On 01/22/2010 09:58 AM, Alexandre Prokoudine wrote:
> On 1/22/10, BGP wrote:
>> I'm sure you folks are all experts at GIMP but I've found it to be a
>> very hard to learn how to use.  But how many hundreds of hours did it
>> take you to learn how to use it?
> Learning is something you never stop to do. If you stopped learning,
> you are dead and the coffin with your body is about to be put six feet
> underground.
>> For example- the "tutorials" are mostly out of date
> Did you read *all* tutorials on GIMP? Really? I'm sorry, but I don't
> believe you.
> Alexandre

While the responses to the original poster are surely technically
correct, the original poster _does_ have a legitimate point.

It might actually be easier for a person to learn Gimp if they have
never used another image editing program.

However, for people who grew up on Photoshop, it is a particular
challenge to learn Gimp because one must learn substantially new
techniques, methods, terminology, concepts, and workflows.

And the OP is correct that there is some out-of-date documentation being
presented as if it were current.  This is especially a problem because
many aspects of the UI have changed in the last couple years.  And this
problem is only going to be much _worse_ when the single-window
possibility is available -- the docs will really be behind.

The first step in increasing broad acceptance, support, and development
of Gimp is to _accept_ its shortcomings and to honestly recognize the
challenges that new users face.

While long-time users and the developers of Gimp may not feel like Gimp
should be treated as a "product", the reality is that any new user
looking at Gimp is going to make choices and decisions that are "product
choice" decisions.  Denial of that fact is complete denial of reality.

It is my opinion that many in the open source / free software (OS/FS)
arena have long ago forgotten that truism.  In my experience the OS/FS
world pretty much tells new users that if they are not patient enough or
smart enough to figure out the secrets of whatever software, they don't
deserve to use it.

I feel that is completely backward.  The OS/FS community should focus on
(as much as software development) the education of new users and
bringing them into the community.

As an example, while I have not looked for it, I am sure that there must
at least be some book or maybe a website here or there that specifically
addresses "How to smoothly migrate from using Photoshop to using Gimp --
the benefits, challenges, and differences of using Gimp".  Such content
should be right up front in the whole Gimp documentation, Gimp websites,
etc., etc.

Every successful organization (and the Gimp community IS an organization
of a sort) gets new users/customers by telling potential users/customers
how/why their "product" is better -- and then making the conversion to
using/buying their "product" as easy as possible.  The Gimp community
could do a lot better at this.  And if somebody says "we don't care
about getting more users", I would ask them "then, why make Gimp at all?"

How about this as an answer to the OP:

  "It took me twice as long to learn to use Gimp as it took
  me to learn to use Photoshop.  I agree that the documentation
  is behind the curve and needs to be improved.  There are a
  great many things that I still do not know how to do in Gimp
  and a great many things about Gimp that annoy me to the point
  of being incredibly frustrated.  While Gimp has many incredibly
  wonderful features, there are still major features missing that
  significantly hamper my own productivity.  However, when I add
  up and try to balance out all the pluses and minuses, I have
  come to the conclusion that I would rather use Gimp than
  Photoshop and that I would rather support Gimp's development
  than to fund the arrogance of Adobe's/Microsoft's management."

When a new user complains, I would rather we say ...

  "Gee, there is a lot of truth in what you are saying and I
  understand that _has_ been your experience so far.  However,
  there are many great resources available and I hope that you
  will pursue using those resources so that you can fully
  benefit from what Gimp has to offer."


As an aside, I really think that the documentation issue is going to
become critical in the next couple of years.  As I understand it (and
please correct me if I am wrong), anybody can contribute to the
documentation effort, but it takes significant training and skills in
the special process involved with maintaining documentation versioning,
etc., etc., etc.  I don't begin to understand all of that and I DON'T
WANT TO have to become an expert in all that stuff -- I just want to
help improve the documentation.

What I DO want to do is be able to contribute if I see a small problem
or have a suggestion as a better way to provide a bit of information, etc.

I think it is time to seriously think about putting the documentation in
a real Wiki environment where we don't have to worry about all this
complex version stuff, etc.  I _assume_ (I hope I am correct) that a
Wiki's HTML pages can be exported into a package of HTML pages of some
sort so that a NON-live version can be supplied with the Gimp program
for those who do not have constant/cheap Internet access.  However,
otherwise, the Wiki should be used live and a much larger part of the
community can contribute, improve, and keep it up to date.  I admit that
I am not sure how to "branch" the documentation when different Gimp
versions require differentiation of documentation, but there must be a
standard way to manage that sort of thing.  The key here is that 99% of
the community is _not_ contributing to the documentation whereas I think
that we could get that down to 95%, resulting in massively better and
more current documentation.

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