Inkscape 0.91 is shipping. A major update to the open-source drawing tool, the latest release brings in a new graphics rendering engine, plus a lot of new tools, including one for tracing bitmap images.
A free vector graphics and paint package, Inkscape emphasises the SVG file format commonly used online, but reads and writes most common (and uncommon) image formats.
Improved performance, reduced memory usage
The main change in Inkscape 0.91 is the new rendering engine, Cairo, in development since 2010.
The new engine should provide improved performance and substantial memory savings: according to the release notes, Inkscape 0.91 needs as little as 25% of the memory used the previous release.
If you work on Windows, performance is further boosted by a new native 64-bit build.
New tracing, measurement and typography options
However, there are also a fair number of new tools, including the self-explanatory Trace Pixel Art, which automatically vectorises raster art, and supplements the old Trace Bitmap.
There is also a new measurement tool, a lot of updates to the text tool, and various workflow improvements, including the option to use real-world units in document sizes.
In addition, over a dozen new extensions have been added, including an isometric grid generator, a bitmap cropper, an HSL adjuster, and various font and text-handling tools.
Availability and system requirements
Inkscape 0.91 is available now for Windows, Mac OS X and various flavours of Linux.