Blog Post

OMFGWTFBBQ! No more Gimp?

Seriously, is removing Gimp from a default install of Ubuntu that bad? Bad enough for you to leave Ubuntu for some other distribution? I have been reading blog posts, news sites, blog comments, IRC, Twitter, and, and what I am seeing simply amazes me. Thus far, the popular topic to these complaints is that Ubuntu is making the desktop even dumber. So, if Ubuntu is making the desktop dumber, I guess in the past it has made many lazier? I mean, installing Gimp isn’t a big deal. I am a Kubuntu user, and KDE user of other distros, and none off the top of my head include Gimp. Just now, I had to reinstall my system because my hard drive blew up. In just over a minute I had Gimp, the Plugin Repo, and Inkscape installed. And for you all who are going crazy over the decision, just know that the developers of Gimp agree with the decision:

“That is pretty much in-line with our product vision. GIMP is a high-end
application for professionals. It is not the tool that you would advise
every user to use for their casual photo editing. And as far as I
understand this, it’s not that GIMP would not be available for Ubuntu
users. It’s simply not installed by default.


HERE is a comment from the Gimp world supporting it, HERE is another, and another. I use Zsh, Ubuntu doesn’t ship that by default, I am going to go take a turkey hostage now!

Simmah down nah! It isn’t the end of the world. When Ubuntu switches to KDE in 2012, then it will be the end of the world!

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  • AiO

    There are a whole bunch of programs that are not installed by default. I usually install ubuntu-server and go from there, so I can not understand what all the fuzz is about – at all.

    I have a feeling that Ubuntu provides an easy-start for many new GNU/Linux users. And the concept of first getting a high-end software “for free” when they insert their live-CD and then not getting that high-end software “for free” anymore is a big deal. I saddens me to realize that the basics of OpenSource and the world-class packet management of Debian/Ubuntu still evades most of these users minds πŸ™ I hope that the standard level of knowledge will increase with time – There might still be hope for the humans?

    Anyone who has gone bazooka over the decision to not install The Gimp software along with the gnome desktop by default in Ubuntu, please take a look at this “magic” i provode you… And yes… It is “for free”:

    $ sudo apt-get install gimp

    Enjoy the free software as it is, FREE – not free of charge. And enjoy the wonderful packet management system developed by Debian/Ubuntu-volunteers who do not want anything else then that you use their software. And last… When you have installed The Gimp software – Enjoy it as you did before. I hope that people can realize that they also can install other programs then the ones that come along with the Live-CD πŸ™‚

    Best regards,

  • nilux

    It would be stupid to switch from Ubuntu because of that, since Ubuntu was the only major distribution to ship The Gimp by default…

  • oliver

    For me it’s not about the time it takes to run apt-get install gimp. Rather, I’d like to rely on the default package install to contain everything needed for a nice desktop system. Yes, I am lazy; I do not want to maintain huge lists of “things to change on a fresh Ubuntu install”. The shorter those lists are, the better.

    But yes, it’s nothing to get agitated about. There are more important things than Ubuntu πŸ™‚

  • zenarcher

    I agree. I fail to understand the outrage. I’m also a KDE user. When I read the complaint comments, I have to wonder how many people do a default install of Ubuntu or Kubuntu and add no other packages other than those included in the default install. Personally, I add many, many more packages and adding one more “click” in Synaptic is just no big deal.

  • As someone who has used Gimp daily for years on Kubuntu, I couldn’t agree more. Most users don’t need it. Advanced users who do can install it in a flash. Yes, defaults matter a lot, which is why our defaults need to match the average user as best we can. The average, is also different from “lowest common denominator” unless you believe the average computer user is “the lowest of the low”!

    I do agree with the suggestion though that it would be great to have some kind of guide to the leading applications in the area of your choice on first install though. I mean something more visible than an “editors choice” in synaptic. I’m thinking more like something on the desktop when you boot that says something like:


    Did you know Ubuntu provides you over XXX,XXX
    other programs to install for free?
    See the recommended options for:

    * Web development
    * Art creation
    * Video creation
    * Sound and Music
    * Coding
    * Education
    * Games


    Clicking on the links would show lists of recommended apps with pictures, descriptions, links to support forums, possibly reviews and popularity. A single button (apturl?) would then install each one, as would a checkbox and “Install All” button. Remember, pictures etc. wouldn’t need to be created for *every* app, just the recommended ones.

    That would hilight Gimp far more than just being installed by default. It would also hilight a stack of other excellent programs like Audacity, Inkscape, Blender etc. and help people understand how much more you get with a free OS than one where you pay for everything. People would understand this merely by booting a live cd once. Ever.

    Man, that would be sweet.

  • Dang. I’m really not fussed what Ubuntu does, but I’d love to see that in Kubuntu! πŸ˜‰

  • I’d even be prepared to help with getting screenshots, links and writing text if someone would just do the code and get an agreement on this.


  • It could even just be a local html file with apt-url links displayed with the web browser plasmoid at a pinch…

    OK, must stop spamming your blog now… It could just be so *easy* though!

    *double sigh*

  • I got exactly one thing to say: “sudo apt-get install gimp”

  • val-gaav

    “When Ubuntu switches to KDE in 2012, then it will be the end of the world!”

    It would be “kool” if the switch happened a bit earlier though πŸ™‚ .Oh well I’m going to save up to have a little party in 2012. What release will it be 12.4(playful penguin) πŸ™‚ ?

  • Man, “P” just *has* to be penguin…

  • Matt Mossholder

    I’m much less concerned about removing GIMP than I am about using F-Spot as a replacement. F-Spot is only capable of filling one of the many roles that the GIMP previously filled. There should be something equivalent to MS paint installed as well. Quick sketches or marking up of photos is another common use case for end-users, and we would be alienating them without something to fill this role.

  • Groovy, awesome comments!!! Usually my posts tend to start riots :p

    @Kubuntunatic – I thought we had that in the older docs, however I don’t think they were easily found. That might be a good thing to add to the “About Kubuntu” page possibly as that gets linked on the Live CD desktop, and maybe we could keep in the Desktop plasmoid that comes up. I know Ubuntu has a similar list as well. I will have to research this and put it into effect πŸ™‚

    @Matt – F-Spot isn’t replacing Gimp though, it can’t replace it, in Linux there is no replacement for Gimp. As for the MS Paint thing, does GNOME have a small app like that? I know KDE does or used to.

  • I couldn’t resist, I knocked up a mock-up of both the widget showing the (temp) categories and apps shown. The point here is *not* what the categories or apps should be, but how it would work and look.

    The irony is that this mockup is all using the actual web browser plasmoid with real html, so it’s actually about 90% there already…

    Category view:

    Recommended App view:

    If anyone’s interested in seeing my hastily mocked-up html/css (which, yes, needs improving -it’s a mockup), let me know and I’ll upload it somewhere.

  • Ideally, I’d love to get rid of the extra buttons/slider on the bottom of the browser plasmoid and make the screenshot thumbnails link to larger images. Step one though would be just getting interest in seeing something like this for new users to discover our “free apps advantage” better. Step 2 I imagine would be getting it on jriddells desk. πŸ™‚

  • Obviously adept users can use apt-get to install GIMP, that’s not the issue. The issue is in having productivity software installed to handle the needs of users.

    If Ubuntu had a better solution for having newbs choose software, this would be less of a big deal. However even with the (substantially improved) Ubuntu Software Centre in Karmic, it’s still difficult for a complete amateur to find an application. Instead there is a long messy list, organized by alphabet and not relevance or quality.

    The mock-ups by Kubuntiac are precisely what is needed to address this gap. If something like that is delivered at the same time, then not installing GIMP by default is not a big deal at all.

  • @Ryan – If someone needs Gimp, they are obviously going to know how to install it.

    “If Ubuntu had a better solution for having newbs choose software, this would be less of a big deal.”

    If they are so-called newbs, then there is a great chance they don’t need Gimp, as according to the head Gimp dev, it is for professionals. The current installation method for Ubuntu is a different story, because with the thought of a better installation manager, then we wouldn’t need any software installed by default, or with the current bad way of installing, we should just incorporate every piece of software in the repository. also shows Gimp in the 520th spot for install/use. If you go through the forums, IRC, and mailing lists, I would have to say Gimp doesn’t fulfill a need of the typical, or most encountered, user of Ubuntu.

  • Seems to me that whether someone believes Gimp should or shouldn’t be installed by default, that almost everyone can agree that we want people new to (K)Ubuntu to find the great stuff not there by default. It also seems to me that the people who are unhappy with it’s removal are largely saying they *would* be happy if it’s existence and quality were acknowledged somewhere obvious to the people who might be interested.

    Ok. I’m biased. However, as far as I can see, 99% of people would be ok with Gimp not installed by default, if there was some kind of showcasing like in the mockup. (Although I’m sure that the other 1% will post here to refute it! lol). This would likely give it *more* exposure than just an entry in the menu as they get to read a full description and know that it’s highly recommended.

    Surely this would be the easiest way to still remove it *and* address the concerns people have about that? Better yet, we get to drive home to new users one of our greatest strengths: all the great software that a free desktop enables. +1 for the Gimp, *and* all the other xxxx great projects out there. +1 for uniting a divided community.

    Vote Kubuntiac for President?
    “For a default installation policy you can believe in.” πŸ˜‰

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