What happened to GIMP 2.8

What happened to GIMP 2.8

The recently published article "What's up with free multimedia production tools in 2010" already mentions that GIMP 2.8 is not going to be released this year despite of past estimations. However an advanced explanation is missing and still has to be communicated to users who are not exactly following events.

Here is some background. In January 2010 Martin Nordholts, one of GIMP core developers, tried to bring some order to development process and estimated how much time it would take to release 2.8 given a certain amount of tasks to solve and their complexity. Later this estimation was revisited three times, for the last time — in June 2010, and the assumed date of 2.8 release was December 26 at the time.

Unfortunately the GIMP team that has always been short-handed became even more shorthanded during spring 2010, when Martin became too busy to contribute to the project on daily basis the way he used to, thus leaving the team with just 2.5 dedicated developers. This is quite unfortunate, since the only big chunk of work left to do for 2.8 is the optional single-window mode, for which the final design spec is also missing at the time.

Having heard "where on Earth is 2.8?" several times today I figured out that all of this is not exactly well-known to users, so I sat down today and did some calculations. Given that vector layers and SIOX (foreground selection tool) improvements from GSoC2009 project are likely to be postponed till 2.10-3.0, release of 2.8 looks like 1.5 months of work of a single person full-time (8 hours a day). This is based on the figures from the last estimation.

Martin is currently busy working on a helper tool to streamline project management in the GIMP project. Once there are any news on release plans fo v2.8, we'll let you know.

As a quick reminder, GIMP 2.8 will be coming with the following essential changes:

  1. Optional single-window mode.
  2. Text tool working on canvas, with rich text formatting.
  3. Cairo based tools rendering on canvas, bringing a new slick user experience.
  4. New Cage transform tool.
  5. Much improved brush dynamics, with more flexibility.
  6. Tagging of assets
  7. Layer groups.
  8. Refactored API for developers.

Stay tuned!

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