Then the cynical side says that if they're talking about rewriting but haven't decided the language, they're probably doomed already.
That being said I think Krita has proven relatively successful in the domain of "open-source painting app". It has its own bits of jankiness here and there but it has grown to include a robust feature set (including some coloring tools which you won't find any analogue to in Photoshop) and has even acquired support for the G'MIC filter suite from GIMP.
As for names, sometimes people just don't know how to swallow their pride. I'm reminded of an incident with a certain Erlang package whose name had unintentionally coincided with a certain racist slur in America. When called out on this, it predictably bubbled into an argument; I think the author doubled-down on keeping the name but later just gave up and changed it to something less offensive. GIMP had the issue of people not wanting to use in the context of school computers and businesses solely because of that name, which I mean, if you refuse to do anything about that, you might have a problem.
Ok, but is there a good alternative to GIMP as an open source photo-editing app? Which is automatable? You use the past tense as though everyone already stopped using it.
Krita also has automation utilities:
I'm curious how you use GIMP and whether or not Krita would prove usable for you, i.e. if there's some critical specific functionality GIMP excels at where Krita falls behind.
However, I never did learn how to script GIMP, and it seems like I will need to soon for maintaining a website, and if as I recall it has some sort of lisp like thing, I'm kind of allergic to that. I don't know python either, but it's probably more my speed.
That's a founding story that never made it to their website ABOUT page.