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Some aims for GIMP 2.6

By at 2007-12-20 01:56:58 UTC, last updated almost 15 years ago. CC BY-NC License

We’ve listened to a German podcast with one of gimps main developers, Sven Neumann, today, have searched the web and read all the mails of the developers mailing list. Although the roadmap for GIMP 2.6 is not yet finalized it is already clearly visible what GIMP 2.6 aims for. Below we’ve listed some of the top goals the devlopers want to achieve with the next version:

There are two main parts in the 2.5 developement branch that is being worked on: the GIMP’s internal core and the graphical User Interface. 2.4 already has set the course for the future of GIMP and so does GIMP 2.6. By connecting and replacing some GIMP core code with the advanced “Generic Graphics Library” (GEGL –, which will be a long and difficult process, the developement team sets the course for future non destructible image manipulation capabilities in GIMP.

For those that don’t have a clue what GEGL is / can do – here’s a short example: GEGL offers graph based non destructible image manipulation – which means following: original pixel regions are not being altered by a certain operation. assume you’re doing a color correction on a photo, then you work another hour on that photo appliing lots of other filters. After all operations you can still change the first color correction operation because the original pixel information has not been altered. You don’t have to redo all the steps or go back in the journal.

The second main point being worked on is the user interface. One of the most annoying things for lots of users is the many windows you’ve to deal with when working with GIMP, it sometimes just interrupts the workflow. The developers are trying a solution where tools and other windows can ‘dock’ at the main image window. Finally it should be then possible to have only one window open in the task bar, which make life easier for many of us. This is the goal. We’re all anxious to see the developement on this!

From a user perspective of view we shouldn’t expect too many ‘visible’ changes when GIMP 2.6 arrives. Because of the implementation of GEGL much code has to be rewritten for the future, which will take most of the developement time.

Nothing final yet but here are some other things that will be also worked on: It is planned to make the IWarp filter a tool, “smudging” will be accessible from all paint tools and the jitter functionality will maybe also be available from the paint tools.

The vector layers will probably not make it into the 2.6 release, also it is unclear if 16bit colors per channel support or native CMYK support will make it into the next release but we can at least hope for it ;-)

The upcoming stable versions are aimed to be released in a 6 months cycle. The dev-team wants to do more smaller steps than only a few big ones. That has been decided to bring the new features faster to users. So that means for us we can expect GIMP 2.6 somewhere in late spring / ealry summer – ah, and thats 2008 not 2009 of course, heh ;-)

Update: More details, screenshots etc from GIMP 2.6 you can find here:
Preview: What’s in GIMP 2.6?


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Moby Disk
almost 15 years ago

Mike: Sorry it took me so long to reply to you. I spent the past six months pressing ALT-TAB 5,000 times so that I could get out of the GIMP 2.4 window that I was in.

Mike: Press the tab key.

In your defense, they still haven't fixed the bug where pressing tab twice doesn't re-hide the toolbar.

about 15 years ago

I need gimp 2.4 back, 2.6 is trash. I had 2.4 set up with a hotkey to bring my toolbox to the front whenever I needed it. Now the new version ALWAYS keeps the toolboxes above the images, which I cannot stand. I hate having to continually move the toolboxes around in order to work on the image. And if you change the window management feature to act as a normal window instead like the default of 2.4 it now has bugs that were not present in 2.4. All dialogs and other windows open below the main image window and you cannont access them unless you minimize the main image window because they are forced to the bottom. This is ridiculous, why would they put out a horrid bugged version and remove the old? This annoys the hell out of me and I now have to start using photoshop again because this feature is cutting into my productivity.

over 15 years ago

The reason I keep buying PhotoShop at a humongous price instead of using GIMP throughout the years is the user interface - without a single window mode I get massively frustrated with this product - so perhaps a toggle in the options could keep everyone happy. I think the UI upgrade could really give the product some mainstream acceptance if that is ever to be a goal.

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
almost 16 years ago

the aim of the dev-team is *not* to put all the dialogs and windows in one big window (as it is in Photoshop under windows)! in all future version users shall have the current method of using gimp. they will only add new possibilities for other users that are not happy with the many windows. but only the future will tell what they decide finally ;) but i'm very sure that you can keep it your way also in upcoming versions of gimp.

almost 16 years ago

I find the GUI of the GIMP an ideal way of using my screen area. If this is changed to have all contained within one Window this would be a substantial disadvantage.
Basically I usually have the tools in a narrow column on the left of my screen with current tool docking underneath automatically. I often have the image taking up all the screen to the right of the tools - but also often have the image taking up full screen. When using such things as Curves this appears as a separate floating Window. I tab to show the tool box when needed.
I flick back & forth as required maximising my screen area to show the image.
I would certainly hate to loose this very convenient functionality.
The answer to these issues is to give people tutorials on methods, not reduce the value of the application by reducing all into one constrained pattern on some assertion of how things "seem".

almost 16 years ago

hmmm.. I like my current set-up so I hope its still an option if/when any changes happen.

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
almost 16 years ago

This is probably only possible when you dont need too many things. the problem is that gimp does not seem to be "one" application because of the many windows many people have.

the difference for gimp 2.6 (which is not to be taken as a promise - changes may happen ;)) is that the tools and layers/other dialogs will be 'docked' left or right to the image window. at the end there will be only one window open (the one that contains the image). thats the goal i guess.

almost 16 years ago

I am not sure why Gimp users have so many windows to begin with. I happen to have two things open, Gimp and my image file.

I do this by docking all that I need into the main Gimp window. How will this be different in Gimp 2.6?