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, …

  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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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".

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Kubla Cant

    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.)

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. h4rm0ny Silver badge

    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.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. 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...

  24. 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.

  25. ilmari

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

    From my observations of random people trying gimp, they can't find anything because the buttons are all in windows floating around, sometimes with scrollbars, sometimes not.

    Then, eventually, they try close gimp, except most of the time they close all the toolboxes before closing whichever window that makes gimp actually close. On next start, all the toolbox windows are gone, and user wonders where everything went, or concludes that maybe he/she misremembered and that gimp actually has no features.

  26. Malcolm 1

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

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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...

  32. Sandtitz Silver badge
    Happy

    @AMBxx

    "I miss Paintshop Pro."

    I miss Deluxe Paint.

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

  33. 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.

  34. xasperated

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

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

  35. 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).

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. Dave559

    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…

  39. 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).

  40. steviebuk Silver badge

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

    Especially when saving. File save as. What? Why can't I save as JPG etc.

    Oh, what? I have to choose "export" instead? Really when every other fucking program just has it in the Save As bit. Why did they go the "export" route?

    Still. Can't complain, it's free.

  41. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Trollface

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

    "Why does everything have to be an effing "experience" these days"

    This reminds me of a light bulb joke:

    Q. How many 'Silly Valley' residents does it take to change a light bulb?

    A. Three. One to actually change the bulb, and 2 to "share in the experience"

    And I bet I answered your question, too.

  42. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Meh

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

    "except most of the time they close all the toolboxes before closing whichever window that makes gimp actually close"

    yeah some parts of the UI need [quite] a bit more user friendliness. I just tried that with a different login context, and had a little trouble getting the main toolbox back the way I wanted it.

  43. Fred Dibnah

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

    Thanks for reaching out, Flossy. :-)

  44. Loud Speaker Bronze badge

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

    it's not an "experience" it's a "journey".

    In the case of Gimp, it is a wrestle - with an alligator!

    Just try to add some text in a specific place, font and size. Even one word can take an hour as all your settings get eaten by vultures or kidnapped by aliens - you set 12 points? Well tough - it goes back to 17 pixels before you can press a space bar. You selected "Pillar box red"? Well, you did, but the default is black, so that is what you get?

    As for changing the brush size? well you will need to sacrifice more than a goat for that to work!

  45. 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

  46. DJ Smiley

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

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

  47. 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!

  48. Holtsmark

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

    In my eyes, the Gimp UI is not a problem. I am still loosing the toolboxes every now and then, but otherwise the menu's do what they say that they do, inclunding the opening of new toolboxes.

    Gimp covers all my personal and professional needs for bitmap processing (including website work).

    Expanding my free toolbox, Inkscape covers all vector graphics needs, including backporting pdf's to dxf for import into CAD (reverse engineering parts that do not come with a 3d model).

    Libre Office writer is good enough to handle large technical documents including operating manuals with very complex page numbering (LO-Calc remains lacklustre).

    If you want a horrible UI, then go look at Blender3d. All other programs (except, maybe dwarf fortress) pale in comparison. This is a pity, since the program itself is getting mighty powerfull. (I work in CAD on a daily basis and I used to handle 3dsMAX in various versions, so it is not a matter of not knowing 3d),

  49. 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?

  50. 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.

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