs by default stay on top of the currently active document window. Sodipodi's dialogs (including the toolbox) sink.
Not anymore, recent version of Sodipodi has the same "problem" as Inkscape - dialogs stay on top. --HandgranatSandra
Do they stay on top of all editing windows (as in Inkscape), or only over the original one from which they were called? --bb
  • Inkscape remembers the size and position of dialogs across sessions, Sodipodi does not.
  • Inkscape has a lead in usability:
  • Inkscape has many more keyboard and mouse shortcuts (but arguably this is greater flexibility not necessarily better usability, and accidentally hitting the wrong keybinding can waste time). Compare Inkscape list and Sodipodi list. Inkscape has a unique focus on keyboard accessibility of basic editing operations (move, transform, z-order, etc.)
  • Inkscape remembers the zoom and view and window geometry of saved files.
  • Selecting objects in Inkscape is much easier (select in groups, select under, forced rubberband, settable drag and grab tolerances, canvas autoscrolls when you drag objects or do a rubberband selection).
  • Consistent treatment of stroke width, patterns, and gradients, which are either transformed in sync with their objects or stay unchanged in transformation, depending on a user setting.
  • Inkscape has many more statusbar tips, tooltips, and other runtime verbiage. The size of an average .po file (containing all the interface strings) of Inkscape is more than twice that of Sodipodi.
  • In Inkscape Exporting to bitmap (PNG) repeatedly is much more convenient since the filename and resolution are remembered, selected objects only export, more command line export options.
  • Inkscape has made many usability enhancements, too many to list here. See release notes for the past versions for a complete list.
  • Features of Sodipodi not currently in Inkscape (possibly incomplete; please add if you know of others):
  • The "Apply to duplicate" checkbox in the Transformations dialog. However, in Inkscape 0.41 most if not all effects achievable by this checkbox can be replicated using the Tile Clones dialog that creates clones (which can then be unlinked to become regular duplicates).
  • The "Repeat" command to repeat the last command.
  • Features in Inkscape but not currently in Sodipodi:
  • Layers.
  • Manual and automatic kerning and letterspacing in text.
  • Text on path, flowed text.
  • Editing of SVG markers (e.g. arrowheads). Sodipodi has only a limited display support for markers.
  • Much more convenient on-canvas gradient editing.
  • Creation and editing of clones (SVG <use> element). Sodipodi only has limited display support for <use>.
  • Clone tiling (arranging multiple clones with various symmetries, shifts, rotations, randomization, etc).
  • Creation and editing of pattern fills. Sodipodi has only display support.
  • Editing multi-stop gradients. Sodipodi has only display support.
  • Intergration with Potrace, for tracing bitmap images to vectors. Sodipodi users can only use Potrace from the command line.
  • Inkscape uses Pango for text and therefore better supports right-to-left and other non-Western scripts.
  • Inkscape has more import and export formats, although many of them rely on external applications and are not available on all platforms.
  • Inkscape has a usable (but still unfinished) plugins and extensions support. Python extensions that are shipped with Inkscape do a lot of fun things.
  • Inkscape shapes and shape tools have more options and controls.
  • More path operations (Simplify, Cut path, Division).
  • Offset (inset or outset) paths, including dynamic and linked offsets.


Inkscape forked from SodiPodi in late 2003. See InkscapeHistory for more information.


Sodipodi screenshots (archived)


Wikipedia article Sodipodi Official site (archived)


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