A Glimpse of GIMP

GIMP is being forked to Glimpse.

On several occasions when I have told people I use GIMP as an image editor I have seen smirks. Not a good start, and that is before I have started talking about applying masks to layers. The situation does not improve when they ask what it means and I tell them that it stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”. Why would you want to manipulate a GNU Image? However “What is GNU?” is often the next question. And the answer is “GNU’s not Unix”. How is this supposed to entice someone serious about photography away from Photoshop or Lightroom? You can even find “photoshop” in the English dictionary now.

I am pretty sure that the use of GIMP is quite widespread but when a department head tells their graphic designers that they are to use a different editor instead of PhotoLab or PhotoShop or PhotoScape I reckon they’ll tend to use the name as little as possible.

What percentage of people picking up a digital camera know what Unix is? And of those how many might be interested, or care, that something is not Unix? But perhaps most people don’t care what software is called, and they are the ones that are never influenced by advertising.

If you have come from an IT background you can tap the side of your nose knowledgeably and install the new version of GIMP from the command line. Why would we want to let Windoze or Mac users into our world?

The answers are that it is a powerful image editor and it is Open Source i.e. free.

Apparently the project name has been a discussion topic on several occasions in the GIMP Project community and up until recently those in the know have tapped the side of their noses and carried on. I have not read the discussion itself but according to one source (The Register) it recently got a bit bad-tempered. As a result someone stuck their finger up and created a fork of the project in the best open source tradition and the current name for it is Glimpse. The new project has grand plans for major improvements to the user interface (AKA make it look even more like PhotoShop?) but is this looking for ways to justify the fork?

I don’t think I will be switching over for a while yet but it will be interesting to see if Glimpse gets past the geeky image or adolescent smirks of its parent.

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