According to its man page, a user should be able to set the  
default-gradient property in his local gimprc. However, this setting  
is apparently never honored (unless the user manually edits either the  
contextrc file or the tool-options/paintbrush file).

It would seem that either there is no reason for the default-gradient  
property to be supported in gimprc or things should be amended so that  
the property is not always ignored. A third possibility is that I am  
completely off-base in my understanding of this issue -- which is why  
I am posting here rather than submitting a bug report.

The default-gradient should be, and is, appropriately ignored if the  
user has saved the tool options (either manually or automatically upon  
GIMP exit). Saving the tool options will create a contextrc which  
specifies the gradient to activated upon startup.

However, if contextrc does not exist (either never created or removed  
by restoring the tool options to their factory defaults in the  
preferences) then the active tool upon opening GIMP will be the  
Paintbrush. The problem is that the Paintbrush has its own hard-coded  
default gradient of "FG to BG (RGB)" and this gradient replaces the  
gimprc property because the Paintbrush tool gets activated after  
gimprc is loaded (and activating a "gradient-enabled" tool modifies  
the context's gradient).

The only way that the default-gradient property as specified in gimprc  
(either the user's or the one in /etc/gimp/) will ever be honored is  
if contextrc is manually edited to remove the 'gradient' property and  
so that the 'tool' property is set to something other than any of the  
airbrush, blend, paintbrush, pencil, or vector/path tools. As things  
stand, the default-gradient property in gimprc is effectly worthless.

I would propose the following options for resolving this:

   * Remove the 'default-gradient' option from gimprc
   * Add a 'default-tool' option to gimprc (so that a tool that does
     not have a gradient associated with it can be specified)
   * Change the hard-coded, factory default for the initial tool from
     the paintbrush to a tool that does not have a gradient associated
     with it (e.g., the rectangle select tool)
   * Do not let a tool's gradient setting override the 'default-gradient'
     property set in gimprc upon startup (unless Tool Options have been
     saved in a previous session)

The last option would probably be the most complete solution, but also  
might be hardest to implement.

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