PLease Help - Need Canvas 9.0.4 alternative

Started Mar 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
Hen3ry Forum Pro • Posts: 18,218
Re: The answer to your uncle's prayers -- I hope

Tom_N wrote:

Hen3ry wrote:

All versions of Canvas require Rosetta which that great and caring (for his own fortune and the other shareholders) leader, Steve Jobs, made an arbitrary decision to cut out after X.6.8. According to reports, the engineers had actually begun work on it but …

I do not think that Apple ever intended for Rosetta to be anything more than a temporary transition tool. There have been several of those, for the PowerPC, Mac OS X, and Intel transitions. The 68K emulator lasted "forever", but for part of that time, Mac OS used the emulator to run parts of itself!

More than a little of the responsibility for the current situation belongs to the Canvas vendor(s). Apple didn't announce Intel machines one day, ship them with Rosetta the next, and drop Rosetta on the third day. Rosetta support was around for years. For all of this time, it was crystal-clear to developers that the future was Intel chips. Yet from the sounds of things, the developers never came out with an Intel or Universal version.

Deneba, the company which developed Canvas from way back in the very beginning of Mac days -- so far back that v.1 was a a vector drawing Desk Accessory when you couldn't run more than one app at a time, was always very small.

I think about v.5, when they went transitioned the program to PostScript, they also branched out and produced a Windows version. They developed the two in parallel to v.8. At v. 8 they they made a massive effort and transitioned the program to OS X. They got it up in OS X a year before Adobe managed the same feat with its programs! They didn’t go Cocoa for obvious reasons, just as Adobe did not.

I have a notion that this effort (it clearly was a huge effort, the Deneba team was very open with users and was talking with us all the time -- the upgrade from v.7 to v.8 took nearly 6 months longer for the OS9/OSX Mac version than it did for Windows) exhausted the company.

The Mac market was shrinking and was more and more difficult to service -- OS9 was at the end of its life and pretty flakey, OS X was at the beginning of its life and VERY flakey requiring constant work just to keep up with the changes Apple was constantly ringing, let alone develop the program itself (as you mention, the 68K emulator was being used by Mac OS to run itself in part illustrating what a bowl of blanc mange OS X was), and the Windows market had become increasingly important.

I think it was about the transition from v.8 to v.9, Deneba sold itself to ACD See, a windows-based company. The development from v.9 to v.X was slow. v.9 was pretty buggy, as was v.X. And v.X was it for Canvas for Mac, with a few sporadic bug fixes, and nothing since 2005.

BUT -- with the issue of X.6.x, reaching its apogee at X.6.8, all but about four clearly identifiable and easily managed bugs in Canvas X disappeared! Since X.6.x was the big clean up of OS X which had been piling up dead ends, detritus, and false starts since the original X, it was clear that the "Canvas bugs" were not  Canvas bugs at all but OS X bugs -- often the result of Apple not following its own rules.

Files were fully transportable across the two platforms.

ACD now has Canvas up to v.14 on Windows. One wonders what they are thinking and what they are doing with it -- they never promote it much and their Canvas forums have died, I think. At bottom, Canvas is a technical drawing program of amazing versatility (at v.8 Canvas made Illy 8 look pale and weak -- Illy has caught up a fair bit now). At one time, Boeing had 3000 seats, I understand, and geologists and other sciences use it for seismic stuff, mapping, and goodness knows what all.

For the general user, there is nothing like it which is why a bunch of us hang on to Canvas on Mac and quite a lot of Windows people use it. You have a DTP style UI and on the page you can do vector editing, raster editing (about PShop v.4-5 level), type, the lot. All right on the page. You can have a huge number of pages in sizes up to 2000 miles (I think is the figure -- I mainly work on A4 myself :)). You can import and export a huge number of formats and you can output direct to a printer or save to PDF or HTML, save off selections as separate files (e.g. you might edit a picture in situ on the page of your book, then save it off as a separate file for use in another publication or something). You can produce ads, posters, brochures, books (I've done books up to 256 pages), presentations, and websites, including animated GIFs. Canvas incorporates tools for all these things.

The huge benefit of the program is that the tight integration of the various elements which makes for amazing productivity. While raster editing is relatively basic (of course, you can still do huge stuff in it but you actually have to do the work instead of clicking on a new and shiny tool), some modern tools have been added (e.g. red eye fixing) and the capabilities for using e.g. photos are extended enormously by interaction with vector and type -- a couple of aspects in which Adobe has caught up with finally in the past two or three years, I believe, but which have been Canvas features for 10+ years.

ACD See has done very little to further develop Canvas on Windows, it seems to me, and no longer sells Canvas X for Mac, but the if you look at their Photo Editor v.6 you will see them trumpeting some type and vector features -- all of them Canvas attributes 10 years ago

There is no replacement for Canvas on any OS; in all cases, you need to use a bunch of unintegrated apps and sacrifice productivity -- and dare I say it? Simple fun! I use PhotoLine for some photo editing now, but Canvas is the mainstay or my business and is in action every day.

That's why people like Uncle and I stick like glue to it.

It's not my only legacy program -- others include Eudora for email (there's just nothing like it still), and Personal Organizer for contacts and calendar (there's nothing like that, still).

The real problem that killed Canvas is a business one, I believe. They never had enough resources to throw at it because they never asked enough money for it. It could do all it could do -- but the price of it was somewhat below Photoshop alone! As a marketer, I used to urge them to double the price and hire more help. They did jack up the price a bit for v.8, but it was too little, too late, really.


Cheers, geoff

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