10 January 2011

GIMP and the falling sky

After an article about the development status and delay of the GIMP 2.8 release, many news sources talk about the app's doom and uncertain future. According to the article, "the only big chunk of work left to do for 2.8 is the optional single-window mode, for which the final design spec is also missing at the time", which is pretty much in line with the talks on the development mailing list. The bad thing is, there is no new release estimate either.

Now here are my two cents: last summer I tried for some months the development branch and this is what I have to say, the biggest and most anticipated feature, the single window mode is expected as the holy grail by those wanting a Photoshop clone on Linux, but are simple users, with no interest in contributing back (many times, they are not even users, making it as an excuse to stay with Photoshop). Trying it, I found it cute (it has an "Inkscape feeling", good for consistency) but not something I want to use, it wastes screen estate and makes harder to work with multiple documents at the same time. This coupled with a number of smaller annoyances made me return to the 2.6 branch with the upgrade from Fedora 13 to Fedora 14 and want to look again at it only after the release.

On the positive things, the news generated interest in donations, I bet the team would have liked coders more, but they will use what they get. There is some cash at hand (thousands of dollars, according to the mailing list) and people trying to figure a best use (bounties, hardware devices). So the sky is still up there, somewhere.


  1. I figured the same thing would happen. "Yay single window mode!" <1 week later> "It would be nice if I could put this tool panel on my other monitor."

    Is there not a preference to switch to classic mode?

  2. yes, for the moment those modes are optional and easy to switch from one to the other

  3. I can not disagree more with what you say.

    Multiple windows on gimp are as useless as a browser without tabs.

    If the single window gimp makes using multiple images difficult or wastes screen state it is because single window mode is badly implemented and I hope it gets fixed.

    A large amount of people do not even try the gimp because of "the pannels are everywhere mentality from 1990 X-Window apps"

    It hurts but it is true.

    I have no problem using the gimp which by the way I learn to use after knowing Photoshop for a long time. I can assure you that in my case I want to love and use the gimp, it would be certainly the case if it wasn't for the stupid retarded interface that gets on the way all the time, I spend more time moving the panels around than doing work.

    Sorry for the rant, but the single window interface is much more of a big deal that some people want to realize.

    Please note that there are barely any applications with such an interface any more (At least where multiple freely floating toolbar windows are the only way) Heck even MS realized that detachable floating toolbars are crap interface design.

  4. @Sanders: have you tried a recent GIMP? There are only two panels and thanks to docking to can put them on a single one.

    I tried the single window mode and returned back to the old way... on my desktop with wide screen i may have managed it but on the netbook... it was unbearable.