Like in any Free Software project, developers are leaving from time to time to pursue other projects. And from time to time, new developers are joining the team and starting to contribute. However, it looks like the number of new developers joining the GIMP development has been decreasing in the recent years.
Probably one of the main reasons is that Gimp isn't the only major open-source end-user app anymore.
I don't think that's the reason. GIMP is still the only major 2D paint and image processing program - and developers who want to work on graphics are unlikely to defect to OpenOffice or GCC or something.
But yes, I would not be surprised if Gimp was percieved as stagnating.
No - I think some people may percieve it as "finished" - although I personally know that's not true, many people are quite happy with GIMP as it is today.
As a committed OpenSource developer who might have been interested in working on GIMP, I have to say that the level of acrimony and hostility that I see between developers is VERY off-putting. (I've been lurking here for quite some time).
Other projects I work on are generally places where friends meet to develop software - and which have the occasional bust-up over some technical issue. Here, it seems that there is a continual hostile undercurrent and everything is challenged and fought over tooth and nail.
I don't know whether you all believe that - or how you do anything about it if you do believe it. But for me, it's the number one reason not to get into mainstream GIMP development.
I'm only one data point though - others may have quite different reasons to stay away.
One thing that would revive GIMP's fortunes immensely would be to merge GIMP and FilmGIMP back into one package. I know that's a difficult task - and a highly contentious issue too - but if there are only 'N' GIMP developers in the world, you'd really hope that N/2 of them were not off working on FilmGIMP.
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