August 23, 2001, 12:00 AM — The GIMP, along with Linux and the Apache Web server, remains one of
the top success stories of open source software. The GIMP, short for
the GNU Image Manipulation Program, is quite popular and influential,
which is particularly pleasing as it resides in the same market space
as Adobe Photoshop.
The GIMP (http://www.gimp.org) has long been a premier Linux
application, used by thousands of users and packed with features.
Furthermore, the underlying graphics toolkit used by The GIMP, called
GTK+, forms the basis for the GNOME desktop. In addition to the normal
features supported by the application, The GIMP supports plug-ins,
which allow you to extend the package. Recent plug-ins include the IPX
plug-ins (available at http://ipxplugins.sourceforge.net), which
include Edge Detection and Rank-Order Filtering. Despite the IPX name
though, they have nothing to do with Novell NetWare networking.
Recently, The GIMP team put out a bug-fix release and a version for
I'm a big fan of The GIMP's scripting ability. Script-Fu's main
advantage lies in the fact that The GIMP comes with a large set of pre-
built scripts. These scripts are especially useful for making Web
graphics, such as a set of bitmaps to use for buttons that all use the
same text style and same colors. For non-artists like myself, just
lining up the text the same way in each button is a pain. The built-in
GIMP scripts automate this chore.
You can download The GIMP from http://www.gimp.org/download.html and
you'll find quite a lot of documentation at
http://www.gimp.org/docs.html. Just about every Linux distribution
comes with The GIMP as well. So, unless you need the latest features,
you can probably get by with the version you already have.