Don’t be a stranger to GIMP, be GIMP…

I can try and do more coding, more code reviewing, revive designing discussions… that’s cool, yet never enough. GIMP needs more people, developers, designers, community people, writers for the website or the documentation, tutorial makers… everyone is welcome in my grand scheme!

Many of my actions lately have been towards gathering more people, so when I heard about the GNOME newcomers initiative during GUADEC, I thought that could be a good fit. Thus a few days ago, I had GIMP added in the list of newcomer-friendly GNOME projects, with me as the newcomers mentor. I’ll catch this occasion to remind you all the ways you can contribute to GIMP, and not necessarily as a developer.

Coding for GIMP

GIMP is not your random small project. It is a huge project, with too much code for any sane person to know it all. It is used by dozen of thousands of people, Linux users of course, but also on Windows, OSX, BSDs… A flagship for Free Software, some would say. So clearly coding for GIMP can be scary and exciting in the same time. It won’t be the same as contributing to most smaller programs. But we are lucky: GIMP has a very sane and good quality code. Now let’s be clear: we have a lot of crappy pieces of code here and there, some untouched for years, some we hate to touch but have to sometimes. That will happen with any project this size. But overall, I really enjoy the quality of the code and it makes coding in GIMP somewhat a lot more enjoyable than in some less-cared projects I had to hack on in my life. This is also thanks to the maintainer, Mitch, who will bore you with syntax, spaces, tabs, but also by his deep knowledge of GIMP architecture. And I love this.

On the other hand, it also means that getting your patch into GIMP can be a littler more complicated than in some other projects. I saw a lot of projects which would accept patches in any state as long as it does more or less what it says it does. But nope, not in GIMP. It has to work, of course, but it also has to follow strict code quality, syntax-wise, but also architecture-wise. Also if your code touches the public API or the GUI, be ready for some lengthy discussions. But this is all worth it. Whether you are looking for improving an already awesome software, adding lines to your resume, improving your knowledge or experience on programming, learning, you will get something meaningful out of it. GIMP is not your random project and you will have reasons to be proud to be part of it.

How to choose a first bug?

Interested already? Have a look at bugs that we think are a good fit for newcomers! Now don’t feel obligated to start there. If you use GIMP and are annoyed by specific bugs or issues, this may well be a much better entrance. Personally I never contributed to fix a random bug as first patch. Every single first patch I did for Free Software was for an issue I experienced. And that’s even more rewarding!

Oh and if you happen to be a Windows or OSX developer, you will have an even bigger collection of bugs to look into. We are even more needing developer on non-Linux platforms, and that means we have a lot more bugs there, but also most likely a good half of these are probably easy to handle even for new developers.

Finally crashes and bugs which output warnings are often pretty easy since you can usually directly investigate them in a debugger (gdb for instance), which is also a good tool to learn if you never used. Bugs related to a graphical element, especially with text, are a good fit for new developers too since you can easily grep texts to search through the code.

Infrastructure

Now there are whole other areas where you could contribute. These are unloved area and less visible, which is sad. And I wish to change this. One of these is infrastructure! GIMP, as many big projects, have a website, build and continuous integration servers, wikis, mailing lists… These are time-consuming and have few contributors.

So we definitely welcome administrators. Our continuous integration regularly encounters issue. Well as we speak, the build fails, not because of GIMP, instead because minimum requirements for our dev environment are not met. At times, we have had a failing continuous integration for months. The problem is easy: we need more contributors to share the workload. Currently Sam Gleske is our only server administrator but as a volunteer, he has only limited time. We want to step up to next level with new people to co-administrate the servers!

Writers

While we got a new website recently (thanks to Patrick David especially!), more frequent news (here I feel we have to cite Alexandre Prokoudine too), we’d still welcome new hands. That could be yours!

We need documentation for GIMP 2.10 coming release, but also real good quality tutorials under Free/Libre licenses. The state of our tutorials on gimp.org were pretty sad before the new website, to say the least. Well now that’s pretty empty.

Of course translations are also a constant need too. GIMP is not doing too bad here, but if that’s what you like, we could do even better! For this, you will want to contact directly the GNOME translation team for your target language.

Designers

And finally my pet project, I repeat this often, but I think a lot of GIMP workflow would benefit from some designer view. If you are a UX designer and interested, be welcome to the team too!

So here it is. All the things which you could do with us. Don’t be scared. Don’t be a stranger. Instead of being this awesome project you use, it could be your awesome project. Make GIMP! 🙂

10 Replies to “Don’t be a stranger to GIMP, be GIMP…”

    1. I would love to, but through our animation film project. In the end, that would be the same (working on GIMP mostly), yet I would do it for an end result. I prefer this way (same as I started to contribute to GIMP because I started using it, I will continue because I continue using it!).

      And we are crowdfunding for it, even monthly which is exactly how you like it, but success is not there:
      https://www.tipeee.com/zemarmot
      https://www.patreon.com/zemarmot

      Of course, you and anyone are welcome to contribute if you want me to go in the direction of me working on GIMP full-time! 😉

      1. I meant there are more people who will donate directly to GIMP than Zemarmot. Actually it shouldn’t be limited to one developer. But I’ve got your idea and support it! Happy creating! 😉

        1. Most paid Free Software hacking is done through other ventures. Like nearly nobody contributes to the Linux Kernel just to contribute to it. They do it because they work in companies which use it (hardware makers like Intel, AMD… distributions like RedHat or SUSE… for servers and for Android in Google or Samsung case, and so on) and need it to be effective, stable and feature-full. I think it’s more efficient this way too (you have an actual goal with direct real-life usage). 🙂

          The difference with all these companies is that they have money and we don’t. Hopefully more people will agree with this view and will decide to support a cool Open Movie which as a even cooler side effect will improve their loved software! 😉

  1. After being a Photoshop user for 14 years I have tried time and again to get into GIMP.

    The GIMP GTK3 git branch is the very first branch I have had success with. That said – the UX, and GTK3 support is extremely essential to helping users uptake GIMP.

    Once I finally was able to use Photoshop keybindings and tweak my UI to a form that I could actually use I downloaded i3-hud-menu.

    It creates one giant search menu you call down via Super + X — suddenly I could locate commands I would have spend 3 minuets looking for in the menus in 3 seconds.

    If GIMP could natively add one giant search menu like Atom, and Sublime that would also be big.

    Once I was actually able to get past the UX, tool hotkeys, differences and menu layout I was actually able to use GIMP and I started to realize that the next major issue I was encountering was non-destructive editing, smart objects, etc…

    Then there’s other weird quirks like when measuring a line using the Measure Tool I would expect the Arbitrary Rotate dialog to pull the angle in automatically, and other little stuff.

    Currently I use GIMP for image rotation and cropping.

    The default brushes need to be updated – a big solar flare, a star, shape, and a brush that prints “GNU IMAGE MANIPULATION TOOL” is not professional or legit in any way.

    At least they removed the Toilet Paper Size Templates from the New Image dialog (That was insane that it was in the default install to begin with.)

    After all this I turned my attention to shapes and gradients and realized how fundamentally different GIMP is from Photoshop, the stock gradients were pretty horrid, and I really couldn’t prototype designs by creating squares.

    I was pleasantly surprised that I could add guides via i3-hud-menu at specific pixel coordinates, this was amazing. Guides are so important to design.

    If GIMP could have a built in addon’s Search and Install like Atom Editor it would mean the world to increasing GIMP’s capabilities. Brushes, Textures, Gradients, Shapes or whatever all available within the program – that would add so much value instantly.

    extensions.gnome.org is a great example of addons presented in a simple and empowering way.

    I really wish GIMP had Blending Options dialog like Photoshop and Krita have, and Colored Layers, these features are part of the Swiss Army Knife multi-utility of those apps.

    The Filters really need a overhaul to make Image Previews of Before / After a thing. It almost seems like instead of Filters having dialogs they should just occupy a dedicated space – I place my Tool Options directly next to my Tool-belt. Filters almost seem like tools of effects themselves.

    Anyways, please accept my criticism knowing that I intend to share so as to improve the product for all. I seriously believe that on a longer timeline if the UX, and Non Destructive Editing get ironed out we could see a mass exodus of users from other tools come into GIMP.

    And lastly, the “GNU Image Manipulation Program” is better branding, but I wonder why alternatives have never been considered like Libre Image Manipulation Editor (LIME – lol), Libre Image Factory, GNU Image Factory, etc…

    But I suppose even though re-branding could help gain popularity, I feel like when engineers do marketing it doesn’t go so well for a project.

    1. > The GIMP GTK3 git branch is the very first branch I have had success with. That said – the UX, and GTK3 support is extremely essential to helping users uptake GIMP.

      The GTK+3 branch is to be considered very unstable. There is no active work there, we simply rebase our work-in-progress on this branch from time to time. But well… if it suits you…

      > If GIMP could natively add one giant search menu like Atom, and Sublime that would also be big.

      We have had a search menu to access all our actions for like 3 years in our development branch and I am the one who maintains this feature. Since you say you use the GTK+3 branch, it is highly possible you have it already (unless you are working with a very old version of this branch). The default shortcut is ‘/’.
      That won’t just search in the menus but in all available actions. And yes it is “big” and I love it and use it daily.

      > Once I was actually able to get past the UX, tool hotkeys, differences and menu layout I was actually able to use GIMP and I started to realize that the next major issue I was encountering was non-destructive editing, smart objects, etc…

      Yes that’s planned and work has been done on this (in the core engine side, not on the GUI side yet), but not to be expected immediately.

      > The default brushes need to be updated – a big solar flare, a star, shape, and a brush that prints “GNU IMAGE MANIPULATION TOOL” is not professional or legit in any way.

      Brushes should be updated, that’s right. But I don’t think we have a brush which prints “GNU IMAGE MANIPULATION TOOL” though. Where did you get this?

      > At least they removed the Toilet Paper Size Templates from the New Image dialog (That was insane that it was in the default install to begin with.)

      That’s still in the default, and even though a little strange, that’s a serious thing, as far as I know. Some people have been designing toilet paper prints and needed this. But of course, maybe it could be available as an extension rather than by default (clearly that’s not the most common usage!).

      > I was pleasantly surprised that I could add guides via i3-hud-menu at specific pixel coordinates, this was amazing. Guides are so important to design.

      Hmmm… this has been available for a long time and I fail to see what i3-hud-menu has to do with it working. Maybe you mean that it just helped you to find the feature more easily? 🙂

      > If GIMP could have a built in addon’s Search and Install like Atom Editor it would mean the world to increasing GIMP’s capabilities. Brushes, Textures, Gradients, Shapes or whatever all available within the program – that would add so much value instantly.

      This is one of my main big projects to come.

      > The Filters really need a overhaul to make Image Previews of Before / After a thing.

      Ok now I think the GTK+3 branch you are using is a very old one. The development version of GIMP has had very cool on-canvas preview for filters for a very long time. And now for months, we have also had split preview (like a curtain to see partial preview before/after).
      What is your operating system/distribution exactly and how did you install the GTK+3 branch?

      > It almost seems like instead of Filters having dialogs they should just occupy a dedicated space – I place my Tool Options directly next to my Tool-belt.

      Yes dialogs are an annoying thing, I agree. That’s probably something which should be reviewed at some point.

      > Anyways, please accept my criticism knowing that I intend to share so as to improve the product for all.

      No problem, constructive criticism like yours is exactly what makes the software improves over time! 🙂

      > But I suppose even though re-branding could help gain popularity, I feel like when engineers do marketing it doesn’t go so well for a project.

      Re-branding is a very tricky matter. I am absolutely not sure it would actually help popularity. GIMP has been around for 21 years now, and the “GIMP” name is now very well known. Not just amongst Free Software people, but simply with folks who never even heard of Free Software. I very often meet people who are like “oh yeah GIMP, I know this, I have it on my computer” and they have no idea what Free Software even is.

      Rebuilding a new community around a new name could be years of people not being able to get updates since they won’t ever know it changed name. And if they happened to install the new software, they would not know it is the same. Only core community people, the ones who follow the project news closely, would hear about this (and they are likely far from the big numbers of people who actually download and use GIMP).

  2. Hi,
    I am a German artist and thrilled of Gimp for some years now.
    I am not good with computers, but I love to paint with my tablet with this wonderful program! I’ve already tried Gimp 2.9 and the colors are amazing!
    All Artworks you can find here I made from scratch with Gimp:
    http://puzzle-forum.de/gallery/index.php/ImageList/?userID=3292
    If anyone needs some artwork for free to support Gimp, you can contact me. I would be very happy if I could give something back.
    LG Susi

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