Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Future of the GIMP

GIMP 2.7.3, the latest development release of GIMP was released a week ago, continuing to impress those who have been using it for a while. 2.7.3 introduced a fully working single-window mode, as well as working session management, and a new scale widget which takes less space in the dockable dialogs. Those were very visible changes in 2.7.3, however that short list, doesn't go anywhere near doing justice to the large amount of work that was put into this latest development release. For the whole list of changes since 2.7.2 you can read here. If you want to read about all the changes in the 2.7.x series you can read in the 2.7 release notes.

Along with this latest development release, you can check out the GIMP Roadmap, which shows some (but definitely not all) of the major targets for future versions of GIMP. 2.8 will, in itself, be a major milestone for the GIMP, however, what really excites me is the other milestones on the Roadmap page. Many of the changes are critical if GIMP is to start gaining a larger audience, specifically if it is to try to grab designers from  Photoshop. These changes include the major targets for 2.8, gaining single-window mode and layer groups, as well as many of the targets for later versions, such as 3.6 - smart objects, and 3.8 - a unified transform tool.

GIMP development is looking forward to exciting changes. Mentioned on the GIMP website was the fact that GIMP is also shortening it's development cycle (like a lot of other major programs these days!), starting with trying to release 2.8 in the end of 2011 (probably around December).

With all these changes, and more attention being focused on GIMP, many people are starting to wonder about first impressions. A well known designer has contacted the development team to ask about designing a new icon. Although no one with authority responded to him, he raises a good point. Is the icon getting old? An Ubuntu blog, and a web designer both mentioned GIMP's name, wondering if it might be time to change it, in order to better attract people to the program. You can head over to the Ubuntu blog to vote on a poll about the matter.

Keep checking up on the GIMP as it undergoes these dramatic changes.


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