here is sort of a review of what has been discussed here:

To take this top-down: I can only see this change as an UI
improvement if it means getting rid of the bg color swatch.
Only then we can reach the goal of less user thinking,
instead of more.

but some crucial things depend on the bg color.
the gradient tool being the big show-stopper for me.
the tool needs a redesign, but up to then the fg->bg
type of interaction looks to be the most (universally)
usable to me.

also I really would like to know the number of plugins
that use fg+bg in their functionality.

so a no-go on this count for me, really.

some medium level observations:

- there is still an added level of complexity for photo editing
   use where the bottom layer is naturally the opaque picture, where
   further edits and layer are piled upon. this is really a heavy
   minus point. high-end photo editing is one of the pillars of
   GIMP, according to our vision.

- all layers are transparent foils is something I see as
   and improvement. UI conceptional they could be always there,
   in actual file/memory implementation: on-demand.

- a new file consisting of a white bg-color-layer plus
   a first transparent layer is something I could live with
   as a concept. neutral on this one, the gain is somewhere else.

- so the bg-color-layer can have a color or be transparent.
   since this is how the image is made and evaluated in GIMP,
   this should set the export intent (for png for instance).
   for formats that do not have transparency (jpg) we are still
   in the same pickle: if the bg-color-layer is set to transparent,
   then what?

- png bKGD. looks to me it should be honoured on import
   (as file creating import, that is), no extra dialogs please.
   I tend to say it should not be used (by default) on export.
   a set bg-color-layer should be merged into the pixels. but
   then there is roundtrip safeness... import png as layer:
   what happens today? honour by merging to layer pixels?

- default bg-color-layer: white. a new GIMP document is solid white.


         founder + principal interaction architect
             man + machine interface works
 : on interaction architecture

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