Windows/Mac/Linux (all platforms): GIMP, the free, open-source graphics editor, has come out with a 2.6 version, and it's put some significant changes into the editor's interface and back-end operations. New to this version are support for 32 bits per colour channel and a new GEGL-based backend (turned on and off in the preferences), polygonal and sectional selection with the Free Select Tool, better handling of windows, toolbars, docked tools, and menus, and a "brush dynamics" sub-menu that gives creators serious control over their pixel-pushing tools. Those are just a few of the many changes in this release. GIMP 2.6 is a free download for Windows, Mac, or Linux platforms, though it's only (officially) available as source code at the moment. Read on for help installing GIMP 2.6 on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
Installing GIMP 2.6
- Ubuntu Linux: If you're comfortable adding third-party sources to your respositories, one helpful user has built a custom source for both Hardy Heron (8.04) and those testing the alpha of 8.10. You can also grab pre-compiled packages from GetDeb.net (also available as one ZIPed up file), put them together, head there in a terminal and run a
sudo dpkg -i *command on them.
- Windows: GimpUsers.com points us to a SourceForge-hosted Windows installer for 2.6.
- Other Linux systems/ Mac OS X: For the moment, you're stuck with compiling from source, or a lot of Google/forum hunting. Ready to take the source code plunge? Refer to Webmonkey's guide to compiling.
The changes in 2.6 are welcome to many long-time users and, most likely, anyone held back from adopting the free editor because of technical restrictions. What most of us are seriously looking forward to, however, is the serious user interface overhaul promised for future editions.
Let's hear from our GIMP, and Photoshop, users: What must-have feature is still missing from the open-source editor? What would you do differently if you were in charge of interface design? Share your gripes and glad-hands in the commments.