> On Sat, 2009-03-07 at 18:27 +0100, peter sikking wrote:
>  first, "Copy visible as new image" could easily turn
> out too smart,
>  but since the bottom Background layer prefers to be
> one without alpha,

The first basic  assumption is wrong...so maybe what build on that need 

A Alpha channel in the background layer do not create  problems or 
disadvantages of sort

A example if you open a png you get exactly that :
a image with a background layer that has a alpha channel ,that do not create 
any complication ,not when editing, not when saving

Problems come only in the contrary case.

Gimp now allow other layers to be without alpha channel, before that was 
possible only for the BG layer(not because BG layer is better without alpha,but 
because for the BG a a alpha layer is not strictly needed)

So now is easy have , without noticing , a layer on top without alpha channel

and that will react in a weird way to most layer mode,(when were implemented 
layer modes ,  layer(s) to merge were supposed to have alpha)

And obviously then also tools as eraser will also give unwanted results if the 
alpha is missed

I hope i didn't went too OT, my point is a alpha channel in the BG do not 
create problem ,neither slow the workflow.

but a NOT-BG layer without alpha that may well create problems ,will be better 
if layer with no alpha were more clearly "marked " then now

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