back to article The GIMP turns 25 and promises to carry on being the FOSS not-Photoshop

The General Image Manipulation Program, GIMP, has turned 25. A brief celebration post detailed how the package started life as a July 1995 Usenet thought bubble by then-student Peter Mattis, who posted the following to several newsgroups: Suppose someone decided to write a graphical image manipulation program (akin to …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

    Never got round to using it.

    However congratulations and I think the fact it's still being maintained and extended suggests that there is a real need out there that is being served.

    1. Harry Kiri

      Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

      It is a fantastic piece of free software with some very clever algorithms and plug-ins. A lot of comments relate to it being difficult and a steep learning curve and that's fair, but complex things are hard to learn - personally I've plugged away and got it to do what I want, not always on first go.

      Complex things either prescribe how you use them, in which case its a pain to get them to do anything different from the author's intended approach, or they provide a tool-kit of options that you have to figure out, gives that steep curve, but is far more flexible. For beginners, gimp and photoshop are similarly complex...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

      My main issue with GIMP is that it's a great example of bloatware. The latest Windows installer is 235MB in size, and once installed takes forever to load (closer to 1 minute than to 0 minutes). While I am unwilling to pay $60/mo for a modern Photoshop license (even a "student discount" license is $40/mo), my old CS5 limps along just fine & loads in a couple of seconds.

      1. Zimmer

        Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

        .... once installed takes forever to load (closer to 1 minute than to 0 minutes).....

        Sorry, it only took 3 seconds to load on Mint.. perhaps you should consider the OS you are using...

        Happy user of this software since 2004. Great photo tool for Linux users. Have used it to produce photos for theatre programmes, logos, format conversions and retouching old, damaged scans of old photos etc.

        If I just need to quickly crop an image or resize I use gThumb.

        My son is a professional photographer and has been using Photoshop for the last 20 years or so. He has problems with GIMP whenever he tries to use it on my machine because 'it's NOT Photoshop'.

        Likewise, I am lost when I try to work with Photoshop - because it's NOT GIMP.

        Can I buy Photoshop for Linux? I think not ... Would I buy it for Windows? Not for my needs, I'd rather invest the money on a new Graphics card....

        Here's to another 25 years, thanks guys!

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Sorry, it only took 3 seconds to load on Mint..

          Got a problem with some software? Then what you need is a smartarse to explain to you that you're doing it wrong.....

          I wonder why Linux isn't more popular on the desktop.

      2. fobobob

        Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

        Most of the slow instances of Gimp I've encountered stall while loading fonts. Start it with the -f option and see if it loads any faster. Why it sometimes has issues with needing to regenerate the font cache on every load, I do not know.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

        On Mac and Linux it loads in about the same time as it takes to say "bring on the gimp" three times. Try ditching Windows.

      4. Aussie Doc

        Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

        Not to make light of your circumstances but my old ThinkPad takes 11 seconds to load 2.10.22 on Windoze 10 Pro. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      5. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Photoshop licensee

        Photoshop is not $60 a month, it isn't even $40 a month.

        The Photography plan, which is Photoshop and Lightroom together, plus Bridge and access to several mobile apps, is $9.99 a month

        1. Ian 55

          Re: Photoshop licensee

          Still a complete 'get lost Adobe' here at the idea of renting a key part of the workflow.

          If only they'd been as keen to get rid of the endless bugs in Flash as they were to find ways to charge users more.

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Photoshop licensee

          Times when the cloud goes down and you can't use Adobe at all? Priceless.

      6. Col_Panek

        Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

        7 seconds on my 9 year old Dell, but I cheated with an SSD and KDE Plasma.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

      there is a real need out there that is being served.

      Not only that, but there have not been any *RADICAL* *RE-DEFINITIONS* of the existing interface, either!!! (and if there were, I'd consider FORKING it to resist any "change for the sake of change" like we see in OTHER things... mutter mutter mutter)

      Once you learn how it works, gimp is an 'easy to hack with' way of editing graphical things. I've created lots of useful work-related and fun-related graphics with it. Photo editing is easy, and the 'rope select' lets you chop off sections and move them, etc. even things like pasting a head from one photo onto a different body for laughs, easily re-adjusting for size and so on.

      Worthy of mention, the stretch/perspective tools are pretty intuitive, so you can do the head-pasting trick, or take a blank wall or computer screen or white board that's at an angle in the photo, and then paste text and/or graphics on it, like with a funny 'meme' thing, and do so easily and with good quality results (as in 'it looks believable' if you do it right).

      There are a few things that Windows does more easily, and I'd used the old MS Office photo editor before. The older MS Paint from before the "ribbon" appeared has a few features like making circles and rectangles and filling them with a color, for example, as well as bezier curves, and stuff like that. However, I usually don't do "those things" and maybe there's a "Script Fu" thing written out there that WOULD do them... [I've found a few hacks for the circles and rectangles already]

      All in all, 'gimp' is a VERY useful application! I don't know of anything better in the OSS world.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

        > Worthy of mention, the stretch/perspective tools are pretty intuitive, so you can do the head-pasting trick, or take a blank wall or computer screen or white board that's at an angle in the photo,

        Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but last I tried GIMP the perspective tools didn't let me independently move the corner points of selected pixels - something that in Photoshop is achieved with the Ctrl modifier when in 'free transform'. This is an invaluable function for, as you say, mocking up your graphics onto a photograph of a wall or cornflake packet.

        1. Peter X

          Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

          I think this is an area they've improved; I've only recently upgraded to GIMP 2.10 (from 2.8), but certainly perspective is different now.

    4. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

      Is a good program just a bit confusing to use.

      But if you want really confusing, look at Blender that thing was not made to be used by human bejngs.

  2. Andy Non Silver badge

    I found the learning curve

    so steep as to be nearly vertical. The problem is I rarely need to manipulate images other than doing the odd bit of cropping or image type conversion. I find pretty much anything else a real struggle to figure out how to do and GIMP not at all intuitive. I think part of the problem is that it is so sophisticated and offers so many features that I can't see the wood for the trees.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: I found the learning curve

      It's the old story:

      writing complex software is easy. It's writing simple software that's difficult.

      1. Tom 7

        Re: I found the learning curve

        Writing simple software for simple problems is easy. Writing simple software for complicated problems is a lie.

        1. Tom 7

          Re: I found the learning curve

          And its the make a complicated problem seems simple that means real live dead people fall off the bottom of XL files.

        2. NohSpam

          Re: I found the learning curve

          Tosh & Piffle

          There is no axiom that complex problems require a complex solution. There are frequent correlations between developer or technical architect lead projects and unusable or over-complex UI. A better way is 'three in a box'*, user centred design (such as IBM Design Thinking**) and research/validation to accomplish good*** design.

          I know Gimp is powerful and I know it has a steep learning curve and I know it's OSS and assembling a cross disciplinary team and changing the culture is a very tall order but if you want powerful but usable products this is a great way to achieve it.

          *Offering manager/Design(UX, UI, Visual, Research)/Software Engineering, all cooperatively collaborating as peers,with research based design from market positioning, design, through to implementation and release.

          **If your knee-jerk reaction is to wheel out a bunch of ancient anti-IBM tropes, I suggest you read first! It's an enterprise-grade of Design Thinking that's been proved to work in IBM over the last 5-6 years.

          ***sufficiently powerful for a user's needs at the point of that need but with intuitive UI and shorn of unneccessary complexity -

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: I found the learning curve

            **Companies like IBM have changed a lot in recent years (many would say definitely not for the better) but that shouldn't mean you discount their historical efforts to develop fundamental technologies. IBM set the standard for graphical interface design with their "Common User Access" standard (I got my copy with an early Windows SDK). I'd be really happy if today's programmers were familiar with this standard and applied it rather than persistently trying to reinvent the wheel (and invariably making a pig's ear of it).

            A lot of IBM's legacy product is extremely well thought out because it was designed to be used day after day, "just work" without fatiguing the operators. I'm typing this on an old IBM keyboard; its heavy, noisy and really easy to use comapred to the typical notebook keyboard.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: I found the learning curve

      I find Pinta on Linux (similar to Paint.NET on Windows) useful for these kinds of small jobs. Either that or an old version of Paint Shop Pro under Wine.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I found the learning curve

        Definitely +1 for Pinta. Kolorpaint can also be handy.

        I regularly have to prepare images of SWMBO's patchwork for her class handouts and Gimp gets used for rotating the images backwards and forwards to get optimal orientation - and yet somehow Gwenview seems easier for the final crop.

        I end up using a combination of all four - in Gimp the simple and complex are often equally obscure to work out.

      2. Graham 32

        Re: I found the learning curve

        Pinta is great but lacks HiDPI support. Well it did last time I looked about a year ago. No use on my laptop but nothing else is as good at making mid-level editing so usable. So I often have to go to the old desktop with a 2K screen to use it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I found the learning curve

      > so steep as to be nearly vertical.

      I took up climbing only so I could use the GIMP.

    4. Portent

      Re: I found the learning curve

      I use Krita for the simpler stuff. It's great.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I found the learning curve

        Except for printing, which they apparently gave up on completely.

    5. springsmarty

      Re: I found the learning curve

      I always struggled with GIMP, deciding that it’s learning curve is the graphical equivalent of vi (which I love). I am reminded of a quote about vi:

      “It is a great place to live, but I would not want to visit there.”

    6. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: I found the learning curve

      If all you need to do is cropping I recommend IrfanView. It is, however, not open-source and not available for Linux / MacOSX.

      1. BillG
        Thumb Up

        Re: I found the learning curve

        I agree, IrfanView is great for fast and moderately complex image edits. It's one of my most useful programs.

      2. RobThBay

        Re: I found the learning curve

        IrfanView is still around??

        I used it a lot about 20+ years ago and thought it had become abandonware.

        I use PMView these days for quick edits. Another ancient program that began life as an OS/2 v4 program.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: I found the learning curve

          PMView looks like payware / nagware with only a free demo version available.

          IrfanView is and always has been freeware, with no "professional" pay version.

    7. To Mars in Man Bras!

      Re: I found the learning curve

      I'm probably going to get downvoted into oblivion here because 'FOSS' and all that. But I think The Gimp is an awful programme. It's bloated. It's clunky. It's really unintuitive. Maybe I've been spoiled by having had access to Photoshop since it came on a single floppy disc, but I've never understood the love The Gimp gets from the open source community. OK. 10 out of 10 for trying to produce a free alternative to Photoshop. But maybe 3 or 4 out of 10 for the end result.

      BTW: If you're looking for a free alternative to Photoshop, check out Pretty much a clone of Photoshop that runs in your browser. One of the most impressive web apps I've ever seen. It's got ads which you can pay to remove, or just use something like uBlock Origin to hide them, if they offend thine eye.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: I found the learning curve

        " It's really unintuitive. Maybe I've been spoiled by having had access to Photoshop"

        It's different than Photoshop.


    8. DiViDeD

      Re: I found the learning curve so steep as to be nearly vertical

      To be fair, you'd find the same with Photoshop, except that you'd be paying $60 a month to be bemused. Professional editing software (for tis wot The GIMP and PS is be) is very powerful and complex.

      As such, it takes some time to learn and a lot of time to master. PS has a few tools to "get you started", but it's still a fair old learning curve if you want to get the most out of it.

      To be honest, if your needs are less intense, you could do worse than Paint.Net for touching up, and canon's excellent little Digital Photo Professional (free if you have a Canon product - I imagine Nikon & Sony will do something similar). Shoot in RAW, make wonderfully creative and beautiful edits in DPP, output as a jpeg and crop/rotate/oversaturate in

      After a while, you'll get used to workflows and the sort of edits you regularly make, and you'll be in a better position to move up to the GIMP and maybe Raw Therapee.

    9. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: I found the learning curve

      I've never understood why people have found it hard - maybe they are trying to do different things than I am with GIMP (astronomy image processing) or maybe they are seeing it through a Photoshop-shaped filter.

      I would probably have trouble with Photoshop since it's apparently so different from GIMP.

  3. Dr_N


    If you couldn't do it in xv, you were spending way too much time manipulating images to print onto OHP acetates.

  4. AMBxx Silver badge

    25 years and still a pain to use

    Yes, it's a great achievement, but just shows the problem of some open source software. Hard to use and the developers are more interested in adding new features than improving usability.

    Every few years, I have a problem installing my old Photoshop Elements. While I'm trying to rouse Adobe support, I install Gimp to see if it's a replacement. Suddenly, Adobe don't seem to so bad.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

      Don't forget that Elements is the simplified version. You don't have the complete toolkit, so that Adobe can charge silly money for full-on Photoshop. I suspect you'd find full-fat PS just as confusing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

        Besides the fact that Adobe offers Elements (simplified) and Lightroom (photo only) tools, for Photoshop you will find plenty of tutorials, books, tips, etc. to learn to use it. Far less so for Gimp.

        "Silly money" now means about 150 $/€ per year (less with some discounts) - getting also the various Lightroom versions. Then, if for you silly money for software means any sum above zero, that's another matter.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          Bit harsh. My long paid for version of Elements is used no more than once a month. Yes, paying for the new subscription would be more than it's worth for me. At that point, I'd probably spend some time trying to understand how to use GIMP properly.

        2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          Well I haven't looked for a long time. I was thinking about the purchase price rather than rental.

          My definition of silly money is several times as much as a product that could have been the same, except that parts have been deliberately left out. Not a fan of segmentation.

          I'm much more interested in free as in freedom. I certainly wouldn't trust Adobe's cloud. How quickly did they get their password database stolen? Hardly any time as I recall.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "I'm much more interested in free as in freedom"

            There is silly segmentation, and segmentation that does work. You see it everywhere. There are effectively parts people are not interested in, and are not willingly to pay (unless they can be used to show off, of course). It makes goods affordable to people who would not be able to buy the more expensive ones, and would complain about their complexity. Put a pro (video)camera in their hands, and see the effect. They need a different, friendlier UI, simpler features (even if less versatile), and even less heavy gear.

            Freedom, anyway, is about being able to choose. Stallman ideas is not letting people to choose but what he anoints. He's very alike Adobe, just he don't need the revenues because his money come from a different source. I don't want a world where there's only Photoshop or Gimp. Actually I was very sad when Corel did its best to make users flee Paint Shop Pro.

            Serif and others anyway are doing a good job offering good alternatives to Adobe, but the actual software landscape is very bad because most users flock to the same few products just because they are the only one people know and believe "fashionable". In the past there was far more competition.

            Open source is unluckily part of the issue because its business model doesn't allow a real competition among products, the pool of developers is too small to allow for that. And most developers, like anybody else, like to see their bank account in good health at the end of every month.

            1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

              Re: "I'm much more interested in free as in freedom"

              Segmentation in hardware is different, it costs more to put the extra features in. In software it costs more to maintain two versions, but they do it to charge even more for one version.

              You're unusual in thinking that FLOSS has too little competition. The common complaint is that there is too much division of effort. In imaging there is GIMP/Krita/Pinta, or Darktable/Rawtherapee/Shotwell. In desktops, KDE/Gnome/XFCE/LXDE/Enlightenment. How many window managers? I wan out of piddies.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "In software it costs more to maintain two versions"

                You never had to set software prices based on the costs to produce it, allow for investments, and get a profit, hadn't you? It's also more expensive to design, produce and stock different models of a physical item. Implementing the most complex features of software does cost more than the simpler ones.

                The costs of designing two UI may be offset by the higher sales, because some people won't buy the more complex tool, and let you sell at a lower price. You may even develop specific features that will appeal to "consumer" users which are utterly useless and ugly for pro ones.

                Krita is not a GIMP competitor, for example, they dropped most of the features to concentrate on painting. And how many know about Pinta or Shotwell? Most of them moreover use the same underlying libraries, so there's little difference among them. For example, Adobe is able to write its own CMM engine.

                Anyway it's a common path - in the beginning a few software appear, then after a few years only one or two remain. Look at Libre/Open Office - which is also not a niche software type. And how many forks of the Linux kernel you've seen? It's also killing any attempt to write a different OS.

            2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

              Re: "I'm much more interested in free as in freedom"

              I think you've missed that GIMP is Free software rather than Open Source. OS has a business model, Free not so much. Other than one of sharing the production costs.

              Free software is not business, it's a gift economy. Created by people fortunate enough that they can do it without needing to be paid.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "I'm much more interested in free as in freedom"

              "[...] I was very sad when Corel did its best to make users flee Paint Shop Pro"

              I still use Paint Shop Pro 7 for photo manipulation and creating stripboard layouts.. The Corel product hijacking the name was bought - then discarded. There are a couple of useful things PSP7 doesn't appear to do: perspective independent corners; copy all visible layers and paste them still as layers in one go (not merged).

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          "Then, if for you silly money for software means any sum above zero, that's another matter."

          Money becomes silly if it's more than the S/W's worth. If all I need to do is rotate images of SWMBO's patchwork back and forth to get the orientation right and them crop them for here weekly class handout then 150 of any currency units above pence is going to be silly.

      2. I am the liquor

        Re: full-fat PS just as confusing

        I've never used full-fat Photoshop, but I'd bet "File/Save As..." in Photoshop will let you save your picture as a JPEG. Like it does in every other image editing application apart from one.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1

          Re: full-fat PS just as confusing

          >Every other image editing application...

          Two (and counting). Darktable [1] also requires one to Export as JPEG. Once one gets used to it, it's fine - after all you do want people to appreciate that "Save as JPEG" is throwing away image information (most often).

          [1] Highly recommended, btw.

          1. Fred Dibnah

            Re: full-fat PS just as confusing

            +1 for Darktable.

            For basic work such as crop, rotate, levels etc, I use XNView, which is also good for organising images. It too has an 'Export' option.

            1. Col_Panek

              Re: full-fat PS just as confusing

              I trained my wife on XNView for Windows, in preparation for moving to Linux Mint with no kerfuffles.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: full-fat PS just as confusing

          That's because you should never _save as_ JPEG. It's a lossy format. You should _export_ to JPEG.

          1. Steve Graham

            Re: full-fat PS just as confusing

            It depends. If I've done a lot of work on something, I'll save it in GIMP's XCF format, which is lossless and retains edit history. I may even save it as a new XCF, to ease reverting changes. However, if I've just cropped a photo or enhanced the saturation to slap it up on the web, saving only to a new JPEG file is good enough.

            Actually, I suppose that is exporting, since I never overwrite the original.

    2. chroot

      Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

      Don't forget that apparenlty most of you are used to the Adobe interface and not to the Gimp interface. If it were the other way around, I guess you would be complaining about Adobe.

      Personally I have no problem at all with Gimp. Marvellous piece of software. Congratulations!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

        > Don't forget that apparenlty most of you are used to the Adobe interface and not to the Gimp interface. If it were the other way around, I guess you would be complaining about Adobe.

        Possibly, but you'd have to do your research in advance to make sure that won't need features that GIMP doesn't have - otherwise you'll have to find (and learn to use) another bit of software to fill in the gaps, such as HDRshop.

        1. SuperGeek

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          HDRShop won't even let you trial it before buying, so that's a big "feck off!" to that recommendation!

        2. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          "do your research in advance to make sure that won't need features that GIMP doesn't have"

          Same applies to any piece of software though, Photoshop included.

      2. Fluffy Cactus

        Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

        You must be a super genius!

    3. Glen 1

      Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

      "more interested in adding new features than improving usability"

      something something calibre

      What we wanted: Netflix for books we already own

      What we got: MP3 ID3 tagging-esque software from the mid-90s that takes a copy of every file it likes for its own use without the option to turn it off. I hope you don't have any large zip files...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

      > and the developers are more interested in adding new features than improving usability.

      He who pays calls the shots.

      Just because it's free software it doesn't mean that the developer is going to solve your problems, or anyone else's apart from himself.

      The beauty is that you can pay to have it the way you want it. QGIS is one example of software that started out very basic and nowadays is a serious competitor to ArcGIS, all thanks to companies and public administrations deciding that they would be better off spending their money on paying the developers to implement the features they needed as opposed to licensing bloated stuff like Arc.

      Sadly, it seems that consumers are more reticent to accept that there is no free lunch (and that's how they become the product).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: ... 'there is no free lunch'

        I think the GIMP lunch is free. But it may contain sprouts.

        1. vincent himpe

          Re: ... 'there is no free lunch'

          sprouts ? add broccoli , kale , lentils and peas. That kind of stew needs a good spoon of coconut oil so it is easier to scrape it off the plate and into the bin !

      2. Fluffy Cactus

        Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

        Sorry, no! "He who pays calls the shots" is generally not true in the field of software.

        My proof for that is: Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, plus any software made for a specific company or purpose, which had to be abandoned after paying too much for it, because it worked only in theory, but not in practice.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

      Hard to use and the developers are more interested in adding new features than improving usability.

      I'm curious, would you expect a "modern" (*cough* *cough* *cough*) interface to be migrated to instead of adding NEW features [and NOT breaking the old ones nor re-inventing the UI in the process] ???

      Isn't the entire point of software DEVELOPMENT to a) improve existing features by making them work more efficiently or enhancing their abilities and b) do so without breaking what people are already doing with it?

      And I say this with the full snark that's due for ALL of those projects whose managers *FEEL* as if they have to completely (and capriciously) re-invent the user interface to comply with whatever "So and So" is doing to THEIRS... or maybe just whatever's trending at the moment on some social media platform.

      So, my love of gimp INCLUDES its having kept that very stable familiar user interface every time I update it, which is still pretty much the same thing I've grown used to over the years, quirks and all. I suppose there are similar graphic editors out there that could be considered "even more complex", like Blender...

      but that's the point - they found something that worked, and aren't "scampering about" trying to re-invent something that works, instead they are focusing their LIMITED available development time on things that ACTUALLY IMPROVE it.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

        Forgive me if I don't shout certain words in my reply, but no, I don't think they're improving it. They're adding new features but continuing a UI paradigm that deters potential users. offers adequate comparable capabilities and is usable.

        Photoshop is £10/month and is significantly superior.

        GIMP is available and has many features but good luck finding them.

        1. TVU Silver badge

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          "They're adding new features but continuing a UI paradigm that deters potential users"

          There is now an alternative available from developer Diolinux who has now created the PhotoGIMP patch for Gimp 2.10+ so that the tool organisation and shortcuts mimic that of Photoshop.

          Also, for anyone who wants some help in using Gimp, the Davies Media Design Youtube channel does pretty good Gimp tutorials.

          1. ElPedro100

            Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

            Upvote for the Youtube recommendation. Been using Gimp on and off for a few years but still learned a lot from the beginners tutorial.

      2. Craig100

        Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

        Surely they could change the UI "features" that users find problematic. The point of engineering, software engineering included, is to solve problems. If a UI is buggy, it means the Humans are being mislead. They need the path making clearer, so change the bleedin' UI :)

        1. Fluffy Cactus

          Re: 25 years and still a pain to use

          Plus the good people who contribute to GIMP as programmers might take at least one hour out of twenty to try and explain how something works to a new user.

          Richard Feynman said once: "You don't really know a subject matter until you have explained it to a five year old" (or was it a ten year old, I forget...)

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Used GIMP for a small project recently and just like every other time I’ve used it I spent as much time searching for help with using it than I did using it.

    Lucky man. On the few occasions I tried it I usually gave up long before I actually got it to do anything close to useful.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      I found out quite usable for what I had to do. But then I'm not doing any weird and / or advanced fancy stuff. Some map drawing for a rpg campaign, some photo adjustments.

      But then I have never ever used the Adobe thing, so I cannot compare them. Only Corel Draw, maybe 25 years ago. Which I found hard to use then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Exactly, not weird or difficult at all, unless you are doped up to the eyeballs on how photoshop or paint shop pro worked. The problem has always been people trying to use it who expect an exact photoshop clone, and even worse those fuckers who insist on a single window interface being the only valid approach.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Nah, it can be quite weird. Even a simple task like drawing a straight line isn't exactly obvious.

          Having said that it's a useful tool and is free. I usually have it installed on all the machines I use. I do still use MSpaint for some quick cut-paste jobs but anything more complex and I bring out the GIMP.

          I've used Photoshop in the past and it was more intuitive and probably still is. But anyone who isn't a professional isn't likely to want to fork out.

        2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Single window interface

          For those not familiar with the GIMP: Imagine clicking on the left menu item and then the first entry in it and a window appears. Do the same for each entry in the left menu so you have lots of separate windows that look like different applications. Then go for the second column in the menu and create more windows. Repeat for each column. You now have some idea of what the GIMP is like when it starts up. It is not that simple as some menu items open multiple windows and if you close some windows it can take ages to find the icon in another window you closed that brings the one you want back again. To make life more fun, when you try to do something impossible a new window pops up with an error message and all the other controls lock up until you get rid of that window. Several years ago GIMP developers made a great effort to not hide error message windows behind other windows.

          This utter insanity accounts for much of the steep learning curve for using the GIMP. Years ago I made an effort to actually read the documentation and discovered there is an off switch. The GIMP can behave as if it has one window divided into non-overlapping sub-windows for different tasks. These sub-windows can be closed so that there is a reasonable amount of space to look at the image you are working on. Sometimes you can even find a way to bring them back again when needed.

          I am sure some people love the multi-window interface and are sharpening the torches and lighting their pitch-forks ready to lynch me for my heresy. Please just accept that the vast majority of the population find the multi-window interface far more trouble than any possible benefit.

          Here are the other major reasons why the GIMP appears not to work:

          You are not working on a single picture. Instead you are working on several pictures of different sizes layered one above the other. Most of the GIMP's tool only work on the currently active layer. Find the layers window. Learn how to make a layer visible and active. Layers consist of bands, usually three: red green and blue. The lower layers will be hidden if an upper layer does not have a transparency band (look for the jargon 'alpha channel'). Find out how to add one and how to draw with invisible ink (try the eraser).

          Most tools only work on the select area. A selection is another band covering the whole image that decides whether a tool affects each pixel completely, not at all, or only partially. Find the selection window and work out how to change the default behaviour (a new selection replaces the previous one) to one of the other possibilities: unite with the previous selection, select the intersection of two selections, subtract the new selection for the current one. "Select all" does what a programmer would expect when in subtract mode (subtract everything from the selection so nothing is selected and all the tools do not work).

          Some tools create a new temporary layer that must be anchored to become functional. I assume this extra step was created to confuse beginners.

          The GIMP is an amazing tool that can do all sorts of beautiful things. Budget a of day frustration reading the instructions and trying to get simple things to work and another day to do one tricky thing. Then expect anything new and complicated to take an hour to find a tutorial and another hour to get it to work. Once you get the hang of how the GIMP works, the insane troll logic to the user interface begins to make a kind of sense and the buttons start doing what you expect (or your expectations change to match insane troll logic).

          1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

            Re: Single window interface

            Odd, single window mode has been the default since it was introduced as I recall. I always have to remember where to switch it off on a new installation.

            The stuff about layers, channels and selections are pretty much the same as Photoshop. PS even has the additional complication of adjustment layers. (I'd like to see those added, but they aren't in the list for 3.0.)

            I'll give you the one about floating layers that need anchoring. Fixing it now would probably break many people's workflow.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Single window interface

            When I do a new install of gimp, it's all in single-window mode. I have to turn on the more useful multi-window mode!

          3. lpcollier

            Re: Single window interface

            A lot of what you describe is also true of Photoshop. There are lots of hidden tools, and different tools are shown or hidden depending on which workspace mode is chosen. Tools will only affect the active selection in Photoshop. Lots of tools need you to click the tick/OK icon to finalise the changes, similar to anchoring a new layer as you describe.

          4. Fluffy Cactus

            Re: Single window interface

            So many terms in GIMP are never fully explained to the user. Flocke Kroes points this out very well.

            Can GIMP people explain the following to new users, with examples please? :

            What is a layer?

            How is a layer in GIMP different from a "transparent plastic slide thingi in an overhead projector"?

            What can a layer do or not do in GIMP?

            How does one make a layer an active layer?

            How does one "anchor a layer"?

            How does one ""anchor a temporary layer"?

            How does one know that a layer is "anchored"?

            How does one know that a specific layer is indeed the active layer?

            How does one put "a transparency band" into a layer? Is there a sign? A mark?

            Is there a popup that says: "You are now working with the active layer!" ?

            How does one see whether there is a "transparency band" in a layer?

            What does a transparency band look like?

            What does alpha channel mean?

            How do I know what item is the alpha channel?

            Is the alpha channel a type of a layer?

            Or is it something else?

            Is an Alpha Channel a "method to transport something, like data"? If yes, then "from where to where" does it transport? Or is an Alpha Channel similar to the "Alpha Dog", the leader of the pack?

            Do words have meaning? Or are they meaningless drivel like what Mr. Trump tweets?

            Can programmers please come to conclusion on that question?

            Is there a beta or a gamma channel?

            How do they differ from alpha channel?

            Why was "Save as a TIFF" discarded?

            Can GIMP programmers think about renaming processes in such a way, that they "mean what they say, and say what they mean"?

            It goes without saying that people who wish to work with GIMP are people who think "more visually than mathematically or in programming terms". These people are your target audience.

            Think of attributes that seem self-evident to a person who thinks visually:

            Color, brightness, opacity, sharpness, blurriness, and so forth. One can easily imagine that one could

            select "all pixels in a picture" that "satisfy a specific attribute, or a range of attributes".

            One would reasonably expect that the user then could "work with the selected item" and "do something" with it, such as "copy, paste, change, delete, transform, subtract, add, combine with another item". But, somehow GIMP does not mean "select" when it says "select".

            Is there any GIMP person who can find the appropriate word that better describes what "select" does?

            If I or any artistically oriented person ever had the chance to get together with GIMP programmers, I would pester them to "show, and tell, and clearly explain" what their terms mean, what does what,

            what is what, why is this called that, etc.

            Lawyers, chemists, tax accountants all use obfuscation and unexplained terms in their business.

            Why would programmers do the same thing, when the success of their program depends on being as clear as possible to the majority of people? Do you know of any car manufacturer who

            proudly proclaims "We hid the steering wheel in the trunk (boot) of the car, because most of the time

            you drive straight ahead...!" ??

            That's the attitude in software people I don't get, and it does not matter whether their output is free or

            paid for, they seem to delight in being "not understood". Why? I don't know! Complete mystery!

            Then I'd write down what I have learned, in plain English, and publish that, just so there is a type of

            "Beginners Intro to GIMP".

        3. chroot

          > single window interface

          Gimp has an option to turn it on.

      2. Graham 32

        Corel Draw! That's takes me back. That's where I learnt my editing skills*. Corel Draw was for vector graphics. It came with PhotoPaint for bitmaps. There were some other things too including a 3D renderer in the suite. I think it was v6 I had.

        * after Deluxe Paint on the Amiga.

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Exactly this. I still try to persevere with GIMP occasionally, like when I wanted to set a transparent background on some images, but I spent far more time on Google trying to figure it out than doing the job. It seems that anything I want to do is buried deep in the menu systems under incomprehensible names and requires arcane image manipulation techniques along the way.

      I've often given up and used a basic drawing editor instead out of frustration just trying to do the most basic things. Back in the days of XP I used Paintshop and that simple program was intuitive and quick to use. GIMP on the other hand...

  6. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

    A heartfelt 'Thank You' to everyone who has ever contributed.

    I owe you all so many drinks I'd put you in hospital.

    You allowed me to go digital when the best computer I could afford was a (very) second hand 486, and have helped me to produce pictures that I love. (Competition judges, not so much.)

    I've never got why so many people complain about its interface. Just a tiny bit of Photoshop experience was enough for me to understand it. It's very similar, perhaps too much because the PS style design can't be the best that could be achieved. Possibly it's just the uncanny valley thing, I get a bit confused looking for the equivalent command in PS.

    One point that I've always found particularly helpful is the team's policy on UI changes. Every new feature that I didn't want (tool windows permanently on top, single window mode, traditional menu bar) has a config option to switch back. Great decision folks, I hope you can keep that up!

    GIMP is one of the bright lights in the free software world, much kudos to you all.

    1. Peter Mount

      Re: A heartfelt 'Thank You' to everyone who has ever contributed.

      As you I had some exposure to Photoshop in the past so some concepts like Layers came naturally to me when I started using GIMP 20 years ago.

      Some tasks I need to lookup but those are the odd ones when I want some special effect or a task I rarely do.

      Most normal tasks I just get on with it

    2. Hull

      Re: A heartfelt 'Thank You' to everyone who has ever contributed.

      "I owe you all so many drinks I'd put you in hospital."

      That might be considered an oddly appropriate thanks because of the user experience allegedly delivered by GIMP.

      Not by me though. I unreservedly love GIMP, along with its vector graphics partner Inkscape! I've been working with GIMP for approximately 15 years, for illustration purposes and a little photo work. Thank you, dear contributors, for allowing me to ditch closed source software.

      The only remaining software I really miss is voice recognition. I do not want to surrender privacy to Google and its ilk.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: A heartfelt 'Thank You' to everyone who has ever contributed.

      @Gratbearded old scrote

      I care not whether people use Photoshop or Gimp. Whatever they are happy with is good. But I take exception to your sentence...

      Quote "I owe you all so many drinks I'd put you in hospital" unquote.

      Bollocks. After more years of practising than I am going to mention, I would drink you under the table without trying. As long as you are paying!!! Please try and "man up" before making such ludicrous statements!

      Cheers… Ishy

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: A heartfelt 'Thank You' to everyone who has ever contributed.

        Everyone has a quantity that would put them in hospital. Or the morgue.

        I know my limit. Yours may well be much more than mine, but I hope for your sake you know where it is.

        (Upvoted, because you made me laugh.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A heartfelt 'Thank You' to everyone who has ever contributed.

        "I could drink you under the table" just means "I'm more of an alcoholuc"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Happy 25th Birthday, GIMP

    I've never found it easy to use, but it will support anything that my limited creativity can come up with - and it is available everywhere for free. Can't fault that :)

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Happy Birthday - keep doing what you do

      GIMP is secretly funded by Adobe to make you do that.

  9. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    It's just a shame that the developers are so pigheadedly insistent on using an anti-disabled insult as a hah-hah-aren't-we-edgy acronym. They wouldn't use "New Image Generation and Graphical Editing Resource" and they shouldn't bloody use "GIMP" either.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Anti-disabled? It was a sex joke, and that's really not the most important thing. They are a tiny team and have many more urgent jobs to do.

      OTOH, my local library's nanny filter won't allow access to Bloody prudes should grow up, or else stop listing bad words so that they can disapprove of them.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        It may have been a sex joke at first, but "gimp" as a derisory term for people with difficulties walking was first recorded by the OED in 1925. The development team know that perfectly well, and their decision to keep on using the slur was reported in El Reg fairly recently.

        And, of course, if they want their software to be more widely used in professional circles (and there is no reason why they should want that, of course) giving it a sex-joke name really isn't any better than giving it an anti-disabled name.

        1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

          What it meant in 1925 is not what it generally means now. Usage changes and it quickly became 'wierdo,' then 'wierd sex.'

          It's a lot like 'hacker,' there's very little point in us telling the rest of the world that it doesn't mean that.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The 1920s was a much gayer era.

        2. Agamemnon

          It's a fucking Acronym, hell it's A Backronym.


          Do we really need the periods? Seems we do.

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      It rather depends on what angle you are looking at it from, your preconceptions and biases, oh and your native language. I see no political angle, to me it's just the:





      It's very useful, does what it says on the tin, and yes, it's hard to use, but so are many things.

    3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Even that is optional

      You know if the word is the worst thing in your view there is the GLIMPSE fork, as mentioned in the article.

      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: Even that is optional

        This isn't mentioned in the main article, probably to avoid controversies in a celebratory article, but in the Keep Reading section.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There was a kid who actually forked it (well, cloned the repository) because they didn't like the name, I'm not sure why. Apparently they decided to be offended on behalf of whoever should have been offended but never complained.

      Eventually, when his plan to harass people to do what he wanted failed, in a brief moment of lucidity he seemed to follow the advice that he was given: fork it and see who wins. He was never heard of again.

      I have a feeling that now I know who it was. :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apparently they decided to be offended on behalf of whoever should have been offended but never complained.

        That's pretty much the culture wars of the last couple of years in a nutshell, isn't it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: That's pretty much the culture wars of the last couple of years in a nutshell, isn't it?

          No. The "culture wars" consist of a bunch of old people playing the victim and complaining that they shouldn't have to consider other peoples feelings. Like that argument isn't circular.

          GIMP is a fucking stupid name, always has been. The passion shown on here for keeping the name shows that OSS is still the domain of the emotionally immature.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      see icon

    6. Cederic Silver badge

      I fear that interpreting the name as an insult is a comment on the person making that interpretation rather than the name of the product.

      Words have multiple meanings. Accept this. Embrace it. Love the language, it's powerful and beautiful and lets you do marvellous things.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Exactly that.

  10. Sgt_Oddball

    I for one...

    Actually used to choose Gimp over photoshop in a previous job.

    For the most part it behaved itself much better than photoshop and I never had an instance of GIMP eating work files whole and spitting them back out.

    Yes, there's somethings that are buried deeper than nessary (and having to use export rather than save is still needlessly frustrating) but minor quibbles on the whole.

    That and it would run well enough on machines that photoshop would make whimper and cry.

    GIMP icon. Obvs.

  11. tiggity Silver badge

    great milestone

    As someone who only has to do graphics occasionally, Photoshop & GIMP both about the same PITA in terms of learning how to do the things I wanted. Its different to Photoshop so presume some of the moans are from those who (as previously stated) expect a Photoshop clone. I'm glad it exists as only once have I had Photoshop licence via work that I could use at home (its too expensive to buy as an individual for my low usage) so GIMP has helped me create imagery, retouch old photos in a way that I would not have otherwise been able to, so a hearty thanks from me.

  12. 0laf

    All true

    It's a right bastard to use but if you get into the way of it eventually it becomes not so bad.

    Considering the price of buying full fat photoshop GIMP is a wee miracle.

    Kudos, karma and beers for all involved.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: It's a right bastard to use but if you get into the way of it eventually it becomes not so bad.

      Isn't that the moto of the Open Source movement?

  13. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Frustrating UI design

    Many of the important open-source programs suffer from terrible UI design, which make it difficult to learn, understand and get things done. I believe this stems from the fact that the developers are also designing the UI, whilst being unable to relate how new or novice users would use the program. I also believe they take shortcuts to get things working quickly without being concerned how this works out for the workflow.

    Blender has the exact same problem. I've been using it for many years now yet even the newest version is frustratingly difficult to use. I've learned to cope with it, but the overwhelming number of sliders, buttons and checkboxes (many of which I'm completely in the dark what effect they have) and the illogical tab structure make it a struggle to get things done.

    I always feel that commercial programs are easier to use because there's a dedicated UI design team that observe and record how users use the program. The KDE team has learned from its mistakes and now has a dedicated UI design team that oversees all KDE development.

  14. DarkwavePunk


    I always actually liked the way GIMP used to default to multiple discrete windows for everything. On Linux on a single monitor back in the day it was a godsend to be able to have 3 virtual desktops - 1 with just the canvas and a couple of others with tools. It made for a nice workflow. I notice the current version of GIMP seems to default to a more traditional single screen model. I've not used GIMP in ages as I mostly paint and draw and Krita works well for direct digital art. May give it another try though. Anyway, happy girthday GIMP!

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: GIMP UI

      Switching back is under the Windows menu

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GIMP UI

      Stockholm syndrome.

  15. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    GIMP is found in several Linux distributions and is of course only ever an apt-get away

    For several, shouldn't that read 'the majority of popular'


    Other package managers are available (for those not using a subset of Debian)

  16. mmonroe

    Gimp all the way

    I have acess to full Adobe suite at work, and I find the Photoshop interface a nightmare when compared to GIMP. I don't need CMYK but the marketing dept does, so they use Photoshop.

  17. Xalran

    It was that time.

    It was that time when beyond the expensives Photoshop and ImageIn ( for Windows and Macs ) you had cryptic stuff like Image Alchemy ( purely CLI based that allowed you to convert so many format into so many other format that it was mindboggling and performe some basic stuff like resizing ).

    GIMP was there with the right things at the right time... and that's why it's been lasting that long. ( ImageIn is long dead... and Photoshop is the reference. )

  18. Mystic Megabyte

    Used GIMP for a small project recently and just like every other time I’ve used it I spent as much time searching for help with using it than I did using it. But it did get the job done!

    Here's a bit of advice for people using complex software, whether it be Gimp or Photoshop. Get a two screen setup! Put the program on one and the help page on the other. I only use these things occasionally so I'm not going to remember how to do complicated tasks.

    This reminds me of a house building, computer illiterate pal who found AutoCAD difficult. We had a joke that he could just say "Hoose" into the the microphone and the software would know what to draw :)

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Mystic Megabyte We had a joke that he could just say "Hoose" into the the microphone and the software would know what to draw :)

      Ah, similar in concept to the Look Around You music composition computer?

  19. Adair Silver badge

    25 years ...

    and people are still whining that GIMP isn't Photoshop (or whatever package they first learnt raster editing on, or are too cheap to shell out for but imagine is the sine qua non of photo-editing).

    Pick your tool, learn it, use it and quit whining, or move over to whatever you think you prefer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 25 years ...

      Exactly. If you don't like it, don't use it. Nobody's forcing you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 25 years ...

      Yeah! Having to spend ages learning something isn't a sign that the UI is terrible!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Made me money

    You can complain about ease of use all you like, I might even agree with you.

    But the fact is, back in the 90s when my company at the time was just starting, we were given a job (because nobody else would touch it with a bargepole) that involved doing some image and text manipulation for a large number of records. It was pretty clear that we were going to be losing money big time, as each record took about 20 minutes of manipulation to process. Something had to be done.

    Then I discovered the GIMP and its scripting capabilities. A couple of hours learning enough of how it worked plus a little Bash glue, and we cut the processing time by a factor of 500x. We made a nice profit on that one and the client was rather impressed when we handed over the deliverables weeks ahead of schedule, which is rather important when you are the new kid on the block. It helped my company being taken seriously and compete against much bigger providers.

  21. JDX Gold badge


    Couldn't pass that by :) Like Blender GIMP is one of those tools you can't casually use for the odd thing here or there, you need to invest some time. Which to be fair could be said for Photoshop and Maya. Since my needs for image manipulation are so rare, I struggle along with Paint.Net (or even Paint).

  22. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

    Honourable mention

    Let's not forget the GIMP fork known as Cinepaint. It's a version that supported deep colour, many years before GIMP 2.10 did. No lightweight, it was used in the production of Titanic, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

    I would have written this as a belated obituary, but I've just found signs of life from 2018. Maybe it will still recover.

    Anyroadup, as a fork of the original it too is part of the heritage.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe i'm the only one but I watched a 10min GIMP tutorial on youtube and think its fantastic, I use it daily for logo work and image manipulation.

    Sure the name is terrible, the startup time needs to be improved and the interface options simplified but its still a great bit of software worthy of a photoshop comparrison.

  24. Gene Cash Silver badge


    Nah, I just write a bunch of netpbm filters.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: GUIs?

      Yeah, those are fine when you want to make a set of standard changes to a set of files. Better, even.

      As a photographer I want to make decisions based on what I can see in the image. CLI processes don't cut it there.

  25. J27

    GIMP has a lot of great functionality. Unfortunately it's stuck behind a UI that only a mother could love, in fact I'm convinced that only the GIMP dev team likes the UI. But they're so stubborn about it that they've refused to fix it for the last 25 years, so it remains the "I can't afford PhotoShop" program, instead of a genuine competitor. You'd almost think that Adobe is paying them to keep the UI terrible.

    1. nijam Silver badge

      UI preferences are personal taste (or more likely lack of imagination preventing you from trying something unfamiliar). It's unreasonable to criticise software for not being to your taste, especially when the alternative is just as bad. Albeit differently bad.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        There certainly is such a thing as 'bad UI', but I'm not at all sure GIMP really qualifies for that criticism, any more than most software. Having always used GIMP I don't find the UI any more difficult than most other software where the GUI is trying to make a lot of complex tools accessible.

        I suspect most of the 'crap UI' moaning comes from people who are familiar with something else who instinctively feel that what they are familiar with is the only proper way, and feel resentful that they have to pay a significant fee for the privilege of using the 'proper way'. If only GIMP was a carbon copy UI of P'shop they could have their photo-editing for free. But life isn't like that; we almost always have to work for what we want - and freedom is no different.

  26. xyz Silver badge

    Does it work yet?

    For me its sort of entity framework for pictures. Mind you I'm looking for something since paitshop pro went all monetisey.

  27. deadlockvictim


    I'm happy that GIMP is here but I never got used to it.

    Indeed I bought a 10-year-old Mac Pro 3,1 some years back which came with Photoshop on it when I wanted to have a dedicated machine to make DVDs and edit photos. I got it for the equivalent of £20. It has Mac OS X 10.6 on it and I keep it off the Internet. 4x 3,2GHz cores and 32GB RAM is grand. Apple make hardware to last, or at least they used to.

    I have Ubuntu on my main Internet machine and I could have downloaded GIMP but I never got used to it. But then again, I am someone who uses graphic programs so rarely, it never seemed worthwhile to get used to GIMP. I got used to Photoshop between versions 2.5 and 5.5 and all that I need was there.

  28. Proton_badger

    Happy Birthday GIMP

    Many years ago I needed to do some photo manipulation and found The GIMP. Since then I have used it a lot and become very experienced with it. A lot of help can be found in the official user manual, the countless Youtube videos each covering specific situations and the all GIMP guides on the Javapoint website. It has helped me with anything from advanced photo restoration/colorization to removing drunk Uncle Bob photobombing wedding photos (I liked them better With Bob, but the bride didn't) to making fancy kids birthday invitation.

    The most magical plugin is The Resynthesizer plugin (Heal Selection filter when installed) which can intelligently remove things from an image and replace them with the surrounding context so it looks like they were never there. I wish the plugin would be merged into the main application.

    My 12 year old is now using it for things like his school yearbook. He already understands the alpha channel, layers and various tools, kids learn quickly.

    Thank you GIMP and Happy Birthday!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GIMP.. the poster child for terrible UI..

    So nerds love it. And the usual tail curve of a random population sample. But its UI is so terrible where do you start. I have actually worked on high end image editing / compostiting applications, written Photoshop ops compositing engines, know how this stuff work all the way down to the pixel pipeline level. Can ramble on for hours about implementing traveling mattes. But still once or twice every decade or so when I give it one more try to see how far they have got after a few minutes of trying to do even basic workflows its always WTF are these people thinking. Are they completely f*cking insane. The level of contempt for even basic HCI principals of usability seem so deliberate on more than one occasion the thought has crossed my mind, has someone in Adobe payed off someone to deliberately create a GUI this terrible. Because even the random walk of a drunken Unix geek is unlikely to produce an interface that perverse.

    To those who have found it useful, I am genuinely happy it worked for you. I am glad you found using it productive. But even after all these years I have not changed my recommendation for the vast majority of normal graphic design people etc - dont waste you time with this. Go find some other alternative to the lying cheating utterly dishonest low lifes that are now that once great company Adobe.They are out there if you search. If John Warnock were dead he would be spinning in his grave at what Adobe and its products have become.

    1. Duncan10101

      Re: GIMP.. the poster child for terrible UI..

      Oh you are so so so right. The thing is so fucking incomprehensible that it's a joke. Why is Amazon so successful ? --- they put the customer first. Why is GIMP so unbelievably fucking horrible? --- they put the developer first. "Go figure" as the septics have it.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: GIMP.. the poster child for terrible UI..

      I've never found anyone giving concrete examples of why the UI is perceived as bad, just that it's "bad".

      I read that as "it doesn't have the same UI as photoshop, which I already know".

      1. James Marten

        Re: GIMP.. the poster child for terrible UI..

        Well, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the UI, in the sense that it eventually lets you do what you want to do. But there are so many little irritations, inconsistencies that should be eliminated by having project-wide UI standards, and errors that should have been caught by even the most basic QA. Such as:

        In the Layer menu - Stack - RReverse Layer Order. Assuming that this is not intentional, even if the developer had not spotted the obvious typo then somebody else should have.

        Why are there two options for printing? Using the first is a toss up as to whether CUPS takes note of the settings and prints the image as intended. And don't get me started on the inability of Gutenprint to even remember basic settings (such as paper size) and insisting on switching back to the meaningless PPI scaling every time something else in the dialogue is changed.

        Every other action that leads to a dialogue has "..." following its menu entry. So why don't Preferences and similar options in the Edit menu have them?

        Speaking of dialogues, try opening a random one. See whether the OK button is highlighted as the default - in many cases it isn't (e.g. Filters - Blur - Gaussian Blur). Even if it is highlighted, then see whether pressing Return actions the dialogue - again in many cases it doesn't (e.g. Image - Scale Image). Come on, this is basic UI consistency which, even if the programnmer forgets, should be handled by the UI toolkit.

        To demonstrate something that the user should never see, try Filters - Combine - Filmstrip. Click on "Font" and see the error message: Plug-in "gimp-org-film" (/usr/lib64/gimp/2.0/plug-ins/gimp-org-film/gimp-org-film) attempted to install procedure "temp-procedure-number-4" with invalid parameter name "dialog status".

        I could go on all day, but these are just a few annoyances that a ten minute exploration turned up. And surely, in 25 years of development, I can't be the first one to have spotted them.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The GIMP hmm...

    Never found it very user friendly. In fact I haven't found anything to replace Paintshop Pro 5 (onwards). It's a very unique tool being both a raster and a vector graphics editor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The GIMP hmm...

      Paint shop Pro 7 still my goto editing package!

  31. Duncan10101



    I tried GIMP. I failed.

    I installed Paint.Net. I succeeded.

    GIMP (and I'm writing this as somebody who came to it with an open mind) is one of the most horrible pieces of crap I've ever had the displeasure of using. Every feature feels like it was developed by a different person (or team) from every other part of it. And that's probably because it was. Every feature needs to be learnt individually because there is zero consistency across the user experience. Every new modification turns into a world of pain for the customer. This is the saddest, most pathetic piece of user-hating-and-victim-blaming, developer-centrict piece of crap I have ever encountered in my 25+ years of commercial software develpment on a wide variety of platforms. GIMP go home. Or learn to grow up. Beter still, just fuck the hell off and die.

    I struggle to see how anybody beyond idealists can percieve this as a viable product in any way, shape or form.

    I am an open-minded individual, and am not entrenched in my opinions. Please feel free to change my mind.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: WT-actual-F

      It's pretty easy:

      1. We decide to work at something complex, learn it's ways and master it, or

      2. We decide the chosen tool, that others clearly find usable and productive, really doesn't suit us and move sensibly on to find something that is a better fit.

      In either case we don't whine that something that clearly works for many is rubbish because it doesn't work for all.

      If GIMP was genuinely crap NOBODY would use it, it's not as though there aren't alternatives available - both paid for and free.

  32. rsole

    It may be only an apt-get away but on a Raspberry Pi that only gets you a version from 2018.

    I am not complaining just pointing it out.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love it

    So many haters. I actually find the Gimp UX much better than Photoshop.

    I still pine for Paint Shop Pro 9 occasionally but am doing my best to move on.

  34. David Roberts
    Paris Hilton

    Progressive approach to UI?

    I seem to be with the majority who find the whole UI far too complicated and counter intuitive.

    If there were modes with different levels of complexity, starting with very simple, the perhaps more users would adopt it and gradually unlock more of the complexity.

    This is not an unusual concept.

    Consider computer games. Many have novice or training levels which gradually progress to expert as you learn how to use the controls and unlock the more complex and challenging features.

    Potential users might give up if thrown into a game where knowledge of all the keystrokes, short cuts, and other fancy features was required to stop you getting killed off in the first few seconds every time.

    For image editing my baseline requirement is to crop and resize an image (photo or screen shot) and then upload it to a web site to share.

    I am almost 100% Windows at the moment and just use Paint.

    In the past I have used Linux far more and have painful memories of trying to use Gimp for simple things and being overwhelmed by the complexity.

    Still, Happy Birthday.

  35. The Onymous Coward

    If you have a Mac, spend £34 on a copy of Affinity Photo. It's worth it.

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