Earlier today, Boudewijn Rempt, lead developer of Krita, announced leaving KO GmBH, one of major supporters of Krita Foundation. We reached out to him for some more details.
Boudewijn, first and foremost, are you staying with the Krita Foundation?
I’ve been maintainer Krita for ten years, I’ll go on. Either I’ll be able to make the foundation pay me my living costs, or not, but either way, I’ll continue managing its affairs.
Given that KO GmBH used to be a stakeholder in Krita’s affairs, what’s its future?
There’s one guy who’s still officially employed. What happens after, I don’t know — the goal of the current owner is to keep KO out of receivership, so the software we developed won’t be sold off. That’s mainly WebODF.
How is Krita Foundation actually doing?
Right now, we’ve got a bit of a buffer, around 3 months for Dmitry. So, it needs to be more — it always needs to be more, of course. But we’re doing quite well in many ways, donations are up, sales of the DVD are up, development fund is up.
What do you think needs most work to make matters even better, financially?
Well, code-wise, we’ve got a nice roadmap, marketing-wise, we’re doing really good, actually: in January’s ImagineFX we have a five-out-of-five, artist’s choice review. I really need to sit down and start planning the next kickstarter, though.
Are you going for community-voted features again?
I’m not sure. There are these 4 big features we really want: level-of-detail performance optimization, OSX port, animation plugin, Python scripting. Each of them is 3-4 months of work. And there are a host of smaller features, of course. We’ll also need another month to finish the layer styles feature and backport it to 2.9.1.
Back in March 2013, when you visited Double Negative in London, there were some ideas floating around like deep integration with Nuke, dynamic, file-based layers, an Adobe Bridge like image manager. What happened to that?
Well, part of it was implemented — we now have file layers. The other parts, well, we had discussions with The Foundry, but couldn’t come to a deal.
What was the disagreement about?
The GPL. They’d have loved to add Krita to their portfolio, but not under a copyleft license. And of course, if we’d done a BSD version of Krita, and The Foundry had gone with it, what chance it’d end up with Autodesk next year!
They really just didn’t want to touch GPL software with a ten-foot bargepole.
Shortly after that visit you announced that Krita Foundation had started doing commercial support for VFX companies and individual artists. But there have been very few (if any) news on that ever since. Why?
That’s because on the one hand, I knew KO was going under since May, so I couldn’t really reach out effectively. And on the other hand, because VFX companies are really good at “oh, if you implement this, then I’ll back you” type of thing.
Right now, we have about two dozen test accounts for companies, and half a dozen real, paying users.
The next major release, v2.9, seems to be shaping up nicely. Anything in particular you are excited about?
Actually, the announcement lists about half of the new features and improvements, and that was way too much. Some people thought it was just a large list of minor things, unlike 2.8 or 2.7 with big stuff like OpenColorIO. But I mean… we’ve got the first implementation of non-destructive transformation masks. That alone is pretty big!
Or the multi-view windows — the same image can be shown in more than one view, in more than one main window. It took me two years to develop and gave me a healthy appreciation for how much effort the single-window GUI in GIMP must have taken.
I remember sitting down at my first Libre Graphics Meeting with Joao and comparing notes on how GIMP users wanted a single-window GUI, and Krita users wanted a multi-window GUI — that was in 2007.
I mean — this is big! And it’s just one of the many things… We’ve managed to put so much cool stuff in for 2.9. And it wasn’t just done by Dmitry and me — our development community has really grown as well!
Krita 2.9 is currently expected to ship in late January. The first public beta is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac. Keep in mind that the OSX port is currently not officially supported.