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I concur that Inkscape is comparable to Xara X. When I reviewed Xara on my own site, I said that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other. Come to that, Inkscape has plugins that can do things like generate fractals and position patterns, which Xara cannot. Xara also has things it can do, such as instant beveling and 4-way gradients, which Inkscape cannot. Inkscape's interface - unusual for an open-source tool compared to its closed-source counterpart - even has a far better interface, since it has lots of keyboard control to make things like positioning of elements more precise.
The problem, I think, stems from the fancier graphical tricks that Xara does, which are not translatable into XML. Inkscape's output is 100% XML-compliant, so you can display the output in a web browser. Xara is kind of a lungfish, caught between the open standards methods of vector drawing and a layer of fancy add-on tricks where it wants to compete with Adobe.
In the end, it's all half-way. But for the record, I have it on Slackware 11 with a Linux 2.17 kernel (built this year), and it runs fine. Unfortunately, it isn't good for much else but to import and export png format, so it can work with my other tools.
- Penguin Pete