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Openclipart, tags and packages

Hi all,
This is going to be a shortish post about a web resource and a package called Openclipart which can be used to spice your digital life.

First of all apologies, I just saw that I hadn’t shared about Openclipart ever. Openclipart.org or OCAL as its popularly known has been in existence since 2004 but I came to know it around 2006-2007 when the first opencliparts were packaged as an extra something along with Openoffice which has since been moved to Apache Foundation. I don’t remember the version number but was nice to know that there is public Domain clipart available for general use. OCAL is headed/run by Jon Philips “rejon” of Inkscape fame. I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Jon Philips when I did an interview on him a few years back when the Openfont Library was in its infancy. Since I had been playing around with various things I didn’t keep an eye either on Openclipart or/and Open Font Library as there hadn’t been any updates on the clipart package. I had no idea that the package had been orphaned.

Openclipart

Openclipart

Then just couple of days before I saw a huge update. An update measuring 600 MB+. This is when I realized that openclipart both as a web resource as well as a package are still alive and kicking well. It took me quite a while for the update to happen as debdelta was not able to cope up with the update and hence I had to manually download and install the big update.

$ aptitude show openclipart-png
Package: openclipart-png
State: installed
Automatically installed: yes
Version: 2.0-1
Priority: extra
Section: graphics
Maintainer: Martin Kelly
Uncompressed Size: 655 M
Suggests: gimp
Conflicts: openclipart (< 0.10+dfsg-3)
Description: clip art in PNG format
The Open Clip Art Library is a collection of 100% license-free, royalty-free, and restriction-free art that you can use for any purpose.

This package contains the images in Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format.
Homepage: http://www.openclipart.org

Tags: made-of::icons, role::app-data

$ aptitude show openclipart-png=0.18+dfsg-12
Package: openclipart-png
State: not installed
Automatically installed: yes
Version: 0.18+dfsg-12
Priority: extra
Section: graphics
Maintainer: Debian QA Group
Uncompressed Size: 203 M
Suggests: gimp
Conflicts: openclipart (< 0.10+dfsg-3)
Description: clip art in PNG format
The Open Clip Art Library is a collection of 100% license-free, royalty-free, and restriction-free art that you can use for any purpose.

This package contains the images in Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format.
Homepage: http://www.openclipart.org

Tags: made-of::icons, role::app-data

Now you can see the change just from the file-sizes. There is also an openclipart-svg package which is much better if you want to do it to print out stuff. Its a slightly bigger/bulkier package but it works out if you have the disk space for it.

$ aptitude show openclipart-svg
Package: openclipart-svg
State: not installed
Version: 2.0-1
Priority: extra
Section: graphics
Maintainer: Martin Kelly
Uncompressed Size: 1,107 M
Recommends: librsvg2-bin
Suggests: ksvg, gimp-svg, inkscape, sodipodi, sketch
Conflicts: openclipart (< 0.10+dfsg-3)
Description: clip art in SVG format
The Open Clip Art Library is a collection of 100% license-free, royalty-free, and restriction-free art that you can use for any purpose.

This package contains the images in Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) format, which is an XML format approved by the W3C.
Homepage: http://www.openclipart.org

Tags: made-of::icons, made-of::svg, role::app-data

If you are on MS-Windows or your distributions do not provide openclipart packages you can point your browser at the OSUL repository where you will find a slightly older package.

Now I’m a lazy sort of person. It makes more sense to me to try to use the openclipart which is now installed in my system rather than going somewhere on the net to find clipart. But here I run into a problem. The images (i.e. clipart) are organized by names of person who made that clipart rather than organizing the clipart either by the characteristic or/and what it is about. A random example of how its stacked at the moment can be seen as :-

/usr/share/openclipart/png$ls -l

drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2012-03-14 22:19 00Inkscape
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2012-03-14 22:19 1in9ui5t
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2012-03-14 22:19 43ad5web
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2012-03-14 22:19 aaha
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2012-03-14 22:19 abadr
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2012-03-14 22:19 abraxasWD

As can be seen the directories do not tell us anything as to the contents within the directory. Let’s go and look into the contents of one of the directories :-

/usr/share/openclipart/png/00Inkscape$ ls
00Inkscape_skull_corneum.png

The name says that it is something to do with skull but this is not enough information. It would have been nicer if there was someway to have some tags and have some more information about the picture, right from whether it is multi-color and other characteristics. Some of it can be found out by running the file command :-

$ file 00Inkscape_skull_corneum.png
00Inkscape_skull_corneum.png: PNG image data, 194 x 148, 8-bit/color RGBA, non-interlaced

While this is good it would have been nicer if the directory was flat and had multiple tags along with author info. Some sort of embedded data perhaps within the image itself or some other way. While I don’t know the solution to this one I can share of another solution which has been adopted by Debian as they also have been having the same/similar issue in packages as they have almost 38k + binary packages in the repo.(41k roundabouts for wheezy) for a single hardware architecture (i386 or/and amd64 etc.) Now do you remember seeing something like this at the very end of the package:-

Tags: made-of::icons, made-of::svg, role::app-data

This is because I have installed a package called debtags. Let’s see its description :-

$ aptitude show debtags
Package: debtags
State: installed
Automatically installed: no
Version: 1.9
Priority: optional
Section: admin
Maintainer: Enrico Zini
Uncompressed Size: 923 k
Depends: apt, python, python-debian, libapt-pkg4.10, libc6 (>= 2.2.5), libept1, libgcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1), libstdc++6 (>= 4.6), libxapian22, zlib1g (>= 1:1.1.4)
Suggests: tagcoll
Description: Enables support for package tags
debtags provides a system to download a database of package tags and keep it up to date. A package tag is a small label that gets attached to a Debian package to represent one of its qualities.

A package tag database in the system can enable advanced package search techniques, and advanced package browsing functions in programs that support it.

This package has been made as a way to deploy and test package tags support until it gets integrated in the normal Debian workflow.
Homepage: http://wiki.debian.org/Debtags

Tags: implemented-in::c++, interface::commandline, role::program, scope::utility, suite::debian, use::searching

To make sense of the tags you need the services of another package and command called apt-xapian-index. Once you have installed it its damn easy to find about stuff. For e.g.

$ axi-cache search game::rpg
18 results found.
Results 1-18:
100% adonthell - 2D graphical roleplaying game
100% angband - Single-player, text-based, dungeon simulation game
100% ardentryst - Action/RPG sidescoller, focused on story and character development
100% bsdgames - collection of classic textual unix games
100% exult - engine for Ultima VII (BG, FOV, SI, SS)
100% exult-studio - tools for editing and viewing exult games
100% freedink - adventure and role-playing game
100% freedink-dfarc - frontend and .dmod installer for GNU FreeDink
100% freedink-engine - adventure and role-playing game (engine)
100% freedroidrpg - An isometric RPG influenced by Paradroid
100% freedroidrpg-data - Data files for freedroidrpg
100% inform-docs - documentation for the Inform interactive fiction language (v6)
100% kildclient - powerful MUD client with a built-in Perl interpreter
100% magicmaze - rescue the maiden while avoiding the monsters
100% oolite - space sim game, inspired by Elite
100% openrpg - client/server application to play RPG over the Internet
100% rolldice - A virtual dice roller
100% slashem - variant of Nethack
More terms: game playing role dink freedink smallwood adventure
More tags: use::gameplaying role::program uitoolkit::sdl interface::x11 x11::application game::adventure game::simulation

I can also do a combination like :-

$ axi-cache search game::rpg and interface::x11
11 results found.
Results 1-11:
100% adonthell - 2D graphical roleplaying game
100% angband - Single-player, text-based, dungeon simulation game
100% ardentryst - Action/RPG sidescoller, focused on story and character development
100% exult - engine for Ultima VII (BG, FOV, SI, SS)
100% exult-studio - tools for editing and viewing exult games
100% freedink-dfarc - frontend and .dmod installer for GNU FreeDink
100% freedink-engine - adventure and role-playing game (engine)
100% kildclient - powerful MUD client with a built-in Perl interpreter
100% magicmaze - rescue the maiden while avoiding the monsters
100% oolite - space sim game, inspired by Elite
100% openrpg - client/server application to play RPG over the Internet
More terms: game exult dink freedink ultima smallwood playing
More tags: use::gameplaying role::program x11::application uitoolkit::sdl game::adventure implemented-in::python hardware::input:joystick

If you see the second list is what I was looking for. I used games as an e.g. as I play them to de-stress myself and have an affection for RPG games which have a GUI. I am not gonna be talking/sharing about debtags as although its fantastic it needs its own article in some future post :).

If something similar is/would be available to end-users of openclipart people it would be fantastic.They could start by looking by work done by opengameart artists as well.Notice how the tags are functional and still nice.

One of the big reasons I like openclipart in a package form is there is no need of persistent internet connectivity which is a big thing in a country like India where net connectivity is and gonna be an issue for number of years. In a packaged form I can burn a CD/DVD,share it, sell it, in fact do whatever which is not possible on the site. Also it does give less pressures to the site as well. The problem (I guess) for Openclipart developers for what I have seen so far is that they underestimate the importance of their own work and what it does and could mean not just for themselves but for the free software movement too.

Till l8er.

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