Spread the word – StixCampNewstead to be held ANZAC Day weekend, 24-26 April 2010

The inaugural StixCamp was held at Newstead, central Victoria in March 2009. Based on the success of this event, it will be run again over the ANZAC day long weekend, 24-26th April, with thanks to our hosts Ron and Julia from Welshmens Reef Vineyard. The feedback from the last event suggested that we needed to get the word out about the event a lot earlier – so we’re trying to spread the word! In case you’re in doubt about how awesome StixCamp was, you can check out some of these great photos 🙂

If we can better promote StixCamp Newstead 2010 then we’d love to hear from you! Just let us know at

organisers at barcampmelbourne dot org

(In case you didn’t know, StixCamp is run in BarCamp style and was started by the crew who’ve helped put together BarCampMelbourne)

In particular, we’d love to know;

  • Where would you expect to hear about this event?
  • What mailing lists are you already on?
  • What user groups are you a member of?
  • Where did you hear about your first BarCamp Melbourne or StixCamp?
  • If you work for an IT organisation or study at a university, what’ s the best way for us to spread the word?

We’d warmly welcome any other ideas you might have, and if you’d like to get involved, just send a blank email to;


You can also follow us @StixCampVicAu on Twitter/Identi.ca or @BarCampMelb for more information.

StixcampNewstead – Donna Benjamin’s talk on Inkscape


Donna Benjamin is President of Linux Users’ Victoria and is quite influential in the open source community. Her talk at StixCampNewstead was on the open source product ‘Inkscape‘ – which provides a free alternative to programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Fireworks.

Most people at the presentation had had some exposure to Inkscape which made Donna’s presentation all the more interesting. She demonstrated a number of the features of Inkscape including:

  • Bezier curves
  • Stroke and fill options

Inkscape produces scalable vector graphics – as opposed to the raster images produced by the likes of Photoshop. This makes it quite a useful tool for large format printing, such as for banners. It can also be scripted, for instance by taking XML input and using it to have dynamic text represented in an image.

Inkscape provides very fine grained controlled over stroke and fill options – I was very impressed by the stroke options available. Often in graphics programs the stroke options go to a minimum of .5pt for stroke – but Inkscape can go much finer which is useful for line art based designs.

The creation above is my first attempt at using Inkscape (keep in mind I’m fluent with Illustrator, Fireworks and Photoshop) and generally it is very easy to use. The interfaces are a little foreign at first, but then any graphics application that’s reasonably mature usually is. The only real difficulty I had was that it does not output PNG natively – it has to first be converted to a raster image. When importing between Inkscape and GIMP, there were also some parts of the image that were not correctly converted.