Re: [Gimp-developer] Getting the recognition that GIMP deserves

Hi Mathew,

Sexual affinities aside, the idea of a 'brand' in a marketing sense, implies a whole mess of legal/manufacturing/marketing trickery aside from the consumer's 'brand' perception. It is my belief that in a F/OSS setting a term 'brand' is a blasphemy beyond belief and must not ever be uttered. Shouting: Nobody expects Spanish inquisition! and all... :))

That said, I am 100% with you on this:
To really get the recognition, acceptance and use that GIMP deserves, it needs to evolve its identity.

And, if I can continue, that 'identity' comes from more than the splash screen.

The goodies: Many components of a potentially good identity perception and acceptance among the users (and those who will become users), are already there. The devs are creating amazing magic, UI team, too. There is a GIMP 'tradition', too. Furthermore, the setting GIMP is in is a fine setting. GIMP is F/OSS. Meaning, no commercial rat-race, no market competition. Even in F/OSS world, there's really no match for GIMP in that niche.

The baddies: And somehow, to an uninitiated, GIMP often comes across as a baffling mess. I have noticed last year, as a part of a research, that among the users, there are GIMP 'monks' way up 'above' who seem to know every trick and loophole there is. Then, there are those brave initiates who try enthusiastically. Many of them don't stick for too long, but some do. And then there is a big, big void in the middle. That void is a result of low acceptance, I think. A problem you mentioned.

The users 'in the middle' are a very important part of the ecosystem, since they usually produce the bulk of various outputs valuable for project. Artwork, feedback, ideas, inspirations, frustrations. The 'middle part' are the users who are not wizards neither newbies. They know how things are going and they can use them fairly well for what they're trying to create, and they are capable of voicing the praises and issues in a more-less intelligible fashion within the context. Since the focus of my research is elsewhere, I did not dig deeper into this, but the absence of 'those in the middle' when it comes to GIMP struck me an indication or a symptom that something's off.

Some say, GIMP has an identity and the recognition it deserves. I can agree with that, too. Without sarcasm, GIMP really has the identity and recognition it deserves in both bad and good senses. If GIMP's identity was a character, we could imagine it as an undercover, shady character. Once we get to meet and interact with that character, we see that he/she is a cutting-edge, inconsistently capable, slightly bipolar (multipolar?) character that one must either accept as it is or just move on. But, I am putting my bet on 2.8, too. I believe that the UI redesign will cure this character's bipolar disorder, at least. :)

Oui, that splash screen was a genuine, proverbial 'slap on the forehead' moment. I am not trying to put down the author of the image. I think it's smart. A humorous visual recursion applied on a developer version splash-screen. No, it should not be there. Not because of anyone's standards of decency, but because it is unconnected, or cryptic, at best. On the other hand, a dev version splash screen would be a good place to tell the testers what's new, what should be tested, what's still messy, etc.

"It's only a dev version, general users won't see it." is a lame excuse on many levels. Is there 'us' and 'them' in open source? Who is, exactly, this mythical 'general user', or 'majority'? Who should tell 'them' this is not for real. And once we tell 'them', this is what they might think: "Oh, I see! For stable versions GIMP turns 'Im'ma PRO, dude!' face, otherwise, it's just clowning around." After that, it does get a little harder to make 'them' believe that GIMP is an acceptable tool, I think. A brief search on 'Gimp 2.7 splash screen' provided one example of what an odd snowball of personal opinions, preferences and very bad recognition this can create.

In the end, this whole thing is nothing serious or catastrophic at all, but it is a great indication for a few itches.
So, how can we scratch them?


On 11-11-10 12:23 , Mathew Oakes wrote:
I hope this is a suitable place to post this.

2.8 is shaping up as a great release!

Opening the 2.7.3 distribution crystallised in my mind, the core problem inhibiting greater acceptance of the GIMP. 

The quasi-bestial bondage image on the loading screen is unnecessarily disturbing. As a first impression for all new users, the loading screen needs to highlight features and benefits of the program and help explain to the user what's in it for them. 

The whole gimp/bondage pun might have been worth a chuckle years ago, but unfortunately it's not a useful idea for promoting graphic software. The pun distracts away from the important message of what the software is and what it does -- and confuses it with undesirable perverse behaviour. The confused 'brand' becomes is an unnecessary barrier for many people to use the software. 

From the perspective of new/naive users:
  • Is it NSFW? What about a school?
  • Why should I treat this software seriously?
To really get the recognition and use that GIMP deserves, it needs to evolve its identity.

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