Illustrator (AI) from Rhino never import into Inkscape

Bug #1216793 reported by Moritz Moeller on 2013-08-26
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

Any Illustrator (AI) file exported from Rhino ( does not import into Inkscape. The error is "Failed to load the requested file ...". This goes for files exported from both the Windows and the OS X versions of Rhino.
These AI files import fine into any Adobe product. Rhino writes AI files compatible with Illustrator 3.0, ca. 1990.

On a side note, I was not able to get any further output into the message window, even though my dialog.debug redirect is set to 1 in ~/.config/inkscape/preferences.xml

I am using Inkscape 0.48.2 r9819 on OS X 10.7.5. I did not try if the Windows or Linux builds of Inkscape can open these files.

Attached is an example file, straight from Rhino, that should allow to replicate the issue.

Moritz Moeller (virtualritz) wrote :
su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

The attached AI file is PostScript-based: Inkscape may open such files with the help of UniConvertor [1], but for various reasons, UniConvertor 1.1.x had not be included in the OS X application bundle at the time the package for Inkscape 0.48.2 was created [2].

Summary: The official MacOS X package of Inkscape 0.48.2 does not support to import PostScript-based AI files.

[1] «.ai (Adobe Illustrator) Opens version 9.0 and later files (based on PDF). See PDF entry below. In v0.47, older versions (based on PostScript) can be opened by selecting the PostScript or EPS file type from the drop-down menu. On Linux, you can use the file command to check the version. In v0.48, older versions can be opened via UniConverter if you explicitly select Adobe Illustrator 8.0 and below (*.ai) in the file-type menu. »

. UniConvertor 1.1.x was never officially ported to OS X (installation is partially broken at runtime without patches)
- UniConvertor 1.1.x is no longer actively maintained by the sK1 team (they moved on to rewrite UniConvertor 2)
- Including additional python packages with binary modules which depend on linked shared libraries inside the application bundle does not work with the available packaging scripts (they are broken on SL and later versions of OS X anyway, which is among the main reasons why there are no newer packages for OS X available based on later stable bug-fix releases).

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

Attaching resulting SVG file if UniConvertor is installed (created with Inkscape 0.48.4 on OS X 10.7.5 (local build, not packaged), patched UniConvertor 1.1.5 installed via local MacPorts portfile repository)

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

Note: the latest 0.48.4 RC packages of a native version (using Quartz backend of GTK+) as discussed on the mailing list 'inkscape-devel' do include a working version of UniConvertor 1.1.5, but so far the modified and/or added code for it has not been shared with the project.

See also:
and - somewhat related - bug #1187197 (failed attempts of a user to install UniConvertor on ML and force the bundled application ( use it for PLT support)

tags: added: osx packaging uniconvertor
Moritz Moeller (virtualritz) wrote :

Thanks, I installed Uniconverter and now, when I choose the AI < Illustrator 8.0 filetype, it imports correctly. :)

I did RTFM but the section you posted ( critically misses that Uniconverter is needed to import AI (on certain platforms). Shall I file a bug for this to add this info to the File Import docs page?

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

Moritz Moeller wrote:
> critically misses that Uniconverter is needed to import AI (on certain platforms)


UniConvertor is needed on _all_ platforms to open PostScript-based AI files, and this is described correctly in the manual.

The manual does not address issues with specific ports of Inkscape or released precompiled packages i.e. it does not mention that the rather dated package of Inkscape 0.48.2 for Mac OS X does not include UniConvertor (that's beyond the scope of that manual IMvHO).

Moritz Moeller (virtualritz) wrote :

It is not described in the part of the manual where it matters.
A regular user will not know that there is a difference between a PS-based and a non-PS-based AI file. They will look (as I did) in the File Import section of the manual (the one you linked).
There they will find this:

A number of import types (CDR, PLT, SK1, and WMF) use the program UniConverter. As of UniConvertor version 1.1.4 text is not imported. It is planned that UniConvertor version 1.1.5 will handle text.

This misses "AI" or "certain kinds of AI". I.e. the list of file types that depend on Uniconverter to successfully import into Inkscape on this page of the manual is incomplete.

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

You could mail the author of the manual about this (the manual is not maintained by the Inkscape project) - else I will change the tags of the report to reflect your actual complaint (since it does not seem to be about osx packaging anymore).

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

Other related reports (apart from packaging and documentation):

About the inability of Inkscape to detect different versions of AI (both use the same suffix):
- Bug #570527 “Fails importing .ai files written by matlab”

About the inability to check for dependencies installed as python packages/modules:
- Bug #174992 "Extensions check for Python dependencies"

joddys (joddys) wrote :

As a solution, I'm using Scribus 1.4.2 to open the AI file, then exporting in SVG from it.

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

r13620 (include UniConvertor in OS X packages)

Changed in inkscape:
milestone: none → 0.91
status: New → Fix Committed
Changed in inkscape:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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