This discussion seems to be going astray a bit.  Let me try
to supply some suggestions and information.

Item: Peter is, no doubt unintentionally, getting into questions
of implementation, as opposed to user interface, when he writes
about rectangles.  The brush only specifies the area to which
healing is *applied* -- the region over which the differential
equation is solved is invisible to the user.

Item: The whole point of this tool is to use a brush.  Healing
using a selection might be quite valuable, but it would be a
different tool.  However -- to repeat -- the brush only
specifies the region to which healing is applied, not the
region used to perform the healing computations.

Item: The user needs to receive feedback during brush motion.  As
Sven points out, the feedback does not have to be perfect, but a
user needs to be able to tell at least approximately what is 

Item: There is no reason why healing has to be cumulative.  At
least during an individual painting operation (i.e., while the mouse
button is held down), it is possible to retain the initial state,
and accumulate the set of brush locations, using the totality to
define the region for healing.  Some of the existing paint tools
already work this way.

Item: The main healing code is in app/paint/gimpheal.c.  You
don't actually need a broad knowledge of GIMP internals to 
understand the code there.  The most important thing you need
to know about is pixel regions, and the easiest way to learn
that is to start by reading "How to write a GIMP plug-in", which
you can find at:

The interface to pixel regions for plug-ins is not identical
to the one in the core, but it is very similar, and the concepts
are the same.

  -- Bill

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