Why GIMP is the Best Image Editor on Linux and How to Install It

If you are a new Linux user and you have switched from Windows to Linux, you might miss Photoshop and other photo editing apps. GIMP is the right replacement for Photoshop. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo editing and image composition.

GIMP can be used as a simple paint program, an image editor or image converter. The best thing about it is that it’s extensible and expandable. It supports plugins and extensions to enhanced its functionality.

Now GIMP is a full-fledged application, available on all distributions of Linux, Microsoft Windows, and OSX. It is released under GLPv3+ licenses and anybody can see its source code and fix bugs or add new features.

Features

GIMP has a lot of rich and useful features. In my opinion, if you learn GIMP well, you don’t need Photoshop to complete your tasks. See this section why you should use GIMP.

Customize Interface

GIMP allows you to customize the view and behavior according to your needs. Starting from the widget theme, allowing you to change colors, widget spacings and icon sizes to custom tool sets in the toolbox.

The interface is modulized into so called docks, allowing you to stack them into tabs or keep them open in their own window. GIMP features a great fullscreen mode allowing you to not only preview your artwork but also do editing work while using the most of your screen estate.

Photo Enhancement

Numerous digital photo imperfections can be easily compensated for using GIMP. Fix perspective distortion caused by lens tilt simply choosing the corrective mode in the transform tools. Eliminate lens’ barrel distortion and vignetting with a powerful filter but a simple interface.

The included channel mixer gives you the flexibility and power to get your B/W photography stand out the way you need.

File Formats

The file format support ranges from the common likes of JPEG (JFIF), GIF, PNG, TIFF to special use formats such as the multi-resolution and multi-color-depth Windows icon files. The architecture allows to extend GIMP’s format capabilities with plugins.

To save disk space, any format can be saved with an archive extension such as ZIP, GZ or BZ2, and GIMP will transparently compress the file without you needing to do any extra steps.

Check this list, to see a concentrated list of GIMP features:

Painting

  • Full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone, etc.
  • Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high quality anti-aliasing
  • Extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool
  • Supports custom brushes and patterns

System

  • Tile based memory management so image size is limited only by available disk space
  • Virtually unlimited number of images open at one time

Advanced Manipulation

  • Full alpha channel support
  • Layers and channels
  • Multiple Undo/Redo (limited only by diskspace)
  • Editable text layers
  • Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip
  • Selection tools including rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy
  • Foreground extraction tool
  • Advanced path tool doing bezier and polygonal selections.
  • Transformable paths, transformable selections.
  • Quickmask to paint a selection.

Extensible

  • A Procedural Database for calling internal GIMP functions from external programs as in Script-fu
  • Advanced scripting capabilities (Scheme, Python, Perl)
  • Plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters
  • Over 100 plug-ins already available

Animation

  • Load and save animations in a convenient frame-as-layer format
  • MNG support
  • Frame Navigator
  • Onion Skin
  • Bluebox

File Handling

  • File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others
  • Load, display, convert, save to many file formats
  • SVG path import/export

How To Install

To install the latest version of GIMP in Ubuntu/Mint machines run the following commands in Terminal.


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp