GIMP is an open source image editing program built for both consumers and professionals who can’t afford to buy expensive tools to do exactly the same job, such as Adobe Photoshop. It attempts to provide similar functionality whilst making it accessible to everyone by making it completely free for anyone to use. It currently works on all of the Windows operating system releases to date so the vast majority of users are able to install it.
GIMP was officially released for the first time at the beginning of 1996. It started off as a project by a group of university students at the University of California and developed from there, with two main developers being involved in the progress of it. At this time downloading software from the internet wasn’t as common due to the internet speeds, so there wasn’t a lot of interest initially. The following year, the project joined the GNU Project which really started to get the ball rolling. In fact, some people actually consider it to be one of the biggest factors in its history that led to the success of it today. Open source projects really proved to be the best way to do things, in our opinion.
For those of you who don’t really understand what this means, we’ll explain briefly. If you think about the tools you use on a daily basis, you may think about big organisations that spend their time building them for money. For example, Microsoft Office is one that a lot of people use, where only people who work for the company are able to participate in the production of it. This is the traditional way. Open source software is where anyone in the world is able to contribute if they have the knowledge and time. All of the code behind it is not a secret, you can access it yourself if you really want to. The majority of these projects are also free to use which is different to the traditional way in a lot of cases. These are usually seen as better for everyone because of the way they’re developed.
The first version of the image editor wasn’t actually built for the Windows operating system as a lot of people think. It was created for UNIX systems such as Linux, for programmers and other people involved in tech. Not a lot of mainstream consumers were running with systems like this, which is why it didn’t really take off so much at this time. However, in 1997 the 32-bit Windows port was started by a Finnish programmer who was interested in the development of it after the source code became available publicly. This is when things started to change. It wasn’t just the program that was being developed, though.
In an application like this, it isn’t just the software itself that is important. If you’re just a beginner, you’re going to need tutorials to help you learn how you can create stunning graphics. Without these, you wouldn’t know how to use all of the features effectively and the tool wouldn’t be as useful. Fortunately, after the project became open source, more and more developers started getting on board with it and developing it whilst many chose instead to write tutorials, artworks that people could use and many other features. The effect of this was incredible – with the help of the community surrounding it, users could get started and create anything they like with very little previous knowledge. This changed everything – it became a really big competitor to Photoshop despite remaining free.