Is XQuartz software really necessary?

I’m trying to get ready for my Glowforge arrival. I’m downloading the software (Inkscape and XQuartz) in preparation. I’m on a Macbook Pro OSX El Capitan.

I’ve been able to download both. The “Verifying XQuartz.pkg” (which I’ve been told takes a long time), has been attempting for hours (over 5), without any movement on the bar.

Did anyone else have any problems with this? Is this a must have software for Glowforge?

Ideas? Solutions?


If you are a developer comfortable compiling for source in the Mac environment, there is a build available that doesn’t use XQuartz, but it is not for the faint-of-heart (I gave up, as it was really buggy). Never heard of an install taking that long, though.

XQuartz has nothing to do with your GF and is not needed for using it – it’s only needed for Inkscape. Many owners that use Macs have opted for Affinity Designer – at $50 it can’t be beat and so far the only think it can’t do that Inkscape and Illustrator can is auto-tracing.


Also, looks like some folks have had success by logging out of OS X then logging back in. Might as well throw in a reboot for completeness…


XQuartz is needed to run Inkscape on a Mac, as Inkscape is an X11 program.

However, I wouldn’t particularly recommend Inkscape. I use Affinity Designer, which is a lot easier to use. It’s $50, which is a lot more than Inkscape ($0) but also a lot less than Adobe Illustrator (which is now only available as a $20/month subscription).



I don’t think my skills rise to that level. But the good news is… I restarted my computer and all was right with the world - it verified easily!

Thanks for you speedy reply - it’s my first time shouting out into the glowforge world! I’ve never designed using these tools and I will probably have a bit of a learning curve, so support close by is a nice thing to have!

: ) Thanks Again!



It also lacks scissors/knife tools and its path combining tools are more limited. I’ve also run into a few bugs and oddities in SVG imports/exports, although most files work fine. But for most things it works great and it’s what I’d recommend to anyone new to vector drawing software who doesn’t have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.


As an ex-teacher, I’m often accused of giving too much homework, but if you haven’t already found it, here’s a great resource for learning how to use design tools for the GF…


OH I’m dying for some homework (a lot like looking forward to braces).

I don’t even know what I don’t know. I have CS 5.5, and illustrator. I don’t really use illustrator (i’ve always been a raster girl). If I’m hearing you right - if I have illustrator I’m good?

I’ve no idea about the cutting and auto tracing above,- I’d really just like to have the best tool for the job, and I don’t mind a purchase if thats what it requires.

Thanks for the links - I’ll dive in!

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I’m right there with you – as an astronomer, I worked with rasters only for 20+ years (vectors were just for orbits and spacecraft trajectories :grinning:). If you have a permanent Illustrator license, you are golden! Sure, there’s a few bells & whistles that have been updated, but you’ll be able to do everything you need with it.

Yep, I’ve been using CS5.0 and it works just fine.

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If you have Illustrator, then I’d use it. It’s easier to use than Inkscape (particularly on the Mac, where Inkscape means dealing with XQuartz) and you’ll probably find Illustrator’s interface more familiar if you’re used to using Photoshop.

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CS 5.5 will work just fine.

I use CS6 myself (professionally, mind you), and keep CS5.5 on my wife’s laptop for compatibility purposes (mostly with regard to After Effects). Both are more that capable of designing for the Glowforge.

What we’re all doing with the Glowforge is relatively simple stuff and requires absolutely none of the fancy features introduced with the Creative Cloud versions.

Thanks for the answer @dwardio!

Tritto on Affinity Designer :+1:

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Umm. OK. Now I’m looking at Affinity. I can make Inkscape work, but it is a good deal OF work. I do autotrace a bunch, but I can hop over to Inkscape to do that if I need.
I’ll look into it more tomorrow but I’m pretty sure my wallet will be $50 lighter tomorrow.

Affinity Designer is nice. I’m going to buy it. One item I noticed it was lacking was DXF import, which was the very first thing I tried to do in it.

I usually use one of the online DXF to SVG converters. There are several.

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