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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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  • 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...
  • 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.
  • The Standard (Score:2, Informative)

    by nife00 ( 952213 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:31AM (#14648355)
    Adobe photoshop is the standard. Every graphic artist learns on photoshop. Every little quirk or oddity of gimp makes life that much harder. No matter how great the image manipulation code is. The gimp interface is just not the standard and that loss of productivity means gimp is at a serious disatvantage.
  • 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:2, Informative)

    by nife00 ( 952213 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:38AM (#14648390) []
    It looks like its closer to the photoshop interface. Though it does look like it has fewer features right now.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slash ... minus cat> on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:45AM (#14648426) Homepage Journal
    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 application, but a platform. And I think he's right. The GIMP, as good as it is^H^Hwas, has stalled in the stoneage, while Photoshop has evolved.

    In my opinion, rewriting GIMP from scratch and making it extensible would be the best choice.
  • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:46AM (#14648430)
    Apple-E. No mouse clicks at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:47AM (#14648432)
    Photoshop is most certainly NOT easy to use. No professional-grade application is. It may, once you're used to it, be fairly efficient, but it sure as hell is not easy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:48AM (#14648435)
    until a Linux/GIMP install is easy enough for the average artist to complete in about the same time they'd do a OSX/Photoshop install, GIMP isn't going to gain any real acceptance or artist input.

    Gimp is available for both OSX [] and XP [], which are about as easy to install as Photoshop.
  • Re:Photoshop (Score:3, Informative)

    by olliej_nz ( 701899 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:56AM (#14648463) Homepage
    The big problem with colour management is that professional designs need access to Pantone colours -- and those have to be licensed
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:57AM (#14648470) Journal
    In case you didn't notice, Linux isn't just for serving webpages anymore.

    Note that the survey [] asks what apps are required for "switching to Linux in their data center", not what's needed before your mom will let you install it on the family computer.

  • Taught Gimp lately?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by deathguppie ( 768263 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:01AM (#14648487)

    Lets face it. Graphics is about art, not software. Artists use the techniques and software that they have been taught to use. I use Gimp because the artist part of my software experience came after my debut in linux. Had I gone through any graphics program, I would undoubtedly be using Photoshop. Why?
    Because that's what they teach. Why would I want to relearn another peice of software??

    If you want people to use your software, you have got to get it used in schools. Just my two cents.

  • by ForumTroll ( 900233 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:03AM (#14648499)
    I'm sure there are plenty of developers that simply want Dreamweaver etc. who are quite capable of coding a standards compliant web page by hand. Nowhere in my original post did I say or imply otherwise. That doesn't take away the fact that a large number of web developers are completely lost without their tools. I've done a ton of web development for major corporations (mainly server side programming not the HTML/CSS) and I've worked with a ton of them. I also have many contacts who are web developers and the good ones always get a kick out of how many so called professionals in the industry are completely lost without their tools.
  • by miyako ( 632510 ) < minus language> 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.
  • 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:Ugh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:57AM (#14648758) Homepage
    For dealing with photos or even scanned images you will often want more than 8bpp, especially when you want to do things like shadow enhancement or highlight recovery. In this way it lets you choose what will be thrown away instead of having the camera throw information away when it converts to JPEG. There is a lot of detail that is often thrown away that can be brought out with the right software.

    For example, one technique used when shooting photos in high contrast lighting conditions is to shoot the photos a bit underexposed then go back and adjust them after the fact, since otherwise the camera can screw up the highlights, often causing them to shift colors due to saturation. Having the extra bits gives a lot more room to change the photo later.

    RAW images are becoming increasingly popular, and though there are several different formats, just supporting Canon and Nikon will probably make 90% of the people happy. For those not familiar with raw image formats, most high-end cameras support more than 8 bits per pixel, often 12 bits and preserve the original CCD/CMOS mosaic pattern. Code like dcraw has already been written which can read most of the formats out there. I myself as a Linux user have fallen in love with Bibble, which allows me to quickly go through hundreds or even thousands of photos and fix things like white balance, shadow recovery, lens distortion, sharpening, etc. all while supporting the higher color depth.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:58AM (#14648763) Journal
    Never mind. I found it:

          1. Photoshop
          2. Autocad
          3. Dreamweaver
          4. iTunes
          5. Macromedia Studio
          6. Flash
          7. Quicken
          8. Visio
          9. Quickbooks
        10. Lotus Notes

    I am batting zero today. Time to sleep.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by finnif ( 945981 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @02:10AM (#14648803)
    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.

    You're aboslutely right -- except that 99% you're talking about also wouldn't be voting in this poll because they could get Photoshop if they need it. You're ignoring that a huge percentage of non-web-development professionals sit down in front of Linux boxes every day: they're working on movies and video games. You are aware that ILM, Dreamworks, Sony, WETA--just to name a few--have their artists working on Linux, right? That's a several thousand people who daily sit down and struggle without Photoshop. Gimp is a sorry substitute, and most shops have the Photoshop centric positions (art department, matte painters) still on Windows or Mac as a result.

    Before you go off saying I don't know what I'm talking about, I am a professional in that industry. Gimp was offered as a solution to me at a former employer on Linux, when Photoshop on SGI was dying off (yes, Photoshop ran on IRIX!). At the time, I said we better figure out a way to get WINE to run Photoshop, because Gimp does not cut it for mortals. Gimp still does not cut it nearly 8 years later. I'll take my current shop where we work on Windows and I have a COM-scriptable Photoshop CS2, thank you very much.
  • by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <.ua.moc.acitamotua. .ta. .iak.> 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...
  • by DavidinAla ( 639952 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @02:44AM (#14648931)
    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 when it goes to print, it's CMYK and converted to the proper size and resolution. David
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @03:28AM (#14649084)
    The GIMP has LAB mode (Image ----> Mode ------> Decompose)
    The GIMP is actually a pretty good program. It might lack some options, but it's still pretty usable even in a professional environment. I think though it's because everyone is used to photoshop that it's hard to get away from it.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @03:36AM (#14649105)
    What do you mean, "once it's completed?" GNUStep is fairly "complete" now. However, the problem is that it's targeting compatibility with the old OpenStep standard, not the assorted changes that Apple made with Cocoa (of course, it doesn't help that Cocoa is a moving target). It's pretty stupid IMHO, but unless somebody forks it it'll never be fully possible to compile an arbitrary Cocoa program for GNUStep without having to make changes (although programs that only use the subset in common with both -- such as TextEdit -- will work fine).
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @03:48AM (#14649130)
    Photoshop 9 (CS2) runs just fin on a computer with 256MB of RAM. On a system with a gig, it screams. It does not make you configure scratch disks, and so on. It's easy of use is so far above GIMP's it's not even funny. Had you actually spent any amount of time using Photoshop and looked at it objectively, this would be pretty obvious.

    Please, let's cut the crap. This kind of overly optimistic "The opposition sucks, our solution is the best!" is stupid and hurts OSS. The reason it hurts it is because if someone actually listens to you and trys GIMP, expecting it to be better than Photoshop and then find out it's not, they get a very negative impression of OSS. They believe that it's all a bunch of shoddy shit created by amatures, and that the things they hold up as the best products are, in fact, poor quality.

    GIMP is fine for people who do non-serious work and are willing to put up with a difficult interface to get what they want. It's not easy for beginners. For that, there's Photoshop Elements.
  • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:2, Informative)

    by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @03:49AM (#14649135)
    they sink right to bloody bottom of the window stack

    This is a problem with Microsoft Windows(tm)(r)(C)(a)(b)(c)(e)(f)(g)(h), not with GIMP. Having separate windows lets you set them up freely; if you want to switch to some other problem, go ahead -- this is what the other desktops are for. But if you are restricted to an ancient single-desktop scheme, then yes, MDI can alleviate your problem a bit.

    Thus, it's not GIMP what is a festering pile of crap. It's the lesser image editors' tendency to accomodate misdesigns of the past.

    On the other hand, once you learn something, you tend to shun all different designs. I've used Turbo Pascal (WordStar keybindings) as a kid for many years, and now I use jstar exclusively, disregarding vi and emacs as crap with anal-retentive user interface, even though I do know that in theory they are superior. This can explain why people like you dislike the new, ergonomic interface and want to keep the old MDI style you're used to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 06, 2006 @04:51AM (#14649295)
    Look what he had to say to the GimpShop guy - [] - heaven forbid somebody try and improve on his oh-so-holy project!

    Yes, it is HIS project, but the second you GPL the code, it's out of your hands and flaming people for trying to do something new with your idea is petty. You aren't by any means required to provide support to the forks (I'm sure he has no love for the FilmGIMP/CinePaint devs either), but a lack of civility makes your own project, nay, OSS at large, look like a giant group of elitist pricks.
  • 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.)
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:30AM (#14649400)
    Novells conclusion [] from the survay []
  • Re:Software patents (Score:4, Informative)

    by BigSven ( 57510 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @05:55AM (#14649452) Homepage
    Actually no. The main reasoon GIMP is lacking lots of things is lack of active developers. There's really nothing that keeps us from adding support for high color depths and/or other color spaces like CMYK except that GIMP is being developed by a small group of volunteers with limited free time. If you want to help out, there are plenty of tasks in our bug tracker over at that are waiting to be implemented. The GIMP developers will be happy to hold your hand and answer your questions.
  • 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.
  • 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?

    Given that ctrl-k is used for similar functions in other applications, it's fair to reuse it for that in Gimp. ISTR that even MS Excel uses ctrl-k to clear a cell, for example. Note that it's trivial to remap the delete key to either cut (normally ctrl-x) or clear (normally ctrl-k) in Gimp, should you wish to do so. You could argue that it should perhaps be the default setting.

  • Re:GUI perhaps? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:24AM (#14650371)
    a) Pay someone to do the changes

    Kind of misses the point of free software. When you say, "it's free, so stop your bitching," what you're really saying is "you get what you pay for, and you're better off paying for it." How does that make open source software better again?

    b) Do the changes yourself

    Not everybody is a programmer. This is the first excuse that a lot of people run for, and it's weak. The whole point of an "open-source community" is the idea of people exchanging ideas to create really useful software for everybody. End users's opinions shouldn't be shot down just because they're not programmers. Even real programmers might have good opinions but just not enough spare time in their day to dive into the cruft of somebody else's buggy code and start making it better.

    One of the biggest complaints of the guy who cobbled together GimpShop was that all the resources were scattered around with no rhyme or reason, making tracking things down really hard to do. If a programmer came in and fixed all that, who's to guarantee that the maintainers will buy it? There are egos involved, not to mention a "community;" one person can't fix everybody else's mistakes at one go.

    c) Don't use GIMP and STFU

    Yep, that's a sure-fire way to make the Gimp better. "Sure, our program sucks, but you don't have to use it." Might as well pack it in and call it quits with that kind of attitude. What's the point of creating software if people don't want to use it? Why even make it public it if you're not prepared to hear what the rest of the world hears about it?

    What we're talking about is the large majority of serious Photoshop users, not just one or two malcontents. I think it would be cool if the Gimp competed. There are just a few basics that could be implemented that would make some serious waves in Gimp adoption, without turning the Gimp into some sort of bastardized Photoshop clone.
  • Photoshop for UNIX (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Monday February 06, 2006 @10:38AM (#14650451) Homepage Journal
    I brought this up last week in a different discussion, but not only did they have a version for SGI at one point, they had a version for "UNIX" in the form of SunOS/SPARC. It was for SunOS 2.x and I think it was around Photoshop 3 or so.

    This place has a PDF version of the Adobe product brochure: t/photoshopSun.pdf []
  • by paperclip2003 ( 732025 ) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:17PM (#14651147)
    I am sure 20 slashdot users will say STFU troll but doesn't Wine [] run photoshop? I have been using wine a lot lately and most programs that I don't have windows versions for started really running well with current wine versions 9.5+. I have not tried photoshop in wine, but I would be really suprised if it did not run.

Trap full -- please empty.