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GIMP receives a $100K donation (gimp.org)
631 points by domedefelice 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 301 comments

If everyone complaining about GIMP in this thread (and most clearly spend a lot of time using it, myself included) donated $20 or an hour of their time to GIMP, that'd be another $2k or ~100+ hours of time donated (as of this moment) to help make it better.

I have to run to work, so I just donated $20.


Expecting a developer who hasn't yet worked in the gimp codebase to make a meaningful contribution worth a positive dollar value in an hour is vastly under-estimating the cost of ramping up a developer.

In reality, if everyone in this thread tried to contribute to gimp for an hour, I expect we'd get two patches of any value out of it, and about 100 hours of time that did nothing but negatively impacted existing gimp developers.

There are two realistic outcomes from a "1 hour to contribute something" thing:

1. A trivial patch which causes more lost time ($) for the existing gimp developers than it creates value

2. A developer jumping into irc and trying to ramp up, which for about the first 6 hours of time will likely be a drain on the existing developers with no positive value return until at least 15 work-hours of the developer ramping up (and that's assuming a developer who is already quite experienced and can ramp up pretty efficiently. For some developers, the numbers would be vastly worse).

I would go so far as to argue that part of gimp's less intuitive UI is because of having more developers, and if there were fewer developers total the UI would be more cohesive.

While what you say may be true, it's trivia. If one of those devs who attempt a fix learn a little and make a more significant contribution later in life. Only hindsight is 20/20.

The point is, the GIMP project would then be paying (in time and/or money) solely for someone else to "learn a little", when they could/should be spending that time/money actively improving the product.

Pleasantly surprised that their Bitcoin donation route is as busy as it is. ~20BTC+ over 700 transactions ain't chump change!

$20/hr for knows-wtf-they're-doing programmer time?

$20/hr for doesn't-know-GIMP's-architecture-but-submits-a-possibly-useful-patch-anyway time.

If $20 sounds too low, feel free to pitch in more. I'm a physics postdoc, not a software dev.

You're about an order of magnitude off.

Please communicate that to the National Science Foundation (and by extension, the electorate). We're hemorrhaging some of our best scientists for that reason. I may soon join them.

Do people really expect to be paid market rate for open source work?

If I'm doing something for free, I don't mind doing it for free (obviously). If I'm doing something for money, I want to be paid my going rate; otherwise, either find someone else or sell me on just volunteering. I'd never charge $20/hr for software stuff -- it's basically $0/hr (which is most of my time, by choice) or market rate. It's actually the market rate billing that free me up to volunteer with open source projects in the first place.

Studies back you up and suggest "Pay enough or not at all." Paying below market rate tends to just piss people off and make them feel insulted and undervalued.

That's interesting. Do you happen to have a link to an article or study about this so that I can learn more?

If you search for "pay enough or don't pay at all" you should have no problem finding sources.

I'm not going to link to anything here because that implies vetting and I'm not going to vet anything. This isn't at all hard to find.

Thanks, I couldn't get my search query just right. No need to be snarky, though.

I wasn't being snarky.

Eh, this line came across as pretty snarky: "This isn't at all hard to find."

(I don't necessarily object to snarkiness. And obviously, tone can be hard to judge in plain text.)

Oh, good god. If I really thought the question meant the person was being lazy or something, I simply wouldn't have answered it. I'm well aware that if you know what to search on, it can be easy, and if you don't, it can be impossible.

I did the search, found lots of stuff readily available, shared my exact search phrase so it could be replicated and explained my reasoning for sharing the search phrase instead of a link. And now two people are busting my chops for actually being helpful.

I bet no one would have said a damn thing had I simply not bothered to reply and, in this case, not bothering to reply would have been the jerk thing to do because it would have been unhelpful to someone actually sincerely needing help and it would have been done on a bad faith assumption.


I'm not trying to bust your chops, I'm trying to let you know how you come across. If you don't care, that's fine.

> let you know how you come across.

To you which may mean that it is merely possible to infer snarkiness.

> If you don't care, that's fine.

Haha that doesn't help.

A bit late to the party, but still: Predicably Irrational, Dan Ariely.

I expect people will be paid fairly for their contributions. Are you in a position to be telling people what their time is worth? Or, possibly you're simply being a pessimist?

I think that "what people expect to be paid" is the very definition of "market rate".

Why not?

Because I would expect that you generally sacrifice part of your salary for the ability to work on free and open source software full-time, much like you would generally take a pay cut working at a non-profit.

If you're doing brain dead admin work sure.

If you're doing a contract not for profits pay the same as everyone else.

That's senseless. Non profit doesn't mean "worthy cause I should want to die on my sword for" it simply means the corporate financial structure doesn't accommodate profit-sucking shareholders, nor building the corporate coffers from year to year.

I don't know why you're being downvoted. I'm a contractor and my hourly rate absolutely depends on how good I feel about a project. Working on (useful) open source is a plus. I wouldn't go down to $20 though.

I don't think a developer spending one hour of their time could produce something worth $20 to GIMP. I'm not convinced you could even get a build and Dev environment even set up in that time for most major OSS projects, much less craft a good pull request and follow up to feedback.

I wonder what kind of wonderland you live in where most senior developers make close to half a million dollars.

Define "senior". Senior citizen developers? Or you meant that title should mean stature? If you're still coding after being at it for >30 years then yes, you're worth that to help level up entire teams. But, yes, given the prevailing definition of senior, sure, they're worth nowhere near that.

$20/hr was a contract rate. Your 1/2 million presumably is a salary (base). Not the same thing. $20/hr is roughly equivalent to $20k salary. $200k salary is reasonable for a competent developer who can hop on adding features to Gimp.

In my reality no developer (even a sh*y one) makes $20k.

In my reality most do.

It's called "Filter Bubble".

I make about $20 USD an hour doing low-level work writing performant C and x86 assembly at my current job.

Granted, it's not my only source of income, but what is the average pay/hour for most devs?

Check out Glassdoor.com.

For those skills as a mid-tier seniority developer, not in Silicon Valley in the land of make-believe? Probably like $85k-110k.

If you live in SV it might be like $210k or something absurd.

So, about $50 an hour for non-SV developers?

Plus benefits. A contractor or consultant will charge more.

210k is what you’d get as a junior though

Even FAANG in SV doesn't pay juniors over 200k in total compensation.

They don't do it for the money but money helps them spend more time on it.

If you ask people to give $50, fewer people will than if you ask them $20 so overall they will get more money.

Anyone know which of the donation options respects privacy, and isn't paypal? Haha.

What's wrong with their bitcoin option?

Bitcoin runs on an open ledger, it's not particularly private.

There are people who don't want to use cryptocurrencies because of their downsides (one of which is the speculative nature of it or, depending on whom you ask, downright ponzi scheme).

Or...perhaps 15 hours of an actual competent developer?

My hope: whichever direction Gimp development goes, they should try doing something similar to Blender - where they bring a bunch of developers and artists into a space. While they're in that space (for a limited amount of time) work on some big project involving Gimp. Develop Gimp to suite that project's needs.

Blender has always been very project-focused, and you could even say it's really project-identified. That reflects a particular kind of psychological reward system working within the development team. GIMP developers have long demonstrated more of a GIMP-is-GIMP approach. This kind of approach looks at GIMP as a very unique thing--there's nothing else quite like it, and that's worth celebrating and understanding and working on. Users who get the most out of GIMP will learn GIMP and its leverage points, rather than discovering that GIMP works the way they do or "shows something big" to demonstrate that it is in sync with what makes something cool or interesting to others (the area of fitting the user's style, be it Maya or whatever, has become a Blender specialty since at least the last decade+).

So the broad decisions about what will be done and in what way have already been made at the team- and individual-psychology level, assuming this money doesn't radically change the core team composition. While the objective manifestation of the spending is yet to come, this money was already spent by the team psychology, and the further we depart from GIMP's past in wishing for changes, the less likely our wishes will match with the actual outcome of the expenditures.

And let's take the polar opposite into consideration--even if the idea of becoming more like Blender and gathering people and putting a big project together makes the GIMP team members recoil in horror, the most well-founded hope would be that the GIMP team builds on past successes and learns from past failures, or gains more momentum in the direction that will likely bring it the most success _given the team's psychological makeup & personal resources_. That would probably bring about a really good outcome even if it doesn't result in a highly-visible project.

So... I've had to read this about eight times, and two or three of those together with someone to figure this out... But what you're saying is "gimp developers work on gimp because they like gimp, while blender developers work on blender to see what people can do with it -- so they will not be able to spend this money effectively." -- or am I still misunderstanding you?

(Of course it would be Boudewijn Rempt)--much respect to you and thank you for your question.

> gimp developers work on gimp because they like gimp

I'd say: GIMP has always been good enough for GIMP developers as its own world to explore--what is it, what can we make it become for the sake of GIMP. I remember the good old days (frankly I'm not sure if this still happens) when a mailing list suggestion like "look, Photoshop does X and GIMP sucks at X" would almost always result in a "hey, the source is open" comment from core devs. This drove some users absolutely crazy, because _if it was their project_, one of the core goals would be fitting the project to user expectations (probably rooted in Photoshop use-experiences) rather than setting a sort of psychological boundary around GIMP that is less permeable to that kind of encouragement to change for the sake of some externality like "a frustrated Photoshop pro" or "a mom who never knows where her toolbars go". There generally hasn't been a pressured response to that kind of pressure from the GIMP team except in slower, measured ways. This tells us that GIMP developers feel less pressure from that feedback (positive pressure or negative) than other developers on other projects might.

This kind of internally-protective outcome reminds me of a bumper sticker that I saw that said "Keep Portland Weird." I think there's a benefit to that line of thought. Maybe "Keep GIMP GIMP--while also working on meeting Photoshop-level expectations _whenever we feel like it_" is more representative. And this is completely separate from looking at GIMP as a low-quality project, or even a weird project. It's an awesome project _in its own way_ is what I'm saying. To understand it and its unique leverage points is to enjoy using GIMP.

> while blender developers work on blender to see what people can do with it

First, I don't know about individual developers, as this is more of a comment of "type and generality". But I think the project outcomes make it clear that Blender developers really enjoy the feeling of making a big impact in the world, and building bridges to the outside-of-Blender world, as opposed to more internal focus on bringing a special, unique thing into existence. (Every project will have a blend of both, but this is speaking in terms of project-type, where it helps to cast a project into one bucket or another in order to get at what makes them different.)

The former, a focus on the outside impact, results in something with which it's easy to objectively identify and praise, because it's more objectively "compatible" with more people and teams. A Maya team goes "we get this" partially because it works with them on a level. It crosses the objective barrier and works with people who prefer another set of keyboard shortcuts and window layouts. And so the Blender team gets more of that outside-in encouragement from a broader base, IMO.

And again, this doesn't make GIMP faulty, just different. The latter type of focus, the internal focus, asks "what do _we_ want to do, what interests _us_ as a team, what's next for _us_" and I believe that's always been a feature of GIMP's existence. When you understand GIMP you can talk to core developers. When you begin to push on it, and compare it to Photoshop, you become the problem much faster than you would in other communities, because you're not focused on what GIMP is. So the GIMP project might have this objective-world blind spot, as evidenced by a HN thread full of change requests :-) but it's a trade-off for a high level of internal, subjective quality which can be observed if you _look at GIMP for what it is_ and really figure it out. I mean, I use the software every day, and there are so many little things that make me miss it when I have to use something like PS.

> so they will not be able to spend this money effectively

Quite the opposite--I'm certain it will be spent effectively. No doubt about that at all.

What I'm saying is that it would probably not be realistic to hope that it is spent the exact same way that a Blender fan would really appreciate. And that's OK and even a good thing.

> The latter type of focus, the internal focus, asks "what do _we_ want to do, what interests _us_ as a team, what's next for _us_" and I believe that's always been a feature of GIMP's existence

Right now, the focus is on completing the GTK+3 port for v3.0 and making room in API for upcoming serious changes in v3.2 such as non-destructive editing. Sounds good enough? :)

I'm feeling quite spoiled here--updates coming straight to the rabble from the source. :-) And when I'm still catching up with new features from last year! Now this non-destructive editing thing, can it also cure someone who rasterizes all of his text layers without making backups? ;-) (Really it does sound awesome)

Perhaps. Nondestructive editing tends to preserve the original image and applies edits to a copy. It could do that in a way that makes that possible, but it's likely someone would need to specifically build the capacity to remember text layers like that.

A naive implementation might just have two buffers and a list of pixel changesets and no knowledge of how the changes were made. A more advanced implementation could track more information, work on a per layer basis, and support the recovery of vector text layers from rastered ones.

So I guess the answer is not by default, but it opens the door for it to be a thing.

Well, the first thing to do will be using already existing API for attaching filters to layers. But yeah, what we do to text layers is a crime and should prosecuted :)

Oh yeah, I wasn't trying in any way to insinuate that Gimp should just 'become like software x', and I guess in the above, it sounded like x would be Blender. I don't think project-focused development would make it anything like Blender, or even change Gimp's weirdness. And (I'd like to think) that there's some overlap between what interest Gimp developers themselves, and what interest various users too. Personally I see the value in all the GEGL

I myself make monthly donations to Øyvind Kolås, and I think it's important he just does what he thinks he needs to do. No "make Gimp like software X" stuff.

I believe this is a key reason Blender is as good as it is today; they developed a tool that addressed the needs of artist that use their software (scratching a need).

So far ZeMarmot is such a project in a smaller scale (1 dev + 1 artist), but extended amount of time: https://film.zemarmot.net/

They could also get some inspiration from Krita.


Can we streamline the controls?

Thats what GIMP needs. After 9 years of using GIMP I switched to photoshop because I was doing many photos and couldnt hand the inconsistency of what each button does.

If you'll provide more detail as to which inconsistencies you've found, I'll take the time to test and write up an actionable bug report.

That would actually be a valuable service.

Many users don't know where or how or what to put in a bug report.

If some had a site that you could just write free-form prose others more experienced could convert that to actionable bug reports.

The KDE bugtracker has a few users, I think pinex and pino, who actually read almost every bug report, test, and clarify.

That said, I'll _happily_ take any mention of FOSS bugs, verify, and file them at the proper place. Hit me!

This is great, I hope Gimp puts it to good use. I would love for Gimp to focus more on artistic uses instead of only on software types (which is probably a vain hope).

We would greatly benefit from a good artistic/photo image editing tool that does not belong to the Adobe's subscription license racket. Unfortunately, Gimp is not nearly in the same class as Photoshop, so most artists grumble about Adobe but still pay subscription because its UI is SO much better. Photoshop is the main reason I still run Windows at home; I would gladly donate this money to Gimp instead if it provides the same functionality: good slider and visual coordination to find the right levels and color balances, good color support (no, 8-bit color is not enough), decent printing (at least to 17"x40") and raw camera images.

Krita's pretty good for an digital-pencil-based art tool and Darktable is a nice Lightroom replacement, both just need a bit of UI tuning.

Darktable is not even in the same category as Lightroom. I spent months trying to figure out how to make it work for me before realizing it has zero library management functionality, which the devs seem to have missed is Lightroom's main value proposition. It is purely a non-destructive editor, and if you look up discussions on this topic on the mail lists you'll see WONTFIX responses in the vein of "just use your file manager and a tangle of custom shell scripts!"

Wait, library management is supposed to be the main value prop? I didn't get the point of libraries - I already have my images in separate folders, what does the library actually add to that dynamic? Different folder, different instance of lightroom works for me.

Being able to organize thousands of photos dynamically by tags, date, etc, is enormously productive, as opposed to only having a single, static hierarchy through which to find photos. For instance, I could quickly retrieve all scenic photos across our entire collection.

Did not even realize tagging existed... but does that mean all photos must be in the same library? For example my workflow is usually

Pull pictures off camera manually into a date-named folder

Open lightroom, click "new catalog"

Put catalog into named date folder

Import those photos (import without move option)

Work on those photos, use the slider catalog thing at the bottom to filter by flagged (the ones I edited and like), then ctrl+a and export.

It's been several years since I've used it, so I could be completely wrong, but yes, I believe that kind of filtering only works at the catalog level, so all of your photos would have to be in the same catalog to gain that benefit. When I used it, I only had one catalog that encompassed my entire photo library.

My impression is that Lightroom is really designed for you to go "all in" and let it organize everything.

I would absolutely love to see a FOSS alternative to Photo Mechanic. It’s a brilliant bit of software, stores info in the file itself in a neat way that syncs well across NextCloud, giving me a neat “cloud” workflow (sync folder raw after import, process, then remove sync once it’s done). It plus Darktable (or in my case, Affinity Photo) absolute rules

That's quite odd. I've noticed that every other photographer I know dislikes Lightroom for the very fact that it uses libraries -- ending up being way too bulky and a resource hog when scaling across cameras, editing machines, studio locations, and storage drives.

Phase One's Capture One solves this by using "sessions" instead, which lets you keep any sort of workspace as a loose individual folder; with preset subfolders for raw files, output, trash, previews, etc. You still get the benefits of tagging and other bells and whistles of searchable libraries but with much easier grouping and portability.

While this really doesn't apply to casual editing, I think the performance benefits and flexibility of the session approach over LR's insistence on libraries cannot be overstated if your RAW files start to number in the thousands after a few months (event/wedding photographers, etc.).

>I spent months trying to figure out how to make it work for me before realizing it has zero library management functionality

It would help if you specify what you mean by library management. What it doesn't do, and is very clear, is handle things like renaming files. You are expected to have copied the files over to your hard drive and organized them into folders (in any way that you like).

Beyond that, it serves library management well enough. You import a folder, and it becomes a collection. You can tag it, do queries, etc. It works very well for me when I want to find all photos of, say, my cat - even though they are spread across many directories.

Why would you have to spend months to figure that out

> You import a folder, and it becomes a collection.

Right. And then as I'm working on a project, and decide that collection needs to be two sub-collections, these three shots should actually be in this other project, these two shots maybe should be part of both this project and that project, these three portraits might fit the mood of that collection I'started putting together a few months ago... what do I do then? I'm fine with having to pick a folder to store my files in, that's a simple data storage problem. Library management is about semantic data, and in case you haven't noticed every file browser is absolutely garbage at that. Tags, especially the tiny little PITA tag browser box that was so clearly an afterthought in darktable, are an inadequate solution.

(I spent months trying to figure out what I was missing because I heard darktable repeatedly pitched as an equivalent to Lightroom, such as in the comment I replied to here, so I figured an answer to these fundamental workflows needs must be hidden in there somewhere and I was just committing the cardinal sin of Not Reading The Docs. When I finally did pore through the docs and find nothing more than tagging is when I jumped on the mail lists and discovered the devs are actually not interested in building an Lightroom equivalent.)

My gf is an artist and I roped her into trying Krita. Although she uses photoshop and illustrator mostly for interop with colleagues, I think she prefers Krita.

Also, Photoshop is just as buggy as (if not more than) Krita she finds. People just live with it because they don't have a choice.

Huh? Gimp has had 16-bit and 32-bit color depth per channel since 2.10 was released back in April.

Uh huh indeed. I am showing off my true age, but I had this exact discussion with a couple of Gimp developers in 1999 and 2001 (not sure what exactly they worked on). I am glad it is done about 20 years later, but not encouraged about this timeline.

I understand that open source means you can do whatever you want yourself, but both conversations started when they heard I got photoshop and said "no no no, do not waste your money, let us show you how gimp is the better tool".

Adjustment layers....

> [...] I hope Gimp puts it to good use.

From the announcment:

> [...] and will use the money to do much overdue hardware

> upgrade for the core team members and organize the next

> hackfest to bring the team together, as well as sponsor the

> next instance of Libre Graphics Meeting.

I'm genuinely curious out of ignorance more than anything. I've farted around with ps but since I've only ever used gimp as an artist, what am I missing?

I know this sounds lame, but this is kind of like explaining why Vim or Emacs is a better editor than Notepad -- you can describe a feature (say, syntax highlighting or compile and jump to first error), but its power is not clear unless you see it in action a few times. If you are genuinely curious, maybe find a local photo hobbyist and just ask to watch him work after a photo shoot.

To me (and I am just an occasional hobbyist), it is mostly the UI: the interface, flow and visual appearance is just right. As a simple example, moving levels slider ( https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/levels-adjustment.ht... ) with mouse and having a single-click option to see clipped areas is a killer feature. You can see it in other ways, but having this on/off before/after without moving a mouse is super powerful. Someone mentioned adjustment levels (and masks) that, to me, are done just right.

Gimp is the right tool for thinking about images in numbers: average the area, find maximum channel intensity, stretch to full range. But it is lacking for folks who want to drag sliders around and see the changes to find out what looks good.

Have you tried Affinity Photo/Designer?

So I bought both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer when they shipped. I re-bought them last year when I got a 2nd Windows machine and wanted something on Windows (first version was Mac)

I've gotten quite a bit of use out of Affinity Designer. There's a few features I've wished for but I can't justify paying for Illustrator and so have made do and been pretty satisfied.

But, ... recently I started doing some game development again and the workflows in Affinity Photo just didn't work for me. I found myself very frustrated because of poor or un-thoughtout design issues. So I caved and paid for the Photography Photoshop/Lightroom subscription ($120/yr). That's probably 1-4 hours of salary to buy depending on your job but it totally paid for itself in having a much better workflow so I could actually get stuff done.

$120 a year is about 4x what I paid before Adobe went subscription (used to upgrade every other version which was about once every 4 years) so in that sense it sounds expensive but, compared to what I get paid or what I charge it's a tiny amount of money and AFAICT totally worth it, at least for me.

I was about to comment the same thing. It’s a great photoshop alternative and it’s inexpensive (and not a subscription!)

Thank you, I will take a look, it looks interesting and seems to be getting positive reviews from photographers.

I've been using it for about 18 months, works very well for my modest needs (stitching panoramas, HDR stacking, occasionally removing an unwanted person or thing from a photo). Most of the shortcuts and much of the interface is just like Ps, even to the point where many Ps tutorials/techniques just work.

The one area where I'd say it needs improvement is the raw development. The output just isn't that great compared to Adobe Camera Raw or (my tool of choice) Capture One.

Create news, hope GIMP can use that money to work out a better and intuitive design.

For example, currently, many Filters don't have previews (Or the preview window is too small), which make apply them become a slow try and error game.

Also, the Text in the picture can be hard to select, as sometime you mistakenly select the underlying layer instead of the text.

Also again, Filters cannot be directly applied to editable text. Sure, GIMP will convert the rasterized text back to editable text, but doing so will discard all the applied Filters.

You can always submit bugs/annoyances/requests directly to the GIMP developers: https://www.gimp.org/bugs/

It looks like the GIMP developers would rather that new feature requests be made on their mailing list before making a new bug:

"An enhancement request should never be filed without prior discussion on the gimp-developer mailing list[0]. This is to make sure that the enhancement requests that are filed are well-specified and aligned with the overall goals the developers have for GIMP."

But please don't let that stop you! The more feedback that the developers get, the better GIMP will be for everyone.

[0]: https://www.gimp.org/mail_lists.html

Seconded. If you are a user, consider actively filing bugs and not expect them to be fixed by the developers without following this process.

Oh, thanks for the heads up. I thought it's for bugs only.

2.10 has on-canvas preview for (most) filters.

Please give us non-destructive adjustment layers!


Been waiting for this for years.

On every new Gimp release I look through the new features and ... no. No adjustment layers.

I'm confused how this is not the #1 priority. It has been what I am missing for years and years. And every time I talk to someone about Gimp vs Photoshop, they ask me 'Do you still have to cope with destructive adjustment curves and filters etc? OMG, that is archaic!'.

The problem is also that there are new applications that started they development later than GIMP and shipped with Adjustment Layers and colorspace support in their first or second revisions. As far as I understand the core needs to be completely updated to GEGL for this to work. Let's hope this money will help them get to the goal.

GEGL was mostly done in 2.10.

Porting all the filters and whatnot is still going on however.

>I'm confused how this is not the #1 priority.

It's pretty high on the list. Most of the major work in the last decade is to rearchitect the code base to use GEGL. GEGL is a prerequisite to adjustment layers in Gimp.

Progress is very slow, but it is moving along.

> On every new Gimp release I look through the new features and ... no. No adjustment layers.

While the roadmap has been stating for years that it's planned for v3.2 :)

> I'm confused how this is not the #1 priority.

Before 2.10 the top priority was completing the switch to the new image processing backend that makes non-destructive editing possible.

For 3.0 the top priority is switching to a newer, actually maintained version of the UI toolkit.

For 3.2 the top priority is, at last, the non-destructive editing.

It all makes sense.

Have you tried PhotoFlow?

It's a newer open source photo editor (though not pixel editor) that allows you to compose your own non-destructive processing pipeline from individual operations.

Especially since Adjustment Layers have been in Photoshop for over 20 years now.

I've used GIMP for years but I have no idea what you're talking about. Perhaps it's not the #1 priority because you're one of a small percentage of people who need it?

While I'm not someone who needs image editing professionally or who makes amazing things with it, I did take my time to learn GIMP properly for my use-cases, and the things I find lacking do not include "non-destructive adjustment layers".

It's one of those features that once you notice in Photoshop, you lament the lack in GIMP.

The gist of it is that all your filters, color corrections are just additional layers, w/o manipulating the image in the layer under them. It lets you very quickly toggle between different settings, revise settings, and even very easily only filter parts of an image. (ie, you can have a unfiltered layer above a stack of filters, and the original image)

How is this different from duplicating the layer (Ctrl+Shift+D for quick usage) and then applying the filter? It's two more manual steps (one hotkey to duplicate, and another action later to delete the old layer) but it doesn't sound like something currently impossible in GIMP.

I mean, yea, there's ways to do it with a different workflow. (And in GIMP, I've done exactly as you describe) But the mechanism + data flow in Photoshop also let you work naturally w/o those extra steps. The mental model of placing a physical filter on top of a physical image is mapped better to PS's method. Say you want to draw on a layer under the filter? In Photoshop you can just do it, and filters above the layer will be updated properly. (I imagine in PS this mechanism permits better data/memory management) By duplicating layers, I imagine GIMP has to keep extra copies of the data around that it cannot discard, because it cannot re-compute it.

Mind you, I haven't used Photoshop in years and GIMP (or Krita) has proven well enough for the image work I need to do. This is just one thing that stuck with me from 15 years ago!

Let's say you want to stack a contrast, a saturation, and a color temp adjustment layer (or levels/curves/or a color threshold/etc.), then want to keep tweaking them until you're happy. I do this often. Or you have them right but just want to change the mask a bit to add/subtract a bit you missed. Or change the image under those adjustments. It's trivial with adjustment layers and done in a few steps trivially. It's not if you're copying layers and tweaking away and backtracking and reverting in separate layers.

Simple answer is that those bitching about lack of features want GIMP to provide exact same features as Photoshop with exact same workflow.

I wonder if these same people also bitch about learning new languages or frameworks when technology moves on.

What I wonder is if they try to work on the features they claim to want so desperately (number one priority!) for years. But there probably isn't a lot of overlap between people who need gimp to be like professional alternatives and people who can decently code. In our IT study we had four major tracks and the people doing media design were notoriously bad at coding anything beyond HTML, and even that was considered difficult by most of them (the three other tracks were software, embedded software, and business -- the latter also infamous for the same reason).

That's true, but my comment was more about the HN crowd which is primarily (or exclusively) from programming background.

Professionals will always go with a well-marketed and popular option and they don't care about paying 500-1000$ for an image editing program. They don't care (or know) about open source. But I expect better from HN crowd.

As for GIMP and its features, well, when Photoshop firdt mentioned about the new Content Aware feature, there was a collective orgasm, but GIMP had that feature (by sheer virtue of the scriptability and flexibility which is inherent in its design) in a script format at least a year or two before that.

I don't expect GIMP to win hearts of professionals and their shiny macbooks, but for a casual heavy job, GIMP is more than capable, and expect programmers to appreciate it for what the GIMP project has achieved. But all we get here is "but but Photoshop!"

If they had something similar that was a different workflow but was as powerful, flexible, and involved a few steps to do what you can do in PS in three or four steps but in the current GIMP in fifteen or more, then that'd be great. It's not that PS's workflow is inherently better, it's that I can do things in seconds that take at least a few minutes, far more work, and a lot more effort in GIMP.

Virtually anyone coming from Photoshop with basic knowledge of the app uses adjustment layers. You can add a layer that applies filters to a mask that leaves the layers beneath untouched. They're incredibly powerful. It's rare I have a project that doesn't use them, and it's among the reasons I wouldn't even consider using GIMP for anything new, despite wishing I could use the app.

I hope that someday GIMP will have major change just like Krita & Blender. The UI of GIMP have received many complains.

I want to support GIMP but, especially for fast, professional use, the UI makes it impossible. Their raw features are on par with anything I'd want to do in Photoshop, it's 100% a UI issue at this point. And I don't get why it's this hard for open source projects to realize that (the only notable exception I know is Firefox, which I love).

What is exactly the problem with gimp's UI? I find it intuitive and very easy to use (but then, I have not used many other interactive imaging programs). Is it missing something important? Has too many useless features?

GIMP's UI is alright for me, what I need are more features that are sorely lacking:

1) ability to work with images having an arbitrary number of spectral bands

2) floating-point pixel values

3) complex-valued pixels and their natural operations

4) images of arbitrary size, without need to open the whole image at once (which may not actually fit in memory)

5) save the processing graph and apply it to other images with a command line tool

> What is exactly the problem with gimp's UI?

Where do I start?

  - sometimes when I start it it doesn't display toolbox
  - when I open the toolbox it is (sometimes) a vertical line of buttons (single column) instead of 5 columns that I begged it countless times to be
  - setting the size of pencil is completely unintuitive - I usually click in what appears to be input field, only to discover it is not (but instead some meter that sets size to some huge number)
  - saving the set size is something that should be done automatically, but I haven't found a convenient way to do it
And that is even without mentioning the whole Save / Export fiasco.

Note that I love Gimp and use it often, but UX is not its strong point.

> setting the size of pencil is completely unintuitive - I usually click in what appears to be input field, only to discover it is not (but instead some meter that sets size to some huge number)

It actually is an input field, but it can be interacted with in 3 ways. Clicking on the value focuses it, and allows editing by keyboard. Clicking and dragging in the bottom half of the block allows you to increase or decrease the value by dragging left or right, and the movements you make translate to relatively smaller value changes, so you can be relatively precise. Clicking and dragging in the top half of the block allows you to select a specific value by dragging, and the position of the cursor translates directly to the position of that value on the bar.

Sounds like a terrible idea, if the interaction is not discoverable. Even if it was easy to understand, you need a lot more mouse dexterity than the average user to operate something like this.

Thanks for pointing that out! I've always thought it was depending on how far from the vertical edge (i.e. current value) I click that I either get a "drag" (if clicked close enough) or a "set / drag&set" (clicked farther away). Or maybe it was just my mental model I got stuck on from some Motif (IIRC?) controls.

Actually, in Gimp 2.10.4 it now for me even changes the shape of the cursor: lower half: ↔ (left-right arrows) upper half: ↑ (up-arrow) so it seems they fixed the discoverability :)

I just tried it. If you click in the top half the value immediately changes, no dragging required. It is really annoying.

I find that really useful

I agree that this feature is actually really nice. But I also agree with the other criticisms that its hard to discover.

> sometimes when I start it it doesn't display toolbox

Agreed. It's hard to imagine a scenario when you open a file in GIMP and don't want the tools. While there may be some such scenarios, it's hard to believe that it's a common case.

> when I open the toolbox it is (sometimes) a vertical line of buttons (single column) instead of 5 columns that I begged it countless times to be

Oh, yeah. Having the toolbox form factor changing and the tool buttons moving around (seemingly at random) is by far the most annoying part of GIMP for me. I don't actually much care what layout is chosen; I just want it to stay the same.

The formatting you chose forced me to have to drag a scrollbar to the right to read your comment...

please no :(

This. If anything GIMP is missing features for me. Especially the non-destructive editing and disk paging support you mentioned feel sorely lacking.

Floating point pixel values should be supported as of GIMP 2.10, though.

> Floating point pixel values should be supported as of GIMP 2.10, though.

True! I have just updated to 2.10 and it can open floating-point tiffs of one or three channels. The support is very limited, though. It seems to ignore negative values or values higher than 1, so it is mostly useless to me. Yet, I'm very happy to see new advances!

You might be interested in ImageJ [0] or FIJI [1] (which is ImageJ bundled with a bunch of plugins).

It can:

1.) handle hyperspectral images

2.) handle images with 32-bit floating-point pixels

3.) handle gigantic images, streaming from disk as necessary

4.) record edits as a macro, which can be replayed on other images

Unfortunately, I'm not aware of, and a little searching didn't uncover, any capability for handling complex pixel values. This could be (poorly) implemented with 2-channel images and some user macros for specially manipulating them.

[0] https://imagej.net/Welcome

[1] http://fiji.sc/

Thanks! There's plenty of software that supports these features (and does not require you to touch any--gasp--java). I am just sad that these basic things are not readily available in GIMP, which could otherwise attempt to be a sort of generic tool for image processing. They seem to be focused too much in color photography, while the tool is not directly useful to people working with images that are not of this kind (e.g., astronomical images, microscopy, satellite, radar, and mathematical image processing).


Googling "complex-valued pixels" didn't bring up anything, but I'm interested in finding out more about that. What pixel-related information do the real/imaginary parts represent? What sort of applications does that have?

Radar images (e.g., those publicly available from the Sentinel 1 satellite) typically come as complex-valued images. You look at the norm of the complex numbers to understand the structures, but for interferometry you need the phase also.

If you compute the Fourier transform of a scalar-valued image, you obtain a complex-valued image. It would be nice to be able to process these transforms with gimp (e.g., to "paint" a few parts in black to set those frequencies to zero, thereby defining a band-pass filter).

Very cool, thanks!

GIMP is a bit of a learning process from Photoshop, but once you know where everything is in translation, it's really not too bad. I moved entirely to Linux and while I have feature requests for GIMP, it hasn't held any of my art back.

Their window/toolbox system sucks though. I have a hard time placing all windows where they need to be and even opening some of them. It's probably my biggest complaint right now.

GIMP's IWarp workflow is horrendous. And this is saying something - photoshop's liquify could be much better too.

> GIMP's IWarp workflow is horrendous.

Welcome to 2018 where GIMP 2.10 is available and features the Warp Transform tool that does the same (actually, more) and works directly on the canvas.

I haven't opened GIMP in a long while. Thanks for pointing this out!

I think the features you want are in a niche very far from general-purpose photo-editing. Moving GIMP in that direction would be the kind of mission-diluting step that can kill a project. What you're looking for a tool specialized for scientific use -- maybe try ImageJ?

My point exactly!

GIMP is GNU's image manipulation program, not photo manipulation program. Most images are not photos.

GIMP is called the GNU Image Manipulation Program, but that doesn't mean it should do every imaginable kind of image manipulation. Scientific image processing and the things that GIMP and Photoshop are useful for are different enough that to add all of ImageJ features to GIMP or vice versa would make them more confusing, waste developer time and focus, and overall hurt users. And I say this as a user of both.

Just use ImageJ!

I'm interested in the democratization of access to taxpayer-funded public high resolution images. So far, GIMP cannot easily open any of those, and it bothers me, because it is a useful tool otherwise. I do not want to install "scientific" software just for viewing and cropping a satellite image.

GIMP's UI is one of the worst I can think of.

Everything is counterintutive, starting from shortcuts, to menus, etc. etc., and since it's GTK2 it looks minuscule on hidpi screens.

> And I don’t get why it’s this hard for open source projects to realize that

I don’t know, but I’ll throw out my theory. Note I’m very much a fan of open source even though this might sound negative. I would also love to see GIMPs UI get an overhaul.

In short, I think it’s harder to prioritize open source features for multiple reasons.

When you don’t have paying customers, it’s very hard to prioritize the feedback you get. When you do have paying customers, you tend to prioritize in proportion to the account size, for better or worse. As a blanket general statement that is not always true, but more true than not, paying customers are trying to get something specific done for their job, while free customers are exploring. I say this from the point of view of owning a web startup with a freemium model, so I’ve had a lot of first hand requests from both paying and free customers. I haven’t had an OSS project with as much success, so there might be some different trends when all users are free users.

The other aspect is that developers of OSS projects have fewer deadlines and can choose what they work on. UI coding is usually less fun than writing filters or architecting an image cache. I know that personally, when I’m left to my own devices, I’m not usually working on the hard or boring things that would have the biggest impact for others, I’m working on the fun things that are most fun for me.

There’s also the issue that OSS projects are created by programmers for programming reasons, and they aren’t often able to hire designers and artists like a for-profit shop.

I'm sure there are people who are UI experts who would be willing to improve FLOSS UIs in their spare time.

The problem is that the current developer base of many FLOSS project don't understand that a) decent UI requires an expertise and b) knowing how their poor UIs are implemented doesn't count as expertise in UI development.

For example-- if I write to a FLOSS mailing list that the way they are using realloc leaves some stale pointers that can cause crashes, they very quickly fix the problem. But if a UI expert posts something about a similarly severe and easily fixed UI bug, they'll get at least 5 authoritative-sounding responses from people who know absolutely nothing about UI design.

Such a UI developer would definitely need a full-time salary to deal with that kind of social situation.

> the current developer base of many FLOSS project don't understand that a) decent UI requires an expertise

One additional problem is that it's hard to know who to listen to. Someone who seems like a confident UI expert might as well be a misguided visionary who will turn GIMP into the next Windows 8. Randomly trusting a designer is probably just as dangerous as randomly trusting a software developer.

If problems "a" and "b" above have been addressed, this doesn't matter. Developers can simply delegate part of the decision process to some UI expert they already know and trust.


"Your UI improvement sounds interesting but it's too risky to trust a random UI expert. Sorry."


"I ran the idea by X and they mentioned that accessibility would become a problem with your approach. How do you plan to address that?"

IMO one sounds more likely to attract quality contributions than the other.

See https://gui.gimp.org/index.php?title=GIMP_GUI_Redesign -- Peter Sikking, a pro UX designer was involved with GIMP for quite a long time. He came up with the save/export dichotomy.

Last time I used gimp it wouldn’t save a file in different format - I had to export it. For someone that just wants to grab an image, touch it up and resave it, gimp just irritates. There’s at least another 50 of these kinds of small annoyances that add up to one large dealbreaker for me. Of course none are bugs - it’s likely just intended behaviour that the developers think is great.

For what I need to do Krita is much better. I haven’t used photoshop for over a decade.

They really should not do that. Saving implies that you can save the entire state of the image in a file, including layers, etc. Exporting implies saving a file as a different format that may not be 100% faithful to what you see in the app.

Disallowing saving follows the principle of least surprise, because when an application reports a successful save, users would expect the application state they see to actually be saved.

That's really only true if your mental model is saving the state of the project or program. Most people want to save the state of the image, and exporting layer, guide, and other data is secondary to that.

To put it another way, all the data you want "Save" to save isn't actually important to most people who want to use the "Save" button, and if it is they're most certainly aware of which image formats preserve that information.

Having three different ways to save something depending on what you want to preserve is an odd way to do things that I'm bitten by every time I use GIMP.

We should enforce clarity in thought through the UI. Muddling up ten different concepts because 'that's how people think' is a quick way to (1) wide adoption and (2) generalized confusion.

That's more a question of wording rather than an issue. In gimps export is for formats with which you lose information (your layers for example), save is for formats allowing you to re-open you file as you let it and continue working on it

That's — "small annoyances that add up to one large dealbreaker".

I should be able to find the command to save my file without needing to know about that lossy distinction.

If there's a potential problem the software can ask me how it should be resolved, when it needs to be resolved.

It still should be an option under save-as.

I can do this with paint.net.

I do this all the time with Corel Painter. Any work in progress gets saved in a way that opens with the layers (corel's format). When I'm done, I can simply collapse the layers and save in a number of formats. No big deal. I understand that some formats simply don't allow the layers. That shouldn't be an issue, though. All it takes is a popup telling the user about this.

> It still should be an option under save-as.

Why? I don't understand this. You're not "saving" what you see on the monitor by storing the information to a .png file; the moment you "save" you'll lose some information decided by an algorithm you do not understand, so it really is not "saving" anything, it's "exporting" what you see on the monitor to a different format. When you actually click the "save" button in gimp it stores the content in a format it can recover 100% of the information you'll need tomorrow. These sort of terminological differences between Photoshop, Paint.NET, Gimp, Krita etc... do not point a deficiency in Gimp, rather just a cultural difference decided by rational arguments. I think people should be more thoughtful about what are the targets of Gimp Project, Gimp does not want to be a Photoshop clone, they're trying to make a great image manipulation program; and as software engineers they make their own decisions how to structure/name their program.

Simple save does the same function in Corel in general. It isn't that it isn't a photoshop clone that is an issue, though for a slew of folks, they are using it as an alternative.

When x is standard workflow for many of the other such programs (and things like word processors) and it isn't such in Gimp, that very thing drives people away. Most artists aren't going to care what the software engineers want in the program: Instead, they are going to care about things like this. When added up, it just makes for a frustrating experience. It doesn't really matter what the technicalities are if you are the artist.

Yes, you do lose some information depending on the format. Heck, I notice loss simply looking at an image on different screens. The fact is, though, that folks actually need to save in different formats. Sure, I keep my layers and information in tact while working, but folks also need to be able to share their work, print it, and things like that. For that sort of thing, you need the different formats. The exact format depends on what one is doing: PNG works for facebook and instagram. Some sites have file size limits, and with some printing you have a bit more leeway.

I'm not even a photoshop fan myself: I chose my software based on both if it was easily integrated with a Wacom pen display and how well it mimicked traditional artwork flow and styles. Hence my use of Corel. Photoshop is basically a renting program now, and I generally welcome alternatives. Gimp has always been somewhat frustrating because of little stuff like this.

Your definition of "save" is not the common, user-centric one.

As a user, I think about "saving" as a process to persist my work. If there might be technical fine-grained issues, show me a warning sign in the save dialog, but don't come up with a process that "makes me think".

> As a user, I think about "saving" as a process to persist my work.

PNG is just a compressed pixel-to-colorspace format. It does not and cannot contain most of the information in your work. When you save a .png you're basically doing something similar to compiling C to machine language. You permanently lost all the high level information, possibly in a way you cannot track back (in the case of .JPG). This is not saving, your work will not persist, the format you're "saving" is specifically engineered in a way it doesn't persist any more information than it needs. I hope we agree thus far. As I said above, it's merely a terminological difference, in gimp this process is called "exporting" and I can't understand why this is such a big deal. You literally wouldn't be able to navigate Gimp or Photoshop or Blender etc without having basic knowledge about the program (i.e. looking at the manual) like where menus are etc, and this is just one instance.

> If there might be technical fine-grained issues, show me a warning sign in the save dialog, but don't come up with a process that "makes me think".

Is this a joke? You literally have to just click the very next button under "Save" which reads "Export As". What "makes you think"?

"Export As" vs "Save As" ... Almost any program that can "export" to multiple formats uses "Save As" for the display. This is just one example. And while I appreciate the nuanced nature, and frankly in this case could go either way. When you combine all the options/features Gimp is by far the hardest image ui I've used.

My favorite was probably PaintShop Pro before 10, and second is probably Paint.Net (if it had a few more features). A simple, easy to use interface with the majority of features really accessible. Gimp offers so much more, though frankly, it's about 10x as hard to use. I only do so when I want to do something that's difficult in Paint.Net or Krita.

I want to like it, I want to use it... that said, If you had a few users who like other software use it, nobody I know would choose Gimp over other tools as a preference. I don't always like changes that are made to an application I've used for a while, and can understand resistance from Gimp developers and users. It doesn't matter, sometimes convention should win, sometimes making things easier means change, and sometimes making things consistent means an inferior technical choice.

Not, it's not. It's a question of getting work done vs fighting your tools.

As someone that edits PNGs and JPGs often with Photoshop I double click the file in the Finder (mac) or Windows Explorer (win) and suddenly I'm editing the PNG or JPG. I make some edits, if I add layers or features that can't be saved back to those formats I flatten the editing (Cmd-Shift-E, of course also on menus in 2 places). I then just press Cmd-S/Ctrl-S to save. No questions asked, no dialog pops up. Click->Edit->Save. If you have to edit often it's a huge difference with no interrupt in workflow.

It is, it's a design choice. You can do exactly the same with gimp. You can even do non destructive saves using the classic save shortcut and export it using the export shortcut (which must be cmd+e on mac i guess) when you want without messing with your current work. I personally find this more convenient than having to do a first non destructive save, save as a destructive format and reopen the first save again if you want to continue working, but it's a bit different than other tools yes

I open a file, edit it with changes and save it. If it’s lossy then the application should say so.

But as I said this just one annoyance of many.

I have no intention of logging these as bugs because from my perspective they are implemented as per the developers’ vision.

But not mine. So I use other applications because I find them faster. And again, I’m not a photoshop guru so don’t think this is about comfort and learned keybindings or other muscle memory.

GEGL on the other hand is something I’m going to investigate further. Being able to use that for workflow would be very useful.

Yep. This is irritating. I don't want to export I want to save. In fact, whats the £(£*I%KF difference! :) <\rant>

Does Photoshop have a good UI? Everything good is hidden 36 levels deep somewhere, or requires you to press control-shift-command-alt-option-windows key + F26.

There are just too many special-use-case tools to make a "good" UI. Learn it and forget about what it looks like, it's the only way you'll ever be happy.

"Does Photoshop have a good UI?"

No, Photoshop has never had a good UI (neither has Illustrator).

The problem is that people who use Photoshop on a regular basis have memorised the keyboard shortcuts and steps needed to complete tasks. The Photoshop way of doing things, no matter how clunky or unintuitive, is now the natural way of doing things for them (and their frame of reference when trying out another app).

It's no different to a lot of other software e.g. the programmer who won't consider any other editor unless it has the same task flow and keyboard shortcuts they've spent so long committing to memory.

This puts rival apps in a difficult position. Should they copy the same clunky, unintuitive way of doing things to attract users? Or forge a different path? In the case of Photoshop, copying the UI and task flow means users can also take advantage of the gargantuan volume of existing Photoshop books, tutorials and training available.

I disagree.

Illustrator is a pain, fine, whatever.

Photoshops UI is optimized for its workflows. I was able to learn Photoshop easily enough, I've been able to learn other image manipulation programs quickly, but despite having spent many hours in GIMP, I hate every minute of using it.

If I go "create new image", there isn't an option to create a new image that is the size of the image on my clipboard.

There is not a dedicated "interact with this selection" tool, like the arrow tool in PS, instead there is a tool that sometimes draws new boundaries, bit the rectangle select tool also moves newly pasted layers, which is a different action than the move tool, which is also confusing.

Pasting just sucks. Why is it a new floating layer that I then have to right click on and say "new layer", just create a new layer, not this annoying psuedo-layer thing.

Everytime I want to move something I have selected, I want to scream. I create a selection, so, move tool right? NO. The move tool lets me move layers I have made. Joy.

In fact after having spent a couple minutes on it, I still can't figure it out, but then again why GIMP is so damn confusing I have to figure things out every time I use it? Good programs are learned, GIMP is suffered through.

The way to move something that is selected is the same in literally every other image manipulation program ever made, but GIMP has to be different.

Hilariously enough, all other transforms on selections are super easy, just not translates.

Actually, you know what, I just looked it up.

To move the selected pixels, the user is supposed to control-alt-drag, then release control and alt, and keep dragging.

One of the most common interactions in an image manipulation program is hidden behind a double-meta with a click drag attached to it, and then a release of that double-meta?

That is jaw droppingly bad UI.

I somewhat agree, I used Gimp before trying Photoshop and now I'm very used to the Gimp menus and it's easy for me to find tools. I had to use Photoshop CS5 at work a few weeks ago and 80% of my time was trying to find what I needed.

Paint.net and Krita both have a simple and intuitive UI. Gimp could get inspiration from them, even for the basic operations.

Personally I've found GIMP's UI to be easier than Photoshop's, but I started out with the GIMP.

I wonder if maybe they shouldn't go with a XUL like system where the UI can be greatly customized by third parties. Someone would undoubtedly create the Photoshop clone UI and make a bunch of people happy.

I don't know if XUL is the right choice, but I think this general direction might be a good idea.

The idea of an independant open source project focusing itself on producing a commercial quality UI seems a little ludicrous to me. This type of UI requires continued multi-disciplinary effort and process over a timeframe of years. And this is the exact weak spot of projects funded entirely/mostly on a volunteer/contribution basis.

This idea of a highly customizable toolkit (a la Emacs for graphics), in contrast, goes to the strengths of the open source model. Open source projects tend to be developer-heavy, and developers tend to like to build frameworks/abstractions... so a natural fit. Frameworks tend to be easier to use when the underlying code is available for various kinds of inspection, so the open source model fits there too. I'm not saying it'd necessarily be a cakewalk, but it seems like a closer fit to that OSS is really good at.

(Of course, frameworks are more complex and expensive to develop than single applications, so this idea has that going against it.)

That's how GTK (The GIMP Toolkit) started, isn't? I'd rather have them focus on GIMP's core features, maybe UI enhancements, but certainly not on platform-building.

Edit: or rather, create a SketchUp clone with good 2D projection/export (Blender isn't for casual use)

Pretty much. The GIMP developers couldn't find a toolkit that fit their needs so they wrote their own. Other people with the same problem then used their toolkit.

Back when the GIMP was developed your options were pretty limited. There was Athena Widgets which are basically the cave drawings of the computer world. Motif which had licensing issues. OpenWindows widgets which were notoriously buggy and ugly. There wasn't much else to choose from. There's a reason GTK exploded so quickly after release.

Sometimes when there isn’t unlimited funding and the ability to spend unlimited time, the efforts are probably spent on core functionality over aesthetics.

GIMP is a highly featureful project with powerful scripting capabilities. I wouldn’t say it isn’t already on par or more powerful than Photoshop.

I'm sorry but I believe this a mistake in priorities. This is an image editing program. The UI is the core functionality. They could cut half their features and focus on a better UI and it would make it a better program.

There are web-based photoshop clones that offer better usability than GIMP. I shiver in disgust saying this out loud but it's true at this point. They're slow, more minimalist in terms of features but they don't have buttons that overlap or scroll bars popping up out of nowhere. The GIMP UI is an unusable mess. It's the UI equivalent of "programmer art".

> I wouldn’t say it isn’t already on par or more powerful than Photoshop.

Having just woken up, deprived of my morning caffeine, this sentence sent my brain for a real loop :)

his main point is powerful, but there's not enough funding for him to spend time on phrasing.

hahah well done

> aesthetics

It's not aesthetics. You make it sound trivial. People aren't talking about things like how the icons are designed. They mean the workflow.

Correct. I can get things done faster in krita than gimp. And that is basic tasks.

GIMP still lacks non-destructive editing, does it not? That alone is a huge deficiency in comparison to Photoshop.

Photoshop had non-destructive editing now? Its been a while ,but I thought that was lightroom that had the non-destructive editing features. Photoshop for me was about layers and masks

Photoshop had non-destructive editing for 15-20 years.

I think the issues are getting confused. Yes, Lightroom saves a separate file from your photos of the changes so in that sense it's non destructive, the original files are not changed.

Photoshop is non-destructive in that you can load an image into a layer and apply tons of layers above that layer each of which edits the layers below it in some way. The pixels in the image layer are never changed so it's also "non-destructive". But saving the file does overwrite the old photoshop file with your changes, unlike lightroom.

I think that's more a thing of personal preference. Many developers (me included) consider working on UIs a chore compared to implemented new features. And since they are free to do whatever they want, they stick to the features. Commercial apps are usually pretty far from "unlimited funds". However, they know how important a good UI is for applications when you ask people to pay money for it, so they pay people to work on the UI and not on anything else. It's out of their hands, thus, it get's done.

> the efforts are probably spent on core functionality over aesthetics.

This is the fatal error. Humans are the ones using that tool. What you call aesthetics is functionality.

We’re not talking about making it prettier we’re talking about making it more usable.

On top of that, it’s an image editing tool. It’s a tool that people use for the purpose of creating visual, often-times “aesthetic” works, and yet the UI is not important? Well then more humans making the decision to use it is not important.

“Aesthetics” is dismissive to what UX is about. I am certain there are some that would prefer doing image editing at the command line if they were in charge of UI which is exactly the wrong answer for this type of software.

"Sometimes when there isn’t unlimited funding and the ability to spend unlimited time, the efforts are probably spent on core functionality over aesthetics."

In my opinion, GIMP is the evidence that these efforts are misplaced, and focus should be the UI (at least after core functionality exists). No point is a fancy pants program that nobody actually wants to use.

In my experience these problems typically boil down to not having a "product manager" or "product owner" who has both the skills and the authority to drive the usability side of the product.

Not to mention a team of willing designers, developers and testers to get the work done.

A proper and intuitive UI is one of the hardest and most time consuming things to do. From a design perspective, it takes a lot of effort, trial&error and user feedback to find out what works and what doesn't work, and to create something that's coherent and intuitive, rather than a patchwork of individual and differently behaving tools. From an engineering perspective, it's a very time consuming task. The work of doing a proper UI may be even bigger than the work on doing the actual image processing and other software core engine tasks.

There are plenty of drawing applications that have great UIs. The easiest solution for GIMP would be to copy one of them (arguably Photoshop, because it's closest in terms of expectancy / user-base).

Single-window mode has been a huge jump towards usability, and I'd imagine that involved quite some work. Text tool had a lot of work to make it better. Also, latest release should've removed the annoyance of font-loading process blocking start of the app (also a major usability issue).

I have a feeling that in many ways it's just a lack of resources to move things faster.

Well, given that it is open source software, have you ever considered contributing? I'm not trying to be dick. I know that just because you can spot flaws doesn't necessarily mean you know how to improve them, nor are you obligated to just because it is open source. But I bet you could offer some valuable feedback and/or ideas.

There is a tremendous amount of inertia that most be overcome to make changes to the UI.

I don't just mean technical inertia which is probably large given GIMP's size and long history, but also people inertia. UI tends to be the ultimate bikeshedding [1] blackhole. Few people have an opinion about how a denoising filter should be implemented. Several orders of magnitude more have feelings about the UI should look and the workflow should function.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_triviality

The most viable path would likely be to fork GIMP (while merging in their updates), make a better UI without being bound to the original project, and if the new UI turns out to be much better offer to merge it back into the GIMP project.

You could conceivably raise enough money from stakeholders to do this properly with a few experienced UI developers, proper user testing etc.

I think the barriers are quite often that collaboration around contributions happens in developer centric platforms. Am not sure what it is for GIMP, but often it's Github or IRC or some message board, which works really well for developer contributions, but then for things like UI design, marketing proposals, social media sign off etc... it's less than ideal.

I'd like to help contribute to some projects where I can lend a (non-development) hand, but being code-based projects, they don't feel set up to accept it.

> I don't get why it's this hard for open source projects to realize that (the only notable exception I know is Firefox, which I love).

Firefox has a lot more commercial support than something like Gimp, which is supported primarily through contributions in various forms. What this means is that it's harder to turn down contributions and harder to implement the kind of process that'd be required for a more coherent UI. As simple as it might seem at first, it really is a whole 'nother ball game.

What do you want changed about the UI? I don't even look at it most of the time. Single window mode/quick toggling of that was the biggest change for me.

> I don't even look at it most of the time

What do you do instead? Are you using GIMP entirely through the scripting interface? How are you using a graphical image editor without looking at the user interface?

Open an image and then use shortcuts.

Like with your monitor off or something? How do you not look at the UI when editing an image?

You can press Tab and hide pretty much all UI except the drawing window. If you mean on-canvas tools, they are all pretty great (except maybe Text tool) and often superior to Photoshop (for example consider Unified Transform tool from 2.10).

Great UI comes from a strong leader who has specific tastes that everyone may not agree to. Execution of such a vision has to be highly controlled and it means at times taking tough decisions and throwing away someone’s work.

Open source is usually built with consensus and that is why it’s hard to follow “one vision”. Also hard to chuck out contributed code / features, specially when its voluntary since it’s not welcoming for new contributors.

I never understood that complaint with the Blender UI. If anything Blender's UI even before the whole 2.5 change was a lot more streamlined and less stupid point&click than for instance Maya. It essentially felt like Emacs for 3D editing.

But maybe that's because I started out on Blender and only had a cursory look at Maya. Same with GIMP. I have years of experience working with GIMP so if you sat me in front of photoshop I'd probably be a lot less productive with it. Maybe when people say "improve the UI" they just mean "Make it more like the program I'm already used to".

Because it's different than pretty much all other modern software. Nearly all other software you follow you click on things to select them. Shift click or Ctrl click to add to your selection. Once something is selected you can move it. Even here in this browser I'm using the write this comment I can select some text, if I then drag the selection it moves, if I right click, ctrl click a bunch of options appear related to what I selected. The menu options also affect the selection.

Blender is pretty much the only program I use of the 100s I have that doesn't follow this UI pattern so I can't take all the knowledge of the other 100s of apps I use and apply that knowledge to blender. Even limiting to just 3D programs I can figure out Maya, 3DSMax, Cinema 3D, DAZ etc just by doing what I do in all other software. Select stuff and then see what my options are. Blender though doesn't follow these rules. You can't just explore. You absolutely have to read the manual to even just load, select, move, and save. Something I can do in all other software without a manual.

>It essentially felt like Emacs for 3D editing.

Which is exactly the complaint :D

Blender has a very efficient UI that is great for power users, but it has a much bigger learning curve than the competition with their point&click UIs. Add to that that most people are trained on Maya/3ds Max/Cinema 4d, learning Blender is a big investment with uncertain payoff.

Basically the same reason why very few people use Emacs or Vim nowadays.

> Basically the same reason why very few people use Emacs or Vim nowadays.

Wow, this is such a bold statement; do you have any evidence to support this? In my experience a very great majority of engineers use vim or emacs. In US, I've never been in a culture where emacs or vim is used by a minority. In my current work, which is a startup in Boston, everyone except 2 developers use emacs. I googled for evidence to support me, but I couldn't find any solid evidence neither supporting nor disputing me.

We appear to be living in very different bubbles then.

The best evidence I could find is the Stackoverflow Survey [1]. Around the middle it asks for the "most popular development environments" (multiple selection possible). The leaders are Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio and Notepad++ with 34% each, followed by Sublime. Vim is fifth place, Emacs 15th place with just 4.1%. But it's heavily dependent on the community you look at, for example Vim is less popular with mobile developers and very popular with sysadmins/devops.

There is also a "prefered code editor" in the golang survey. Vim is second most popular, yet Vim and Emacs make for only a combined 16%.

According to the Rust survey [3] the rust community seems to love Vim though. 46% use Vim and 15.4% use Emacs.

A Python survey [4](by Jetbrains) has Vim at 10% and Emacs at 3%.

So from a quick look Emacs seems to be used by 2-4% of developers on a regular basis, while Vim use varies heavily between communities. So I might have to retract my statement on Vim, but I feel reasonably confident to say that Emacs is used by a tiny minority of people.

1: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/

2: https://blog.golang.org/survey2017-results

3: https://blog.rust-lang.org/2017/09/05/Rust-2017-Survey-Resul...

4: https://www.jetbrains.com/research/python-developers-survey-...

Very interesting result. I wonder how did I manage to keep finding startups that use emacs or end up in friend circles that use emacs in college. Makes me very curious now.

> Basically the same reason why very few people use Emacs or Vim nowadays.

There are more Vim and Emacs users now than ever before, because there are now more computer programmers than ever before. There are just a lot more people that use other editors/IDEs. Just like there were more Visual Basic users than Emacs/Vim users in the 1990s. The Visual Basic/IDE people are irrelevant as far as Emacs/Vim/Unix/Free Software is concerned because they are unaware of what Free Software actually is (they do have a lot of misconceptions, ones that they really like to flame about on Internet forums), do not understand why they should ever contribute to Free Software, and even if they wanted to do so, they do not have the skills to contribute to Unix/Free Software. Just like all the Visual Basic chair warmers disappeared leaving behind their shitty cobbled-together software, so too will the current generation of people that do not have the capacity or interest to figure out Vim/Emacs/Unix, to be replaced by the next wave of popular garbage software. In another twenty years, more people than ever will still be using Vim/Emacs.

Blender has slowly improved over years - things got more consistent and (given the complexity of the domain) it made the standard operations more obvious. I'm excited to see the 2.8 changes, but I certainly don't mind it as it is.

GIMP, however... makes me (every so slightly) annoyed every time I use it. I have to google so many task that should just be intuitive.

It does the job, and I still use it as my primary editor - but it's not something I look forward to opening... but it could be! I'm hoping it'll get there eventually!

2.8 is a massive improvement imo, tooltips and nicer icons for everything.

There are actually many different ways you can customize the UI to your liking, including themes among other things. You can also run GIMP in window mode which encapsulates all sub windows into a single app window, just like the other apps you mentioned.

If none of these are your cup of tea, please make a PR - It’s open source. :)

That said, Krita and Blender are very very nice.

I know it's well-meaning but this is not the issue. It's not about "customization" or singular problems with a simple fix. It's about having a well-ordered, uncluttered, snappy GUI that never gets in the way. As a default. Until the GIMP team realizes that this isn't a separate issue but the central purpose of an image editing program, it will never be a serious option for professional work. They should invest those $100k into hiring a professional UI designer and intensive user testing.

My one or two cents: I have done professional work in GIMP, plenty of it. And certainly, this or that could be better thought through, and more smoothly laid out. But on the whole - and being accustomed over the better part of twenty years - I don't quite see the major problems everyone is on about.

The Photoshop thing, on the other hand, on the rare occasions I am forced to venture there, strikes me as a confusing mess that I'm always happy to leave behind as soon as possible. Plus of course it requires one kind or another of strange proprietary OS in order to function.

I always wonder if all of these "bad UI" complaints translate to "it isn't exactly like Photoshop". I only use the basics in Gimp myself, and I know it has a few quirks that I find easy to work around. I wonder if Photoshop has a pile of quirks that its users are used to find find weird when they aren't there and a different sent of quirks are.

Agreed but it's harder than that. You could get a professional UI designer but their results are not objectively good or bad, they are subjective. The benefit of a larger UI-focussed organisation, e.g. Adobe or Apple, is that you have a large enough team of UI professionals so that work is peer-reviewed and controversial ideas have to be justified. I assume that the Gimp team would be too small to have that kind of group-based UI sign-off?

I'd say a professional UI designer is capable of producing objectively good results. He'd first sit experienced photographers and graphic designers in front of GIMP and identify their biggest gripes with the UI and then would develop a hierarchy of measures to fix them. And test the results.

Honestly, they'd probably have to spin it off into a separate, UI-focused project that starts with minimal features and gradually adds more every time a good UI solution is found. In the order of what real-world users identify as the most needed features.

In other words, I believe what GIMP needs is a partnership with an idealistic professional workplace willing to use it as an experiment and communicate their day to day issues.

I agree with you until the hiring. The work that needs to be done is hard and hiring just one designer will not fix it. Maybe hiring one person to manage that part of the project. They need to pay an agency to do the work. The UX/UI needs major work and a lot of testing. That donation is good but the project will probably need more funding.

I definitely agree about the team size/cost. I have to say, it baffles me how much time programmers are willing to put into open source works but apparently it's impossible to find UI designers who are willing to do the same. I don't think it's a lack of enthusiasm, I think it's probably more of a social/clique thing and open source projects would benefit greatly from opening themselves up to contributers outside the realms of programming, signaling respect for that kind of work.

> I have to say, it baffles me how much time programmers are willing to put into open source works but apparently it's impossible to find UI designers who are willing to do the same.

So you're surprised it's hard to find UI designers willing to work for free? I'd argue the surprising part is that there are programmers that ARE willing to work for free or reduced rates on open source.

Both of these disciplines take time and effort to learn and then perform. The people that do them not only pay these costs, but have their own obligations to themselves and their loved ones they might need to help support. It doesn't surprise me at all that the vast majority of people with these skills choose (or are forced by circumstance) to do something else.

I had no idea. For those people that last successfully used gimp >5 years ago.

Windows > Single Window Mode.

Windows > New Toolbox

Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Tool Options

It is hard to convey how much more comfortable I feel with the program with these tiny settings changes. I wonder how many other people are in the same boat as I.

I spend a lot of time in a grid style interface, so it is great to see:

* View > Show Grid

* View > Snap to Grid

Click once somewhere. Hold shift to draw a point to point line. Hold shift and control to have wider snapping of angles and click again, hold control and shift to get 15 Degree increment angles.

I will use Gimp a lot more now. Previously I was trying to use Pinta, but it would crash regularly on me making it almost unusable.

I agree with omegabravo. I expected Single Window Mode to be pointless but tried it recently, and it's so much better. No more trying to find the dialog that's under the other dialogs; everything is just there. If you're a GIMP user, give it a try.

Nor did I. I've been using gimp a few times a year for 15+ years -- i.e., never enough to build much muscle memory. Your suggestions will make a huge difference for me.

This is the thing that the open source projects whose UIs I've been disappointed by always seem to tout: customization. I think it's great you can customize stuff, but I posit that the vast majority of people just want something that's ready to roll out of the gate. Something that's endlessly customizable isn't necessarily a "pro" to me; if people need to customize something a bunch to make it usable for them, you've built a framework instead of an application.

Blender and Krita benefit from having leadership that drives the roadmap for features off real-world use cases. KDE and the Blender Foundation have generally steered these projects right, and the usability shows when compared to GIMP, where said leadership isn't as pronounced.

It has improved in recent years - looks more like Photoshop now.

Well, it's basically unusable if you have a hidpi monitor--which is more and more people every day.

If you don't, it's barely usable, with very bad UX defaults.

Buried lede here is this Handshake.org thing. Anybody have any idea about what this is?

There was a discussion about it on HN about a month ago [0]

Tldr; (from handshake.org) Handshake is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol compatible with DNS where every peer is validating and in charge of managing the root zone with the goal of creating an alternative to existing Certificate Authorities.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17673922

Most importantly, where do they get $400K

They did an ICO. Just like every companies with written "decentralized" in the baseline.

Well, I guess in the universe of scams, this isn't the worst outcome.

> The Handshake project has received 10.2MM USD from Project Sponsors. The net proceeds are pledged to be distributed to Free and Open Source Software communities (projects, non-profits, hackerspaces).

Holy jumping jesus, this is the best scam I have ever SEEN! They've scammed a bunch of VCs into investing in their ICO, and they're now going to give the money to FOSS projects with no obligation! This project of course is doomed, but this is a great way to infuse cash into FOSS without having to actually ask for donations.

Even if it's just a nice way to clear one's conscience from paying out some percentage as a generous bogus salary for a few years (no idea if that is happening or not), certainly an improvement over just not doing anything strictly illegal, which is often the best that could be said about a given ICO.

there are probably worse ways to gain adoption for your domain name system than to get in the good graces of free software communities...

They got more that 400k, the just gave out $10.2 mil to foss projects

I love how they fixed most (if not all) linear colorspace related issues in 2.10.

So does this mean we finally get nondestructive editing to once and forall end the photoshop comparisons?

In v3.2, just as planned.

> ... will use the money to do much overdue hardware upgrade for the core team members and organize the next hackfest to bring the team together

$100k is a sizable donation. I would have hoped that it could do more for the project than update some hardware and organize a hackfest. That's not to say donations in general shouldn't be used for those things. I just would have assumed that a donation of this size would have been best utilised as salary/salaries, allowing contributors to focus a more significant portion of their time on GIMP, and be compensated accordingly.

1) Hardware upgrades catapult productivity. Ever gone through the sheer hell of developing on a sluggish, over-taxed computer? For a project like this, the faster build times alone will make HW upgrades worth it.

2) This team has proven their dedication by sacrificing immense time & opportunity - some of them, for years - to work on this fantastic gift to the world. Not that it's your call, or mine - the $ was given to them, not you or me - but I say let 'em spend it however they see fit.

> 2) This team has proven their dedication by sacrificing immense time & opportunity - some of them, for years - to work on this fantastic gift to the world.

I don't disagree with this one bit.

> Not that it's your call, or mine - the $ was given to them, not you or me - but I say let 'em spend it however they see fit.

I'm just postulating, not complaining. Surely that's acceptable.

You're also assuming that all the developers absolutely want to spend the money this way. There may well be a core contributor willing to do more, but uncomfortable with idea of suggesting they take the money, and is too scared to speak up. If there is such a person, I say "go for it".

yeah but 100000$ is a big one. You can buy a very good build machine for 10000€ esp. if you rent it and paying a few trips to a hackfest and a small venue is certainly not 90000$... So even if it's none of my business, it does raise questions.

but well, Gimp as served me well, has been there so long that the only thing I can say is kudo's to the devs. they could even pay themselves a bit, that'd well be deserved.

GIMP's financials are included under the GNOME Foundation's 501c3 filings, so you can take a look if you're suspicious.

GNOME in total last year only spent $110k on salaries with $300k in revenue (also they had $670k in the bank). Based on their past filings, they look pretty fiscally responsible.

Wait, why are large sums being donated if they have half a million just sitting around? It's an open source project, not a corporation that has a millions in turnover and needs half a million as buffer for a bad year.

GIMP is obviously useful so I'm glad they have money to use, but if they are already decently covered, there are a thousand other important projects which could benefit from donations. When compared to letting half a million sit in a bank somewhere, I am wondering if this was the best purpose for the money.

In Europe (and I guess, the US too), $100K is not even enough to hire an engineer at an average rate for a year.

I'm not sure what you'd propose to do with it exactly?

I don't know where you work but there's plenty of places in Europe where you can hire a decent engineer for $100k a year.

Nah, there are plenty of places in Europe when a decent engineer earns $100K/year (or less). That's not what the enterprise is paying.

What the company pays and what the developer receives are two very different numbers. In extreme cases the difference can be up to 30%.

But a developer working full-time on a single project for an entire year can make a huge difference (compared to only user contributions, or 1 person extra on a 20-person project). If there aren't a dozen other full-time developers, you're saving loads of time on meetings, product planning, and everything involved. So even if I would agree that it's not enough for a full year, it's definitely enough for most of a year, with similar results.

I'll just quote myself:

> allowing contributors to focus a more significant portion of their time on GIMP

I never said anything about hiring full-time engineers.

Also, there are plenty of people willing to be paid a little less to work on something open-source, and something that they take great pride in. We have to be careful not to take advantage of such people, but some people are in a position where they can afford to earn a little less to do something they love.

If I was not already busy on something else, I would have worked at 60/day, a day a week on that kind of stuff for the very reasons you describe ! (well, except I don't know anything about gimp's internals :-))

If you want to raise $100k directly for GIMP development, it is already possible. See the Patreon pages linked here: https://www.gimp.org/donating/

If the core team members would use a gimp salary to buy new hardware, is it functionally the same. They can properly support more devs with hardware, than they could with a salary. I like that they want to use the money communally.

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