IMHO, and to cut the long story short:
- use the GIMP
- learn how to use it by means of the help included, the many excellent
tutorials existing, Akkana Peck's book and video-shows.
There are still other resources available.
- CMYK: you won't be needing that any time soon, and some day it will be
better managed with the GIMP (as of now, there are some plugins as of
separate+). CMYK is mostly important for printing, but many printers can
do well using RGB color space.
- 8 bits depth: you can live with that, and 'soon' the GIMP will allow
you to use higher values. Maybe towards version 3.0 (?).

I can be wrong, of course, but it does work for me. I'm not a
photographer pro, though; so take my opinion FWIW. No need of Photoshop,
or even LightRoom in my book.

Best of lucks


Nuno Miguel dos Santos Baeta wrote:
> Hello!
> I don't understand anything about digital image manipulation but I've
> got to learn as, last year, I finally bought a digital camera, after
> making photos with film for many years, mainly B&W which I developed
> and printed myself.  To learn digital image manipulation I need a
> program such as GIMP and Photoshop.
> Another important piece of information about me: I've been using Un*x
> since 1986.  These days I use OpenBSD (server) and
> Debian/Ubuntu/gNewSense (desktop/laptop) and I don't want to change OS
> - if I have to, I'll be changing to Mac OS X, no Microsoft Windows.
> According to my 'research', Photoshop is the 'de facto' standard for
> image manipulation, quite expensive and exists for Mac OS X or
> Microsoft Windows.  GIMP is free, its license is GPL, and exists for
> GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.
> My 'research' included asking on a mailing list about photography
> (photos made with a specific brand of cameras) about technical
> differences between these two programs.  The answers I got can be
> summarized to:
> * Photoshop: Must be used for 'serious' work.
> * GIMP: May be used for 'serious' work if that means showing a photo
> on a web page.  Otherwise forget it because:
>   ** Is has no color management (I don't know what this is);
>   ** Just 8 bit/channel;
>   ** No CMYK.
> Even though answers on this list may be biased, I have to ear them.
> So, are this statements true?
> TIA!
> PS - I have also been advised to use a program such as Aperture (Mac
> OS X only) or Lightroom (Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows), as that is
> what a photographer really needs.  Because of this advise, I guess
> I'll be asking some questions on the digiKam and F-Spot mailing lists,
> as presume these make the same job as Aperture or Lightroom.
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