ON another list someone was complaining about the expense nad bother of 
upgrading to the latest Photoshop, including licenses etc. I suggested Gimp 
as a no cost/no fuss alternative for students. I received a long reply, much 
of which I am not technically competent to answer. I have never used 
Photoshop. Anyone else care to take a crack at one or more issues raised?
> I've checked out GIMP before.
> I was going to try to run it again to see if this comment held any
> water:
> > There may be a feature or two that are unique to Photoshop but I'll
> > bet you
> > can live without them.
> …but X11 choked on my 34 activated fonts. From what I recall of
> version 2.1.x, it (and I) suffered from its aggravating GUI and
> inconsistent tools, and a general lack of features. That being said,
> if friends and family members are pining for some way to scan and
> modify old photos, I install GIMP for them and show them how to do it.
> GIMP works for casual use. I don't see it fitting into a professional
> workflow mainly because of the utter awkwardness of the GUI. Maybe if
> you're used to the Gnome UI standards or have the mindset of a
> programmer, it's less awkward. But that's another story. These are
> first year students I'm talking about here. They can barely get the
> OSX dock straight, let alone browsing for files in the GIMPs browser,
> which reveals the BSD underbelly of OSX, hidden folders and all.
> Update: I gave X11 some time (10 minutes on my hermetically
> maintained dual 1.25 G4 with 2 gigs of ram) and it finally loaded
> GIMP and also GIMPshop. While it seems that the feature sets have
> expanded quite a bit, there are still things that I use regularly in
> Photoshop missing. Here's a list.
> Adjustment layers: non-destructive editing. It can save you whole
> minutes if not dozens of them.
> CMYK Support: Come on!
> Wacom support- I'm sure you can get it working in linux, but we're
> not switching.
> Semi-automated extraction- a real time saver.
> Live filter previews- what's the point without them?
> Color profiles (again, come on- how is importing an image into
> Scribus just to apply a color profile a productive workflow?)
> Limited output options (a.k.a. mostly useless file types)
> Vanishing Point (it's actually useful)
> No typeface previews
> I could go on and on but I feel that I'm wasting breath, so to speak.
> Yeah, you can do a lot in the GIMP but it's just not enough. Beyond
> its limitations, it's difficult to use, doesn't play well with
> others, and would probably curl up in a ball and die if it tried to
> interact with our scanners on the intel machines. Photoshop saves
> time which saves money in the long run, and thus the software pays
> for itself. I'm not trying to say that GIMP isn't a great solution
> for Do-It-Yourselfers or Very-Small-Businesses, but if you're
> teaching students, there's a certain responsibility to focus on
> industry demands. I had a hard enough time getting them (the faculty)
> to give up Extensis Suitcase for Font Explorer X.
> -Matt
(My first response follows)

Interesting response. Let me answer those objections that I can.
1. Load time:  On a modest Linux system and using the stable verson 2.2.13 
load time 10 seconds.  Modest means a 768MHZ CPU and 512 MB ram.

2. Activated fonts. I estimate about 50 X11 fonts on my system. I got tired 
counting them onscreen. 

3. Scanner: I use an Intel machine and activating the scanner means copying 
the xsane  program to the Gimp plugins directory. Then on next reboot it 
shows up automatically on the Acquire menu. I scan all the time. 

4. GUI: I use KDE. Gimp adapts nicely to that. KDE resembles MSWin. I set my 
teeniebopper granchild down on my computer and she was able to use Mozilla 
which she had never seen before and Kword which she had never seen before and 
the KDE interface itself which she had never seen before without any 
instruction after I showed her where to access the programs on the menu. The 
dreadfulness of GUI shock is IMO much overrated.  I can go back and forth 
between KDE, Win 2000 and Win 98 without difficulty, though of course I 
prefer KDE.   

5. CMYK support. In fact what you see on any screen is RGB. The latest 
unstable Gimp will convert an image by reducing its gamut to one resembling 
CMYK.  You can even get cmyk separations. But for print work it is probably 
smart to do final checking in Scribus which does the whole CMYK bit, ICC 
profiles for monitor and printing etc.  Now I would much prefer a Gimp that 
worked natively in CMYK.  I have been pounding the drums for that for years.
John Culleton
Able Indexing and Typesetting
Precision typesetting (tm) at reasonable cost.
Satisfaction guaranteed. 

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