UDS Wednesday kicked off with a super interesting session; a meeting entitled “Application selection in the default install“.

Over three posts I’ll present the main ideas and discussions from these meetings: Whittling the default game selection down, removing GIMP from default installs & what best to use for photo-editing and the decision to potentially include PiTiVi as a default application in Lucid Lynx…

Remember that nothing is final and decisions may change over the course of the development cycle.

Bye Bye GIMP!

The decision has been taken, and it seemed pretty final that The GIMP will not be included in Ubuntu Lucid by default.

The decisions behind this are based on a few factors: –

  • the general user doesn’t use it
  • its user-interface is too complex
  • it’s an application for professionals
  • desktop users just want to edit photos and they can do that in F-Spot
  • it is a Photoshop replacement and Photoshop isn’t included by default in Windows…
  • it takes up room on the disc
Of course, these are all perfectly valid points – and i agree with most of them. I can’t say that i do use the GIMP most of the time (though that is more because of its interface than its power) and it takes up room better used for other applications that will save me an “apt-get install”.

The Risk

Linux likes/needs/wants to show that it can do everything Windows can do, has application replacements just as powerful and feature complete and Joe User shouldn’t feel that they’ll be missing out by coming over to the FOSS world. Ubuntu does this successfully.

Does removing GIMP reduce the ‘allure’ that first time users will come across? In place of one of the most powerful adverts for OpenSource software they will find what that will impress them as much? Is it the job of Ubuntu to promote the best that Linux has to offer? Does showing off the power of Linux persuade first-timers?

Did it impress you?

The Logic

The logic behind this is sound. Desktop users just do not need something as powerful as The GIMP. It takes up space, it’s not widely used outside of designers and a simpler “paint” type programme would better serve the features it provides that don’t overlap with F-Spot.

Cos that is what this is really about: It’s used to edit photos, but F-Spot edits photos, too. Two apps doing the same thing in a default install is insanity. Pick your horse and back it. In Lucid this horse will be F-Spot… or will it?

The Solution?

Although GIMP won’t be installed by default, there was a short discussion on creating “Staff Picks” for the Ubuntu Software Centre. These would be applications highlighted and, in short, promoted as useful. The idea of creating “suites” was also brought up – such as a “Graphics Suite” which would be a one-click install yet give you GIMP, Inkscape, etc.

F-Spot Vs gThumb Vs Eog Vs Shotwell

Another issue brought up surrounding image editing was F-Spot.

Users need to manually import photos into F-Spot before they can edit them. They can’t just view a photo in F-Spot and edit it which is the functionality those at the meeting feel is important.

The Contenders

F-Spot has a photo-viewer, but it lacks the speed and the editing integration. You still need to import photos into F-Spot proper to edit.

gThumb was suggested as a replacement for both F-Spot AND the current default image viewer in Ubuntu “Eye of Gnome”. gThumb is fast, has editing capabilities baked in and can do photo management.

Shotwell was brought up briefly (we reviewed it a couple of days ago) though it is less an image viewer and more a lighter version of F-Spot.

The Winner

The consensus was to stick with both EOG and F-Spot. Two avenues will be persued in time for Lucid: –

  • Getting F-Spot to edit photos via it’s photo viewer
  • Inserting an “edit” entry into EOG that opens the photo in F-Spot for editing