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Hai guise,

It's been a long time since I have posted on GIMP-user, but the
steady stream of bothersome "issues" in the Windoze version
reported in recent posts has inspired me to comment on some bugs
and annoyances I have worked through or around in recent months,
using GIMP 2.8 on Linux Mint with the Cinnamon and XFCE desktop
environments.  Why should the Microsoft inmates have all the fun?

1)  Path from text is fail.

Being able to convert a text object to a vector path is very
useful when, for instance, one needs to draw a clean outline
around text, or apply arbitrary distortions to the geometry of
some text.  However, with the 32 bit version of GIMP 2.8, the text
to path command generates a vector path for about the first 25 to
30% of the letters in the text layer and stops - that's all folks,
hope you enjoyed the show.

I know of two solutions for this:  The better one is to get a new
computer - text to path works normally (here) in the 64 bit
version of GIMP 2.8.  I think this reflects developers using
"modern" 64 bit systems - whatever the problem is, it's probably
unique to the 32 bit Linux version of the GIMP and goes unnoticed
elsewhere.

My other solution is a work-around:  Duplicate the text layer,
convert it into an image layer ("discard text information"), do
'alpha to selection' in the Layers dialog, and do 'selection to
path' in the Paths dialog.  Results are less precise than the
native 'text to path' tool, but adequate for most of the things I
do - and cheaper than a new computer.

2)  Tear-off menus are fail

As we know, there is no need to dig down to deeply buried menu
items over and over, to use them over and over:  Click on the
dotted line in the dialog box your command lives in, and it pops
loose as a floating menu that does not close when the command is
executed.  But, in the Gnome family of desktop environments,
torn-off menus do not work:  Click on the menu items all you want,
nothing happens.

The work-around for this is stupidly simple, once you know about
it:  Click the command item you want to select it, then hit the
space bar on your keyboard to make it actually happen.  Ta-daa.
It took me ages to get around to hunting down this work-around.  I
am sure lots of users will just get stuck there and give up on
tear-off menus, so it's probably worthwhile for the devs to
address this problem as/where possible:  I also see this behavior
in Bluefish, so it's apparently more a GTK on Gnome problem than a
GIMP one.

3)  Brushes dockable dialog causes full screen mode fail

I have been playing with the full screen mode for GIMP and I am
starting to get somewhat used to it - when working with multiple
images open, the tabbed interface in the canvas area is quite
convenient.  One thing, though:  I ain't gonna quit configuring
the tools so that all my frequently used dockable dialogs are
available as tabs in one dock, directly under the Toolbox (which I
keep 7 or 8 buttons wide). That's easy to set up but, add the
Brushes dialog and - oops, the dock area now fills half the width
of the screen, with the toolbox strung out sideways above it, and
can not be restored to normal width by any means I have tried -
except one work-around that prevents the problem from appearing at
all.

Through brute force and total ignorance - my preferred solution to
any problem - I discovered that opening the Brushes dialog as a
floating dock, then dragging and dropping it into the existing
fixed position dock, adds it to that dock without blowing the
thing up to half screen size.  So I opened the GIMP, opened the
Brushes dialog as a floater, and in the Preferences > Window
Management menu, unchecked "Save window positions on exit" and did
"Save window positions now."  After this, when the GIMP opens I
can drag and drop the floating Brushes dialog into the dock where
I want it without wrecking the whole layout.  This adds about one
second to the time it takes to get the GIMP open and running.

I always have to select my preferred "general purpose" brush every
time the program opens anyway (save tool options my @ss), and the
work-around described here puts that little annoyance right in
front of me for one-click solution every time I open the GIMP.

4)  Other than dynamic brushes

This is not so much an annoyance, as pointing out some relatively
little known configuration options that should probably be defaults.

I really enjoy the new-ish brush dynamics features, they make a
lot of cool stuff possible.  But the most useful "dynamic" feature
for brush tools requires user configuration to exist, and most
users probably don't suspect it is possible:  Changing brush size
and hardness with a keyboard shortcut + mouse wheel.  The menu to
set this up is at Preferences > Input Controllers (where it
belongs), out of sight and out of mind.  My own setup for this
makes sense to me and does not reassign any default key bindings:

Preferences > Input Controllers > Main Mouse Wheel opens a
Configure Input Controller dialog when double clicked.  Once
there, set up:

Scroll Up (Alt) = tools-paint-brush-size-increase
Scroll Down (Alt) = tools-paint-brush-size-decrease
Scroll Up (Shift+Ctrl+Alt) = context-brush-hardness-decrease
Scroll Down (Shift+Ctrl_Alt) = context-brush-hardness-increase

Lots of other key combinations are possible; I just find these
easy to reach and easy to remember when working.  Regardless, this
beats the hell out of changing brushes, or editing the current
one, every time you need to change the size or fuzziness of your
active brush.  I think this should be a default, and widely
advertised in manuals and tutorials - it's a huge time saver that
translates to higher quality end products.

:o)

Steve
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