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The Gimp Software Linux

GIMP Not Enough for Linux Users? 819

nursegirl writes "Novell has been running a survey about apps that people need in order to convert their data centers or desktops to Linux. The online survey has been running since Jan 13, and Adobe Photoshop was at the top of the list as of February 1. has an interesting article about why the existence of the GIMP isn't enough for many professionals."
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GIMP Not Enough for Linux Users?

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  • by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:21AM (#14648305)
    ...when the author suggests that Linux using webdevelopers need Dreamweaver to create sites?
    • Boy, you're missing the point.
      This isn't about current 'Linux using webdevelopers', this is about folks who need certain tools to get things done.
      And this is ignoring folks who work in products that won't respond because they KNOW they'll never be built on Linux (.NET, Lotus Designer, Dreamweaver, etc.)

      Some shops require certain tools be used, like it or not. You want folks to be able to make a business case? Make certain that every app they'll need is ported.
      Don't offer half or 3/4 baked alternatives. M
      • Missing one more point: some shops don't care what individuals use as long as the job gets done, but interact with other companies that use "industry standard" (read: Photoshop) document formats. For example, my company exchanges files with some of the biggest ad agencies in the world - if you think you're going to use a Linux desktop and force a designer at (insert ad agency here) to change, you're f'in crazy.

        Even if you like Gimp, the first time you have to use someone else's computer to open a CS2 PSD, y
    • Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      Excuse me, but I nowhere read that. Just because dreamweaver was included in the list of possible ports, it doesn't mean that Linux users need it.

      Also, you took the tangent, instead of reviewing his points, you simply dismiss the whole argument because of something else he said.

      Let's analyse his points, ok?

      a) The menus - this may be fixed in 2.4, but it took a long time.
      b) The color space (CMYK) and depth (16-bit)
      c) The plugins

      To make GIMP plugins, you need to compile them. He says Photoshop isn't an applic
  • They have a point... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sensible Clod ( 771142 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:23AM (#14648316) Homepage
    As powerful as GIMP is, I find myself struggling to complete tasks that would be easier in Photoshop. More frustrating, however, is having to compile my own plugins. I still have not managed to compile one successfully (and I've been working with Linux since Red Hat 7.3).
    • by Kristoffer Lunden ( 800757 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @04:18AM (#14649214) Homepage
      As powerful as GIMP is, I find myself struggling to complete tasks that would be easier in Photoshop.

      You mean stuff like resizing the brush with a keypress? After reading the manual, going to google, setting any arcanely named binding that might be it in the shortcuts preferences, the Gimp just sits there and stares stubbornly at me when I try it. Do these people never paint anything? OTOH, this is the same people that think that CTRL-K is much more logical for deleteing stuff than say, oh, I don't know... delete, maybe?

      Apart from that, a lot of why the Gimp is such a struggle to use is those right click menus and image menus that the Gimp people are so proud of because they can do anything. Sure, they can do anything - but it also lists *everything*, always! It's called a context menu, and it could be incredibly powerful if it had any context. Oh, and things sorted in real categories.

      I could very well live without a Photoshop interface, but I want a human interface.
  • GUI perhaps? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:24AM (#14648318)
    (dons flame resistant suit of anonymity)

    Maybe this is because GIMP has one of the most god-awful GUIs known to man. I mean seriously, it seems to be designed to hide functions and impede work, not t'other way round.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:41AM (#14648402)
      "I mean seriously, it seems to be designed to hide functions and impede work, not t'other way round."
      So, err, you want GIMP to hide work and impede functions?
    • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shelled ( 81123 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:51AM (#14648442)
      Which part of the Gimp GUI?

      1. The right-click-on-photo part that brings up every command?
      2. The pull down menu above the photo that brings up every command?
      3. The floating toolbox that brings up every command?
      4. The customizable tab box which permits instant access to your most important subset of commands?
      5. That near every subset of commands can be 'torn off' as a floating toolbar?
      6. Or the part that doesn't look like Photoshop's unique boxes-in-boxes interface, a GUI style last universally popular in the Windows 3.x days?
      • 7. The file selector that doesn't look anything like what the user is used to in either Windows and KDE. In Windows it is sometimes a challenge to find "My Documents" due to the way roaming profiles are configured in some corporate environments. I haven't tried Gimp on Mac to know how out-of-place it's file selector is there.
      • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TekPolitik ( 147802 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @02:32AM (#14648878) Journal
        The right-click-on-photo part that brings up every command?

        That sucks. It should only bring up stuff relevant to manipulating bits of the image. The right-click menu is also known as the context menu - if I'm right-clicking on pixels I want something that relates to pixels. Some things that definitely should not be there: File, View, Image, and then most of the things on the sub-menus (which are also arranged in terms of GIMP internals rather than in terms of user-oriented categories).

        The pull down menu above the photo that brings up every command?

        It's not so much the menu as the fact that everything is impossible to find in the menu because it was apparently arranged by a seriously deranged individual bent on avoiding natural categories. Even when you can find something it takes 3-4 non-obvious menu options in sequence to do something that is one menu option in other drawing software. The floating toolbox that brings up every command?

        The customizable tab box which permits instant access to your most important subset of commands?

        Sensible defaults are better than telling people to customise what is out of the box the Worst... Interface... Ever.

        That near every subset of commands can be 'torn off' as a floating toolbar?

        What the hell does this have to do with anything? Actually, now that I think of it, it does have something to do with the problem since these floating toolbars don't - they sink right to bloody bottom of the window stack and you have to go hunting for the bastards (this doesn't happen in an MDI interface by the way).

        Or the part that doesn't look like Photoshop's unique boxes-in-boxes interface, a GUI style last universally popular in the Windows 3.x days?

        And yet a style that is retained in every serious image editor*... but nooo, the GIMP people are right and everybody else is wrong.

        GIMP's user interface really is a festering pile of crap. Go ahead, GIMP-fans, do your worst to my karma - I have plenty.

        * Yes I know GIMP doesn't have it. I meant what I said.

        • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lifeisgreat ( 947143 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @03:42AM (#14649117) Homepage
          It's odd, isn't it.

          Fact: Many users have experience with Photoshop and the GIMP.

          Fact: Most of those users find Photoshop's UI to be vastly superior, or at least the GIMP's UI to be vastly inferior.

          Fact: Those in charge of the GIMP dismiss such experienced users in the field as feeble-minded ignoramuses.

          My $1,000,000,000 prediction: this comment will be just as applicable 3 years from now.
    • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JahToasted ( 517101 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:00AM (#14648482) Homepage
      Actually I was using GIMP before I came here. Yeah the interface sucks. I have to have an entire virtual desktop reserved for it alone, and even then there are dialogs that pop up behind the window. I have to spend more time resizing windows than actually working. And if you have a lot of images open the taskbar groups them so that it takes two clicks to get to anything.

      Why not have a nice tabbed interface?

      Also the name sucks. At best its confusing, at worst its offensive.

      Its pretty sad when its obvious to everyone what the problem is, yet its still the same thing after what, six years?

      • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by slashdotnickname ( 882178 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:57AM (#14648760)
        Also the name sucks. At best its confusing, at worst its offensive.

        How's it offensive?

        I was born with a left club foot. Fortunately, it was braced and reset before I can remember. Even though I've always walked with a slight (almost unoticeable) limp, I've never considered myself inferior in any way. The word gimp has never crossed my mind as being offensive. What I find offensive though, is when people try to tell me that I should be offended by. Gimp (in one of its definitions) is just a descriptive word for someone with a limp, so I'm a gimp, big fricking deal...

      • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:3, Interesting)

        > Yeah the interface sucks
        I doesn't suck more than the Adobe interface. The definition of "suckiness" always seems biased away from the UI you're used to. I learned GIMP first and didn't have much trouble, but now I can't stand the crammed look of Adobe Apps, other people have it the other way round, and, fankly, I'm tired of people including "Yeah the interface sucks" just because.

        > I have to have an entire virtual desktop reserved for it alone
        I have always considered that to be the point of virtual
    • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jilles ( 20976 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @08:07AM (#14649815) Homepage
      Actually you are quite right. The big problem in the linux community is that they are not really open to this kind of criticism. People have been saying for years that UI sucks and for years it has continued to suck.

      Lets face it, the GIMP UI is pretty bad. It is going to take some major rearchitecting to fix that. One reason why that won't happen is that the people who are supposed to do that obviously don't get it (just look at the current UI ...).
  • Photoshop (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:27AM (#14648334)
    The article says:
    "It's also not really thought of as a "Windows" application in many shops. For many graphic pros, it's a Mac OS program."

    "I was also told that while GIMP's functionality may rival Photoshop's, how you get there is very different. For instance, to users who know Photoshop, GIMP's SDI (Single Document Interface) can be confusing. In GIMP, each image gets a separate window, whereas Photoshop's MDI (Multiple Document Interface) groups them all together in a single window."
    Photoshop is a SDI application on the Mac. SDI vs MDI is hardly the reason professionals will not switch to The GIMP.

    Like the article mentions, it's all about colour management and plugins. The former could be solved with code, but the latter is very much chicken/egg; third-parties won't write GIMP plugins until companies start using it, and companies won't start using it until their plugins are available.

    Not to mention all the licensing fun of releasing closed plugins for a GPL application. That'd be fun...
    • Re:Photoshop (Score:3, Informative)

      by olliej_nz ( 701899 )
      The big problem with colour management is that professional designs need access to Pantone colours -- and those have to be licensed
      • Re:Photoshop (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:10AM (#14648538)
        You just demonstrated that you don't understand the "big problem" with color management. Formal color management is about reconciling various RGB and CMYK color spaces in a perceptually consistent way (i.e., transforming monitor color to printer color), and has nearly nothing to do with licensing. Spot colors like PANTONE are a very small subset of the domain of color management.
        • Re:Photoshop (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Farmer Tim ( 530755 ) <roundfile AT mindless DOT com> on Monday February 06, 2006 @03:58AM (#14649160) Journal
          Spot colors like PANTONE are a very small subset of the domain of color management.

          While spot colours may be a small part of the technical side of colour management, the ability to shave several hundred dollars off the cost of a print run by using a two or three tone Pantone process rather than full CMYK is far from trivial if you want to stay in the print business. And that's before you even think about special finishes (like metallic), which can't be specified in CMYK or RGB at all.
  • by gorim ( 700913 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:29AM (#14648346)
    I want to work in my RAW photos in 16-bit as much as possible before converting to 8bpp at the final step. GIMP doesn't do that, so I am forced to use photoshop.
  • Krita (Score:4, Informative)

    by Andrew Tanenbaum ( 896883 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:32AM (#14648361)
    It's not there yet, but look out for Krita. It has great ICCM colour support, but it's kind of slow.
    • Re:Krita (Score:4, Informative)

      by Illissius ( 694708 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:25AM (#14649383)
      Krita 1.5 will have, among other things, object layers, group layers, adjustment layers, RGB8, RGB16, CMYK8, CMYK16, L*a*b*16, RGB float 16 and 32 (OpenEXR), LMS32, grayscale, and even a Watercolors colorspace. That's a whole lot of GIMP's deficiencies right off the bat. However, it also (a) is slow (most effort so far has gone into architecture and features, not optimizing), and (b) has an even smaller plugin community than the GIMP's, due to it being pretty new. (On the other hand, nearly everything in Krita is a plugin, including colorspaces, tools, paintops, and obviously filters, so once it picks up it could be pretty nice.)
  • Irfanview (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bemmu ( 42122 ) <lomise.uta@fi> on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:32AM (#14648363) Homepage Journal
    GIMP is cool, a bit unixy but for a novice it accomplishes much the same as more expensive programs. The thing I'm most missing on my desktop is Irfanview. How to move hundreds of pics from digicam to the computer, crop and rename? GIMP is very unsuitable for this task. Heard it's possible to get Irfanview to run on WINE, though, but a native solution would always be nicer.
  • by brian0918 ( 638904 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:34AM (#14648371)
    I can easily say that the newer versions of Photoshop dwarf the competition. I specifically focus on restoration and cleanup of old photographs, and this is where Photoshop excels. Photoshop's layout seems much more straightforward, and its utilities more accessible and versatile than those in GIMP.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:36AM (#14648382) Journal
    >99% of business desktops don't have Photoshop, let alone whatever a "datacenter" involves. If Photoshop is at the top of Novell's list, all it shows is that if you have an open web survey and ask Teh Community for responses, you get replies from 15-year-olds.
  • adobe releases (Score:3, Insightful)

    by binarybum ( 468664 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:41AM (#14648405) Homepage
    From TFA: "After all, Adobe didn't even release Version 6 (acrobat) for Linux."

                  That's about as dissapointing as M$ not porting BOB to Linux.
    • That's about as dissapointing as M$ not porting BOB to Linux.
      I'm not going to make the big switch to Linux unless I can take Clippy with me.

      Or that really cute dog that shows up in the search window.
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:42AM (#14648410) Journal
    People (like me!) complained for years that Photoshop only existed on the Mac and PC, and so, finally, Adobe ported version 3.0 (at apparently great expense) to the SGI. Unfortunately, it was a monumental failure -- Adobe sold perhaps hundreds of copies.

    The sad thing about this is that now there is almost no way that Adobe would consider doing anything like that again, with Linux. They've been burned before.

    It's a shame. I'm sure that they'd sell many more than a few hundred copies to the Linux market. Maybe even a thousand.

    Hardware is so cheap these days, though, that you might as well have a Mac or Windows PC around to run Photoshop when you need it. After all, the software is going to cost you $1,000 or so, you can spring for another kilobuck on some hardware -- or you can dual-boot your Linux box under Windows.

    As much as I'd like Photoshop to run under Linux for my visual effects company, in the end I would prefer that Adobe just make better versions that run under the toy operating systems. My painters will be happier that way, anyway.

    Thad Beier
    • "I'm sure that they'd sell many more than a few hundred copies to the Linux market. Maybe even a thousand."

      See, right there is why it will never happen. I would be suprised if 1000 copies even recouped the cost in time and effort of Adobe porting over their creative suite. They have no incentive. Anyone who needs the tools that they offer has no issue using either OSX or Windows profesionaly, and the people who refuse to use anything but Linux as part of the open source movement are never going to use a

    • by canavan ( 14778 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @06:20AM (#14649505)
      Adobe most certainly sold thousands of copies of Photoshop 3.0 for IRIX, since those came bundled with certain versions of SGI's entry level workstations (Indys, O2s). However, as another poster already mentioned, this was a very shoddy port, essentially just the MacOS version recompiled with a MacOS on Unix library. It looked and worked like the Mac version, was slow and unreliable and was completely out of place on a normal irix desktop. On top of all this, back in those days Photoshop wasn't "the" standard like it is today, it was just one of many image manipulation packages, and especially on Irix, there were quite a few to choose from.

      I have licenses for Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere on one of my SGIs at home, as well as the now discontinued Eclipse, and Eclipse was miles ahead of Photoshop back then. I don't use any of the Adobe packages anymore, mostly because i find them totally awkward to use - significantly worse than gimp.
  • by typical ( 886006 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:45AM (#14648424) Journal
    Yes, there are some missing dead-tree output features. But honestly, you know why Photoshop gurus don't like the GIMP?

    It's the same reason I'd be pissed if you took all my POSIX utilities away. Or replaced emacs with Visual Slickedit.

    The user has spent a very large amount of time learning to use the incumbent software package very, very well. *Any* deviation in UI or featureset means that (a) he has to blow a lot of time relearning a tool and (b) he immediately notices missing features that he depends on, but it takes him a while to discover [] the things that the challenger can do, but the incumbent can't.

    The article mentions the relearning time, but I'd say that 90% of the problem has to be right there.

    User knowledge is the nicest of the forms of lock-in that I can think of (from a user standpoint). It's straightforward, it's comparatively easy to assess (the user knows how long it took him to learn a tool), you can't really hide it from a customer, and it never *can't* be overcome if absolutely necessary.
  • by joNDoty ( 774185 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:54AM (#14648457)
    "GIMP should be enough for anybody."

  • Gimp is good enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:01AM (#14648490) Homepage Journal
    The Gimp is good enough for most of us. It is different than Photoshop so people need to relearn how to do some basic things which can painful for the easily frustrated. A better GUI for Gimp wouldn't hurt and I think they addressing some of the issues in 2.4. Also others have mentioned GimpShop, I'm not sure how mature that is though. But yes Gimp as it stands is not good enough for photo professionals because it lacks color management and built in CMYK support, even though a plugin exists. But then again how many photo professionals use Linux in the first place?

    On a side note I'm really impressed with how much work/research Novell is putting into the Linux desktop. Instead the gradual long-term effort Red Hat has invested, Novell seems to be thinking short-term. Novell desktop 10 looks really interesting [] and their sponsorship of XGL is also really great. I'm glad someone is stepping it up.
  • by foxwitt ( 307404 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:03AM (#14648494)
    If Adobe figured out some way to lock down Photoshop so that it couldn't be pirated as commonly as it is currently. I know tons of people who use Photoshop and praise it to the heavens, but not a single one of them actually put the money down on it. I work in a university environment, so there're lots of legal copies of Photoshop around, but a lot of people work with their own hardware, so many copies that get used for preparing images for publication aren't legitimate.

    I use the GIMP for the same tasks, and get results that are just as good, though. I think that for most image processing, the GIMP does everything the average user needs it to do, and more. I'm not denying that it doesn't meet the needs of certain professionals. However, if people weren't able to get pirated copies of Photoshop readily, they'd find that the GIMP does the job they need it to do.
    • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:30AM (#14648635) Journal
      If Adobe figured out some way to lock down Photoshop so that it couldn't be pirated as commonly as it is currently.

      Does Adobe even really care? Most everyone who uses Photoshop professionally pays for it (and it's obviously priced for that market). Photoshop probably owes some of its ubiquity in the professional graphics world to its wide availability for piracy.

      The fact that pirated Photoshop lives on millions of personal computers owned by people who honestly would never pay the price Adobe is asking for it (mine included, I admit) is costing Adobe very little revenue while giving them huge amounts of exposure, which amounts to free advertising.

      For the sake of their stockholders, they publicly mind, but I think the lack of any real attempt to prevent its piracy speaks a lot to how they truly feel about it.
  • by DavidinAla ( 639952 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:07AM (#14648515)
    The very fact that this question has to be asked says a lot about why Linux (and other OSS) has trouble making it in fields with established software. I presume that the people who wrote GIMP wrote it to meet their own needs, because they certainly haven't taken the time and effort to meet the needs of print graphics professionals. Even if you ignore the interface and a number of other shortcomings, the lack of CMYK support makes it IMPOSSIBLE for it to be used in a graphic arts environment for printed products.

    The primary colors of light (and therefore monitors) are red, green and blue (RGB). The primary colors of printing are cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). A digital image starts out as an RGB and is edited that way, but it must be converted to CMYK before it can be sent to an imagesetter for four-color printing. This isn't a "good thing to have." This is a showstopper not to have. It's like having a car without wheels.

    I keep hearing OSS people breezily dismiss criticisms of software such as GIMP or just insist that it IS good enough for professionals. The very fact that some people are arogant enough to try to shove tools onto people that WILL NOT DO THE JOB shows why it's hard to adopt Linux on the desktop. Linux has done well in areas where geeks have written software for other people like themselves. It has not done well in areas where the geeks don't "get" what professionals in other areas must have. A commercial company has a serious incentive to make software that fits the needs of those other people. The people who write OSS tend to just want to write things that are fun and useful to them -- and that severly limits adoption of Linux in non-technical areas. Of course, it also doesn't help that so many Linux people seem to take the attitude that the Linux desktop is fine, but artists and other non-technical types are just too stupid to use it.

    • by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @02:37AM (#14648897) Homepage
      Look, the lack of CMYK isn't the show stopper that it once was. Many modern workflows use RGB images throughout and have a colour-managed approach to conversion to CMYK that only happens just before the final output stage (be that to PDF or to an image/platesetter)
      There are many advantages to an RGB workflow - smaller image sizes and easier for software to work with is one, less RAM and disk space used, less data to crunch etc.
      Using a fully ICC profiled workflow, from capture/acquisition through retouching and editing and finally to output means that the one source image can be retargeted at a number of different output devices and keep the highest possible quality. The days of using pre-separated CMYK images are drawing to a close, as once you've converted to CMYK you don't want to go flipping back and forth between that and RGB. Also, once you've got CMYK, you will find it very hard to use the same source image for, say, printing on newsprint at 75lpi and printing the same image in a glossy magazine on high-brightness stock at 175lpi, or using stochastic screening...

      Anyway, having said all that, I totally agree with you that the GIMP is totally unsuited to a professional workflow.
      Time is money, and the time you waste with GIMP over a couple of weeks will easily cover the purchase price for the entire Adobe Creative Suite where you have a heap of apps that all work together and, more importantly, are recognised in the industry as having proven themselves to work...
      • Try sending an RGB photo placed in a QuarkXPress document to a printing company and tell them that it doesn't need to be converted to CMYK. For all practical purposes, CMYK IS still an absolute must. :-) You're right that you don't want to convert back and forth between the two color spaces, which is why I edit and save an RGB before I save a different file as a CMYK. There are so many possible uses for the picture (even as CMYK) that I prefer to keep something as close to the original as possible. But whe
  • Underrated point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tyler_larson ( 558763 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:07AM (#14648516) Homepage
    First of all, Photoshop -- on either Mac OS X or Windows -- is the default photographic and prepress program for serious graphics firms.... Photoshop is simply "The" application that professionals use.

    This really is the key. GIMP will never have more than a marginal user base because they don't understand their users. Their users--nearly all of them--are Photoshop users (or potentially ex-Photoshop users).

    Good user interface design means not just creating an inteface that "makes sense," it's also creating an interface that works the way the user expects it to work. If over 90% of your users are used to the way Photoshop does function X, then you sure as hell better implement function X the way Photoshop does. Not because that way is better or makes more sense, but because that's what the user expects you to do, and any deviation from those expections means your app is "broken" in their eyes.

    Competing on features in this sort of market is futile. Your program may be able to give me the moon on a stick; but if I can't easily make it work, it might as well do nothing at all. The success stories--those projects that have managed to supplant a deeply-entrenched competitive offering--have always acknowledged this fact and have modified the behavior of their own product to compensate. The failures in this arena (GIMP being the most famous) always refuse to acknowledge the effect on their users' expectations caused by their competitor's dominance. For projects like the GIMP, it seems a matter of pride to not be influenced by such an unworthy competitor.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:09AM (#14648524)
    Adobe offers these kits called Classroom in a Book and they are wonderful. Geeks might actually not like them, but they speak the language that artsy types understand. My mom had great success with a Photoshop class, and she says that is one of the biggest reasons. She's not a computer person, she finds them difficult to learn and needs precise instructions, with visuals preferably. These books provide that and using them, she's now gotten far better at Photoshop than I am.

    This is extremely important, given that non-computer people are a major market for Photoshop and such. Sure geeks need to use photo editors, but let's be real here, we aren't the core market. The art people, be they prepress, photographers, designers, whatever, they are the ones that really make use of these products. However their computer skills are generally minimal, limited only to knowing what they need to work their tools. Thus having good training material is essential.
  • crop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:10AM (#14648534)
    I am a normal user and not a graphic designer. Thus, I do not use complicated features in Photoshop or GIMP, just the low level features. One of these, however, is crop. And crop sucks on GIMP. With Photoshop it is simple, I put a box around what I want to crop to and I crop. With GIMP there are three crops, none of which are very good. The only one that I can use is "guillotine", which one uses by going to the ruler, dragging a line out to the middle, going back to the ruler, dragging a line to the middle, going to the other ruler, dragging a line to the middle, going to the other ruler, and dragging a line to the middle again. Then I go through the menu to guillotine crop, and 9 images pop up. I close the eight I don't want, so that I now have the original big one, which I don't want any more, and the cropped version. I can just imagine what the more complex features are like. Or what people who aren't like me think, who don't use Debian as their desktop.
  • by Xonstein ( 927931 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:27AM (#14648622)
    There are just too many Linux people who feel that because you can accomplish this task or that with an application that it is somehow 'just as good' as another application. They refuse to accept the fact that the Human Interface Design, professional documentation, and seemingly 'minor' features the Linux application lacks are User interface, designed workflow control, and substantially deep and broad documentation options and third-party support are HUGE, not marginal, elements of an application like Photoshop. ITS NOT JUST A BUNCH OF FILTERS. Also, most if not all GIMP features *follow*, not *lead*, photoshop implementations. Like most Linux desktop applications, it seeks to duplicate the features and usability of the gold standard commercial app, not lead it. Someone else mentioned that you dont need Dreamweaver to develop webpages - entirely true - but if you are a professional website designer 90% of your workflow revolves around constant mockup revision negotiation between client and designer, following by a final code implementation. Using Photoshop and/or Dreamweaver to revise mockups moves MUCH faster than hand-coding, and as such saves time and money. Also, it is advantageous to design in PS and/or DW because you focus on what the final page needs to look like, and not worry about how it needs to be coded, which is huge.
  • by miyako ( 632510 ) <(miyako) (at) (> on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:30AM (#14648639) Homepage Journal
    I use Linux as my primary desktop OS. I have to say that I agree that Photoshop would definitely be a huge boon to be able to run on my desktop. Right now I have a mac that I use for photoshop and although I really like it, it would be very nice to be able to not have to get up and move to a different machine to be able to mess with some textures. While GIMP works for some things (and it actually feels faster working with some larger files than photoshop on similar machines)- the lack of certain plugins (generating normal and image maps, working with .iff files, nVidias photoshop plugins) means that gimp isn't exactly practical.
  • by vijayiyer ( 728590 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:31AM (#14648646)
    Let's see: as a photographer, the GIMP is missing 16 bit support (showstopper), the healing brush (saves me hours of time doing dust removal and the like), adjustment layers, speed (I work with 300-500MB large format scans), proper color management, etc. Someone tell me - why _should_ I use The GIMP? To save a few hundred dollars - a small fraction of my total equipment cost? Being the dominant player, it's not for Photoshop to justify its existence - the GIMP needs to provide a compelling reason for people to use it, and I see absolutely none for serious users.
  • Colour depth. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:32AM (#14648649) Homepage
    The annoying thing about the colour depth issues is that there IS a version of GIMP that supports large colour depths - there is an entire fork of the GIMP tree called 'FilmGIMP' - and then, later: 'CinePaint' that's been developed with really comprehensive deep colour support.

    The problem is at the core of the GIMP developer team's culture. If you hang out on the GIMP mailing list for any amount of time, you'll find it's an unbelievably hostile list. The members of the team seem to hate each other with a passion! There is constant bickering and any questions that are even a shade off-topic (or even on-topic but in the mailing list archives) will be flamed mercilessly.

    It is that innate hostility that drove a wedge between the GIMP team and the consortium of movie art teams that put together FilmGIMP/CinePaint. That the project had to be forked in order to get such a basic feature done is just criminal.

    GIMP is great - yes - but it could have been so much greater. It's amazing that it's done as well as it has.

    • Re:Colour depth. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @04:39AM (#14649259)
      The mailing lists don't just have the developers biting at each other, but some of the higher up gimp people biting at users and potential users. I dared to compare a feature of Photoshop's clone tool with one on GIMP, and wished for some of the photoshop-like functionality on the gimp, and gimp's resident defender Carol started on with the nasty emails. It was six repetitive emails abusing me, my relationships with women, abusing me for being a control freak and how, by insisting gimp wasn't good enough, I was calling all gimp users morons for using substandard software and she wouldn't stand for that. That's borderline stalking behaviour.

      What happened 3 months later? My graphic designer gf got exactly the same treatment in email off list for asking how to do something in gimp that she could do in photoshop, except carol added in the accusation that she could only afford photoshop if she's sleeping with the boss so she didn't have time to speak to people like her. That didn't stop her sending another couple of abusive emails.

      This is an open source software mailing list, not a vicious political shitfight where nobody's allowed to question or suggest the slightest thing is wrong with Gimp. Works more like the latter from my experience.
      • Re:Colour depth. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BigSven ( 57510 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:51AM (#14649444) Homepage
        Carol is not representative for the GIMP developers. The last time we heard about her sending such mails off-list, we asked her to stop it and were told that it wouldn't happen again. If it did indeed happen again (as you said), I would like you to report this incident and show evidence for it (but please not here on slashdot). If your claims are true, then it is probably about time that Carol gets her mail address and web space revoked. We have been hesitant to do that until now because she is often very helpful and the content of is a very good resource for GIMP users. But her attitude towards some people on the mailing-list is indeed inacceptable and I am afraid that she is doing more harm than good.

    • Re:Colour depth. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tcdk ( 173945 )
      The problem is at the core of the GIMP developer team's culture.

      I think this is the problem of quite a few OSS projects. We wanted to give our users (of a closed source system) an extra database alternative and decided to take a look at Postgresql, as it doesn't get much more free that that (with MySQL not being that free anymore).

      Reading through some of the postgres mailing liste, trying to find a bit of information on how to do some fairly basic stuff (something like the mysql command "show databases"

  • Game dev (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kreyg ( 103130 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:49AM (#14648717) Homepage
    I use the GIMP from time to time in game development (as much as a programmer needs to anyway).

    -Supports a wide range of file formats
    -Tons of image editing and processing options
    -Understands the concept of an alpha channel

    -Alpha channel support is "inadequate" (to be kind)
    -8 bits per channel max
    -Starts up very slowly

    I don't hate the interface as much as some people, but then I don't work with it all day either. I imagine the bits-per-channel thing could be a pain to fix, depending on how things have been designed. It seems that most problems with it are known and fixable, why is it exactly that they aren't?

  • by Joe Decker ( 3806 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @02:47AM (#14648944) Homepage
    Hmmmm. Last April when we last talked about this, [] I listed as major hurdles to GIMP replacing Photoshop features including "16-bit" images, adjustment layers, CYMK processing and (with a little help from a commenter at that time) color managment.

    (I'd also incorrectly guessed that RAW processing wasn't available at all.)

    My understanding is that none of those features is yet addressed, although CMS is due in GIMP 2.4.

    In that same time frame, PS has made advancements itself.

    I, for one, welcome our new Adobe..., errr, that is, I remain unsuprised by corporate users wanting PS-on-Linux.

  • Fonts in OS X? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grrrl ( 110084 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @04:01AM (#14649169)
    erm last time I loaded up the GIMP I couldn't even use any of the OS X fonts. Maybe you can (can you?) but that's a pretty big reason to use it for home-graphics use (ie when you can't afford/need photoshop). I'm pretty techie but I just couldn't be assed after 10 mins of googling and turning up no answers.

  • by Builder ( 103701 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @04:23AM (#14649230)
    What spending 600 quid on Photoshop gave me was hours of my life back. Ignoring the technical issues like 16bit support, LAB, plugins, etc. I still would have spent this money on CS2.

    Being able to modify exposure, black point, contrast and white balance in a second or two per image cut my workflow on a standard shoot from about 2 hours to 1 hour. Beign able to do that non-destructively so that I can go back and try something else later is even more valuable. Cutting my time down behind the machine means I can spend more time behind the lens, and that's where the money really is.

    Being able to make a change once and then copy it to every other image in the shoot, or a selected subset of those images means that I don't make mistakes.

    The other big issue is information available. Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Photographers is an awesome book. It presents 'recipes' that are easily understood, achieve a specific goal and can easily be turned into actions. The Real World Camera RAW book was also fantastic.
  • by saikou ( 211301 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @04:41AM (#14649269) Homepage
    I tried GIMP. I spit four thousand times and I went back to Photoshop. Yes, interface is customizable and simply takes "getting used to" but I don't want to customize nor get used to it, all I wanted was to make a small animated toolbar (which I did in less than 10 minutes at home). Why can't there be a version that does things like Photoshop does?
    I think GIMP is in the same UI trap as Lotus products that are trailing Microsoft Office popularity -- "We're different, and we don't care that more popular product has different interface, we'll force users to get used to ours". Yes, there will be perver strange people who will say they like Lotus UI because "it's different" but for most people Microsoft Office interface works, and Microsoft got where it is now not only because of the monopoly tie-in with OS products, but because they copy good things into their products, including UI. By being "different" Lotus office products limited themselves to situation where user is forced to use them. And for home they run for Word or for something that looks and behaves like Word.
    Every time you encounter radically new interface it takes time and effort to get used to. People don't want and don't have to do it. Leave the radical and ugly dysfunctional interface to hobbyists, and copy Photoshop interface for the rest of users. If you want to make a point how easier/better GIMP interface is, add a little window that says "You could have easily done it in GIMP native interface by pressing blah blah blah". And, perhaps, allow pieces of interface being switch to native mode, so once user is completely accustomed to GIMP way of doing things whole interface would be reverted to radical mode.
    Instead of that all I see is people argue with foam at their mouth on how much better GIMP interface is.
  • by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:14AM (#14649363)
    And it is not replacement for Photoshop, either. But post scriptum: for PROFESIONALS. For other crowd who pirates Photoshop just for little tweaks (who are also just people who takes "first hit for free") GIMP could be good enough.

    See, I said - could be. Yes, GIMP has it's own share of problems and it feels somehow stagnated, sure. It could be better. So it is just too little confusing in GUI and lacks good help mode. That's all.

    For professionals it is completely other story.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:16AM (#14649367)
    I don't care what uber powerful features it supports. If simple operations can be an exercise in frustration then the UI needs fixing.

    A simple example which bugged me this weekend. I needed extra space to draw in so I resized the canvas. But I can't actually paint there! Why? Because the canvas size changed but the layer size didn't. This is so stupid. I only had one layer, so why didn't it ask me if I wanted to resize the layer too, or even provide that as a persistent checkbox preference in the Canvas size dialog? GIMP is replete with stupid little things like this. Such as the foreground / background colour selector where it is entirely non obvious how it works with the same tooltip covering 4 distinct actions. Or the scale selection (as far as it works in Win32) does not support proportional scaling and the grabber behaviour is totally insane.

    Rather than attempting to play the same complex notes as Photoshop (another lousy experience IMHO), perhaps they should be simplifying its day to day use first. Make the next version a usability & bug fixing release only. People wouldn't be pining so much for Photoshop or any other decent tool if the one which ships with Linux didn't make them want to gnaw their own arm off with frustration.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:30AM (#14649400)
    Novells conclusion [] from the survay []

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller