Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

@prokoudine prokoudine/GIMP FAQ
Last active Aug 29, 2015

What would you like to do?
# General questions
**Can I use GIMP commercially?**
Yes, you can. GIMP is free software, it doesn't put restrictions on the kind
of work you produce with it.
**What's the GIMP's license, and how do I comply with it?**
GIMP is distributed under terms of General Public License v3 and later. In a
nutshell, this means:
* You are free to use GIMP, for any purpose
* You are free to distribute GIMP
* You can study how GIMP works and change it
* You can distribute changed versions of GIMP
Note that once you distribute modified version of GIMP, you also must publish
your changes to the source code under GPLv3+ as well.
**Someone sold or tried to sell me GIMP on a 3rd party website. Is this
Yes, under terms of the General Public License this is perfectly legal,
provided that the seller also gave you the source code of GIMP and any
modifications he/she introduced.
**Are you trying to develop a Photoshop killer app?**
No. Most generic image editors look like Photoshop simply because Adobe's
application was among the first image editors as we know them now, so
developers tend to stick to what people know — in general terms.
What we aim to do is to create a high-end image manipulation application that
is free to use and modify by everyone, ever.
Feature-wise, the proposed "high-end" status does automatically put GIMP into
direct comparison against Photoshop, but we don't think about competition
much. We have too many ideas of our own to implement, and too many things to
improve before the notion of competition begins to make the slightest sense.
We do, however, acknowledge the fact that people will treat GIMP as Photoshop
replacement no matter what we tell them, and that's all right with us. You
own this software, it's up to you to decide how you make use of it.
**Why can't you just copy Adobe Photoshop to make GIMP usable?**
In the past, the development in the project was somewhat erratic with regards
to taking usability into consideration, which is rather typical for free
software projects, but inexcusable for a high-end image editor that GIMP aims to
Between 2006 and 2013, we worked with Peter Sikking of Man+Machine Works, a
professional usability architect, who helped us shape the project vision for
GIMP, interviews professional users to better understand their workflows and
demands, and wrote functional specifications for various GIMP features.
[This collaboration]( resulted in major improvements of
GIMP's usability, in particular: the rectangular-based selection/cropping
tools, the unified free/polyline selection tool, the single-window mode, the
upcoming unified transformation tool etc.
While working on functional specifications, Peter researched how various
features are implemented in applications with a partially matching feature set
(such as Adobe Photoshop), but the final design was made to help actual users
complete their tasks as fast as possible. This is exactly the kind of approach
to designing interfaces that we consider to be superior to merely copying user
interaction decisions.
**I don't like the name GIMP. Will you change it?**
No. We've discussed this numerous times, and we don't think this is really all
that necessary. We understand that some people feel offended by the colloquial
meaning of the name GIMP, but we cannot please everybody and should not
attempt to do so.
# Releases
**When do you release the next version if GIMP?**
We release both updates to the current stable version and development versions.
We cut new updates of the stable version in two cases: 1) some newly introduced
bug is knowingly affecting a lot of users; 2) the amount of improvements and
bug fixes is large enough to justify an update — typically, a few
dozens of each, but there is no rule.
Currently we have no released unstable/development versions. We'd like to
release GIMP 2.9.0 as the first step towards GIMP 2.10 sometime in 2015, but
quite a few changes have to be made first.
**Why can't you announce dates of future releases?**
We are a team of volunteers with day jobs, families, and personal interests
beyond development of software. Given that, we try to avoid the situation when
we cannot deliver a release, because something else at work/in family came up.
Instead we provide a [feature-based roadmap](
that roughly outlines, in what order we will be implementing various popular
requests made by users.
**Aren't you interested in doing paid development of GIMP via crowdfunding?**
We already have jobs we love. However we actively encourage personal
fundraisers by trusted contributors. If you are willing to launch a campaign
and develop some features for GIMP, talk to us about changes you are about to
propose. We'll help you to flesh out your idea and promote it to a larger
# Features
**When will GIMP support HDR imaging and processing in the 16bit per color
channel mode?**
GIMP 2.10 will be the first version to feature processing with precision of
16, 32, and 64bit per color channel. This version is currently in the works,
and this particular feature has already been implemented.
**When will GIMP support any kind of non-destructive editing like adjustment
layers, layer filters, and/or full-blown node-based editing?**
Currently the plan is to introduce non-destructive editing in GIMP 3.2. This
is a huge change that will require rethinking the workflow, designing a new
file format for GIMP projects etc.
**Will GIMP open raw (.NEF, .CR2 etc.) files from my camera?**
Currently you need to install [UFRaw]( to open
raw files. It's both a standalone application and a GIMP plugin for opening
and processing raw images.
**I do a lot of desktop publishing related work. Will you ever support CMYK?**
Better support for CMYK has been on our roadmap for a long time. However
this project has certain prerequisites such as the complete port of GIMP to
The idea, how we want to make this work, was introduced by user interaction
architect Peter Sikking at Libre Graphics Meeting 2009 and later —
in his two-part article in his company's blog:
[2]( Please
take some time to read up on that.
It's worth mentioning that currently CMYK is considered by us a low-priority
project. Here's why.
Things like non-destructive editing are required by pretty much all
users — photographers, designers, desktop publishing engineers,
and even scientists. At the same time, CMYK is required only by a small subset
of our user base. We prioritize our work accordingly.
Note that should a new developer join the team to specifically work on
CMYK-related features, we will do our best to help him/her to complete this
project and get it to our users as soon as possible.
**I don't like some changes you introduced in recent GIMP versions. Why can't
you add a checkbox to disable them?**
We realize that some changes are disruptive to some groups of users,
especially those who got used to GIMP as an image editor for doing quick fixes
to lossy files such as JPEG, PNG etc. (i.e. files that cannot store layers,
masks, custom channels, paths).
However, adding a switch for every change we make adds numerous levels of
complexity that we'd rather avoid. Additionally, it would lead to dramatically
changing the way we mean GIMP to work. Hence we respectfully disagree to make
extra behaviour switches.
At the same time, if you don't wish to abandon GIMP completely, we recommend
having a look at the [Saver and Save/export clean plug-ins]
( by Akkana Peck, as well as
at various GIMP forks on GitHub, although typically they aren't maintained up
to date with regards to bugfixes.
# Tips
**How do I draw a straight line?**
In any of the drawing tools (Pen, Pencil, etc.), click on one endpoint of the
line. Then hold the shift key and click on the other endpoint.
**How do I draw a circle or square?**
In the Rectangular or Elliptical selection tool, click in one corner of your
square or circle, then press Shift while dragging toward the other corner. Or
enable the checkbox for Fixed: Aspect Ratio in tool options and make sure the
aspect ratio is set to 1:1 before starting your square or circular selection.
Once you have a selection, Edit->Stroke Selection... will draw a line the
shape of the selection you just made.
For curved selections, like circles, stroking with the Paintbrush paint tool
will usually give a smoother looking line. You can get an even smoother line
by converting the selection to a path (Select->To Path), then using
Edit->Stroke Path... instead of Stroke Selection...
# Troubleshooting
**My graphic tablet doesn't work on Windows/Mac. Does GIMP support advanced
input devices such as Wacom?**
Yes, GIMP does support graphic tablets and maps pressure, stroke speed and
other events to its advanced brush engine properties. However, the version of
the user interface toolkit that GIMP currently relies on (GTK+ 2.x) is broken
beyond repair on Windows and Mac with regards to supporting advanced input
devices such as Wacom's.
To fix this, we need to port GIMP to GTK+3 where everything works as expected.
Some work on that has already been done in the
[gtk3-port]( Git branch.
However we won't have time to give this our full attention until GIMP 2.10 is
out. We encourage interested developers to either work on the GTK+3 port or,
better yet, help us finish GIMP 2.10.
# Contributing
**I'm a developer. How do I help you?**
Great! Please check the [wiki](
for introduction on GIMP development and talk to us on
**I'm not a developer. Can I still help you somehow?**
Absolutely! Here are some of the ways you can help us:
* Post awesome art online and tell people you made it with GIMP.
* Help new GIMP users in an online forum you visit.
* Write a great tutorial on getting something done with GIMP and post it
online or submit to [GIMP Magazine](
* Do a GIMP workshop in your local community.
* Improve translation of [GIMP]( and/or its
[user manual]( into your native language (read [this page]
( to find out, how).
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment
You can’t perform that action at this time.