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The Gimp

20 Years of GIMP (gimp.org) 352

jones_supa writes: Back in 1995, University of California students Peter Mattis and Kimball Spencer were members of the eXperimental Computing Facility, a Berkeley campus organization. In June of that year, the two hinted at their intentions to write a free graphical image manipulation program as a means of giving back to the free software community. On November 21st, 20 years ago today, Peter Mattis announced the availability of the "General Image Manipulation Program" on Usenet (later "GNU Image Manipulation Program"). Over the years, GIMP amassed a huge amount of new features designed for all kinds of users and practical applications: general image editing, retouching and color grading, digital painting, graphic design, science imaging, and so on. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, there is an update of the current stable branch of GIMP. The newly released version 2.8.16 features support for layer groups in OpenRaster files, fixes for layer groups support in PSD, various user interface improvements, OSX build system fixes, translation updates, and more.
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20 Years of GIMP

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  • Sadly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @05:07PM (#50981585)

    And Sadly its about 10 years since the developers pretty much stopped listening to the users, and 5 years since development ground to a halt.

    Pity really, it was hijacked by a group of people with 'certain ideas' of how everything must be, and no willingness to compromise with the general user base.
    After that, less and less developers contribute, the user base shrunk (or at best stopped growing).

    3.0 has become a sad joke.

    All of which is a great great pity. Compare it with Blender, with a healthy and energetic user and developer base, a continuous flow of real and useful new features, and a rapidly growing and actively using user base.

    The day GIMP started trying to force people to save in its own proprietary format (to the great unhappiness of a large portion of its user base) rather than the format the file was OPENED in pretty much marks its death.

    • Once a big happy opensource community project gets too big or successful infighting and and "telling the user what they want" become an irresistable temptation for too many, particularly for those not at the coalface and who have floated up towards a more managerial role.
      • Re:Sadly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @03:55AM (#50983765) Journal

        It's also that once your pool of users gets large enough collectively they want EVERYTHING no matter how contradictory those things are.

        I've never given a rat's arse about CMYK for example, because essentially everything I do winds up on screen not in print.

        I also don't give a rat's arse about the Photoshop UI because I have literally never seen it, never used it and I'm certainly not used to it, nor do I want to re-learn the UI.

        Finally, I have a good quality window manager (FVWM), so those bad features which are designed to make GIMP work better on low quality window managers (Windows ports, Gnome) are not only of no interest to me but actively harmful.

        I would say that those three things (which while carefully selected are 100% true) are more or less diametrically opposed to what a quite large fraction of GIMP users seem to want, with the last two being mutually exclusive too at lease going by the comments in previous slashdot threads.

        There is no way to "listen to your users" when your users want opposite things to each other. Chances are if they listened to me you'd complain that they didn't listen to users and if they listened to you, I'd complain they didn't listen to users.

        • However if you go and introduce a change which fundamentally opposes 30 years of UI experience for *everybody* you need serious justification.
          In basically every program ever written Save saves a file in the format it was opened in, save-as or export lets you change it.
          Gnome goes and makes "save" replace the format with their own, and save as ALSO does that but lets you rename... so now you have ot learn to go File/Export even if you opened the file in the proper format in the first place.

          Which is an idiotic

          • Re:Sadly.. (Score:5, Informative)

            by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:53AM (#50983917) Journal

            In basically every program ever written Save saves a file in the format it was opened in, save-as or export lets you change it.

            No. You're flat-out wrong there. A lot of profesional software, for example CAD does not work like that. Save is native format only and NEVER loses information. Information losing always lives in "export". I just fired my copy of Eagle-CAD up and yes, it's as I claim.

            File/Export even if you opened the file in the proper format in the first place.

            Define: proper. If you opened it in GIMP, the proper format is XCF since that's the only format you can save without loss. Exporting to another format like LJPEG requires compositing into a single layer.

            It's a subtle trade-off between maybe having the "right" file format by default and maybe losing information. There's no one right answer, and it's easy to get used to File->Export.

            • Re:Sadly.. (Score:4, Informative)

              by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @09:05AM (#50984445) Homepage

              Really, in most software, "save" and "export" functionality has been merged. Because "whether or not the format is the preferred format of the program" isn't even an implementation detail. It's a developer preference. It has absolutely no place in the main tool. Having one list of formats for "save" and a different list of formats for "export" is beyond insane. Worse than old-Photoshop's "you can't save in this format, because you are using features X, Y, and Z" (instead of just launching a conversion process) - Gimp doesn't give you the option *whether or not* you're using incompatible features.

    • Fork (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As anyone stepped up to create a fork yet?

      Unless the code base is truly awful, I wouldn't mind maintaining some user interface sanity patches if there's interest.
      I've certainly had enough of XCF being the default saving format when 95% of the time I'm just doing a quick edit on a image.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kmh79 ( 4344235 )
        The codebase *is* quite awful. I had a brief look at it a few years ago, and I was not impressed. It's written in plain C, and emulates concepts such as OO or generics via very hacky means, since they're not built into the language. Heck, the whole program should have been re-written in modern-style C++ 10 years ago. Assuming constant maintenance and modernization we would have a nice, readable and maintainable C++11 codebase now, but no... Just because the current maintainers seem to be stuck in the prove
        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          Heck, the whole program should have been re-written in modern-style C++ 10 years ago.

          There WAS no modern C++ until 2011. If you don't believe that, just consider that the (only) official smart pointer was the hideous monstrosity of std::auto_ptr until std::shared_ptr, std::unique_ptr, and std::weak_ptr supplanted it in c++11. OK, you could have used boost:shared_ptr 10 years ago, which is what I did, but you can't assume that all projects would be allowed to do so.

          • "There WAS no modern C++ until 2011."

            Did you stop to think at all before you wrote that? Seriously, read that again to yourself out loud. Can you actually say it with a straight face?

      • I've certainly had enough of XCF being the default saving format when 95% of the time I'm just doing a quick edit on a image.

        overwrite the image or export if you don't want to save as an .xcf...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also GNOME, Mozilla, systemd, and so many of the, "Tomorrow belongs to me!" crowd of spoilt geeks who think just because they were successful in their 20s now have reached a nirvana of technocratic wisdom.

      • Re:Sadly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @06:21PM (#50981997) Journal

        You know what is odd?

        In the old days of Linux being new turn of the century all these things were new and many forks existed. Someone didn't like KDE? Then create Gnome. Didn't like WindowMaker? Make Enlightenment. Linux users laughed at those on Windows tied into their app ecosystems saying if it were opensource Office, IE, SAP, Oracle, wouldn't be so impossible to leave etc.

        Today no one wants to fork. Things are mature and stable. users fear change. Looking at FOSS in 2015 I hate to say this but Linux grew into the WIndows ecosystem. One app for graphics, gimp. . One app for a gui, gnome. One app for an ide Eclipse, etc. True with the gui part someone will say they use featureX. But for 85% of users things tied to stuff like gnome can't leave so easily. Just like some law firm probably runs Wordperfect somewhere today. But MS word is thee word processing app.

        What happened? Or did the kids who thought pcs were cool in 1998 are old farts who have jobs and newer kids want to make newer mobile apps for their phones and do not care about legacy pcs anymore?

        • Re:Sadly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @06:46PM (#50982119)
          I think it's more that the excitement is gone from a lot of these projects, the work they require is maintenance and minor feature upgrades to try and keep up with the proprietary competitors - Photoshop in this instance. Developers that spend their free time doing development want to do interesting things, not mundane ones. You need a revenue stream to get developers to do the boring work done, FOSS is supposed to provide this through users paying to get features implemented and bugs fixed but this just isn't reality in the vast majority of cases so ultimately the projects stagnate and users abandon them rather than pay them.
          • I think you make an interesting point. No one wants to maintain this stuff anymore. It's not fun. I am happy to pay people to add or fix features to the software I use. But my days of taking the source code and rolling my own distro are long gone.
          • Wait, Free is supposed to mean getting users to pay? I guess I'm old fashioned because to me "free" equals "not paid for".

        • I think your last sentence is spot on. Us "old farts" spent hours, weeks, months playing, installing, compiling, hacking together FOSS projects like GIMP and Gnome and Slackware. Now I'm at the old age of 40 and I just want the shit to work. I don't have the time or desire to "work" on software projects anymore. I just want whatever it is I need to just work. My days of playing with Linux boxen are pretty much over. It's not because I'm being a jerk or I got suckered into a Windows or Mac garden. Its
        • "One app for graphics, gimp. . One app for a gui, gnome. One app for an ide Eclipse, etc."

          It is impossible to take you seriously after such a blatantly and phenomenally absurd claim. There are many, many, many choices for the Linux user in each of those three categories.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          You know what is odd? (...) Today no one wants to fork. Things are mature and stable. users fear change. Looking at FOSS in 2015 I hate to say this but Linux grew into the WIndows ecosystem. One app for graphics, gimp. . One app for a gui, gnome. One app for an ide Eclipse, etc. True with the gui part someone will say they use featureX. But for 85% of users things tied to stuff like gnome can't leave so easily. Just like some law firm probably runs Wordperfect somewhere today. But MS word is thee word processing app. What happened?

          Primarily, the world went dynamic. We plug in and pull out all kinds of devices, accessories, monitors and whatnot, we pair up with Bluetooth and WiFi, we change power states, sleep states and so on. That kinda requires an IPC system and event loop, which is neither core C/C++ nor POSIX. The other part is that we want global settings for consistency. To be honest, I don't know how I could write an application that "plays nice" without using some kind of framework. If the framework shouldn't provide it, you

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          There are plenty of people who care about legacy PC's. There are dozens of light-weight distro's of Linux that run on old PC's. But these guys just take a standard Linux distribution, scoop out the packages they don't want and bundle it on a live CD, DVD or memory stick. They don't try and do anything with a modern clean GUI, or perhaps they can't because at the bottom of all the GUI systems is the "nouveau" graphics driver that comes built into many kernels as an alternative to Nvidia's blobware.

          I

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )

            so that it would be very difficult to have one modern GUI system that would run at a decent speed on old platforms while still having all the flash of a new platform.

            Apart from things like Enlightenment, the window manager that Rob Malda posted things about before he started Slashdot, a window manager that has been changed and updated a lot and still performs on slow hardware. It even uses OpenGL if you let it.

    • Re:Sadly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canuck_spud ( 1002729 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @05:27PM (#50981721)

      The day GIMP started trying to force people to save in its own proprietary format (to the great unhappiness of a large portion of its user base) rather than the format the file was OPENED in pretty much marks its death.

      It doesn't "mark its death" at all. Lots of us continue to use the GIMP daily, and are more or less happy with it, while simultaneously being a bit annoyed by the decision to try to push the native file format on us through the interface. Since the menu option to overwrite the opened file was added, it's much less annoying. It's such a common thing on Slashdot to announce the complete failure of a long-term project just on the basis that the poster and his friends (if he has any) are annoyed by one or two changes that didn't suit them. There should be a word for it. The GIMP is a very useful, highly functional, stable and reliable piece of software. It's not perfect, but nothing is. Get some perspective.

    • by xonen ( 774419 )

      5 years since development ground to a halt.

      Pity really, it was hijacked by a group of people with 'certain ideas' of how everything must be, and no willingness to compromise with the general user base.[...]Compare it with Blender, [..] a continuous flow of real and useful new features

      I'm actually happy that the Gimp is resilient to changes just for the sake of changes. I does what it has to do and it does it very well. It has great support for various file formats. Never crashes. Can do all kind of neat tricks and if it can't you can write or download a filter to do it.

      And best of all: it doesn't bother me to learn `new improved` interface. The Gimp of 2015 is about the same as 10 years ago, with only minor conservative changes - for better or for worse - to the user interface. While i

    • Too bad the latest version is integrated with SystemD so you can't leave init.

    • Why not fork from them and make your own Gimp version since it is open sourced?

    • by arielCo ( 995647 )

      Compare it with Blender, with a healthy and energetic user and developer base, a continuous flow of real and useful new features, and a rapidly growing and actively using user base.

      Feel free to correct me, but GIMP doesn't have the kind of sponsors [blender.org] that Blender has. But the help you get in the forums involves a lot of "works for me" defensiveness and that drives users away.

      The day GIMP started trying to force people to save in its own proprietary format (to the great unhappiness of a large portion of its user base) rather than the format the file was OPENED in pretty much marks its death.

      Native, not proprietary (the spec is out there [gnome.org] and you're free to write readers/writers for it). Do you know of any other open format that preserves the structure of a GIMP doc?

      As for writing back to the original format, I just opened a random PNG to double-check. Sure enough, under the File menu, Save (Control-S) a

      • pretty much spot on. I would add that GIMP scripts are nowhere near as easy or useful as Photoshop actions.
        GIMP has many quirks, and you can do a lot of things but most of the time creating the same effect is easier and/or faster in Photoshop.

    • The day GIMP started trying to force people to save in its own proprietary format (to the great unhappiness of a large portion of its user base) rather than the format the file was OPENED in pretty much marks its death.

      Have you even used GIMP recently? If you open a file in GIMP that is not in GIMP's native XCF format, there is an "Overwrite image_file_name" option in the "File" menu that does exactly what you want (i.e., does exactly what the "Save" option used to do).

    • This must have happened in some parallel universe.
    • The day GIMP started trying to force people to save in its own proprietary format (to the great unhappiness of a large portion of its user base) rather than the format the file was OPENED in pretty much marks its death.

      Which would be a problem if it were closed source yet this is exactly the reason we always hear that programs should be open source, so that things you don't like can be changed and/or improved.

  • I remember reading a few years ago, possibly here on /., that GIMP was going to be rewritten to get rid of all the "spaghetti code", whatever happened with that?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Still on going... it's a rather big engine rewrite, last that I checked gegl was going through the final stages. I would assume that it's in use by this point, and most fixing to it would be for edge-cases.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        GEGL is mostly complete. The work that's happening today is to port all of Gimp to make use of GEGL which is the goal of Gimp 2.10. Gimp 2.10 has been in development for a few years now should it should be due for release within a couple of years.

        • I have a few moderation points to use but I cannot figure out if I should classified your post as Troll, Insightful or Funny.

          The thing that pisses me off with gimp is not the UI or saving by default to XCF. I am interested by raw image processing and I would be very happy to use and to contribute to the new 16bit depth features. Unfortunately, the GIMP devs are actively doing everything they can to prevent peoples from trying the current development version. No major release for more than 3 years and no ava

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      It was going to coincide with a renaming of the product to something a bit more professional, as suggested by the fans of the application. Sadly, GNU Goatfucker never got off the ground.
  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @05:58PM (#50981869)

    Posted by samzenpus on 2015-11-22 16:00 from the happy-birthday dept.

    On November 21st, 20 years ago today

  • How about we port Paint.net to Linux using Mono? It is opensourced and can do many of the same functions. It can't be too hard to port and will require hell of alot less effort than rewriting Gimp. It is designed for plugins and already has a much better menu system

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @06:20PM (#50981991)

    I tried using GIMP, I really did. I gave it several good chances, struggled with the docs, struggled learning the hotkeys, struggled with the sometimes-different names for stuff in the interface, etc etc...I really did. But I just couldn't use it as fluidly and as productively as either Photoshop or CorelDraw.

    Maybe it was me, maybe it wasn't...all I know is I liked the idea of a truly open-source graphics tool and I would have been happy to support it but I just never really felt like I was getting in the groove with it, so to speak.

    And then Photoshop started coming out with boatloads of brushes and plugins and filters that did some genuinely cool and useful stuff, and I just stopped using GIMP. I had stuff to do and for whatever reason I found I could always manage to do it in Photoshop faster and more easily than GIMP. I don't know why.

    There are also about a billion tutorials on Photoshop available (some good, some that suck) and I could almost always find a page with info on what I needed to do in Photoshop. Sadly, the same simply wasn't true of GIMP. The docs were "eh" but the lack of a good tutorial base was a major stumbling block for me personally.

    I'm probably not the only one to go through this. I really liked the idea of using GIMP but it just never really coalesced for me.

    • When you open GIMP, it throws up so many Windows that I just get totally confused
      • by Ramze ( 640788 )

        There was a fork called GIMPshop that made the UI more like photoshop. Unfortunately, the author abandoned the project after someone else scooped up the website gimpshop.com and made money off of ads and installer/crapware (and donations as well, I think).

        Would be nice if someone would fork it again, but there's the rub -- not everyone that cares is a coder and those that are must be working on more rewarding projects... or have lives or something.

      • by binarstu ( 720435 ) on Sunday November 22, 2015 @09:04PM (#50982727)

        When you open GIMP, it throws up so many Windows that I just get totally confused

        This complaint has cropped up several times on this thread already. That is somewhat incredible, because GIMP has supported a single-window interface for years. Select "Single-Window Mode" from the "Windows" menu, and the "so many windows" will become one window.

      • You know there is an option in Gimp to make it a one-window-app like all other apps, Right? Don't ask me to tell you where it is, after a few hours of searching for it and actually using it I'm burnt out.
    • That was roughly my experience, too. I spent many hours trying to learn to use Gimp, going through tutorials, etc. I was learning it, able to use it. Then I finally got a chance to use photoshop, and somehow everything seemed more intuitive (that's a relative term, I guess). I've basically given up on Gimp for a while.

      Inkscape, on the other hand, is quite nice.
    • Documentation is a severe problem. The basic stuff is there, but about half of the trickier stuff either has incomplete coverage or is missing altogether. Most plugins have no documentation at all.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Maybe it was me, maybe it wasn't

      It's not a coreldraw or photoshop clone it is it's own thing instead of a later copy so treating it like a copy will only end in disappointment.
      If you have already paid for the other ones why are you using gimp?

      As for me, I went from AutoCAD to photoshop and was extremely pissed off that it did not have undo at the time - treating it like something else will only end in disappointment.

    • by Jim Hall ( 2985 )

      I can speak to this. I focus a lot of my free time on the usability of free/open source software, and a few years ago, I looked into the usability of GIMP. I didn't do a full usability test, but conducted surveys of different people who used GIMP, versus Photoshop. What I found is that a person's perception of GIMP's usability depends on their familiarity with Photoshop:

      People who used Photoshop all the time complained that GIMP had poor usability. This seemed to be because people knew they way around Phot

  • I use Gnu Image manipulation program all the time in game development. I fortunately saved a version just before the adware got bundled in. Whew.
  • gtk+ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't forget that the project's widget library, the GIMP Toolkit, became one of the most popular widget libraries, and spawned GNOME as well.

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