there has been a discussion, in 2002-2004, to allow plugged-in tools.
On 2002-02-22, Sven Neumann wrote:
> not discussed, but already implemented ;-) The CVS version has
> preliminary support for pluggable tools that can be either loaded as
> a plug-in (separate process) or as a module. I haven't looked at
> the implementation details yet.
What has become of this? Many of the existing plug-ins would profit of
such an infrastructure, as well as new plug-ins become possible (see bug
There has been repeatedly brought up the request for in-window
applicability of the IWarp distort. Using IWarp in the preview pane is a
nuisance and much inferior to, for example, the Photoshop Liquify tool.
In fact, this has been the reason for me to consider hacking the GIMP in
the first place.
Then there is the issue of dialog preview visibility. Core dialogs like
Levels and Curves are able to show preview directly in the image window,
as opposed to plug-in dialogs which are restricted to small preview
widgets. Again, this is much inferior to the real-image preview and has
got me frustrated more than once.
I know there have been a number of philosophical remarks in the past
against pluggable tools. However, to a user ignorant to the constraining
GIMP design mechanisms, these restrictions and their consequences to the
UI appear arbitrary. Why stick with these at the cost of a bad UI?
If it turns out unfeasible to expose the tool API, the IWarp filter could
be merged into the GIMP core so it can used as a tool. However, this
would not address the problem of bad preview in plugged-in filters, so
maybe there is a better solution.
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