Okay I made a feature request at 
http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=543810 but it's missing a 
solution that will not remove any functionality.

Martin mentioned something about supporting auxiliary channels in RGB 
mode and I'm not sure what that means so if anyone could help me out on 
that or give advise on how this could work. Also 
http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=486902 was referenced and 
again, I don't see how that relates to my feature request but I am open 
to hear from anyone willing to explain.

A copy of the request is below.

When I use GIMP I sometimes use the alpha channel for things like bump maps,
specular maps or even parallax maps and would be good if there was a 
check box
when you right-click the alpha layer that would enable/disable it's use for

This could have the same effect as using the threshold alpha with a 
setting of
0 while it's disabled.

Another way to do it could be if you make the alpha channel invisible it 
look like the threshold alpha mentioned above and when only the alpha 
is selected then you could edit and apply effects to the alpha channel 
as if it
were a custom channel.

This could apply with all channels but I believe the alpha channel needs 
the most.

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