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I need some Linux based program that will allow me to create an assortment of drawings exported in SVG as exploded shapes that are primarily composed of a couple of words of text rendered with a few effects. Normally I would have used Inkscape for this, but the catch is I need to use some alternate glyphs (swash capitals) from an OpenType font and Inkscape does not seem to support this yet.

What options do I have for this on Linux short of stealing a friend's Mac or running a VM to use InDesign?

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Since it looks like LaTex provides support for all(most) all the OpenType font variants, including swash, you can either generate your graphics directly in LaTeX or generate the elements and import into Inkscape then position them.

You may need to add some supplementary programs to be able to do the latter with:

sudo apt-get install texlive pstoedit

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