Glimpse wants to be the new GIMP, is it?


In the world of free software it is very common to have the creation of forks of famous projects, the Linux Kernel itself has already been forked over 27 thousand times on GitHub. The most recent case of a famous software to receive a fork project, is the GNU Image Manipulator Program, known as “GIMP”, by the people here on the street.

More curious than the creation of forks, is the reason for their creations. despite the Glimpse project to have some ideas for improvements to bring to GIMP, one of the main reasons is the name “GIMP”.

Did not understand?

So, for Portuguese speakers it doesn’t really make much sense, but in fact, the word “GIMP” can mean many things, as it shows this disambiguation session to Wikipedia.

Among the possible interpretations, the word “gimp” can be used as a slang for a bad comment about people with certain physical disabilities. Check out the informal vocabulary dictionary in English.

Among other attributions, “gimp” also refers to a certain type of element used by sadomasochists, in addition to also being the name of a New York dance group, “The GIMP Project”, which could eventually cause copyright disputes over the name (perhaps).

I spent years using GIMP without being aware of this type of association, and although this apparently did not affect the project very deeply, especially in countries where the native language is different from English, some people claim a certain difficulty to enter the market because of the name, claiming a certain resistance because of that.

It’s not the first time that happens

These idiomatic problems happened at other times in history, the very use of the expression “Open Source”, was created, in part, to avoid the use of “Free Software”, because the word “Free” also means “ free ”, and ended up passing the wrong idea to the market, among other things.

Although, within the technical communities this is not a big problem, imagine “pushing” systems with the name “Kubuntu” or even “Fedora” into the lay market, which we know refers to the hat, but also remembers the name “Fedor”, as I’ve seen people commenting in the community.

Do you see how it can really be problematic? Probably the word “gimp” for English speakers, it would be as if we called the Portuguese image editor “Aleijado”, in an inaccurate translation, but which serves to illustrate, in addition to the various other possible associations.

Open source is for that

The discussion for the name of GIMP has happened in the past, where, apparently, since nothing has been changed in this sense, the name has been kept.

The interesting side of free software is that if you don’t agree, even with the name of the tool, you can create a fork to call as you wish and continue your own development from there.

According to the Glimpse website, which is still very “raw” and with little information, next month we will have the first release of the tool, in version “0.1”, which would be just a fork construction of GIMP, with the first changes proposed.

In 2020 the expectation is to launch version 1.0, already ported to GTK3, with documentation and extras.

We cannot say if Glimpse will be a long-term project, or if it will only be a passing thing for some people who are not satisfied with the GIMP name. The GIMP project has been in need of developers for a long time, we don’t know exactly why, but I think the creation of a new project, or even the organization of GIMP to become a foundation, similar to what Krita and Blender did, can be beneficial.

I know that we Brazilians have never had any problems with the name GIMP, but if this is identified as a factor that prevents the growth of the project in English-speaking places, just as it happened with the disambiguation of “Free Software” with the sentence “ Open Source ”, I see nothing wrong with considering a rebranding. Freedom is for those who agree and for those who disagree, isn’t it?

What did you think of the project idea? Even though I never made any negative connotations with the name “gimp”, I confess that I like how “Glimpse” sounds to my ears. Is that you?

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