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HA-Ha! I Didn't Do Any Gimp Tutorials This Round!

Date/Time Permalink: 02/09/10 11:47:38 am
Category: General

A while back, I groaned, wailed, and gnashed my teeth over the Gimp 2.4 interface overhaul. My main beefs, in convenient bullet form for easy trollin':

  • Every interface makeover makes all previous tutorials obsolete, punishing Gimp fans for trying to do something to build up the Gimp community.
  • Every interface makeover is doing nothing but chasing Photoshop's taillights.
  • Remaking Gimp in Photoshop's image is a waste of time, because Gimp 0.1 already kicked Photoshop's ass for every version of Photoshop past, present, and future.

And of course, they're munging Gimp up again. But this time I didn't write any tutorials for Gimp! So I have no work to lose! Ha ha! Missed me, missed me, now ya gotta kiss me!

I say it over and over again. And truly, if every interface overhaul was so great, then why would they need to change it again? Huh? Hmmm? Where's all the 2.4 advocates saying that 2.4's interface change was so perfect, now?

Instead, I'll be patiently drumming my fingers waiting for the rest of you to wake up to what I'm noticing. Which I will state here more plainly than I have ever stated it before:

Gimp is being sabotaged.

Almost certainly from the inside. The sabotage is almost certainly directly sponsored by Adobe.

If you don't believe me, don't even waste your breath responding right now. I don't believe myself, but I believe my own eyes, ears, and common sense. Just let's wait and see what comes up. If nothing does, I was wrong. If something does, I'm vindicated by history, and I'll be back to rub everybody's nose in that point.

Every version of Gimp breaks compatibility with old plug-ins, renders all previous tutorials obsolete, destroys any continuity of user base from one release to the next. It cannot pick up momentum. Its base cannot grow. All Gimp users are caught in a time warp, a Groundhog Day cycle where we have to keep relearning the same program over and over again. Consider the many community works which Gimp could be standing on right now, if it had stuck with its original course:

I'm barely scraping the surface with the examples here, but I'll stop myself from belaboring the point.

Gimp has rendered itself impossible to teach, impossible to learn, impossible to support, and most especially impossible to become an expert in. I have a number of tools for creating graphics on my Linux desktop:

  • Image Magick Interface remains the same, new features are added. Just keeps getting better.
  • Inkscape Interface remains the same (with the tolerable exception of one menu, the 'effects' one), new features are added. Just keeps getting better.
  • POVRay May never see another release again at this rate, but at least new releases didn't break old scripts.
  • Wings3D Interface remains the same, just keeps getting more powerful.

In all of the above listed programs, everything that I learned about them five - even ten - years ago is still relevant now. As a result, I have developed my skills in them beyond amateur through intermediate and apprentice to mastery, or at least what you could consider "mastery." Note that I have left Blender off this list, which suffers from the same problem as Gimp for (I'm guessing) different reasons.

But imagine if you learned piano until you were at professional level, and then one day your piano's keys vanished to be replaced by trumpet valves, and the next time those vanished to be replaced by guitar strings, and then just when you'd given in and tried to learn that interface, somebody took it away and replaced it with a set of drums. That's what trying to build up skills at the Gimp has been like for the past decade.

Interesting how the program which just so happens to have a competitor which is a multi-million dollar industry that sells its product for several hundred dollars per copy, has to tear itself apart over and over every year. It's almost as if somebody was getting paid money to do so, instead of devoting all that effort to improving the engine or adding support for more features (GEGL, 32-bit, LAB color space, hello?). And of course, every time you switch all the buttons and menus around, you alienate "old" (if you can call one year "old") users while failing to attract new users.

Oh, be sure to let me know if the latest interface scramble causes a huge grassroots migration of Adobe users to Gimp. Because that's allegedly the purpose. Isn't it?

my dirk

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