The Glimpse project has released a new fork of the GNU Image Manipulation Program often referred to as ‘GIMP,’ called Glimpse image editor. This free, open-source image editing software is building upon the legacy of the GNU Image Manipulation Program to make free image editing software more user-friendly and accessible. If you’re unfamiliar with GNU Image Manipulation Program, it is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, offering much of the same core functionality.

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GNU Image Manipulation has remained an important tool for many users, but over time, it has seen fewer updates and improvements and has lagged behind modern photo editing software. By forking, Glimpse Image Editor can build upon a stable foundation but reinvigorate efforts to improve the usability and functionality of the software.

Screenshot from Glimpse image editor

There are three primary reasons for the Glimpse project forking. First is the name of the GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP. The name ‘GIMP’ was chosen nearly two decades ago as a reference to a scene in the cult classic movie, Pulp Fiction. However, many people find the name offensive. At worst, the name is ableist and reduces the reach of the program, especially in educational settings. There have been many user complaints and requests for the GNU Image Manipulation Program to be renamed, but the team in charge of the project has opted against a major change.

Secondly, the dedicated user interface design team for GNU Image Manipulation Program hasn’t met since 2012, resulting in fewer usability improvements and slower development of updates.

Finally, GNU Image Manipulation Program made the decision to remove its built-in mechanism to support third-party plug-ins. To help deal with this, Glimpse will include useful third-party plug-ins pre-bundled.

The Glimpse project is quick to point out that the intention is not to replace GNU Image Manipulation Program, but rather, to provide a rebranded fork which is more appropriate in professional and educational settings. On GitHub, the Glimpse project says the following of Glimpse image editor, ‘The aim of Glimpse Image Editor is to repackage the GNU Image Manipulation Program to make it more appealing to the wider computer-using public, and also to better tailor the program for school and workplace deployments.’

Of course, it is about more than just the name. As of now, Glimpse has been focused on removing the pre-existing ‘GIMP’ branding. Over the longer term, the team aims to revise the graphical user interface and improve overall functionality and usability. Ultimately, in terms of both the name and overall goals for Glimpse, the team hopes to make free image editing software more accessible.

As of now, you can download and install Glimpse on systems running Windows 7 or newer and modern variants of GNU/Linux. Support for macOS is in the works. Glimpse can be downloaded from Snapcraft and from Glimpse directly. If you are interested in learning more about the project and finding out how you can contribute, click here.