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Slowly Making Friends With The New Gimp

Date/Time Permalink: 11/10/07 10:52:08 am
Category: HOWTOs and Guides

What's driving me to put Gimp 2.4 on my Slackware box (my main office) is that I can never again do a Gimp tutorial until I am set up with 2.4. The interface overhaul is just too massive; every Gimp tutorial currently published in print or the web has now become worthless.

It's things like this that held me back from mastering Blender; I was just getting pretty good with it, when they rebuilt it. At least half the tutorials out there for Blender even now make references to buttons that no longer exist and menu paths that have changed. Hopefully, the Gimp community can handle itself better. For anybody who asks, I will be putting a header on each of my own Gimp tutorials specifying that they are for 2.2.

Anyway, I'm running Slackware 11.0, having just dialed in the perfect distro setup as I reviewed here. This may come as a shock, but I don't keep current on my main work station. I apply the Debian philosophy; I want long-term stability, because there is so much that is so complicated that I do, that getting it all set up takes something like a month. I was prepared to never upgrade the main system again for at least another year.

But with my work, Gimp pretty much controls at least 33% of my paycheck (no matter if I drew something in Inkscape or POVray, I still use Gimp for post-process and such.), so oh well, upgrade Gimp. The only Slackware package for Gimp 2.4 I could find was one for i486 (over at Linux packages), so that's what I settled for. Then when I got that in, Gimp informed me that it needed GTK+2-2.10.13 or later. I "arghh!"ed and went to hunt that down, but happily my upgrades ended there where 2.10.14 for i686 installed without incident.

Unfortunately, Gimp is not running without incident. I have so far detected three operations which make it crash (!?!?). They are: using the lasso (free-select) for anything, attempting to stroke a path, and using the gfig plugin. So I go back to the site and guess what? They just released the bug-fix as 2.4.1, and the change-log mentions several stability issues including crashing when using plug-ins. Which will fix my problems nicely... just as soon as I locate the Slackware package for it! Which, as I write this, I just did... Slackware current has it, but don't bother using the site search (on the left); it's on the recent packages list (on the right).

Since everybody's going to ask: I'm not looking at the tarball because I don't think my system is ready to compile a huge package like the Gimp. There's other complications like the fact that I use Dropline for Gnome support, so this has potential problems with little library and method inconsistencies that I'd rather avoid. Dropline hasn't even released for Slackware 12.0 yet.

As a side mystery, Gimp 2.4's release candidate on my kids' Mandriva box is running tip-top, no problems at all. So now are these problems actually caused by a botched set-up on my own box? In any case, I can't go hopping back and forth between two computers and nudging my kids off their game just to use a stable Gimp. While puttering around last night, I did manage to draw a decent shield in 2.4:

A Slackware shield

I've been fascinated by shields lately. I'd like to say that I drew it all in Gimp, but I did the shield shape (just the outline) in Inkscape and exported to PNG because - duh! - Gimp's path tool crashes when I try to stroke a path. If my images look pretty busy going forward for this month, it's because I'm doing them as in-depth feature tests.

The 2.4.1 upgrade should fix things up, and my computing world will be at peace again. I just cough all this up to let people know, if anybody else out there is having these little frustrations, it's not just them.

Update: No, they didn't. Lasso, stroking a path, and gfig drawing a polygon all still make Gimp 2.4.1 vanish like a popped soap bubble. I have no idea what the problem is.

Why was I born?

Update: Well, I tried one thing and then another, but finally uninstalled Gimp, manually removed every trace of Gimp from the machine, and reinstalled the original Gimp-2.2.13 from my Slackware 11.0 diskset, plus untarred the .gimp/ configurations back to my home directory (which I'd thought to tar up and save before trying to upgrade). Happy ending: everything's back as it was.

I could piddle around all year with this, but like I said I need this for work. I have 2.4 running happy and fine on the other machine (why???) if I need it, and I'm sticking with 2.2.13 on this box until the next major upgrade. I have GTK+ upgraded as a souvenir.

I'll try again to make friends with the new Gimp when it's settled down.

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