i'm not a developer but i'm using gimp since ten years (nearly the early 
days). It is true that there are now many applications. Just think of :
- those photo organizer such as F-Spot or digikam+ShowFoto, which are 
made for we, good fathers
- more cool apps (you mention panos like Hugin), but not only
- More specific application does much job too : think of Ufraw : if you 
are just a photographer and want clean photos : that's enough for you.

Ok not many photo retouching program, but krita is here. An also, i've 
to apologize, i'm beginning myself using ... Blender... even for 
photo-retouching and compositing, even if it is not its main purpose (if 
some want to work on this, i think it is only huge what possibilities 
you get with their node editor)

I think that now the image processing is maturen mroe specific 
applications are sucking some good contributor, and user too.

But also, i have already made some changes to Scribus or Inkscape code, 
never understood anything to Gimp's. Gimp is not to blame, but i can 
guess some developer are also lost this way. And it is sometimes hard to 
find explanation. You when you begin, it's hard to enter so many code 
lines, especially for a beginner.

I hope it is a beginning of answer.

> Last I mailed it was said that there are not that many
> GIMP developers. Where are all image processing application
> developers have gone? Is there some other open source image
> manipulation software which sucks all the developers?
> In recent years Siggraph conference proceedings have had
> more image processing papers. For example: They are now
> making giga size photos with panoramic techniques. They
> are using hundreds of tourist photos for making 3D walkthroughs
> through city. Google earth and competitors are making 3D
> models from photos. And much more.
> It looks like today's image processing software needs to be
> redefined because there are many new applications for photos.
> You may suggest some other application for specific task
> as an easy solution but please don't.
> Juhana

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