The Gimp's lack of UI

Daniel Glazman perfectly summarizes the problem with Gimp's lack of UI

  • it's a perfect example of the worst of free software
  • a geeky user interface made for geeks by geeks who just don't care if the rest of the world find their user interface too geeky
  • it's so obscure than even a geek like me is lost in that UI...
  • the Gimp's UI is the strongest factor against the success of the Gimp in front of other image editing tools, free or not. Because of its UI, the Gimp is a blocking factor to bring Linux on the desktop

I've got the same impression since the first time I used Gimp. I took me ages to just figure out how to open and save a file. Trouble is... that was years ago! I see they're not making much progress on the user interface front, that's too bad.


I agree about Gimp, its UI is not what it should be, and it lacks a few features that would make it a (Photoshop) contender.

Recently I used Inkscape for vector drawing, and I must say I'm impressed. I'm not a heavy Illustator user, and I found it very easy to start producing images with Inkscape. I'm really happy free software can produce such an application!

Agreed with you and Glazman, it would be really interesting to have a fork...

It's true. But instead of geeky I rather think it has the spirit of the dark room (before this term was taken over by the gay scene): you needed to feel your way around and have your tools on the table around you before the light went out. Once comfortable with the setup you could do anything. That's the same with The GIMP. Find a handy place for the toolboxes on your desktop, save these settings, switch off the light and do your thing.

It happens that I know some *really* good interface designers, guys that are able to shape a corporate website to perfection, who could make a world a better place by helping the creative community with a clean and yet usable interface design for The GIMP. This is the place to start:


I think the most important sentence is: "Because of its UI, the Gimp is a blocking factor to bring Linux on the desktop".

This is true in my case. The lack of a decent contender to Photoshop on Linux is one of the things that hold me back from making the move (from Windows). And the Gimp's horrible UI plays a major part, though some key features are also missing – Photoshop has been fine-tuned over so many years...

Have you tried GIMPshop? It turns the GIMP UI into one closely resembling Photoshop.

I totally agree with you. After trying out GIMP for a couple of weeks, I now decided I can live without it and use my old version of Photoshop in stead.

Gimp is really too confusing to use - even to nerds as quoted. There really is a big amount of work to be done in the user interface if GIMP is to survive.

I really appreciate your post, and hope that this can perhaps draw attention so that someting serious can be done on the usability side of the program

Yeah i have to agree youre absolutely right!

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