Startup slowness

I don't use Inkscape often, but when I do, I have to wait about 30 seconds for it to show up. A quick search came up with a bug report about the amount can affect the startup speed. A 2.5 years old bug with 230 bug heat is still unresolved.

An interesting, or say a desperate measure, is to temporarily hide your fonts directory before you bring up Inkscape. You can't use it when you can't see, am I right?

In my case, if you use fc-list | wc -l to get the number of fonts (some of them are subsets):
  • 1,677 fonts: 27 seconds
  • 336 fonts: 13 seconds
That does help. My font directory contains entire Google Web Fonts Directory, you can clone Google Web Fonts Directory into your fonts directory. That is 1.2GB since last pull in January. Having a clone is more convenient than you download from the website, and the better part is you can update and add new fonts just by using hg pull.

I believe it will help web pages loading, because Google Web Fonts is used by a lot of sources. Why not keep a copy of it in my local disk, so your browser won't need to download the fonts again and again. I never really felt any speed degradation when I am using X window or other programs. In fact, the slowness I can complain only happens in Inkscape startup.

There are some comments in the same bug report claiming that second window is also slow, though it's not that long. But I didn't really feel delay from second window creation.

I had thought about removed Google Web Fonts, because it could also free 1.2 GB space and I don't actually use those fonts often, however I didn't do it. 30 seconds, I could take that since I rarely use Inkscape.

If you are not a serious designer and can't stand with the slowness, clean up your fonts, remove those you don't actually use. (You can grep your awesome SVGs to see what fonts you have used)

If you live on designing, then suck it up and never quit Inkscape after launch-up. I believe designers must have a hell load of fonts, unfortunately, you could only bare with the startup slowness. 2.5 years, what can you expect? I don't know if Inkscape is aware of font installation after its launch-up, if it is, then you probably can add font when needed, but that's just being silly to put more burdens on your shoulders.

There is also a bug report about Splash dialog, which is intended to be a workaround for slowness issue. Since you can't improve the speed, a progress indication might ease the pain of waiting. It's a 3 years old, so you know the possibility of this being implemented.

Last window closing

Inkscape has same window close management as Chrome, they quit as last window closes. It annoys people and I am among them, but strangely, those developers never get annoyed by that miraculously. I even created an extension when I was using Chromium to negate the annoyance, for which, I am not the only extension developer who tries to get around the issue.

For this issue, a seven years old bug has grown as a young neglected child, will it be a teenager in 6 more years? I am sure it certainly will. We shall see how much trouble this teenager-to-be can bring to us.

If you compare with GIMP, it doesn't quit when last opened window closes, opens a blank window, instead. You need to close one more time in order to quit GIMP. It can also be annoying, but it is better than waiting the programs to get started again.

C++ programmers?

I am not one, but I actually had contributed to Inkscape twice for its building scripts, autotools and cmake, last year, google my username with "inkscape." Yep, Inkscape indeed has two set of building system.

The major issue with that for me are, firstly, Bazaar (bzr)  is so slow when you cloning its repository, not sure if it's because large file sizes or the amount of commits; secondly, compiling takes like ages. After two patches, I stopped and even had some stash code on Gist without submitting.

But if you are an experienced C++ programmers and you love Inkscape, just get your a$$ over there and start to kick some bugs!