Call for help: fund GIMP development and Libre animation

Too long, didn’t read? In a few words: our GIMP development + ZeMarmot production is currently funded barely above 400 € per month, this doesn’t pay the bills, my main computer broke today and Aryeom’s graphics tablet has been working badly for some time now. We are a bit bummed out.

So we call for your help!
You can fund GIMP development and ZeMarmot production on Patreon or Tipeee!

Read below for more.

If you read us regularly, you know that I am hacking GIMP a lot. We are just a handful of regular developers  in GIMP, I am one of them. My contributions go from regular bug fixes to bigger features, maintenance of several pieces of code as well as regular code review from contributed patches. I do this in the context of ZeMarmot project, with Aryeom Han, director and animator.  We draw on and hack GIMP because we believe in Free Software.
On the side, I also contribute to a lot of other Free Software.

Our absolutely-not-hidden goal is to be able, one day, to live from hacking Free Software and creating Libre Art. But clearly there is no denying that we are currently failing. With about 400€ a month for 2 people, association LILA can barely pay a few days a month (by the rules, which means a good part of the sum even goes to non-wage labour costs). These 400€ are not even the monthly rent we pay for our 1-room flat (31 m², in the far suburb of Paris); so you would assume well that we don’t live from it. We mostly live off savings and other things to pay the bills. These “other things” also use time we would rather spend on drawing and coding.

We would indeed enjoy working full-time on ZeMarmot, creating Free Software and Libre Art for everyone to enjoy. But we are very far from this point.

The main reason why we have not stopped the project already is that we promised we’d release the pilot. Funders are counting on us. Of course the other reason is that we still hope things will work out and that we will be able to live from what we love. Still the project is done at slow pace because we can’t afford to starve, right? So we are at times demoralized.

This is why I am doing this call. If you can afford it and believe that improving GIMP is important, then I would propose to fund ZeMarmot which supports paid development.
Similarly if you want to see more Libre Art, and in particular cool animation films, and maybe later other movies under Libre licenses in professional quality, then I again propose to support ZeMarmot.

» Patreon funding «
» Tipeee funding «

Our material is dying

And so why is this post released today? The situation has been hard for months now, but today it is dire: my laptop just broke. It just won’t turn on. All my data are safe since I do regular backups (and I think the hard drive is still ok anyway), but I don’t have a computer anymore to work on (I am writing this on a 8-year old 32-bit netbook which barely stands opening a few browser tabs!).

On her side, Aryeom’s graphics tablet has had issues for months. As you may remember, we partly dealt with them, but the tablet regularly shuts down for no reason, we have to remove and put back the battery or similar annoying “workarounds”. And we fear that we have to buy a new one soon.

So that’s what triggered this blog post because I realize how precarious is our situation. We barely get funding for living bills, we eat our savings and now we have (expensive) material issues. So we are calling you all who like Free Software and Libre Art. Do you believe ZeMarmot is a good thing? Do you believe our project has any meaning and that it should continue for years and years? We believe this, and have believed it for the last 2 years where we have been trying. If you do too, maybe help us a bit, relatively to your means. If you really can’t afford it, at least you can spread the word.

ZeMarmot is a wonderful experience for us, and we really don’t want it to have a bitter end (though we won’t regret a second of it).

Thanks for reading!

21 Replies to “Call for help: fund GIMP development and Libre animation”

  1. Any chance you can open an account on Liberapay? I wouldn’t mind doing a small contribution on there.

    Boosted on Mastodon. Good luck, folks!

    1. I must think about it. When I opened the patreon/tipeee accounts, I didn’t know liberapay (maybe it didn’t even even exist yet, not sure). At the time, I did it to accomodate those who want to pay in USD and the others in EUR. But now even this, I regret it because it is quite time consuming. Everything must be duplicated twice, using different formatting systems, and stuff. It doesn’t look like it at first, but that’s very annoying.
      Now I am told liberapay works quite differently and maybe that is less time-consuming. I will have a look.

  2. I was disappointed when GIMP shuffled all formats other than its own into “Export,” but what really lost the project my support was when one of your colleagues personally insulted me in the ensuing discussion.

    1. I’m not sure I understand. Someone insults you (in a discussion related to GIMP, if I understand), and that’s GIMP’s fault? I don’t quite follow the logics. But then you are free to be disappointed. 🙂
      We are looking to make a good software but we are not forcing anyone to like all the concepts behind.

      As for the save vs export discussion in particular, it has already been done many times. For the record, I was not there when this had been decided, but I don’t disagree with the concept. It makes a lot of sense and we have absolutely no problem with it while using GIMP daily. Here, I’ll copy-paste something I wrote about it a few days ago on a report:

      The point is that you don’t actually “save” when you export in a finale image format. You “lose” data. It may be actual pixel information (jpg or other lossy format), thus quality, but also layers, text, etc.
      GIMP used to have cases of people who “saved” (or so they thought because the action used to be called “Save”) an image then later complained that they lost hours of work. Because they didn’t actually save. They exported in a finale format. Even a PNG, which people like to call “lossless”, it is only lossless regarding pixel information (and even then, up to 16-bit per canal whereas GIMP can go up to 32-bit in 2.9.x). But you lost your layers, your texts, your paths, your selection… For instance there were people who later came back to a “saved” PNG because they wanted to change some text in it. But the text layer is gone, and the layers were now merged, and they did it overwriting the original image! Very unhappy people.

      So you can compare “export” more to a “render” in a video editor for instance. Fortunately a video editor won’t make a .mpg or a .mov when hitting “Save”. No it uses the internal format which keeps all the internal data. Similarly XCF is more a “project” or “work” format than an “image” format. Then in the end, when you finished your work, you export it into one (or several) finale images. You are free to not save your project file (same as you are free to not save a video project in a video editor), and only export/render, but you can’t expect it to be the default behavior because you won’t be able to get back. This is not a safe behavior (even though perfectly acceptable when you know what you are doing, hence made easy with the ctrl-w-d or ctrl-q-d shortcuts to close your images quickly, even when unsaved).

  3. Have you considered sending funding proposals to educations institutions such as universities and schools? Add to your proposal letters than you can provide free support for GIMP as an alternative to the expensive licensing of Adobe Photoshop. Add demos and image samples that portray what GIMP can accomplish.
    Ask for a high number that you can use to get 6 to 10 more developers. High numbers inspire confidence and universities are more likely to donate.
    Keep in mind that many universities allocate annual project funding budgets that need to consumed in order to allocate new ones every year.
    They will reply with evaluations as to what GIMP needs to provide for them in terms of functionality. Many institutions will however just be happy with the free product support in exchange for funding development.

    Best of luck.

      1. @Jehan, if you are comfortable with doing so, try with different universities as well. I can have a colleague review your proposals. She managed conferences at a university in the past.

  4. This article appeared in my Google news feed, so you must be doing something right. However, after reading it, I’m not sure what it is you actually do!

    1. Hi Frank!

      Well it’s quite simple: we are doing a 2D animation film (quite independently with mostly only Aryeom right now on animation part since we have no funding; though our hope is to have more people with us some day), which will be released under a free license, and using only Free Software, and in particular GIMP for drawing/painting. But not only. We use for instance Blender for video editing, Ardour for audio editing, OwnCloud for data exchange, etc.
      As for I, I am the software side. So I am one of the few major GIMP developers (and similarly sometimes I patch other software; I have a few patches in Blender for instance).

      Of course, I assumed you know what are Free Software, and in particular that you know GIMP, etc. If you don’t this may be what confuses you. 🙂
      Free Software are basically software which you can redistribute, study, modify… And very often, they happen to be also free of charge (this is the case of GIMP, Blender, Firefox, VLC…), therefore often funded with donations and sponsoring (though there are a lot of other business models as well around Free Software). The Creative Commons by-sa license for the movie itself is very similar, allowing people to redistribute, study and modify our movie (or reuse parts of it) if they wish so, while keeping the same license.
      Don’t mind me if you actually knew this. I don’t mean any disrespect, you don’t have to be all knowledgeable on all topics. 😉

      GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) in particular is a software for drawing, photo manipulation, design, etc. It is more the generic kind that the specific one. You can find it here:

      So what do we do? An animation film for everybody to watch, and while doing it, we improve software for everybody to use!

  5. Hello Jehan,

    You have done an incredible job on Gimp these past years !
    I hope more people is going to support your efforts by subscribing to Patreon for the Zemarmot movie.

    Btw, I reallyappreciate your last commits on Gimp concerning the threading stuff (together with Oyvind Kolas of course).

  6. By the way… I’ve tried to mail you, but I’m not sure it arrived. We (that’s the Krita project) have got a spare Intuos 3 tablet that’s only been used for development, so it’s practically pristine that we could donate to Aryeom. It’s one of the tablets we bought with our first fund raiser, but we don’t really need it at this point. I’ve also got a spare Dell XPS-12, but that’s a bit broken: the arrow-up key has had a fatal encounter with a drop of tea. But with an external keyboard, it’s still quite okay to develop on…

    1. Hi Boudewijn!

      Yeah it arrived and I just answered right now (sorry for the delay, the netbook is swapping like crazy so everything is just so slow; also I discovered I had issues with the mail server too; yesterday, of all days as if one issue was not enough!), so you should have got my answer by now.
      In a few words: yes that interests me but I have to sort out the options. I am also still trying to fix my laptop and even already ordered an internal piece (though I’m not sure that’s the culprit) because I don’t like wasting electronics (such an ecological disaster).
      Anyway thanks a lot, I’ll keep you updated. That’s how I love Free Software! Projects which help each other. 🙂

  7. Does transferring money to LILA also help GIMP? I am inside France, and would rather pay via IBAN than create multiple accounts/ pay service charges to other companies like PayPal.

    1. Hello Karsten,

      Yes it does. Especially since currently ZeMarmot is the main project of LILA. But just to be sure, accompany your transfer with a message saying this is for ZeMarmot/GIMP.
      For the record, the money received from Patreon/Tipeee also goes through LILA. So that’s mostly the same if you prefer to do a transfer via IBAN.
      And thanks for this! 🙂

    1. Hi siebmanb!

      When using platforms: on Tipeee, the feature exists; on Patreon, I think it doesn’t. This said, you can still subscribe, wait for end of month for the payment to be processed, then unsubscribe the following month.

      Otherwise you can also donate to the non-profit LILA (based in France, therefore using euro) via bank transfer (if your currency is euro as well, a transfer can often be done without any fee), check, Paypal, etc.
      Just send a message alongside (contact at to acknowledge the donation and make it known it is for ZeMarmot (though right now, ZeMarmot is LILA’s main project anyway, so that’s nearly a default).
      Thanks! 🙂

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