GIMP open source image editor forked to fix

Launch of the GIMP: Glimpse project founded to avoid the brand that some consider offensive

  GIMP is capable open source software, but is the name a barrier to adoption?

GIMP is capable open source software, but is the name a barrier to adoption?

Interview Glimpse is a fork of the popular open source image editor, GIMP, created primarily to offer software with an alternative name.

GIMP is a long-standing project, first announced in November 1995. The name was originally an acronym for the General Image Manipulation Program, but was changed to the GNU Image Manipulation Program.

The new fork arises from a discussion about Gitlab, where the source code is hosted. The discussion has been hidden, but it is available in the web archives here. A theme entitled "Consider renaming GIMP to a less offensive name," opened by developer Christopher Davis, stated:

I would like to propose renaming GIMP, due to the luggage behind the name. The most modern and frequently used version of the word "gimp" is a capable insult. This is also the colloquial use of the word. In addition to the pain of definition, there is also the problem of marketability. Acronyms are hard to remember and end up pronounced instead of being read as parts. "GIMP" does not give a clue about the function of the application, and it is difficult to market something that is used as an insult or sexual reference.

The proposal was supported by another developer, Leonora Tindall, who noted that "On two occasions, I recommended this program to photographic and graphic design educators (as an alternative to Photoshop) who told me they considered it and considered it good as software, but that your institution did not allow them to use it in the classroom because of the name. "

Others felt that changing the name of the software established long ago would damage its recognition and use. The discussion got cranky and caught the attention of Bobby Moss, whose daily work is a technical writer at Oracle.

"I am a long-time user of the project," he told The Reg "I saw the abuse and unpleasant things that were said to Chris. It was definitely not great and not how we should make decisions in free software. I also thought that the arguments he made were well reasoned, not focused so much on the name offense but on the marketability of the application. "

Moss therefore forked the project into a new one called Glimpse.

"Initially I thought it was going to be a peculiar project in my own private GitHub, but people expressed enthusiasm for It has now evolved into this new thing in which you have several people executing it, me, Chris, who originally published the problem, and another woman named Clipsey … everything swelled from there. "

The issue of the suitability of the name is not new and is enshrined in the official frequently asked questions:

"I don't like the name GIMP. Will they change it?"

With all due respect, no. We have been using the name GIMP for more than 20 years and it is widely known … in addition to that, we believe that in the long run, language sterilization will do more harm than good. … Finally, if you still have strong feelings about the name "GIMP", you should feel free to promote the use of the long-format GNU image manipulation program or keep your own versions of the software with a different name.

The Glimpse project is, therefore, totally within the spirit of open source. "We believe that free software should be accessible to everyone, and in this case a new brand is a desirable and very direct solution that could attract a whole new generation of users and collaborators," says the About page.

The team wishes to continue using the GIMP project libraries and request donations for GIMP and Glimpse.

Developers are planning more than just a name change, including a "front-end user interface rewrite" according to an update published a week ago. The team is looking for screenshots of the user interfaces of existing image editing applications to inform design models. There is also a discussion about language options. Oxide with GTK links (Gnome Toolkit), maybe? C ++ and Qt?

Changing the user interface is more difficult than changing the name. We wonder if it is too much to assume?

It's "a long-term plan, maybe a few years later," says Moss. "It's something that people are looking at in parallel. The main focus at this time is simply to track the previous versions and make changes to them. When we get to the GNU version 3 image manipulation program, they will have completed their port to GTK 3, and that's where we seek to make a hard fork and we can begin to be more ambitious with the changes in the user interface.

"A lot of the functionality is really in a set of libraries. Those components would still be used and any changes we made to them would be contributed again.

"Even if our project falls flat on its face, we have at least brought new people and new interests to a code base that has been out for a while and probably needs a little more love from the community than it currently enjoys. ". ®

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