KDE.news has reported on part of the progress of KDE 4 specific to SVG graphcs. (I know that’s redundant) It’s redundant because SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. Ever since about 2 years ago, Gnome and other projects began to move to SVG rather than PNG, JPG or other types of graphics. “What’s the advantage?” you may be asking yourself. Well, the advantage lies in how pictures are represented in SVG instead of, say, PNG and its ilk.
With SVG, each picture is represented by the points making up lines that make up the image. For example, a line in SVG would be represented as: make a point at (0,1), a point at (2,3) and connect them with a line. In PNG, it since knows that from a certain point on the screen to another point, fill the pixels with some color that happens to be a line. So if you scale a PNG it shows artifacts. (Take a web image and try to print it at 8×10 inches, if you don’t believe me!) SVG on the other hand is just representing points and, if you remember your geometry, if you simply multiply all of those points by, say 2, the picture will be identical to the small one and you will not lose any quality.
I would be accurate to say that it comes down to representing graphics as vectors instead of pixels. This allows many things, for example, only one SVG needs to be created for each icon. Previously there was a need to provide 3 or more images for an icon – small, medium and large. Visit the link above to see some of the amazing ways in which SVG is making the KDE desktop look a lot more beautiful.