Impressive GIMP plug-in

gimp 5 Comments

This is quite possibly the most impressive GIMP plug-in I have ever seen.

Previous favourites gimpressionist, IWarp and GREYCstoration fade into the shadows when compared to this magic stuff.

Taking a step back

gimp, gnome 13 Comments

Every so often I get so invested in something that I start to go off the rails a little when others don’t see things in the same way. At the moment there are two situations like that – one I won’t go into, and the other is a long-standing issue in the GIMP community about how to handle abuse in the community.

So I’ve been getting overly heated on both these issues, and have been trying to keep things moving in the right direction, but I realised yesterday that in both cases my intervention has been counter-productive.

So I’m going to take a step back for a while. Perhaps I’m not looking clearly at the issues any more, and others have ideas which will work better than mine. For the first situation, it means I’m going to take a few days to cool off, and see if anyone else steps up to the plate to move things along.

In the case of the GIMP, that means I’m finally, and definitively, leaving the project. I haven’t written any code for the GIMP in a long time anyway, and the project has ceased being fun quite a while ago. I have unsubscribed from all GIMP mailing lists, and bolsh@gimp.org no longer exists. I will also be removing myself from the list of people who handle GIMP donations as soon as possible.

The failure of the project to control the limits of acceptable behaviour of its participants has been a long-standing problem, and needs resolution. But I’m not the person who will get that resolution.

The GIMP usability

gimp 4 Comments

Over the years, the GIMP has taken a lot of stick about its usability – there’s even a mini-fork to work around some of the most common complaints.

But fairly quietly, without any huge fanfare, Sven Neumann, the GIMP’s co-maintainer along with Mitch Natterer, has been working on making usability part of the GIMP’s DNA. First, he started working with Ellen Reitmeyer from KDE and OpenUsability, implementing techniques like paper prototyping. We brought Peter Sikking to the Libre Graphics Meeting in Lyon in March to discuss usability with the GIMP developers. And recently, we co-announced that OpenUsability would be funding work for a student on the GIMP.

In the past I’ve been critical of Sven, sometimes he can come across as abrupt, and there is no room for interpretation when he disagrees with you. But I have been very impressed with his management of the project and in particular with respect to usability, and I think that we’re going in the right direction as a community.

So – I know we don’t say it often enough – thanks Sven. Your leadership and example have kept the GIMP alive over the past few years.

XCF update

gimp 1 Comment

After the small flurry of controversy last month about the GIMP’s XCF format, Henning Makhomlm (author of the excellent XCF tools) stepped up to the plate and wrote a complete spec for the XCF format.

It’s still a draft, awaiting feedback from any interested GIMP developers, but I have the feeling that no-one understands the format better than Henning, and this is already vastly better than what went before.

Every time a community member goes above & beyond like this, I really am amazed. This is a huge amount of work, and really well done.

The GIMP’s XCF file format

gimp 18 Comments

So, it seems that Luis, Norman Walsh and Mark Pilgrim have all noticed that the GIMP’s XCF format is not encouraged for use with other applications.

I want to correct two mistakes here – first, the format is documented (and doesn’t source code count as the ultimate reference documentation?) and is used in other programs.

I would also like to point out that recently there has been some discussion about a general format raster file format – if there are problems with the XCF format, we would be derelict in our duty to advocate it as that future format – especially since there is already a proposal for a container-like format which is much better.

People should also take care to note the source of statements that the GIMP’s file format is deliberately undocumented. If anyone has a stake in giving the GIMP a bad name, it is Robin Rowe, who has consistently done his best to do so since taking over CinePaint (the artist formerly known as FilmGIMP) in 2002. Why he considers that the success of Cinepaint depends on giving the GIMP a bad name I don’t know, but perhaps actually releasing software regularly, and having a public and up-to-date source code repository might help your project succeed too, Robin?

For the record, I disagree (and have always done so) with the policy of discouraging other applications from using XCF. When something better comes along, we can abstract file load & save to a library, and everyone can use it. Until then, if someone wants to write a libxcf, why not? I’m all for interoperability where practical.

It is true that the XCF file format reflects some of the most difficult design issues which have been causing the GIMP problems, and which GEGL was supposed to fix – I have real hopes that a GEGL-based GIMP will release in 2007, by the way.

Update: I found Henning Makholm’s excellent xcftools – Henning took some of the XCF code from the GIMP, refactored it somewhat, and made some tools which allow you to extract a flattened png or pnm from an XCF, or to request the contents of a given layer.

SIGGRAPH

gimp, gnome, marketing 4 Comments

I can finally lift the veil on something that I’ve been involved with for a while now…

The Blender Foundation, the GNOME Foundation, the GIMP developers and the Uni-verse consortium have grouped together to hire and build a giant 20×30 island booth in the main aisle of the SIGGRAPH trade show in Boston in August. We had some help from an anonymous donor, and Ton has done a huge amount of work pulling all the strings together.

I’m really excited about this – SIGGRAPH is a huge show, and free software will be right in the middle of it – no more skulking in the corner of the “Open Source Exhibition” where the organisers hide the guys who can’t afford to be in the main hall and give then a 6×6 space to put up a computer – we have prime real estate.

I have all sorts of ideas about how GNOME and the GIMP can use this opportunity – from hob-nobbing with Hollywood types to showing off XGL, Cairo and all of the user interface work that people in the project have been doing.

I’ll be looking for volunteers over the next few weeks to halp with the stand – keep the dates in your mind when taking your Summer holidays – July 30th to August 3rd (exhibition from 1st to 3rd), Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Planet GIMP

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I happened across the GIMP user frappr map today – I was thinking of creating one, in fact, when I found out that there were two – http://www.frappr.com/thegimp exists as well!

It would be great to merge these, and have a really good map of GIMP users and developers around the world. So, get to it! And if you’re on neither, well, add yourself to http://www.frappr.com/gimp straight away. Tell them Dave sent you, you get a 20% discount.

Nice story on GNU/Linux migration

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Via Marcus Bauer on the marketing list: An art professor gets his students using free software.

There are some gotchas for using external devices like scanners and tablets, but all in all, it’s a nice mix of GTK+ and QT applications which just goes to show that at least in this domain, we’re not in competition with KDE.

Can’t stand waiting

gimp, home, libre graphics meeting 2 Comments

Heady times.

I’ve been away from home with work quite a bit over the past few months, but I’ve still found time to get the conference (http://www.libregraphicsmeeting.org for those who haven’t been paying attention) more or less organised.

We will have t-shirts. We will have goodie bags. We will have conferencees. We will have a big mess tryoing to figure out how to manage workshops, demos and BOFs. We will have food & drink. We will even have name badges!

I’m in that twilight state where you’ve put a lot of work into something, and you’re not sure how it’s going to go down. Will it be a roaring success or a giant flop? Will everyone (or most people) come away happy or annoyed at having wasted a weekend? I can’t wait, but I’m a little nervous all the same. I just want to get to Friday morning.

Now, I’ll just need to throw together a presentation to open the conference. In an hour between putting the kids to bed and leaving home to go away with work (again) this week. Thankfully, there has been a great team involved in the conference so far, so the last minute organisation and set-up is in good hands.

See you all in Lyon next week.

LUGRadio

gimp, libre graphics meeting 1 Comment

I gave an interview last night to Jono and the boys on LUGRadio about the Libre Graphics Meeting.

I don’t think I was particularly good – I was a bit scattered, which probably reflects the conference, and I’m not sure I got the core points across – getting artists and developers together and learning from each other, getting developers working together from different projects, sharing a passion and love for free software with a bunch of people we don’t meet very often.

That’s what you get for doing interviews after 10pm, after a 10 hour working day and a board meeting.

Anyway, we’ll see how it sounds after it’s passed through the magic remixing fingers of Mr. Bacon et al.

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