Adobe Systems Inc.s Photoshop is the gold standard among image manipulation tools, but its facing increasing competition from alternatives in the open-source world. GIMP is one such graphics tool that was developed for Unix and X Window System. It has since been ported to other platforms, including Windows, and is the most widely used digital image tool on Linux systems today.
Developed under the GNU Public License, GNU Image Manipulation Program has a community of developers that continues to enhance it—including a growing feature set that eWEEK Labs believes makes it appropriate for everyday artists and even some professionals.
The latest developer release, GIMP 1.3.17, is armed with the newer font system seen in GNOME 2, as well as new features, including a brush-shaped cursor for all paint tools. Ironically, GIMP was one of the last applications to use Gtk+ (GIMP Toolkit) 2.2.2—even though the tool kit was developed specifically for it.
Despite GIMPs broad feature set, eWEEK Labs does not recommend that professional graphic artists ditch Photoshop for this open-source competitor—yet. Photoshop users will find many of the same painting tools, file formats and image composition features in GIMP, but organizations that rely on high-level, sophisticated graphics rendering should stick with what they have (see story, left). For other Photoshop users, however, GIMP might fit the bill.
More information on GIMP can be found at www.gimp.org.