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GIMP is Now a Self-Contained Native App for Mac OS X (petapixel.com)
376 points by maciej on Aug 29, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 178 comments

I love it! GIMP is one of those tools that's "almost" a photohop killer, not quite yet, but this is a big step in the right direction. Good job GIMP team! As an asside, I think the plugin API and scheme joice is great and a blast to develope with I'd just like to see others jump on board.

EDIT: I thought I'd add this since there seems to be a large discussion below as to the type of user for which GIMP is applicable. I'm a software dev, in the past couple of years though mainly web apps where I've had to at times do graphics, for this GIMP worked fine for me (that's my pitch in the discussion). I think GIMP shines (as well as the traditional imagemagick) for batch processing, the scripting is easy, clean, fast - and lispy :) Some links for those interested: http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Basic_Batch/ http://www.squidoo.com/gimp-how-to-write-a-script-fu-macro

For anyone who's not doing graphics as their main job description it is a photoshop killer. Asides from integration with other Adobe products, print colour management and a few higher level features it has everything a person might need who's main job is not image processing. That's most of the "market" in terms of general home users and web designers who need to process photos and do logos etc. So while I imagine photoshop can keep a lead, and an inertia, with professional graphic designers, people working for magazines and photographers the only reason the GIMP is behind in raw numbers is that people pirate photoshop. In effect it's free competing with free; piracy is functioning as shareware, market-shareware.

For anyone who's not doing graphics as their main job description it is a photoshop killer.

Doing Graphics is not my main job description, far from it (somewhere between damage control and janitor is more like it), but I still do a lot of front end development, at my job I prefer to do all the graphics production work myself for the apps I'm building and have tried using GIMP a crap ton of times over the years - I've never found it to be a suitable replacement. Maybe its familiarity but I've honestly tried to use gimp in this role and just getting around has always been a complete nightmare compared to Photoshop. It may be able to do the job that Photoshop does, but nowhere near as easily.

Having our Devs at our shop use Photoshop is an expense, but like good chairs and big ass monitors, at the end of the day a few hundred bucks every few years isn't really that much and if its that much easier to use then its an expense we'll eat and happily. This also means from our devs perspective the choice between PS and Gimp is not a financial one, and once you take money out of the picture most folks are going to choose PS. So anyway, no I don't think this is a Photoshop Killer.

Gimp is like the 'vi' of image editors. I hated it too but I slowly learned all the keys and now I find I can work at such incredible speed with Gimp that anything else seems awkward and slow. My right hand is on the mouse which never has to leave the canvas / work area and my left hand is dancing on the keyboard. Using Gimp primarily with a mouse is certainly a disaster of usability though.

Watch any photoshop expert and they all use hot keys as well so I don't think gIMP is any faster in that area.

But otherwise I think it really depends on the features you use. I use Photoshop's layer effects all the time. Anytime I want to point something out on a map or a screenshot I drop it in photoshop, draw an arrow, add some text. Then set a layer effect that makes the arrow and text a bright color with a black outline and a drop shadow. If I need to add more arrows or more text they get automatically styled the same.

AFAIK that's not simple in gIMP or even available.

Similarly I use photoshop's non-destructive layer adjustments all the time. I don't know how I'd get by without them.

My understanding is gIMP will be adding those some day. 3.0 maybe?

Can't agree more, I'm a front-end developer and for years I have tried to move from OS X to Ubuntu but I always come back to OS X and one of the top reasons is the Photoshop > GIMP situation, have tried to use it but I can never get any productivity out of it, it feels like trying to use a hammer to get a screw in the wall.

I use it on commercial work sometimes, and I would agree that gimp is usability hell, but functionally very useful for a number of things.

I keep meaning to go and have a look at the source to see how easy it would be to reskin, because it could be a nice cross platform starting point for anyone wanting to make a really nice image editor, that doesn't ape photoshop, but goes for the less technical users while still having a mass of good functionality. Y'know, for the kids ;)

Disclaimer: I haven't used the most recent version of GIMP yet. Also, I'm not a designer and that colors my position.

What I've found to be the case in prior versions is that it's not sufficient for many minor edits, because it's not 100.0% compatible with the PSD file formats. Even 99% isn't enough in some cases, unfortunately. Since I'm typically editing a file created by a designer in Photoshop, and since I might need the designer to build on my changes, I don't trust anything less than 100.0% compatibility.

Isn't that a separate issue? It sounds like it is sufficient for the edits, but not for the task of working with other people who use / content made in Photoshop.

You're right that in some sense it is a separate issue. I could do my edits in GIMP some of the time. However, since I have to keep Photoshop installed for interoperability, there's no real reason to also install GIMP.

The users you describe typically pirate Photoshop in my experience.

That used to be true of people I know, but a bunch of home users have since moved to Paint.NET on Windows.

As someone who uses Photoshop almost every day, it's nowhere near a "photoshop killer". The workflow is still one of the worst I have stumbled across.

My experience (which is a little stale) of watching "photoshop experts" is that this is a familiarity effect. Photoshop workflows are uniformly bizarre and awful, in my experience. Serious practitioners are like voodoo priests, pulling tools out that have no sane relevance to the problem at hand and making them work.

But it works, because you know it really well and have spent (literally, in most cases) years perfecting your art. You haven't done that wiht GIMP, so of course it sucks. But the suckage isn't inherent, it's because the problem is inherently sucky, and you've simply trained your eyes not to see it.

And my experience is that people who say the same thing as you do are ignorant who have never used either Photoshop, The GIMP or have no business using either and should stay with something like Picasa.

For the record, The GIMP doesn't even have what we call "Non-Destructive editing" which allows to make a change to some of the filters and transformations you did on the image much later even when the image has been touched by other editions. It has been supported by Photoshop for way more than a decade, already. After all of this time, the Gimp still works like a toy and has zero productivity.

Zero. There is nothing productive about The GIMP. Anything you can do in The GIMP will be done faster with a competitor, Photoshop being the best in the category.

And before anyone comes to tell me that "THE GIMP IS FREE!!!11!ELEVEN!", Photoshop isn't expensive for a Photographer either, so price does not enter the game here. If you're a photographer with one or more DSLR bodies, lots of lenses, travel equipment and so on, spending some money on one measly Photoshop license is not going to kill you. The gain in productivity will more than make up for the money spent anyway, the Gimp truly is an awful tool compared to Photoshop. If you can't afford something like Photoshop it means that you can't afford being in that business in the first place.

I'd like to add that Photoshop Elements is probably fine for the average user / developer that deals with graphics and that costs only around 60 Euros (Mac AppStore). And with all the guides, filters etc... around for Photoshop and the guaranteed compatibility with PSD files, it's a very interesting deal.

Yep. It's great for basic tasks. I used it early on when moving from Photoshop to Gimp... useful for dealing with files from new versions of Photoshop, but disabled enough by its lack of advanced features with layers.

Looking at the roadmap: http://wiki.gimp.org/index.php/Roadmap it seems there won't be non destructive editing for quite some time either (several versions).

I've tried Gimp numerous times, and the lack of smart objects/filters makes it a complete non starter. Generally I found I could do most of the things I wanted to in Gimp, but they required many, many more steps.

Though it won't be several versions; they're looking to move to a much quicker release cycle - so shouldn't be as long as it took for GEGL to get included in the first place.

"Professionals can afford professional tools" is not much of a counterargument against "it's free". Not everyone is a professional, and in this case it's not supposed to unseat the professional product.

The comment you replied to says nothing about professionals, and there is some truth to the claim that compared with a camera/lens that is any good Photoshop's license won't hurt your wallet.

Also, I've used Gimp a bunch and I've read the Gimp book from Apress and as far as I can tell there really is no such thing in Gimp as the non-destructive editing Nicole060 describes (assuming I understood the description correctly--that you can say first apply levels, then sharpen the image with unsharp mask, then go back and adjust the levels some more without the need to re-apply the unsharp mask--I don't think you can do this in Gimp.) So it's really a shame that the comment you replied to, which is truthful and presents a valid point of view, got downvoted into gray. And I'm saying this as a fan of Gimp who never used Photoshop.

I can't tell the price in the US, but here in Aus, Photoshop is $1168. That's around the price of a reasonable SLR body (and 3 times the price of entry level SLRs), so it's a bit over-the-top to characterise it as 'measly'. The only context this price being 'measly' belongs in is 'professional'.

edit: found US price is $699 (before tax, Aus is post-tax). That's still not 'measly' in any context other than professional.

The general idea is that before becoming a professional you're a student, and get a very significant student discount.

Of course, this essentially puts one more barrier for people who can't afford formal studies. And especially with the DRM becoming more and more effective, I've actually seen this being a significant obstacle for designers-in-spe from e.g. Poland (where even the discounted price is quite a lot of money). They deal with it, one way or another, but it's always a huge strain.

As for the established professionals for whom the price isn't terrible -- well, good for you, pat yourself on the back for being rich. Less competition that way, or something.

When I made my comment I was really referring to one or two-step processes, such as creating a new layer, or adding a border to an image. These things are very easy to do in photoshop, but GIMP makes them more complex than they need to be. (adding dialogues when you create a new layer), requiring a filter to add a border to an image (but I'd be surprised if they hadn't changed that by now).

As someone who uses GIMP on a regular basis, I find my experience to be exactly the opposite - Photoshop's workflow is very irritating. I think it's just a matter of what you're used to.

For people who need to put some text on an image[1] or who need to tweak some minor stuff gimp is a "photoshop killer" - and it's nice to push people to legally free software rather than a pirate download of Photoshop.

[1] But see this gimp document - the first returned hit in a search for [gimp drop shadow text] - which appears to be weirdly complex.


If you need to do basic image editing on OS X I'd say use Acorn[1] or Pixelmator[2].

[1]: http://flyingmeat.com/acorn/

[2]: http://www.pixelmator.com

I like LiveQuartz


I like Paintbrush



Speaking of weirdly complex, I've always been a fan of the totally deadpan delivery of the 'Straight Line Tutorial' [gimp lacks a 'line' or 'shape' tool] http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Straight_Line/

I've been lambasted for not knowing how to do this in gimp... all I wanted was an icon somewhere!

Eh, the only reason it's a photoshop killer for really simple edits is because photoshop is really kind of the wrong tool for such jobs anyway.

Yes, photoshop is totally the wrong tool for most people. Photoshop is great for professionals and keen amateurs. It's overkill for most other users.

And yet photoshop is heavily pirated software.

By pushing other softwares, such as gimp, I'm not in anyway saying that photoshop is bad, or that gimp is a photoshop clone, or that the people who need to use photoshop should switch to a free open source alternative. I'm just trying to get people to move to a more suitable tool, and to stop using pirated software.

At first glance, it doesn't seem like this Mac version is capable of using the system's installed fonts - only the fonts bundled with the app.

CS6 is the first Photoshop update in years where I'd say it has fixed a TON of problems that irked long-time Photoshop users.

I'm not sure about photoshop killer ... although I do suspect that outside of the professional class of photoshop user (webdevs, print designers etc), a great many people who have a less-than-legitimate copy of photoshop and dramatically under-utilize its features could do worse than try out Gimp. These are the users for whom an entire copy of photoshop is massive overkill and a terrible waste - the absence of some professional-level features from Gimp won't be a problem.

I would gently suggest that Photoshop Elements or Pixelmator are probably more likely to be of value to such people. Pixelmator is something like $20 and vastly more user-friendly than Gimp.

I'd definitely agree. I guess more specifically (and more charitably), I'm thinking of the section of the audience that uses photoshop but doesn't need any of its intermediate or advanced features, whether they paid for it or not. There's a lot of them. If they had more awareness of their own (lack of) requirements, I think it would be a greater opportunity for the < $100 graphics packages to pick up more sales (since that's definitely a more attractive price than Photoshop's), or just more users in Gimp's case - if they were willing to put the time in to learning the interface.

Photoshop Elements is a < $100 package (you can get it for $60 on amazon.com) and it's still vastly superior to the GIMP since it supports some of the non destructive editing tools like Adjustment Layers : http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/adjustment-layers-in-p...

When you can get something that good for $60 there is absolutely no reason whatsoever as to why you'd put up with something like The GIMP. None. Photoshop had things like Adjustments Layers since 1996 with Photoshop 4.0, the same version that introduced an easy method to make your own automation (macro recording). 1996. The GIMP can't beat something that was made in 1996. I'd rather put up with a VERY old version of photoshop running under a PC emulator with an old OS than use the GIMP. That's how different the two software package are, and how useless The GIMP is.

The real missing piece is 8BF (Photoshop plugin) compatibility. There is an entire ecosystem of productivity enhancement out there that's missing from the GIMP, at least from the professional photographer's point of view, that, absent a coding pro photographer scratching his own itch, probably isn't going to be filled. Selling a $200 plugin for a $600 program to reduce image turn-around times by an hour apiece works in the pro world; selling a $200 plugin for a free program to people who have essentially all of the time in the world to do things the hard way is a fool's game. That's a sort of chicken-and-egg problem—until there is sufficient pro adoption of the GIMP, the tools won't be there; and until the tools are there, there won't be a large-scale pro adoption of the GIMP. (A wedding photographer, for instance, may have 200–300 images from a wedding that "make the cut" for the album and slideshow, and need editing. Spending even ten minutes per image on skin is a week's work somebody has to do and somebody has to pay for. A plugin that takes that down to two minutes is the difference between profit and failure, even if the big prints still need manual work to look right.)

I disagree. Maybe one in ten of the professional photoshop artists I know use _ANY_ 3rd party plugins. I think the photoshop plugin ecosystem is surprisingly unhealthy for such a dominant platform.

I have tried to convince myself to put out some photoshop plugins, but I just don't see many people buying the plugins already out there.

Also the photoshop plugin API is crufty as hell.

What percentage of plugins out there are being rewarded well by the marketplace? I would bet that there are only a few plugins on the market right now that make a noticeable amount of profit.

A really quick google found this


"This plug-in enables you to use the vast number of existing filters made for Photoshop's Filter Factory"

It's not only not "in the box", it doesn't support many of the high-end filters/plugins pros depend on (something it has in common with many basic 8BF-compatible programs, like Corel's PaintShop Photo Pro and Topaz Labs' photoFXLab).

I've never met a 9-5 Photoshop user that thinks Gimp is anywhere near the quality of Photoshop. Perhaps more importantly, _none_ seem to think that it will ever, ever, be able to catch up let alone surpass PS.

A few years ago oracle DBAs used to (and some still so) dismiss MySQL and PostgreSQL saying they were toys that didn't scale. 10-15 years ago 'real men used Solaris' and Linux was a toy for hackers.

Any time any with any technology those that have mastered the 'premier' product, especially those that are paid because of their knowledge of it, will always think it superior.

That's why the second point is so important. It isn't just Adobe people (the oracle in your comment) or Silicon Valley startups dismissing Gimp, it is the in-the-trenches graphic designers that do their work for $12/hr in a small rural town. That's a huge barrier to overcome. It isn't impossible, but with your other examples progress in numbers was seen all the time with MySQL. Not so much with Gimp, right?

(Also I'm not like all-in for Adobe. I'd love to see something hit the PS market, but I just don't see Gimp being the one to do it. Something like http://www.pixelmator.com/ has a better shot, because they seem to be making good traction in a fraction of the time as Gimp)

Switching between one version of *SQL and another requires intellectual knowledge, while stuff like Photoshop involves a lot of "muscle memory". Remembering (slight) differences in syntax is a different type of cognitive task than remembering where to click to find everything in a mondo-complex UI like that of Photoshop or The GIMP.

Both the Gimp and Photoshop are actually pretty lousy for UI/web development. Fireworks is much better but Adobe seems to be neglecting it. I don't really see much hope for a free alternative to displace PS any time soon but an app that was designed from the ground up to make designing interfaces easier might find a niche.

Honestly, the improvements in HTML5/CSS3 (including font-face) make translating graphical mockups into coded web designs much easier. There's a lot less image slicing and a lot more logical markup.

I love Fireworks, but I find myself using it less and less often. Usually I can look at a design straight from a designer who went wild in Photoshop and Illustrator, and make it look extremely close using nothing but HTML and CSS and images only where you'd expect image content.

As much as we like to complain, the web landscape has improved considerably.

With the huge number of form factors and display types applications have to support these days I think the kind of pixel-perfect UI design we've gotten used to from PS and FW is going the way of the dodo. Interfaces need to be able to adapt and the pretty but rigid products of that school of design are just too inflexible.

I do think there is an opening here for design tools that can help create declarative UIs in a more visual way though.

I wish I could say the same, but every time some site surprises me with its design, I go to inspect it and it has those background patterns, box shadow and sprites pngs sprinkled all over.

In general open source creative tools have come a long way - with Scribus, Gimp, Inkscape, Darktable, Ardour, Blender, etc. all being quite functional, I think there is a pretty strong argument for the 'open source creative suite' being more than capable enough for all but the most stringent professionals.

I don't know about the others, because I mainly do photo stuff ( Darktable seems decent though, and it has a been a long time since I've run linux on my desktop computer so I don't know how far it went ), but the GIMP is NOT functional in any way for a professional and a professional who is not willing to spend some dollars to get something that triples his productivity is NOT a professional.

The GIMP doesn't even support something like Adjustment Layers and that's a feature that was added to Photoshop 4.0 in 1996. Get real. Those who make that kind of argument for the GIMP, even pretending it could be used as a professional tool, have no idea what they're talking about.

Even the all-public, cheap edition of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, that you can get for $60, has features like Adjustment Layers.

The GIMP has been working on that stuff for a long time and they're still not done yet. They put off all features related to non-destructive editing until they finally fully switch to the GEGL engine.

To be honest, I don't view Gimp as a tool for working with photos. I prefer RAW editors, and find myself surprised that you wouldn't be using Lightroom or Aperture.

In fact, I don't really see Photoshop (despite its name) as a tool for working with photos, either.

I admit adjustment layers are nice, but I don't see lacking them as a fatal flaw when there are a few workarounds and, depending on the task you're trying to accomplish, might not even be an important feature.

In any case I don't really claim the open programs are currently 'better' per se (though in one or two cases it may be true or close true), just that they're more than good enough to get decent results from.

Gimp definitely has some hidden surprises.

Which have nothing to do with adjustment layers.

So, is this an app that bundles it's own X11, or is it using a Quartz/Cocoa backend for GTK?

EDIT: I downloaded it, and the app bundle doesn't seem to have an X11, so that's nice. However, upon firing it up, it throws up a splash screen in front of all other applications. Who still thinks that's acceptable behavior on a multitasking operating system? Also, the app quits when the last window is closed, which isn't how OS X apps are supposed to behave.

> Also, the app quits when the last window is closed, which isn't how OS X apps are supposed to behave.

This is almost consistent with Apple's HIG: "In general, quit when users close the last open window in your app. [...] If users close the last remaining document window in a document-based app and switch to another app, it’s appropriate to quit the app" (emphasis added). [1]

[1]: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/UserEx...

That's odd. I don't think I've ever seen this behavior. I just tried it with Pages and the application remained open.

The behavior in question is actually very new, as it became part of the guidelines only starting with 10.7 Lion. As Lion brought forth a whole lot of similar behavioral changes (which often conflict with those of either Windows/Linux or older versions of OS X), very few apps have adapted to the new rules so far.

I think the new rules assume that apps are persisting any (invisible) state across quit/launch.

iPhoto has done it forever. It still feels "wrong" to me though. I guess I understand the reasoning behind it, and iOS mostly works that way (at least as far as a normal user will notice), but so many Mac OS apps - both current and historical - have _not_ worked that way, so iPhoto always seems strange to me.

iPhoto is a single-window application - only one window is ever used. Such applications usually (and should) quit on closing the main window. Immediate examples I can think of are System Preferences, calculator, but there are many more examples

Anything that allows working with multiple documents should remain open even with no windows (or unless auto-killed).

Give it a try with TextEdit and you'll see the expected response.

Cmd W closes the document without quitting TextEdit. just tested on lion.

Mac is document-based instead of application-based so closing document doesn't quit the app. it only does if multiple documents doesn't make sense to the application like System Preferences.

You're doing it wrong.

This is the HIG quote from above:

> "In general, quit when users close the last open window in your app. [...] If users close the last remaining document window in a document-based app and switch to another app, it’s appropriate to quit the app" (emphasis added).

In TextEdit, close the last document and then _switch to another app_. You're missing the last step.

did it again adding the last step (switching to other app), still there though - Lion 10.7.4

Worked for me... Mountain Lion 10.8.1.

    1) Opened TextEdit
    2) Started a document
    3) Closed document (Cmd-W)
    4) Switched to Chrome
    5) *poof* TextEdit disappeared

exactly what i did. maybe it was changed in ML.

No, Lion exhibits this behavior for me. Close last TextEdit window, switch to another app, see TextEdit silently go away from the dock.

how long do i need to wait to observe that behavior?

It's immediate. Doesn't happen on Snow Leopard, for me.

The TextEdit behavior might actually be the OS silently closing an unused application that implements the necessary hooks for saving state and indicating when clean-up is required on termination. That behavior was introduced in 10.7, but IIRC, can be disabled by the user.

It seems to be one of non-Mac users biggest complaints but I love it. I can close my Chrome windows and remove the clutter without having to pay the cost of having it start up again. It's a good-bad habit because then I go to Linux and Ctrl+W all my tabs and then hit Ctrl+T and realize my mistake.

The thing that confuses me the most about it is when I close the last window of an app, 95% of the screen shows the app beneath it but the menus are still for the app I just closed. I guess that's partly a crossover with the focus model as well, but it's just a bit alien to me. As you say, it's really a non-Mac user thing; I only use OSX 5% of the time at work so never really get used to it.

I really don't see much difference in clutter between minimising to the taskbar and having an icon on the dock.

It's odd to hit the x to close and the program actually just minimizing. Odder still was that when I hit minimize, by default, it minimized to a separate icon to the main application. I changed to it minimizing into the dock icon. But the inconsistent behavior of the x button means sometimes it and the _ button (I can't call these close and minimize on this system because that's not what they are anymore) have similar, if not identical, functionality.

Huh? I don't think you understand what I'm talking about...

To prevent Firefox from closing, go to about:config and set browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab to false. This is one of the first things I do when I (re)install a computer, I don't like the default behaviour either :)

Do you guys remember how unusable the previous version was? I mean, this feels like splitting hairs compared to that.

What i find annoying in OS X is flipping over to a desktop, telling an app to start (with the hope that it starts in that desktop), then flipping over to another desktop to keep doing stuff while it loads, only to find that the app has decided to start on your current desktop, not the one you launched it in.

This also happens to me in GNOME (v 2.30.11, Debian 6.0.5).

> Also, the app quits when the last window is closed, which isn't how OS X apps are supposed to behave.

If anything, they're ahead of the curve. Most Apple apps are beginning to follow this behavior: App Store, Calculator, Contacts, Dictionary, DVD Player, FaceTime, Font Book, Game Center, Garage Band, Image Capture, iPhoto, and so on.

Notice how most (all?) of those are single window applications.

So is Gimp, with the release of 2.8 (well, the option's there anyway).

But it's still a document-based application. Those, in general, stay active even if all the documents are closed.

Not in the new Apple way. I believe the idea is that they'll save their state but close.

Right, but does opening more than one window for a single application count? Two chrome windows for instance.

Apple's OS X Human Interface Guidelines[1]: "In general, quit when users close the last open window in your app."

[1]: http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/UserExp...

"In apps that are not document-based ..."

GIMP is document-based.

Like iTunes.

Keep reading...

"If an app continues to perform some function when the main window is closed, it might be appropriate to leave it running after the user closes the main window. For example, iTunes continues to play after the user closes the main window."

Who still thinks that's acceptable behavior

Adobe still does, and of all apps, GIMP is going to be one of the most likely to emulate them.

Photoshop's splash screen doesn't stay on top of all other windows and steal focus, at least not in the version that I have.

If anyone from GIMP is reading this, I strongly recommend that you fix that or at least allow us to disable the splash screen. Thank you.

Have you tried this: http://kuoi.com/~kamikaze/read.php?id=129

Looks kind of old, but it might still work.

Off-topic rant: "Someone with spare time on their hands feel like adding a 'Disable splash screen' checkbox to the preferences panel?" That suggestion illustrates a common anti-pattern in open source software. Broken behavior should simply be fixed, not receive an extra option to turn it off. No one wants to have to check an "unbreak my software" checkbox.

I don't think this is necessarily broken behavior. Photoshop has a splash screen too, and from what I understand, it's there because of the long loading time.

A splash screen that can't be minimized, hidden, or covered up with a useful window is definitely broken behavior. I think it can only be implemented by abusing APIs meant for screensavers and full-screen games.

Are you kidding? All you need is always-on-top behavior, which is usually offered in some form by most window managers.

I was referring to implementing this behavior on OS X specifically. To get this behavior, you have to deliberately avoid the usual way of throwing up a modal window in order to have that modal window stay visible and on top when the application is deactivated. I don't even have to dig up the source code to know that it reads like an ugly hack that messes with the raw values of an enumerated constant. Most likely, it's in the Quartz backend for GTK, and somebody only implemented half the abstraction for window management.

Thank you kindly, sir, that worked! The current wrapper script is a bit different, but the same switch does the trick.

It uses GTK with Quartz support, which has it's quirks :(, and the GTK engine they are using looks nice (murrine + theme zukitwo). I been using Wireshark with GTK-Quartz in that mode for a few years (compiling on my own) but they have managed to integrate GTK menus to the Mac menubar.

Doesn't behave typically on Windows 7 either. Clicking the window close button doesn't close the app, it closes the currently open document. Also, ALT+F4 doesn't close the app either, just the current document. This is in single-window mode where closing the window should close the app.

Fortunately CTRL-Q does what it's supposed to.

Oh, and great job GIMP folks. I love GIMP and recommend it often. I've even tried to convince some folks to stop using illegal Photoshop copies and switch to GIMP instead (so far I have a 0% conversion rate).

so far I have a 0% conversion rate

that's not surprising given that the GIMP pales by comparison to photoshop. There's just no comparison. I think the high price of Adobe Creative suite has always been there because any professional uses it and buys it, but Adobe knows there are many illegal copies used by students and they just assume they one day will get jobs and then they will be paid users, meanwhile the illegal use is subsidized by the industry who doesn't care how much it costs because it gets the job done. By comparison GIMP is a toy. I know its a pet of the open source community, but commercial software with real designers and focus groups and product managers sometimes get it right.

Photoshop is hardly a beacon of software done right. In my experience (been using Photoshop pretty much everyday since 1991) it has got considerably more bloated and unstable with each release, the exception perhaps being 5.5.

The benefit that Photoshop has is familiarity and Adobe's pricing structure is that of an abusive monopoly - they know they can charge as much as they do because they have a monopoly. This monopoly was earned in large part because early on, Photoshop was the most accessible app.round about 5.0 Adobe started to get sloppy.

I've started using Pixelmator for about half the image work I do on the Mac and IMHO it represents excellent value for money. It works like Photoshop used to do. It's lacking some feature, mainly the ability to work in colour channels, but for the price, it's hard to beat.

Also there's Paint.NET on PC. It's fast, not bloated with useless functions (yet), and freeware. I've switched to it from Photoshop a few months ago and never regret my decision.

I recently switched over to mac and was saddened to discover there wasn't any viable open source alternative to GIMP a la Paint.NET. GIMP is functional, but barely usable. Paint.NET on the other hand is great, on top of all the things you mention, it also has quite a good UI with some interesting features.

Gimp has the ability to work with color channels. Try it out.

Your comment is bullshit and lacks substance, the kind of opinion born out of ignorance, sorry to say it.

First of all, it is surprising because people put themselves at risk of fines or even jail by using unlicensed copies. If you don't like paying that much for software, then don't freaking use it and search for something cheaper. You don't freaking need all that functionality. Students and schools also get discounts. The many unlicensed copies out there are not used primarily by students. Also I worked for Adobe and I can tell you that they don't like piracy. That's one reason why they are moving towards a subscription-based model.

The difference between Gimp and Photoshop is that while Gimp gives you all the tools you need, it doesn't have an idiot mode, so it expects of you to know what you're doing.

A good example I can think of is Smart Sharpening. I don't know why the Gimp devs haven't implemented it. Maybe there's a patent on it or maybe they considered that it isn't worth it. Well, you can do it manually [1] ... it has the downside that it isn't something you can do in 3 clicks, so messing around to see how it looks is a little painful. On the other hand doing it manually makes you understand the process and allows you to have fine grained control, leading to better results, because truth be told, Photoshop has no way of knowing which edges are important in a photo and which aren't, so the results are not optimal.

This does scare beginners away and I wish that they implemented a nice wizard for what is standard functionality. On the other hand, it's actually quite easy to script such a wizard for Gimp in Python. So GIMP is designed for people that bend their tools to their will with a sharp inclination towards developers. It's not a good design because it prevents mainstream adoption, but for me it's like a breath of fresh air.

[1] http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Smart_Sharpening/

I'm so sick of people like you who feel the need to defend GIMP. It's a fantastic piece of open source software that doesn't need your help and it shouldn't be compared to Photoshop.

Photoshop provides art and design professionals with a vast amount of resources and extremely customizable tools, some of which GIMP does not offer or provides with less opportunity for modification. I'm not about to sit here and type out how Photoshop is more powerful in the hands of someone who truly knows the program, but you seem to not use it for anything beyond the basic functionality that GIMP also provides.

"The difference between Gimp and Photoshop is that while Gimp gives you all the tools you need, it doesn't have an idiot mode, so it expects of you to know what you're doing." Talk about bullshit comments lacking substance.. I almost spit out my coffee. Smart Sharpening has been around since CS2.

GIMP is the best open source image manipulation software, a free alternative that provides most users with all the functionality they will need. However, it is NOT a Photoshop killer.

     it shouldn't be compared to Photoshop.
But it is compared to Photoshop.

     However, it is NOT a Photoshop killer.
I don't think anybody here was talking about that. I also never argued against Photoshop having some advanced functionality that Gimp lacks or more resources available (it's a defacto standard after all). I don't like it when people are putting words in my mouth.

That last comment wasn't directed at you specifically, just look at how many times the phrase "photoshop killer" is used in the comments on this article.

Yeah okay, you never argued against Photoshop having more resources available, but you criticized someone for saying there should be no comparison between GIMP and Photoshop because of "bullshit and lack of substance" while at the same time serving up your own steaming pile of bullshit: "The difference between Gimp and Photoshop is that while Gimp gives you all the tools you need, it doesn't have an idiot mode, so it expects of you to know what you're doing." I was just pointing out that there's a lot more differences than "idiot mode".

It was a reaction to the parent claiming that GIMP is a toy. You can say many things about GIMP (unpopular, hard to use, ugly), but I don't think it classifies as a toy no matter the perspective.

Wow, very cool tutorial.

Am surprised someone hasn't got round to making a script of it.

I'm confused. You double clicked an application icon, and the application opened? You seem to be conflating the popular hate for focus being stolen due to some non-consensual event, and the consensual starting of an app. If GIMP didn't have a splash screen, there'd be no indication it was loading at all (and it's one big fat app.. several generations of code including a huge chunk of Python loaded at boot).

OS X app icons bounce in the dock while the app is loading. If it takes a really long time, a splash screen is ok, but a splash screen that sticks around for a full minute and thwarts every attempt to raise a window above it is just insulting.

I agree that they should change this, but I don't find it offensive, because I know that the GIMP project has been around since it was acceptable to get a cup of coffee while your app loads. I'm just saying, that they've got a lot of legacy code. I'm just happy that it works, for now.

Splash screens are fine, splash screens that are set to always on top are not. Important distinction.

The toolbox window is also set to 'always on top'. It's not a huge deal, compared to the x11 version though. I just open another virtual desktop for it in Lion.

The icon bounces when an app is starting in osx. I am sure there are probably a couple, but normally Mac apps do not do splash screens.

It sounds like your parent poster is saying it shows the splash screen over all applications and there's nothing you can do about it. Which is needlessly inconsiderate.

acidblue, your account has been hellbanned since 149 days ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3790146

Hellbanning can be really disturbing. This guy's been leaving comments for a year now with no idea that almost no one sees them.

That feels almost like a form of psychological torment to me. I recognise the value of hellbanning as a way to trap griefers, but I do think it's overused on HackerNews.

   Do: email pg if you're hellbanned.
   Do: Be civil and respond politely.
   Don't: create a throwaway account and whine about being    hellbanned.
   Don't: create a new account without talking to pg first.
   Don't: take it personally.

Is that from the guidelines? The whole point of hellbanning is that the affected user doesn't know they're hellbanned (HN appears to them as if they aren't). So they can't do nr.1 unless someone tells them.

This is a great article that explains very clearly why hellbanning is in 99.5% of the cases the absolute wrong choice as it's being used on HN: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/06/suspension-ban-or-h...

In addition, the guidelines can say "don't take it personally" all they want, but when someone wastes my time for 150 days when there are so many perfectly reasonable ways of solving the problem in common usage on successful discussion forums all over the web, yeah I would probably be a little bit miffed, myself.

It's one of the main reasons I keep an eye on my karma score, if it sometimes doesn't go up for a few days, I get nervous and check if I can still see my own comments via a proxy. It's absolutely ridiculous that I have to do it that way, but I've seen people get hellbanned for such petty things that yes, I really couldn't say I never will be one of "those people" that catch the wrong mod's attention at the wrong time before their coffee hit.

There is also McGimp, which is a fully OSX native version of Gimp: http://www.partha.com/

Can you summarize the main advantages/disadvantages?

This is a great move.

Serious question: how did this not happen 5 years ago? Is there some technical reason? It's so hard for me to understand why the creators wouldn't have always had this as the #1 feature improvement to make ASAP.

I doubt most GIMP developers care(d?) about Mac. Or had Macs. Open source stuff tends to live in a special universe where everyone uses Linux.

(In fact, based on another post, it sounds like the windowing toolkit picked up Mac support, rather than Gimp doing anything super special.)

Also GIMP is in desperate need of manpower.

There was Seashore, which was a simpler image editor based on GIMP, but native integration never seemed to be a priority for GIMP. I think there's a commonly held view on open source projects that they're all doing you a service, and if you don't like the tool they wrote you can fix it yourself or use something else. I can't say there's anything particularly wrong with that view, but it doesn't always lead to the greatest user experience.

I can only assume that someone (or several someones) with the time and knowhow to get this done finally came along and decided it was worth investing their time in. I doubt it's as exciting as working on the image editing features.

A "native" version of GTK had been in the works for years, mainly supported by people who wanted to run other programs with it (CinePaint, I think). It seems that nobody had the interest in getting Gimp working with it, the skills to accomplish that, the time to dedicate to it, and the spirit of sacrifice needed to work on a GTK 2 port when GTK 3 is already out. But somehow, in the end, the stars aligned.

OT but is this an official signed application that can work with gatekeeper on 10.8? I recently discovered that my open source project won't work by default on osx 10.8 without me paying $99 to get an apple certificate, which I'm not very interested in doing.

What are open source/free projects supposed to do about gatekeeper?

> What are open source/free projects supposed to do about gatekeeper?

They're supposed to pay up.

The signing Developer Certificate Utility at https://developer.apple.com/certificates/ rejects accounts that are not paid members of the Mac Developer Program, and a footnote at https://developer.apple.com/resources/developer-id/ states that "Mac Developer Program membership is required to access the tools and resources for distributing Mac applications."

Tell users how to turn it off. I've never seen a user object to doing so, possibly because they don't understand what it's doing in the first place.

You don't have to turn it off. Just Command click the application and click open the first time. It's automatically added to a whitelist.

I disabled Gatekeeper's hollering on 10.8. I suspect most power users will do the same, but I have no data for that suspicion.

"Power Users" can have the best of both worlds by simply right-clicking and selecting "Open" to whitelist specific non-signed apps that they want to trust.

I'd mostly expect people who turn it off entirely to fit the "don't really know what they're doing but like to do whatever a forum post tells them to do" archetype.

Now if only Inkscape would follow suit. There are plenty of good bitmap image editors for the Mac, but I could really use a good vector editor.

I like Sketch, it's cheap, very good and is aware of pixels.


Some day in the distant future perhaps there will actually be a non-photoshop 100% psd compatible editor. I thought I could just tell my designer to do File -> Export Layers as PNG, but that command in Photoshop is intentionally broken, churning for several minutes before producing even the first of many output files. In the meantime, while I like seeing how far Gimp has come, it just isn't an option for me.

I have to say, i'm impressed. One of the biggest reasons I never really used GIMP on OSX was that the X11 version never really felt right.

This version in comparison feels a lot better, though there are still a few annoying things about it, such as the image editing itself seems a bit laggy.

Still, a good step in the right direction IMO!

Since it's 2.8 series it should have single-window mode, no?

Yep, it does Windows->Single-Window Mode.

So. Much. Better.

Yeah, the multi-window thing only ever made sense for tiling window managers. And even with that it was a bit of a stretch.

That said, I don't think there's a more under-estimated or misunderstood program around.

I'm actually pretty sure it was a adopted from the original multi-window interface of Photoshop on Mac.

I'm still bewildered why this isn't the default.

Thank you. There's some buggy behavior about windows staying on top despite switching applications, and this fixes it.

GIMP Crashes on launching 32bit CPU


  $ file GIMP.app/Contents/MacOS/GIMP-bin
  GIMP.app/Contents/MacOS/GIMP-bin: Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64


I've been a long time GIMP for Mac OS X user (being a former laptop Linux users).

New GIMP crashed in me on the first run. It then hung on start up on the 2nd run.

I just deleted my old GIMP configuration directories and it started up fine:

rm -fr ~/Library/Application\ Support/Gimp/

This feature along with the single window view makes GIMP very usable on the mac.

There was some confusion about whether this release (which wasn't done by the "ordinary" Mac OS X package maintainer) meant that the role had been appointed to someone else: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gimp-developer-list/2012-Aug....

I hope that is getting resolved, it's always painful to see large projects like GIMP suffer from "people problems" and developers become disgruntled as a result.

Thank god, maybe I can finally leave behind Pixelmator.

The excellent Pixelmator is only $14.99 in the Mac App Store. I'm not sure how much use their is for Gimp on OS X any more.

I like using GIMP because it's what I use on Ubuntu and Suse and I use a lot of different machines (two XP boxes on different networks at work, several OSes at home, and I change jobs every couple of years). Photoshop isn't cross-platform, and the licensing would be prohibitive for my needs. For my brother, a professional artist with his own studio, Photoshop is the only way to go. For my daughter on a Cr-48, GIMP is great.

The interface looks significantly better, at least from the last time I messed around with it (which was a while ago).

Agreed. This is a huge step forward for Gimp!

Any thoughts on this new GIMP vis-a-vis Photoshop Elements?

I don't mind paying <$100 for a decent graphics editor. My primary use case is tweaking screenshots, app icons, buttons, and the like for my iOS apps and the web site. I want to get in and out as quick as possible, so I can get back to my other work.

I'm a gimp user. My mum (who has a mac, but isnt a confident computer user) asked for 'photoshop' for christmas after seeing what I'd done fixing up family photos.

I knew if I just gave her Gimp (or Photoshop for that matter) she'd just get stuck - they aren't very user friendly. I had a look at all the image editors I could - Acorn, Seashore, Pixelmator, etc and came to the conclusion that Photoshop Elements beat them all for ease of use.

Specific things that help are the guided actions (in the panel on the right) that act like wizards for performing common actions, but also teach you how to do these things; and the selection & healing tools are miles better than those in the other tools. Take a look at the demo on the top left here: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-elements/features.ht...

... it's talking about the smart brush, which I don't bother with, but what you're looking at is how well it manages to select within a picture.

I still prefer using Gimp, but for quick photo edits, I tend to use PE now. However, I tend to work with photos not eg icons as you do - not sure if PE is any use for that.

I haven't tried GIMP in ages, but have a look at Pixelmator. It's a great little app. http://www.pixelmator.com/ It has a lot of features for not a lot of money, and a very Photoshop-like interface.

GIMP, tried out a lot of image editors and imho it goes like this: Photoshop > GIMP > Elements > Pixelmator. Pixelmator has a really nice UI, but it's lacking features left and right. Photoshop is still the nicest, especially for coders, who don't know what they are doing (real artist only need a canvas and a brush anyway).

Photoshop Elements is a light-weight blend of Photoshop and Lightroom. It's more for managing photo collections, tweaking things like exposure and contrast, removing red eyes, etc.

If you want a sub-$100 Photoshop replacement, I'd go for Pixelmator. It's really affordable, and provides the functionality that most users need.

This is awesome! One of my biggest gripes with using OSX was how terrible the GIMP experience was.

I've been using the outdated Seashore for my basic crop/resize needs. Will try asap.

Slightly off-topic (but I know very savvy people are here, so I can't help but ask):

Anyone knows where I could find a JPEG-2000 plug-in for GIMP that works on this Mac version, along with instructions on how to install it?

Is there a way to permanently dock the toolbar in the Mac version? I had this in the old version.... Now I get floating docks over top of other applications even when Gimp is in the background!

Why can't i move a selection within a layer? This has to be the most persistent problem in the mac version that hasn't been fixed. With every new GIMP version i curse this bug.

It's a GIMP thing, unless I'm misunderstanding you: http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-using-selections.html

>>hold down Ctrl+Alt keys and click-and-drag the selection. This makes the original place empty. A floating selection is created. The required key commands may differ on your system, look in the status bar to see if another combination is specified; for example, Shift+Ctrl+Alt.

This does not function on mac as far as i know. You cannot even manually do it in the selection options.

Maybe substitute ctrl for command?

Does it have Retina display support? I'd download this in a heartbeat.

It's frustrating how long it is taken Adobe to update their software for Hi-DPI.

No: http://i.imgur.com/5AMU4.jpg

(Edit: that's Gimp and Acorn in the screenshot, respectively, in case you weren't clear what was going on.)

We don't know how much warning Apple gave them. To be fair, two months to update such beastly products is really nothing, especially when you have to change core functionality (like on-screen rendering in an image-creation tool...). I'd say 4 to 6 months would be an acceptable turnaround time for the most important products.

Compare with Microsoft, which simply won't support retina "for the time being"...

The primary download link is getting hammered at the moment; check for a mirror that has an OSX directory for fast access.

Doesn't come with decent-looking fonts included, though.

I wish it were available from the App Store.


GIMP would most likely reach a larger audience of users.

Simple app updates that are integrated at the OS level.

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