The GIMP for Windows – a serious challenge to Photoshop

11 Jun, '03

I didn’t realize that the Gimp was actually available for Windows until last night when by chance I was watching TechTV‘s Call for Help and he mentioned the program almost in passing!

I have been using the Gimp on Linux for quite some time now and for my personal use, I don’t miss Photoshop at all! As my requirements are to produce images for my websites, I’m the first to admit that I probably only touch 10% of the huge capabilities offered by Photoshop and the Gimp, so I am very comfortable dropping Photoshop in favour of the Gimp.

The list of features are astounding, the Script-Foo plugins themselves are awesome (I hate this word!), if you look at my Bahraini.TV site you will notice the topic images done is “film strip” or slide format, that was thanx to the Gimp’s Script-Foo plugins, just a simple click and it will enclose any picture in a film-type format. There are so many features in it that the mind boggles why anyone would pay $600 or more for Photoshop! I would gladly pay a few hundred dollars for the Gimp.

Why am I excited about finding the Gimp on Windows so much? Because I’m abidextrous as far as operating systems go, I use both Linux (most of the time) and Windows XP Pro, but increasingly I find myself living in Linux. Still, having the same applications that I use continuously available no matter what OS I use is pretty neat!

You can check out and download the Gimp for Windows at Installation is a breeze and simple steps are detailed on how to install the Gimp for Windows.

Have fun!

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Comments (12)

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  1. msandersen says:


    did have it installed on my old Windows computer before the C-drive crashed
    and burned. Actually it was installed on the D-drive, so the files are still
    there, but it’s not properly installed. I might try reinstalling it, but
    really on Windows it’s just a curiosity. The Winbdows version, at least when
    I checked it out, was a one-man show and always lacking behind the main Linux
    version. GTK just doesn’t fit in as well in this OS. You might know that
    GTK stands for Gimp Tool Kit, and only later was used as the basis for the
    Gnome desktop and everything else as a replacement for the proprietary QT
    library (Swedish company, I think?). The licensing issues with QT has since
    been resolved, but the two desktops are still evolving ion parallel. A lot
    of duplication of effort there.

    One of the problems Opensource has had is with proprietary formats, and in
    particular here the GIF format, and by extension TIFF. Officually they cannot
    carry it without paying royalties, hence Linux uses a lot of PNG and other
    formats instead. Unofficially, there have been external patches for the Gimp.

    I just went to the site, it’s been a while. What caught my attention was this in big letters:

    There are 8 days, 7 hours remaining until the
    GIF compression patent expires in the United States.
    Complete gif-writing capabilities will be available
    starting June 21

    I think this is great news!! As I do have Photoshop – I paid the same for
    it unofficially as I paid for The Gimp 😉 – I already have full GIF and TIFF
    support and everything else besides, and I haven’t experimented much with
    The Gimp. I got some great tutorials for it, though, pretty big files due
    to all the pics. One was released as a book.
    I really don’t like the way every pallet and window is a separate element
    that loses focus as you select something else, so you lose your picture behind
    other things when you select say the tool bar, and have to click back on
    the picture to work on it. That and a few other irritants means its not as
    usable for me. And since I have Photoshop, which for the poweruser really
    is far superior, especially if like me you work in publishing. Once GIF is
    reinabled, it will be great for web-work, provided you can put up with the

    Martin 😀

  2. mahmood says:

    Re: WinGimp

    That’s generally how I felt about the GIMP when I started using it, and it does take some getting used to!

    I’m not sure which version you had on Windows, but as this is the first one I use on Windows I can tell you that it is virtually the same as Linux. Currently offers 1.2.4 for download which is I think in sync with Linux. As for the one man show, let’s all thank him very much for his efforts! I don’t fancy installing development tools on my Windows just to be able to compile programs.

    One thing I really love about Gimp is the ability to work on a picture contextually, that is, I [b]don’t[/b] have to continuously go to the file menu or any of the other palettes to do most functions, it’s a simple matter of right-click and the whole menu is right there under your mouse, exactly where you were working! That is a great personal performance enhancer.

    As far as contextual or gestural menus are concerned, [b]nothing[/b] beats Alias|Wavefront’s Maya 3D applications. They have taken gestural and contextual menus and made them an extremely sexy art form. Everything, the whole system with its menus etc is configurable and you can copy that configuration with you on a disk and take it with you if you work on another workstation. What you would do is simply press an activator key (space bar) and a compass menu pops up right under the mouse pointer, then you move the mouse up say to get isometric view, right for right view, left for left view, down for top view, north-east for switching on curve manipulation parameters, south-west to set a keyframe etc. Just imagine that in time the 3D artist just doesn’t even need to think about menus! I’ve seen these Maya 3D jockeys work and you will be surprised at the productivity, absolutely no loss of threads of thought hence helping and maintaining their creativity. You have to see it demonstrated to believe it, and believe me you will experience a “WOW” moment! Absolute magic!

    Whether the Gimp will follow suit in time I can’t say, but I truely believe that any creative software will benefit from this Alias|Wavefront innovation.

    If you are in publishing, then you are bound by your work to use Photoshop amongst the other tools you have to use and that is what all of the press and advertising agencies use here – mostly on Macs still and I can tell you that it is easier to convert those artists’ religion than getting them to drop Photoshop! So I won’t try… futile excercise, however for most web developments and home use, the Gimp certainly beats a plethora of image editing and manipulating programs, free or paid-for.

    I also take a lot of pictures with my Canon Digital IXUS (the original one! now more than 3 years old and no longer produced.) It really screws up the levels and contrast in most situations. The pictures are ok generally, but I almost always spruce them up by bringing them to Photoshop to do “Auto Levels” at least. The GIMP does that perfectly as well, and as that is most of what I do, I am comfortable using the Gimp from now on to do just that. When I finish that I run them through Arles Image Webpage Creator to reduce their sizes, create thumbnails if I need to and superimpose text and a logo if needed. Arles unfortunately destroys the JPEG EXIF information, but they tell me that version 5 of is going to take care of that.

    As for formats, I personally like the PNG format better than GIF, but I realize that IE doesn’t like PNGs and it screws up the transparency, so in some cases I have to use the GIF format if I need to use the picture with transparency, otherwise I stick to either JPEG or PNG. That’s why I’m really glad that the GIF patent will expire soon so that we can get rid of the legal worries and just concentrate on creativity and use the best format for the best situation.

    You should really check out WinGimp again, though it might not be the Photoshop you’re “forced” to use in your business, it is an excellent alternative for most other things.

  3. msandersen says:


    have decided to give it another go, after the GIF functionality is reinstalled.
    The main problem is as I mentioned all the palettes and windows are separate
    elements each appearing in the task bar, which is irritating, and the other
    is that it’s GTK, not native Windows widgets. That’s only a ‘problem’ in
    a sense it doesn’t really fit into its environment, the way it does on Linux,
    and frankly some of  the linux GUI look is not too good. Modern version
    of KDE and Gnome aside,. Even with a skin from the site, it only affects
    the window. The install bears all the hallmarks of a Linux/Unix app. Like
    Apache and MySQL, they use bin directories and the like. At least Apple had
    the sense to call the directory Applications.
    Yeah, once you get used to the fact you need to right-click for a menu, it’s
    much better. All the icons on the main pallette is a straight copy from Photoshop.

    I once went to a talk for a course on 3D animation using Maya on Silicon
    Graphics workstations. I thought the contextual menus looked pretty cool,
    arranged in a circle around the cursor.

    But I do have an interest in opensource, I’ve dabbled with PostNuke for a
    while now, and learnt lots about Linux, Apache, MySQL, SAMBA, etc. Day-to-day,
    I’d be too frustrated with Linux, though, too much of a shit fight for simple
    things, and not universally consistent. If I ever do get a proper modem,
    I’ll spend more time on it.  I’d need to update my Linux install, though;
    Gnome 1.4 is too damn buggy.Windows ME is pissing me off big-time. I hate
    the piece of shit. I’ll need to install XP here sometime, and I don’t really
    know how to get my boot partition back so I can boot Linux again. Not surptisingly,
    Windows gives no quarters to any other operating system, in particularly
    not Linux!
    Robert X. Cringely
    has an interesting theory that they might be considering
    their own Unix server to attack Linux head-on, with the added benefit of
    being able to run Windows apps on it! SCO is suing IBM over Linux at the
    moment and has sent Cease and Desist letters to 1500 big companies to stop
    using Linux, and in the midst of all this Microsoft has bougt a Unix license
    and bought Connectix, maker of Windows emulation software, most notably Virtual
    PC on the Mac, a Unix platform.

    Kudos to Apple for making Unix accessible, simple, fun and sexy for the average
    person. Normally you don’t think of “plug-and-play” and Unix/Linux in the
    one sentence. No wonder twice as many Unixers are converting as Windows people.
    But not enough, alas!

    I have seen a Javascript hack for enabling the transparency in PNGs for IE.
    Basically it uses a proprietary IE transparency filter applied to the Alpha
    channel of the PNG, hence making for fully-functional PNGs on IE. An awkward
    hack, but it works. Damn shame they’ve let PBG languish fo so long. Wonder
    if there are other interests at play to block it? A private agreement between
    MS and Compuserve? They do have a track record for such things.
    The online demo doesn’t seem to work, but the downloadversion does. I think they stuffed up the path to the script online.

    Wanna see a cool PNG demo?

    Martin 😀

  4. msandersen says:


    Is this Wysiwyg editor a functionality of 0.904, or some plugin? Looks just like in phpBB 🙂
    Well, we’ll see if it works when I post.

    There’s a reason Apple says “Unix [i]based[/i]”. There’s no denying that fact, the core (Darwin) is a modded version of FreeBSD with elements of NetBSD. Nobody questions that [i]they[/i] are Unix!! All the rest is purely greed. But Darwin won’t ever become pure Unix, as they have no intention of becoming 100% POSIX compliant. It dates back to how the original Mac wsa made in ’84. MacOS is quite deliberately case insensitive but case respecting. That is, it knows the difference, but treats them the same, so searching for” john SMITH” gets “John Smith” etc. This is quite logical from a human interaction perspective, this is how we think. For us, there is no difference in meaning from upper to lower case, it’s a relatively modern concept, a way of marking things like nouns, the beginning of a sentence, acronyms, etc.
    Also, Apple quite rightly did’;t use X-Windows. I know hardcore Unix people who know it too well to think much of it. In this case, it’s to do with purpose. If you really do need to access remote terminals, then you need something like it, but not for displaying your own desktop. But they do support it for Unix/Linux compatibility. Looking at the list of features of Windows Longhorn is like looking at a list of OSX features of a few years ago.
    Incidentally, I just read that Microsoft has announced that they will stop distributing stand-alone versions of IE, so to upgrade your browser you will have to upgrade your operating system. They’re a little fuzzy about how that ties in with the promise to keep supporting existing ‘customers’.

    The “Windex” story is pure speculation based on recent actions. It won’t necessarily be good news for Linux in the corporate world, if it can run Windows apps, except for small business where cost is more important. Especially if they intend to keep charging the way they do for number of users. We’ll see.
    I wonder how long before the Unix copyright runs out? Seems it’s been around forever and a day. 1969, I believe. (Incidentally, 2069 will be the Unix version of the Milennium bug, where it runs out of bits to count time).
    There’s no question SCO is shooting itself in the foot. Pissing off so many customers can’t be good. And it’s extremely unlikely they can win. Seems the main suspects for who might have put Unix code in Linux is – Caldera. That’s what they used to call themselves, when they were promoting UnitedUnix, where they sought to integrate the best of both worlds. With CommonLinux, they sent their Linux developers off to SuSE. So guess who worked hard for two years at integrating Unix functionality in Linux? 😀 Now-ex employees working for SuSE. They should sue themselves.

    Martin 😀

    Well, I’ll be darned, it appears to be working as it should!! ![b]Yay!![/b]

  5. mahmood says:

    Re: WinGimp

    That’s one sexy demo for png!

    I think SCO/Microsoft efforts are headed directly to failure. Even if they succeed in the States where it seems that sueing one another is a national passtime, they will not succeed in Europe, and most definately fail in Asia. So let them slug it out. Apple is also suffering since 2001 with a suit brought by Unix Labs where they don’t like Apple to say that thier OS X is “unix based”. The contention here is that Apple never submitted their OS for testing by Unix labs to certify it as such, hence the dispute. Unix labs wants $110,000 for the privilage. Apple can afford that. I think it propably spends more than that a year on paper-clips, but Mr. Jobs I guess is against the principal. He wants the court to declare Unix as a generic term now rather than trademarkable.

    If Microsoft wants to bring out a unix-like system, good luck to them. That would be an admission that thier current OS is not up to snuff, or maybe it reached its limit and end-of-life. I haven’t read the Cringley article yet, but will do in a few minutes. Should be interesting.

    I agree that Gimp monopolilses the task-bar, but it does that on Linux as well! Like you I believe that one program instance should occupy just one block of the task-bar, if it must open panels using different processes, then they should find a way to nest all of those instances into the same block on the task-bar.

    Still, this is a minor thing to me really, like you I realize that the important thing is the functionality offered by the Gimp. I’m now going to delve into its tutorials to get to know it better. Some things are counter-intuitive for sure, even for simple things like superimposing text, then try to move that bloody thing! near impossible until you realize that you have to do something with the layers etc. Again, this is just a training issue which I shall overcome once some tutorials go under my belt.

    You most definitely should get a “proper” modem! Then take care of your OSs. I feel absolutely [url=]down[/url] without a good internet connection. If there is one thing that will get me out of this country, it will be something to do with the internet access! I have 512kbps ADSL in the office and 384kbps at home (both the max available from our telco) and I still feel irritated. I think they threw these things at us and conveniently forgot to update their networks and their access to handle the volume and speed necessary. But that’s another story…

  6. mahmood says:

    wayhaaay… bbcode works!

    [color=red][size=18]the bbcode actions now work on this site![/color][/size]

    and no more adding paragraph marks too, that works quite nicely now… viva la Xaraya!!


    [Modified by: Mahmood Al-Yousif (mahmood) on June 14, 2003 02:08 AM]

  7. mahmood says:

    Re: WinGimp

    I believe. (Incidentally, 2069 will be the Unix version of the Milennium bug, where it runs out of bits to count time).

    NOT if you’re using a 64-bit operating system like IRIX. Then the theoretical limit is just after the day of reconning! 🙂

    I agree with you though that X-Windows is a bitch to get used to and configure. It gave me real headaches configuring my workstation at home to work properly with an SGI 1600SW (16:10 aspect ratio) screen. It was a snap in Windows XP Pro, didn’t have to do anything at all, it just sensed it and away you go. Linux will have to sort itself out better to get to the state of “plug and play” of where Windows and the Mac is at. But that is unfair really because manufacturers do take Windows in mind first, followed sometimes by Apple’s equipment, the very last thing they do is Linux and that mostly is left to enthusiasts and the “community” to work out. A shame really, but what’s happening for linux now in places like Brazil, Germany, China and even India will probably change that… not overnight though, there are a still few years to “brag” of your Linuxness!

    Tell you what, I’ll put my money where my mouth is. From today I will continuously be on Red Hat Linux 9 on my laptop and at home and see how I can live without Windows for a couple of weeks and let you know how I fair and if it affects my business and personal work at all. Let me continue this comment over there… stby for reboot!

    — edited—
    Damn thing.. if you don’t use bbcode in your comments, Xaraya forgets to put in line breaks! Oh and by the to answer your question quickly regarding bbcode, yes it is built into Xaraya and you can enable that by hooking it into the Articles and Comments modules, although Mike says that they do not work in summary views at the moment, so please PUSH him with me to get him to enable that for summaries as well!!

    over to Linux now…

    [Modified by: Mahmood Al-Yousif (mahmood) on June 15, 2003 03:46 AM]

  8. anonymous says:

    Re: WinGimp

    Let me add my ‘amen’ to your homage to the GIMP. It runs like a dream on my XP machine, with a fairly easy learning curve for the veteran Photoshopper. I am not a graphics pro with a need for the more powerful features of PS (though I have the same version Martin has :-)). Good news on GIFs! Actually, you can install the GIF support already by acknowledging that in doing so, you are being a very bad boy or girl. Yours, [url=]blogal villager[/url]

  9. anonymous says:

    The GIMP for Windows – a serious challenge to Photoshop


    You _can_ spend a few hundred bucks on Gimp, if you really want to, by donating to one of the free software/open source communities – the Gimp uses GTK+, so you might want to donate to Gnome.

    If you’re in the TV/movie industry, you might find cinepaint ( even more interesting.

    About the Gimp monopolizing the taskbar: that’s why there are multiple desktops on Linux. But there are small apps providing multiple desktops on Windows, maybe you should try get one of those.

    Best regards,


  10. mahmood says:

    Re: The GIMP for Windows – a serious challenge to Photoshop

    you’re right of course, thank you for the suggestion.

    as for CinePaint, I know it and I have proposed it to all of my customers (for free of course)!

  11. anonymous says:

    Re: WinGimp

    I have to agree with Martin’s quibbles about the idiosyncrasies of the GIMP: Professionals will probably stick to Adobe for the time being (if you’re ever in Brazil, you’ll find pirate copies of PS being sold openly for $US3). But hopefully it will evolve rapidly, and already it’s a great tool for the advanced amateur like me. Colin Brayton, Brooklyn, New York.

  12. mahmood says:

    Re(1): WinGimp

    well version 2.0 is going to be released soon, and it promises to be a good’un!

    The release of the latest GIMP preview (version 2.0pre4) marks what may be one of the final pre-releases before WinGIMP 2.0 goes final. Although the Linux version will be released first, the release of WinGIMP 2.0 is expected to follow within a week. Details are available at the GIMP developer news page:

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