Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, or Xara X. What sets Inkscape apart is its use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format.
In contrast to raster (bitmap) graphics editors such as Photoshop or Gimp, Inkscape stores its graphics in a vector format. Vector graphics is a resolution-independent description of the actual shapes and objects that you see in the image. A rasterization engine uses this information to determine how to plot each line and curve at any resolution or zoom level.
Contrast that to bitmap (raster) graphics which is always bound to a specific resolution and stores an image as a grid of pixels.
Inkscape can import and display bitmap images, too. An imported bitmap becomes yet another object in your vector graphics, and you can do with it everything you can do to other kinds of objects (move, transform, clip, etc.)
While Inkscape does not have all the features of the leading vector editors, the latest versions provide for a large portion of basic vector graphics editing capabilities. People report successfully using Inkscape in a lot of very different projects (web graphics, technical diagrams, icons, creative art, logos, maps).
# Important improvements
* Timed autosave: no more lost work
* Spiro splines: an exciting new way to work with paths, fully supported in Pen, Pencil, and Node tools
* Auto smooth nodes: a new type of node that keeps the path as smooth as possible as you move it or its neighbors
* New modes in Tweak tool: pushing and jittering whole objects, scaling/rotating objects, deleting and duplicating using the "soft brush"
* Reworked, much more usable snapping system and a Snapping toolbar
* New path effects, including sketch, hatching, envelope deformation; effects can be stacked and assigned to groups
* A huge collection of preset filters in the new Filters menu
* New cairo-based PS and EPS export: improved quality, more features supported, fallback rasterization for filters and transparency
* Spell checker for text objects in a document
* Many new extensions: restacking, calendar, printing marks, cartesian and polar grids, interpolating attributes
* Optimized SVG code options, now with their own Preferences page
* Many other improvements, usability tweaks, memleak stops, and misc bugfixes