20 Years of GIMP Evolution: Step by Step

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – superb open source and free graphics editor. Development began in 1995 as students project of the University of California, Berkeley by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. In 1997 the project was renamed in “GIMP” and became an official part of GNU Project. During these years the GIMP is one of the best graphics editor and platinum holy wars “GIMP vs Photoshop” – one of the most popular.

The first announce, 21.11.1995:

From: Peter Mattis
Date: 1995-11-21
Message-ID: <48s543$r7b@agate.berkeley.edu>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development.apps,comp.os.linux.misc,comp.windows.x.apps

The GIMP: the General Image Manipulation Program

The GIMP is designed to provide an intuitive graphical interface to a
variety of image editing operations. Here is a list of the GIMP's
major features:

 Image viewing

   *  Supports 8, 15, 16 and 24 bit color.
   *  Ordered and Floyd-Steinberg dithering for 8 bit displays.
   *  View images as rgb color, grayscale or indexed color.
   *  Simultaneously edit multiple images.
   *  Zoom and pan in real-time.
   *  GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and XPM support.

 Image editing

   *  Selection tools including rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy, bezier
      and intelligent.
   *  Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip.
   *  Painting tools including bucket, brush, airbrush, clone, convolve,
      blend and text.
   *  Effects filters (such as blur, edge detect).
   *  Channel & color operations (such as add, composite, decompose).
   *  Plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and
      new effect filters.
   *  Multiple undo/redo.

GIMP 0.54, 1996

GIMP 0.54 was required X11 displays, X-server and Motif 1.2 wigdets and supported 8, 15, 16 & 24 color depths with RGB & grayscale colors. Supported images format: GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and XPM.
Basic functionality: rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy, bezier, intelligent selection tools, and rotate, scale, shear, clone, blend and flip images.
Extended tools: text operations, effects filters, tools for channel and colors manipulation, undo and redo operations. Since the first version GIMP support the plugin system.
GIMP 0.54 can be ran in Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, SGI IRIX.

GIMP 0.60, 1997

This is development release, not for all users. GIMP has the new toolkits – GDK (GIMP Drawing Kit) and GTK (GIMP Toolkit), Motif support is deprecated. GIMP Toolkit is also begin of the GTK+ cross-platform widget toolkit. New features:

  • basic layers
  • sub-pixel sampling
  • brush spacing
  • improver airbrush
  • paint modes

GIMP 0.99, 1997

Since 0.99 version GIMP has the scripts add macros (Script-Fus) support. GTK and GDK with some improvements has now the new name – GTK+. Other improvements:

  • support big images (rather than 100 MB)
  • new native format – XCF
  • new API – write plugins and extensions is easy

GIMP 1.0, 1998

GIMP and GTK+ was splitted into separate projects. The GIMP official website has
reconstructed and contained new tutorials, plugins and documentation. New features:

  • tile-based memory management
  • massive changes in plugin API
  • XFC format now support layers, guides and selections
  • web interface
  • online graphics generation

GIMP 1.2, 2000

New features:

  • translation for non-english languages
  • fixed many bugs in GTK+ and GIMP
  • many new plugins
  • image map
  • new toolbox: resize, measure, dodge, burn, smugle, samle colorize and curve bend
  • image pipes
  • images preview before saving
  • scaled brush preview
  • recursive selection by path
  • new navigation window
  • drag’n’drop
  • watermarks support

GIMP 2.0, 2004

The biggest change – new GTK+ 2.x toolkit.

GIMP 2.2, 2004

Many bugfixes and drag’n’drop support.

GIMP 2.4, 2007

New features:

  • better drag’n’drop support
  • Ti-Fu was replaced to Script-Fu – the new script interpreter
  • new plugins: photocopy, softglow, neon, cartoon, dog, glob and others

GIMP 2.6, 2008

New features:

  • renew graphics interface
  • new select and tool
  • GEGL (GEneric Graphics Library) integration
  • “The Utility Window Hint” for MDI behavior

GIMP 2.8, 2012

New features:

  • GUI has some visual changes
  • new save and export menu
  • renew text editor
  • layers group support
  • JPEG2000 and export to PDF support
  • webpage screenshot tool


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