Chapter 1. Introduction

Table of Contents

1. Welcome to The GIMP
1.1. Known platforms
1.2. The GIMP-Help system
1.3. Language
1.4. Features and Capabilities
1.5. Authors
2. What's New in The GIMP?
2.1. New in GIMP 2.2
2.2. New in GIMP 2.0
3. Gimp History
4. Reporting Bugs and Requesting Enhancements
4.1. Making sure it's a Bug
4.2. Reporting the Bug
4.3. What Happens to a Bug Report after you Submit it

1. Welcome to The GIMP

The GIMP is a multiplatform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching, image composition, and image construction.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.

One of The GIMP's strengths is its free availability from many sources for many operating systems. Most GNU/Linux distributions include The GIMP as a standard application. The GIMP is also available for other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows™ or Apple's Mac OS X™ (Darwin). The GIMP is not freeware. It is an Open Source Software application covered by the General Public License (GPL license). The GPL provides users with the freedom to access and alter the source code that makes up computer programs.

1.1. Known platforms

The GIMP is the most widely supported image manipulation available today. The platforms that The GIMP is known to work on include GNU/Linux™, Apple Mac OS X (Darwin)™, Microsoft Windows 95, 98, Me, XP, NT4, and 2000™, OpenBSD™, NetBSD™, FreeBSD™, Solaris™, SunOS™, AIX™, HP-UX™, Tru64™, Digital UNIX™, OSF/1™, IRIX™, OS/2™, and BeOS™.

The GIMP can easily be ported to other operating systems because of its source code availability.

1.2. The GIMP-Help system

The GIMP-Help system provides you with the information necessary to understand how to use The GIMP. You can get context sensitive help while using GIMP by pressing the F1 key. Help on specific menu items can be accessed by pressing the F1 key while the mouse focuses the menu item. Read on to begin your GIMP journey.

1.3. Language

All being well, GIMP detects the system language. This may fail on some machines and you may want use another language. It is possible to change the language:

  • Under LINUX: in console mode, type LANGUAGE=en gimp or LANG=en gimp replacing en by fr, de, ... according to the language you want.

  • Under WINDOWS XP: Control Panel/System/ Advanced/"Environment" button/ In "System Variables" area: "Add" button: Enter LANG for Name and fr or de... for Value.

  • Under Windows Me: Start/Programs/ Accessories/System Tools/System Informations/Tools/System Configuration Utility/"Environment" tab/"New" button: Enter LANG for Name and fr or de... for Value.

  • Under Mac: Go to System Preferences, click on the International icon, and in the Language tab, the desired language should be the first in the list.

1.4. Features and Capabilities

This is only a brief list of Gimp features:

  • Full suite of painting tools including brushes, a pencil, an airbrush, cloning, etc.

  • Tile-based memory management so image size is limited only by available disk space

  • Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high-quality anti-aliasing

  • Full Alpha channel support

  • Layers and channels

  • A procedural database for calling internal Gimp functions from external programs, such as Script-Fu

  • Advanced scripting capabilities

  • Multiple undo/redo (limited only by disk space)

  • Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip

  • File formats supported include GIF, JPEG, PNG, XPM, TIFF, TGA, MPEG, PS, PDF, PCX, BMP and many others

  • Load, display, convert and save to many file formats

  • Selection tools including rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy, bezier and intelligent

  • Plug-ins that allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters

1.5. Authors

The first version of the Gimp was written by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. Many other developers have contributed more recently, and thousands have provided support and testing. Gimp releases are currently being orchestrated by Sven Neumann and Mitch Natterer and many other people called the Gimp-Team.