back to article It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

There appears to be no rest for Wilber as the GIMP team has updated the venerable image editor to version 2.10.6. We were delighted to see the arrival of the Straighten button in version 2.10.4, mainly due to our inability to hold a camera straight. Version 2.10.6 extends this handy feature to include vertical straightening, …

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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

    The GIMP project should do itself a favour and focus on improving the awful UI, rather than adding technical features.

    Apart from its name, that is its major problem for users.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Which GUI? It has two. Both are better than later versions of PSP than 7 when you learn them, not hard. Both are FAR better than the latest Firefox or Windows 10 desktop. Or MS Ribbon / Word.

      The GUI is daunting if you are used to something else. I pick the All in One window and customise. Some Photoshop users with two or three screens might like the default multiwindow.

      In either case, actually using it and configuring it is rewarding. Unlike Win 10 where all than can be changed is colour schemes or Firefox where you need 52 ESR and Classic Theme restorer.

      Really it's just a bit different and productive once you figured where the various parts are and how to configure.

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Often seems to be the problem with open source - everyone wants to do new cool stuff. That means you end up with a horrid UI and a product suitable for the most technical users. VLC has the same problem - I just want a big pause/play button.

      I'd been using Photoshop Elements for years, updating last year to the latest release. It's now been dumbed down so much that I might as well edit picture is MS Paint. I downloaded GIMP, but it's all so complicated and awkward. Even duplicating a small part of an image is painful.

      I miss Paintshop Pro.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I second the comment about the name. For novice users it is bloody helpful if an application's name gives a clue to its function. For experienced users it is no problem, but for a novice who is already struggling to remember another dozen newly-learnt concepts, an abstract application name is just not helpful.

        Compare to Photoshop, Paint, Paintshop, Corel Draw etc.

        A lot of OSS shares this oversight. The name of a piece of software should help a user, not just be an opportunity for the developers to express a joke. If this attitude adopted, it can only help the *User* Interface development as well.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          an abstract application name is just not helpful

          Gnu Image Manipulation Program. The name says exactly what it does. (Apart from the Gnu bit, but then Adobe Photoshop doesn't have much to do with mud houses.)

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            > Gnu Image Manipulation Program. The name says exactly what it does

            Only if the full name is displayed under the icon, and not The GIMP. And to novice the GNU part is just mouse, if their head us swirling with JPGs, TIFs and PNGs. Acronyms are a form of jargon, only suitable for the initiated. Because of the way most desktop GUIs treat icons and text, Photoshop will be on a line below Adobe, making it readily scannable- it's not buffered on both sides with redundant information such as The, or Program.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              Yes, we need an image processing and pixel manipulation program for the uninitiated.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

                > Yes, we need an image processing ... program for the uninitiated.

                I mainly do simple photo processing: straightening, cropping, sharpening, colour adjusting, resizing, ... I find that Digikam does it all quickly, simply and easily. If I need to do pixel stuff then I do it in GIMP.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            "Adobe Photoshop doesn't have much to do with mud houses."

            But Acrobat accurately reflects how your documents will be turned upside down and twisted in strange ways by the malware that came along with it.

          3. Dave559 Bronze badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            The unabbreviated name does explain what the IMP does, it’s just that its full acronym (including GNU) is one that can’t really be referred to in polite company (or, perhaps worse, in a business context: do they want many people to use their otherwise excellent software or not?).

            I think this is one case where losing the GNU from the name really would be a definite step forward (much as I love the tradition of punnery in many open source software names (such as mail clients traditionally being named after dead trees (but of course))).

            Besides, as anyone who has ever visited Discworld is aware, it’s well known that it’s imps who do the hard work behind the scenes of image manipulation, not rubber clad dungeon dwellers…

            1. DJ Smiley

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              IMP's behind the cameras, gimps in front eh?

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          I second the comment about the name.

          The name of a piece of software should help a user, not just be an opportunity for the developers to express a joke

          GNU Image Manipulation Program - GIMP

          Yes, highly amusing.

        3. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          > I second the comment about the name

          Then there's the idiots running Dia, which is a knockoff of Microsoft Visio. Just try googling for information on that...

          1. Allonymous Coward
            Linux

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            Don't bother, Dia's pretty bad.

            Have a look at yEd instead if you really must do diagramming on Linux.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              or for diagramming, just use gliffy (https://www.gliffy.com) and the OS won't matter.

            2. Mark Wallace

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              "Don't bother, Dia's pretty bad.

              Have a look at yEd instead if you really must do diagramming on Linux."

              Or Libre Office. Libre Draw can create and edit Visio (.vsd*) files.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            > a knockoff of Microsoft Visio

            Actually it was a knockoff of Shapeware's Visio. Microsoft bought it later.

            1. xasperated

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              Microsoft bought it and took all the good features out of it

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. Steve Knox Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          1. What's hard to understand about GNU Image Manipulation Program? It's a Program to Manipulate Images, brought to you by GNU. Makes sense to me.

          2. Neither Adobe PhotoShop nor JASC PaintShop Pro allow you to sell or buy photos or paints. How is that easier to understand? I think it's more that you're familiar with them so you assume novices will be as well. At best you may argue that PhotoShop has become a colloquial term, but that's simply brand penetration, not clear naming to begin with.

          3. Even if you only know it by GIMP, since it is not pre-installed on any systems that I know of, how would it even end up on a novice user's machine without them downloading it, at which point one would assume they've been to a website which describes to some degree what the software does.

        6. Dave Rickmers

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          How does Gnome Image Manipulation Program not convey your desired clues? Do flashbacks of Zed's basement haunt your unguarded thoughts?

      2. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I miss Paintshop Pro.

        Don't we all!

        I was using that from when it was just a converter. Up until Corel got their mitts on it. 9 was the last good version.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          I've been using a copy of Paint Shop Pro 4 for over 20 years now, because it does everything that I need. It runs just fine on Windows 7 (haven't tried it on Windows 10 yet).

        2. cutterman

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          I'm still using PSP 6.02 (and GIMP)

          Very capable package - a few limitations but not many and since I know the UI by heart, very quick.

          Amazing what can be crammed into 70MB.....no license key either.

          Mac

      3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        VLC has the same problem - I just want a big pause/play button.

        Try the space bar - it's the biggest button on the keyboard!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          yes, space bar is there, but who reads the (...) manual, ever? I only found out about the space bar when my wife entered the room and I tried to hit alt tab...

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            > yes, space bar is there, but who reads the (...) manual

            I think spacebar is pause on just about every video playing software I've seen, including YouTube.

          2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            "I only found out about the space bar when my wife entered the room and I tried to hit alt tab..."

            Most of the media playback software I've come across uses the space bar to pause and resume playback,

            It's one of the first things I try with such software.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            yes, space bar is there, but who reads the (...) manual, ever? I only found out about the space bar when my wife entered the room and I tried to hit alt tab...

            That's what happens from watching hentai when the rest of the family is still awake...

            1. bobajob12

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              Just think, someone on our planet has the job of pixelizing, uh, certain frames in such content.

              Perhaps they use GIMP?

              https://docs.gimp.org/2.6/en/plug-in-pixelize.html

        2. VIA_KT133

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          Until my phone gets a space bar (come back to me BlackBerry!) I'm always aboard for big bigger buttons.

      4. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I've never understood these complaints about the UI. Maybe because I wasn't a Photoshop user first?

        How is it complicated? Seriously, is there any site where someone has reviewed the UI and listed out specific items? I am interested to know what I am missing out on.

        1. elgarak1

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          It's not so much that it's complicated. It's that there so many things it does slightly different than everything else. Each of these things are, by themselves, merely mild irritations. But in the mass...

          Things like that it shows layer boundaries by default (no other graphics program I use does. Affinity Photo shows them context sensitive when needed.), and cannot remember that I turned it off (it remembers all other kinds of shit from last session. Why not this one?). Things like selection fields do not just show the options when I click on the little down arrow – I have to click AND HOLD, contrary to everywhere else on the system. Then there's the file explorer it has for "File Open" it has in it that behaves totally different (not even bad. Just different enough that I loose orientation. I click on the top folder on the sidebar, and it does not show me the contents of said top folder. It goes to a sub folder three layers deep where I was last time.) [These last two are probably connected to the fact that they do not properly port, just cross-compile.]

          And so on.

        2. davcefai

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          The UI used to be "one of a kind" where you could spend more time looking for a function than using it. The default UI is now much more conventional. Frankly I was not aware that there is another one and will spend some time trying to find it.

          After PSP went past v9 GIMP became my default photo app, especially as I could then use it on both Windows (at work) and Linux (at home).

      5. Malcolm 1

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        Have you tried Affinity Photo? It's fairly amazing for about £50

      6. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Happy

        @AMBxx

        "I miss Paintshop Pro."

        I miss Deluxe Paint.

        Also, I don't miss Dr Halo or Zsoft Paintbrush...

        1. Andy Non

          Re: @AMBxx

          I continued using Paintshop Pro on an old XP computer, long after its sell by date. One of the few reasons I'd boot that old computer instead of using Gimp on Linux Mint. I'm gradually getting into Gimp now but the learning curve is so steep I need grappling hooks. I still struggle to do basic things I did with ease in Paintshop Pro like draw a straight line of a certain thickness and colour - it tends to just stick in a line of its own choice of colour or thickness and won't let me undo it if it turns out wrong. Granted Gimp seems to have a zillion features (that I never use), but I just find it slow and irritating to use. I also find it pedantic that you can't save to JPG / PNG and have to export to it. I know they are lossy, but that is often the format I need to save to for subsequent applications to use.

        2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

          Re: @AMBxx

          >>"I miss Paintshop Pro."

          >I miss Deluxe Paint.

          +1 from me fro those.

          I also miss:

          Caxton Press

          Print Master Gold

          One of the reasons why I prefer nano the the behemoths that are Vi and EMACS is the discoverability of features. In many image editing programs, you have to guess where the function you want to use is and hope the developers thought the same way. Paintshop Pro (pre Corel) was the only one to get things right. (I.e. make the same guesses as me)

          Example: Image Resize.

          Is it a tool? a plugin? Will be next to the related (but different) canvas size or maybe crop? What is the distinction that decides if something is under the edit menu or elsewhere?

          When you spend longer googling "How do I do x in y software" than actually doing it, there is a problem. Given that a lot of these functions are called the same, but are in different menus, a search/help system where you could type in the name would be amazingly useful. It shouldn't require an internet connection.

          Sort of how the win10 start menu was intended, but failed miserably to do.

    3. elgarak1

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Spot on.

      I never got the hang of it to use it regularly. I want to love it, because I have a soft spot for open source and free software, but GIMP never felt nice enough to actually use.

      1. Ragarath

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        Come on, it's just learning a different way of doing things.

        I needed Photoshop 6 months ago but was unwilling to go their subscription model. So I went back to try Gimp, to start with it is a sharp learning curve because yes, it's different than Photoshop and looks at things from a different perspective. Learning the different way layers work, the UI etc. 6 months on and when I use Photoshop I find myself thinking "This is easier in Gimp", of course there are also times when I think, "Photoshop is better at this" and hope that Gimp catches on but they are not as numerous as you'd think.

        From my rant, just take it as I really like Gimp a lot now when I would only use Photoshop 6 months ago. You just have to take the time to learn it. You have to do the same with Photoshop if you've not used it before, why not give Gimp the same chance?

        And on the name, come on are you really going to complain about the name! Come on, lots of things have names that don't specify exactly what they do. I'll give you a big one. Google.

        1. AZump

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          GIMP

          GNU Image Manipulation Program

          The name means EXACTLY what it is and does. Pass it on!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The name means EXACTLY what it is and does. Pass it on!

            gimp

            North American informal derogatory

            noun: gimp; plural noun: gimps

            1.

            a physically disabled or lame person.

            a limp.

            2.

            a feeble or contemptible person.

            You're right. Its name means exactly what it is and does.

            1. Ragarath

              Re: The name means EXACTLY what it is and does. Pass it on!

              gimp

              North American informal derogatory

              noun: gimp; plural noun: gimps

              1.

              a physically disabled or lame person.

              a limp.

              2.

              a feeble or contemptible person.

              You're right. Its name means exactly what it is and does.

              Wow, when did this program become a sentient person as in the dictionary you rolled out there.

          2. h4rm0ny

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            Yes, but then you have to expand out GNU to Gnu is Not UNIX. At which point things become a bit more tricky.

        2. Monty Cantsin
          Trollface

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          "Come on, lots of things have names that don't specify exactly what they do. I'll give you a big one. Google."

          What are you talking about? You use Google to Google things. It couldn't be any more descriptive!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mnemonic naming.

          Google, heh. Bing! We have a winner!

          I'm the guy with the symbolic links in his pocket.

        4. BobChip
          Thumb Up

          The best software .......

          The best software in the world is the software you know best.

          Any truly capable software will be complex and will take time to learn. And it will be different. As Ragarath says, make the effort to learn it before commenting or complaining.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I use gimp a LOT. The only mildly irritating thing is that I have to 'export' to any format other than the 'gimp' format. But that's ok, once I understood the semantics of their menu, no big deal.

        And I'm glad there's AN ACTUAL MENU and NO [profanity spew] RIBBON nor FAT-FINGER-BURGER. Well, in the versions I've been running on FreeBSD, anyway... (2.8.18 and 2.8.22, which work pretty well)

        One thing gimp does lack is some of the things that MS Paint has always had, some of its line and curve generators and related things. Maybe if I worked with it some more I could figure out how to work around that...

    4. FlossyThePig
      Mushroom

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Why does everything have to be an effing "experience" these days. If it's not an "experience" it's a "journey".

      1. Lt.Kije

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I second your sentiment (and I scream ever time I'm offered an app prefixed "my")

        In GIMP's case it's less of a Journey and more of a Quest.

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