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July 07, 2011

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Nice post -- but just for the record, the Debian (and hence Ubuntu) binaries that I look after have had Cairo enabled since April 2008, or for more than three years.

Good to know that the Debian/Ubuntu R binaries have Cairo enabled -- thanks, Dirk!

Laser printers are raster devices too. They do have a lot of pixels mind you. Isn't SVG rather patchily supported in IE?

To really make svg the way to go for web graphics, two things need to happen:

1. Web browsers need to uniformly handle how a svg is rendered (I get different results in safari, firefox, and chrome - and IE doesn't even get to be part of this conversation).

2. R needs to support svgx compression. SVG files are HUGE!! Okay, maybe not always compared to the raster alternative, but compared to other vector graphic formats like swf, they are gigantic.

I hope these things happen soon.

I generate SVGs all the time, so I see the advantage, but then I always convert to PNG before using the pictures online or in a document. This is because they are smaller and easier to deal with. Furthermore, as long as the resolution and size is sufficient, the PNG doesn't look any different than the SVG, which is an important point this article ignores.

I mean, the SVG and PNG pictures you post don't really seem comparable to me: you certainly could have upped the resolution on the PNG so that it looked exactly like the SVG when viewed on the un-zoomed web page. Of course the SVG will look better if you really zoom in a lot, but (1) no one zooms in on web pages and (2) if the PNG is big enough, then even when you zoom in to a reasonable degree they will still look the same.

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