Shared resources

Current version: 0.2. See Revisions History below for list of changes between versions.

Warning: This specification is a work in progress. It’s not recommended to follow it in its current state.


Today opensource graphics applications seem to like to work out uniform solutions. Krita uses GIMP’s brushes, Inkscape uses GIMP’s color swatches files. Still missing are ways to share resources like brushes, so that users wouldn’t need to install all of these resources separately for each and every application that can read such data.

The intention of this specification is to work out uniform rules for storing possibly shared data, which would let

  • developers benefit from no efforts duplication;
  • packagers benefit from no efforts duplication;
  • users benefit from using one root directory for all art supplies and one art supplies registry for all applications.


Following applications (in strict alphabetical order) are taken into consideration while writing this specification (as of current version):

Shared resources evaluation is available separately.

Proposed changes

Make all of the above applications use one root directory for all art supplies:

On UNIX (GNU/Linux, FreeBSD etc.) systems:

/usr/share/create/ and ~/.create/ (for local use)

On Windows systems:

%COMMONAPPDATA%create and %APPDATA%create (for local use)

Note that while %APPDATA% is actually available as an environment variable (at least on Windows XP), %COMMONAPPDATA% is not, it is meant to be the Application Data directory for the “All Users” profile. A good way to retrieve the above directories is by using the SHGetFolderPath function (be sure to link against shfolder.lib and package shfolder.dll with your application if you want it to work on older versions of Windows, like Windows 95, a redistributable is available from Microsoft), this should work on pretty much all versions of Windows (verified on a clean Windows 95, as well as Windows 2000 and XP). PathAppend can be used to append the “create” part. Instead of SHGetFolderPath it is also possible to get the paths from the registry plus size clothing, at (HKLM|HKCU)SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrent VersionExplorerShell Folders (also verified for Windows 95, 2000 and XP).

On Mac OS X systems:

/Library/Application Support/create and ~/Library/Application Support/create (for local use)

The outline for subdirectories would look the following way then:

			icc [note: symbolic (?) links to /usr/share/color/icc and its equivalents]

Needs further investigation

  • directories of all of the above and below mentioned applications in Mac OS X;
  • more information about Karbon14;
  • information about Abiword (clipart);
  • possibility of application icons reuse.
  • usage of the XDG Base Directory Specification at On Unix that would mean storing local files in $XDG_DATA_HOME/create rather than $HOME/.create


  1. A bug report covering paths to search for ICC by Scribus.
  2. A letter from Alan Horkan to gimp-developer@ list, which initiated an offlist discussion among GIMP, Krita, Inkscape and Scribus developers.
  3. An initial request by Alexandre Prokoudine for a new project covering shared graphics applications resources at
  4. A blog entry by Jon Philips’, where in comments it was decided to merge efforts with CREATE project at
  5. OpenIcc — a project with two main goals: 1) to work out a common set of settings for color savvy applications to share ICC/ICM profiles and settings; 2) to bring together those developers in areas like printing, display and desktop applications to work together to make color management end fat burners to end work for open source applications. OpenIcc and ICC in common aren’t covered by ‘Shared resources’ spec beginning from v0.0.4.
  6. OpenDocument specification


Tim Beaulen

Craig Bradney

Alan Horkan

Sven Neumann

Igor Novikov

Alexandre Prokoudine

Boudewijn Rempt

Robin Rowe

Mark Tyler


License applied to this specification is Creative Commons No Derivative Works

Revisions History

  • Revision 0.1 (5 December 2005). Added more info about Karbon14, Krita. Added mtPaint and its author, Mark Tyler. Added Sven’s elaboration on file formats supported by GIMP. Changed “Authors” to “Contributors”. Integrated suggestion of anonymous user about locale sensitive path variable on Windows. Added suggestion for OS X folders moving quotes and Web 2.0 Design. Added link to OpenDocument spec. Added XDG Base Directory Specification to the list “Needs further investigation”.
  • Revision 0.0.5 (9 September 2005). Added sK1 to the list of considered applications. Added information about Sketch and sK1. Cleaned up “Needs further investigation” section. Added Robin Rowe to the list of contributors and moved to alphabetical order instead of order of appearance.
  • Revision 0.0.4 (4 September 2005). Switched to DocBook/XML. ICC is moved away from the spec, because OpenIcc spec should be informative enough. Lots of typos are fixed. Changed structure of the document and added section “XML brushes”. Added mentioning openclipart gradients to Karbon14 (Section “Gradients”). Reorganised subdirectories definition and changed it to an outline. Added info about Cinepaint. Changed mentioned version of Clipart browser which was written for Google’s Summer Of Code contest.
  • Revision 0.0.3 (16 August 2005). Added a References section and several references.
  • Revision 0.0.2 (16 August 2005). Fixed description for Scribus in color swatches and ICC aspect.
  • Revision 0.0.1 (16 August 2005). Initial version

Shared resources spec support status page

This table simply shows progress of embracing Shared resources specification by different applications. Developers are welcome to update this page and/or add new applications to it (please keep alphabetical order in this case).

Application Status
Cinepaint not yet, no idea if planned
GIMP not yet, no idea if planned
Inkscape Reads palette files
Karbon14 not yet, no idea if planned
Krita Full support
mtPaint not planned
Scribus Support for flat fill swatches is implemented in 1.3.3.x and above series
sK1 planned
Skencil not yet, no idea if planned

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