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In the beginning...
The Gimp began in July 1995 by Peter Mattis when he posted two questions regarding the creation of a Linux image manipulation program, to newsgroups related to Linux. The questions where these: "What features should it have?" and "What file formats should it support?" In November of the same year the first release of The Gimp found its way into the wild. It was very widely and well received because it finally brought to the fledgling operating system a serious contender in the image manipulation space.
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The current crop of features is far more rich than the original. The Gimp's feature list includes:
- A Customizable Interface: The GImp's interface has often been criticized because it is not like that of the competition (and the defacto standard Photoshop). In later releases the interface became fully customizable.
- Photo Enhancement: Simple colorizations to more complex perspective problems can be enhanced with The Gimp. The Gimp offers loads of plugins and channel mixers to help enhance your photos.
- Digital Retouching: From red-eye to blotchy skin or unwanted details. The Gimp has every tool you need for retouching.
- Hardware Support: The Gimp supports a wide range of hardware from tablets to cameras to scanners and other USB devices.
- File Formats: The Gimp can open and save in numerous formats. From the common to the rare, The Gimp supports nearly every type of image format available.
- Plugins: The Gimp has a plug in registry where you can find numerous plugins to handle practically any task you can dream up.
The Gimp also contains all of the standard image editing tools plus more complex tools such as masking editors, layer tools, perspective manipulation tools, shearing tools, alpha channel support, its own scripting language, etc. The Gimp can also be used for batch processing and mass production image rendering.
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Getting and Installing
The Good news is that The Gimp is pre-installed in nearly every Linux distribution available. But should you come across a distribution that doesn't ship with The Gimp you can install the software by opening up your software installation program (such as Synaptic, Yumex, or rpmdrake), searching for "gimp", selecting the resulting package, and applying the changes.
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I have used The Gimp for everything from simple web buttons to very complex image manipulation. I have crafted company logos, retouched professional photos, created professional images for web sites and print. The Gimp can do it all. If you are looking for a tool to help you out with your image editing, look no further than The Gimp.
Linux Applications: The GIMP
In this series I will highlight those Linux applications that are must haves for personal, school, or office use. And once you get to know them, you won't be able to go without them.