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/
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.
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?
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 ;)
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
edit: found US price is $699 (before tax, Aus is post-tax). That's still not 'measly' in any context other than professional.
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.
 But see this gimp document - the first returned hit in a search for [gimp drop shadow text] - which appears to be weirdly complex.
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.
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.
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.
"This plug-in enables you to use the vast number of existing filters made for Photoshop's Filter Factory"
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.
(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)
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.
I do think there is an opening here for design tools that can help create declarative UIs in a more visual way though.
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.
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.
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.
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). 
Anything that allows working with multiple documents should remain open even with no windows (or unless auto-killed).
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.
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.
1) Opened TextEdit
2) Started a document
3) Closed document (Cmd-W)
4) Switched to Chrome
5) *poof* TextEdit disappeared
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.
GIMP is document-based.
"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."
Adobe still does, and of all apps, GIMP is going to be one of the most likely to emulate them.
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.
Looks kind of old, but it might still work.
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).
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.
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.
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  ... 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.
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.
However, it is NOT a Photoshop killer.
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".
Am surprised someone hasn't got round to making a script of it.
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.
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.
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.
(In fact, based on another post, it sounds like the windowing toolkit picked up Mac support, rather than Gimp doing anything super special.)
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.
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."
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.
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!
So. Much. Better.
That said, I don't think there's a more under-estimated or misunderstood program around.
$ 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/
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.
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 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:
... 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.
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.
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?
This does not function on mac as far as i know. You cannot even manually do it in the selection options.
It's frustrating how long it is taken Adobe to update their software for Hi-DPI.
(Edit: that's Gimp and Acorn in the screenshot, respectively, in case you weren't clear what was going on.)
Compare with Microsoft, which simply won't support retina "for the time being"...
Simple app updates that are integrated at the OS level.