I'm also just jumping in to this conversation.  To be honest when I heard about Gimpshop I got excited about using Gimp again.  I've downloaded it and have used it and having the familiar menus made it far easier for me to use the program.  I think that there is a larger question that needs to be posed: What kind of beta testing is done by professional designers?  I met a beta tester for Adobe, she's a professor at the School of Visual Art in NYC, and it was quite interesting to hear her talk about some of her experiences and how she talks to Photoshop developers.  The relationship is pretty simple: developers cater to the needs of designers.  To take an example that would also apply to Gimp, when showing us different methods she came across a tool that didn't allow you to "preview" the effect and she simply said,"This is pretty useless, you can't see what you're doing."  So there is a functional and productive criticism.  Designing is a visual process obviously, if I can't see the effect, be it transforming or using a filter, it makes my job a whole lot harder and consumes more of my time via guessing, undoing, and reapplying the filter.  It's like drawing with a blindfold.  Anyway to make a long story slightly longer I think part of moving forward for Gimp would be to start to beta test with real professional designers, the ones who's work you admire. 
I think that Gimp's market potential isn't as an adobe REPLACEMENT, not at this point anyway, it is more of a SUBSTITUTE (there is a difference).  I think it would serve better as filling the niche for those people who don't actually own a legit copy of photoshop.  If people discover they don't have to break the law because there is an adequate substitute that performs similarly to photoshop people will use Gimp in droves.  And to add to that what Gimp can allow for is a program that can fully cater to the experience of a user. 
I think it would be awesome if you could specify gimp to hide tools that wouldn't be used by the user ie. my 4 year old niece.  Maybe there could be different skins or profiles dependent on the anticipated use of the user.  You could set the programmer to "beginner" and it would resemble MS Paint.  Anyway, these are all ideas.  I think the main thing is to think creatively about who Gimp's audience actually is.  Right now, in all honesty, it isn't a pro designer.  GImp isn't something that people in my office could use everyday.  In fact, using it once they'd probably never touch it again. 
It's funny because I just signed up on this email list because I wanted to talk about this subject!  As it so happens I've written a critique of some of the features from a designers/usability perspective.  Where would be a good place to post it?
All the best, 
wie.org (senior designer for the magazine)
PS: Gimp has the potential to rival Adobe Photoshop, perhaps not in features or in the number of pro users, but in the number of "lay users" (unregistered pirates).
PPS: I also just thought of the the use that students could have for GImp.  Teachers could recommend it as a free photoshop-like alternative for finishing homework in the event they don't have a copy of it themselves.  DRM techcology is going to keep getting better so it will be harder for students to obtain illegal copies in the future.
PPPS: Does anyone ever talk about how GImp literally means "lame"?  From a branding perspective that's the worst name you could ever use.  Your brand and logo is your chance to make that good first impression and rather boldly you tell potential users that you're handicapped before they even find out for themselves!

On 3/1/06, Tom Williams <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
Ross Brown wrote:
> If Gimp is to become a replacement for Photoshop then, whether it
> appears to be "good practice" or not, it has to accommodate its
> potential users and work as they are used to working (in the short
> term at least). I'm sure there are many people who will argue - and
> possible quite rightly - that the Gimp is not a Photoshop replacement
> but, for many, many people, it is and as more people make the move
> from Photoshop, surely the Gimp's relevancy, exposure and quality can
> only improve.
I think you make a great point but I don't think improvements in Gimp's
quality or relevance is based on or related to PhotoShop user acceptance
at all.



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