Richard Hirner wrote:

I just searched the mailing lists and did not find a discussion about
the GIMP MDI problem and GTK ADI. This is a library which provides
MDI facilities using GTK. You can find details on - the screenshots look just great

Wouldn't it be a good idea to use this in GIMP? I know that this would
be a huge change and wouldn't be done in one day, but just basically,
what do you think? What were the disadvantages?
I see this issue hashed around a lot on sites like Slashdot. I've used the GIMP for many years now, and before that I used Photodesk (no - that's not a typo, it's a package that was available for Acorn Risc OS systems). Implementations like GIMPShop already exist and attempt to fit the GIMP package into a more Photoshop-style interface.

Now I don't think that the GIMP interface is perfect - there are a few times when I have to stop and think about where to find a particular feature. The work that has gone on in the 2.3.x development branch is a more natural evolution of the GIMP interface than GIMPShop, for example. The bottom line is that (I think) those of us who have used the GIMP for years are generally comfortable with the existing interface - I'm fast at getting things done as it stands. The existing tools layout is extremely configurable with the dock-able tabs system so I only have what I need visible at any one time.

Really, when it comes to interfaces for complex packages, it's better to identify areas which are clumsy or unclear to process for the experienced user and tackle those first. It is also important to make sure that there are enough hints for the new user to pick up ways to use the tools. I suspect that a lot of the grief that is thrown in the direction of the GIMP comes from people used to Photoshop's interface. Personally, I feel that falls into the same ballpark as people transitioning from Windows to GNOME or KDE and exclaiming "Windows doesn't work like that!".

Each software package that I have used for any length of time usually has a fairly consistent interface that can be learned during normal use. Keyboard shortcuts then allow the power-user to speed up their own workflow. Packages I've used and dropped as difficult have inconsistent behaviour for similar actions and have little or no mechanisms for speeding up workflow.

Now, if you asked me what I would change in GIMP, it would be getting support for arbitrary bit-depth images in as soon as possible because I'm mucking around a lot with HDR and 16bit grayscale images right now. I live in hope of seeing GEGL integrated into the GIMP in my lifetime :-)

I guess each of us have our own wish lists!

Toby Haynes
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