A free Open Source imaging software for Windows does most things found in pricey options
QUESTION: WHAT can be better than low-cost software?
Answer: No-cost software!
For many thousands of PC users, a good and legal version of an image editing software is usually beyond reach.
For users who want something better than the `Paint' tool that comes free with the Windows operating system, there are hardly any image editing software tools that also fit the purse of budget-conscious home users.
That was yesterday.
Cool new tool
We have news for you, of a cool new tool that allows you to play around with photos and other images, in much the same way (if not quite so elaborately) as the big-name industry standard image editing software packages, that works on Windows and Macintosh platforms.
It comes from the Open Source software community, but it works on multiple platforms, Linux, Windows and Mac. It's called GIMP, short for GNU Image Manipulation Programme, become extremely popular in its original Linux version and is possibly the most widely used imaging tool in the open source environment.
In fact, the Hollywood animation film Scooby-Doo, released in 2002, made extensive use of GIMP in the computer graphics processes.
In recent weeks, GIMP has become available in a stable Windows version (version 2.2.4), and for most lay users is more than adequate, as a semi-professional image editing tool.
Like all things from the Open Source community, GIMP is absolutely free to download and use, with no strings attached.
The main GIMP website www.gimp.org has a link to the Windows download site, www.gimp.org/windows/.
You have to download in three parts first, the GIMP runtime environment (GTK+2), a 3.4 MB file; followed by the actual GIMP programme, a 7 MB download, and optionally a 10 MB download containing the help and user manual.
This writer could download all three files in about 15 minutes at telephone dial-up speed and GIMP opened smoothly on a Windows XP machine. You need a minimum of 128 MB main memory and about 30 MB of HDD to run the programme.
The application opens as two windows one with the tool icons and the other, the workspace.
Users who have some experience with Photoshop or Paintshop Pro will have no difficulty in getting down to work immediately.
For others, it's fairly intuitive.
This is very much a collaborative effort and every day members are adding new features and improvements.
Hardcore professionals may find some holes to pick in GIMP and will probably remain faithful to their tried and trusted tools, but for the rest of us, who look to save some moolah, the new mantra may well be "Gimme Gimp!".
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