As an Ubuntu user at home, I don’t have the option of installing imaging software such as Photoshop. Luckily, the best free and open-source alternative, GIMP, has just released a new version — and it’s fantastic.
While it doesn’t perhaps have quite the myriad of features that Adobe’s product does, it does have every tool I’ve ever needed (and a few more besides). Like Photoshop it’s equally good for photo manipulation and web graphics creation; this introduction gives a good overview of its functions, and there are more detail in the features and release notes pages.
The main criticism that gets aimed at GIMP is that the UI is difficult to use; I’d agree with that to a very small extent, but I think much of that comes with switching from a programme like Photoshop, and the latest release fixes many of the previous flaws. My main gripe is that there is no container window so you end up switching between windows too often on smaller screens; I’d also like to have folders to contain groups of layers.
Still those are only small complaints; the positives far outweigh the negatives and in general I think it’s a great bit of software which has saved me an awful lot of time and money. It’s very likely the most full-featured freeware application around, and I’d like to give my congratulations to the entire development team.
GIMP is native to Unix systems, but also works on both Windows and OS X. If you need more features than the average image editing software brings but can’t (or won’t) spend a fortune to do so, you need the GIMP.