On 25 Nov 2001, at 13:27, Ed Halley wrote:
> On Sun, 25 Nov 2001 15:51:38 +0100, "Branko Collin" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> wrote: 

>> Let me repeat that I was not talking about bugs (and their 
>> destruction), but about community involvment. 
>> Are there any other such ideas that have been floating 
>> around?

> 1.  For community involvement, the main GIMP website really must be
> brought
>     up to date.  Most of the GIMP script links are stale or broken. 
>     Any whiff of "dead project" will turn off many people who would
>     otherwise get involved and help GIMP grow.

Lots of the broken links have been repaired recently. 
Bugzilla.gnome.org will take your list of suggestions as to which 
links need to be repaired. 

> 2.  A much bigger gallery of GIMP work should be on the website,
> hopefully
>     with brief notes on each work that explain how various effects
>     were achieved.  Showing how complex compositions are structured in
>     layers, or how various source materials were filtered and combined
>     is a big part of how to get going with a complex tool like the
>     GIMP.  Call for artists to submit their own image projects,
>     they'll love to get the exposure.

This would be useful, as long as we transcend the 'look what k3wl 
stuff can be accomplished with GIMP'. Keep it clean and factual is 
what I am trying to say.

Some of that is already in the Tutorials page. Of course, that page 
may use updating, but so could the site. That is something that is 
being worked on.

> 3.  A page on the GIMP site should be dedicated to the topic of "How
> to
>     transition from Photoshop to the GIMP successfully."  The
>     community would be a lot larger if more people realized that 'you
>     get what you pay for' is a false statement; get professional
>     artists interested in GIMP and the development potential would
>     skyrocket.  Once professionals depend on GIMP, then we may even
>     see some corporate funding for making GIMP do all the things that
>     need to be done:  CMYK, serious halftoning, and easy font work
>     come to mind, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I thought you were working on such a tutorial?

> 4.  In that same vein, establish and *support* a Users' Questions
> page.
>     Ideally, there should be a link to it in the GIMP help menu
>     itself. Users who don't know how to get certain effects or who are
>     getting problems with scripted effects.  Some of this turns into a
>     FAQ and some turns into various HOW-TO documents as they become
>     established.  The whole web development area can be done by people
>     who are not developing the central GIMP code.

There already are user and developer FAQs, although they do not seem 
to be maintained (there's still a faulty link to Wilberworks in one 
of them, which now points to a porn site -- I notified the FAQ's 
author of this IIRC, but got no response).

> Another reason was the "sink or swim" attitude
> that some developers showed in the IRC channel.  
> I can grok not being
> accepted with open arms; not everyone goes there to support new
> developers.  This goes far beyond being ignored; people have even been
> scolded and told that 'criticizing GIMP is inappropriate' in that
> channel! Getting *some* people interested in helping out some new
> developers (with architectural and documentation and at least) will be
> very important to the continued growth of the project.

Hm, you already say it yourself: _some_ people did not treat you the 
way you perhaps would have liked. I take it others did help you?

> The intersecting group which is both developer and artistic is very
> small; the group who would *like* GIMP to succeed is much much larger
> and could ultimately be the union of all OSS developers and all
> OSS-supporting artists.  Shunning artists' input is not how to make a
> strong and diverse community, and ignoring the experience of artists
> with other tools like Photoshop is not going to make a strong and
> intuitive user interface for newcomers to discover and enjoy.

I would like to get more artists and artists more involved. The 
question is if dev-lists and developers' IRC channels are the correct 
places for artists to drop their input. 

I find that suggestions from what clearly must be non-developers on 
bugzilla.gnome.org get dealt with politely. The necessary info gets 
coaxed out of these contributors in a well-mannered way. This is not 
something we should take for granted! It is my experience that when 
patience wears thin, politeness is the first thing out the window.

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to compliment 
Raphael on the way he deals with bug reports. 

Getting back to the discussion. Perhaps the correct forums to deal 
with the suggestions (and the art) of budding GIMP artists is not 
here, but on fora such as the Gimp User Group and the gimpi mailing 
list. I am not sure if these get frequented by developers, but I do 
think ideas from these GIMP sub-communities trickle through to the 

The new gimp.org will in all probability have more sections for more 
parts of the community. So far, gimp.org has been the prototypical 
Corporate Website, the folder-on-the-net. Address and product 
information you can get, but if you want support, communities, 
downloads, what have you, you will have to look elsewhere. Gimp.org 
at least did one better than most other corporate sites by at least 
linking to all the elsewheres.

> Lastly, the mentality of "we don't care if you use it, we develop GIMP
> for us" is the keystone of exclusivity and elitism, 

There is nothing wrong with exclusivity and elitism per se...

> and I have
> definitely run into that with GIMP moreso than with many other OSS
> projects.  If you don't care about new users, how can you possibly
> care about the project at all? Making a tool useful for a few people
> is interesting, but making a tool that is useful for the widest
> possible userbase is far more rewarding. 

Maybe. I think that is your personal opinion. Me, I do it for my itch 
to be scratched and because it looks good on my portfolio and because 
I like the GIMP development community. In the end, you decide what is 
rewarding for you. 

> The days of GIMP being
> useful for its developers alone are over.  Like it or not, the GIMP is
> in the position of being in a monopoly position over raster artwork
> tools in all OSS distributions.  With that widespread distribution
> comes a certain responsibility to break open the doors and develop a
> strategy for dealing with the millions of Linux, BSD and Windows users
> out there who think GIMP is almost good enough, and who have valuable
> insights into where GIMP should go next.
> Thanks for hearing me ramble.

Rambles are the best. :-)

For now, I think Guillermo's idea may be the best, because it will 
help draw in people who felt GIMP was too difficult to get into until 
now. I have seen a few messages on news groups and such to that 
effect: there are actual people who do not get past that first right 
mouse click or who, if they do, are too exhausted or scared off that 
they will not continue learning.

The good thing of Rebecca's and Carol's plan is that it will 
undoubtedly appeal to artists, who in my experience are generally way 
more interested in the end-result than in the tool.  

Another thing: an application such as GIMP is complex and there is 
little you can do about that. There are image manipulation tools that 
treat every little thing you can do as a task with a limited number 
of steps (is this what they call 'modal'?). These tools have two 
disadvantages: they are usually feature poor and they force everybody 
to do things in one, forced way. Although those features may also be 
considered advantages (and with a more flexible way of configuring 
GIMP, you may actually get task-based and power-GIMPs, the way WinZIP 
offers you to start up in power mode or wizzard mode), they are 
basically in the way of the (aspiring) power user, such as most 
experienced digital artists.

One way to help overcome this complexity is by making sure that even 
upcoming power users get to find the parts of GIMP they need quickly. 
One way of doing that is by basically making the web site an 
extension of the GIMP UI: rather than putting more information in the 
tool itself (which will only clutter the basic UI), you make sure the 
fastest route to the information can be found on the site. After all, 
an image manipulation tool is better suited to, erm, image 
manipulation, whereas a web site is better suited to making necessary 
information accessible. 

This is already what's written in the stars for GIMP, except not many 
people have had the time or inclination to help this way of 
organizing the GIMP further along. What has been discussed so far is 
that feature clutter needs to be less in the GIMP. One proposed 
method is cutting most of the plug-ins out of GIMP and supplying a 
plug-in manager that will let you select the plug-ins you need, 
rather than shipping them all in one big distribution. That is, 
however, the point where discussion stopped, because, as I said, 
nobody took it upon them to take this GIMP f(ea|u)ture further.

The thread you'll be looking for (amongst others, I fear) in the 
developer-list archives is called 'plug-in distribution choices' and 
its discussion took place in May of this year.

Is there a way other than automatically granting your wishes that 
will draw artist-developers like you to the GIMP and help develop it?

branko collin
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