November 1995 - the first announcement of the beta launch of the "general image manipulation program", "The GIMP" (later renamed only "GIMP").

From: Peter Mattis
Date: 1995-11-21
Message-ID: <48s543$>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development.apps,comp.os.linux.misc,

The GIMP: the General Image Manipulation Program
The GIMP is designed to provide an intuitive graphical interface to a variety of image editing operations. Here is a list of the GIMP's major features:

 Image viewing
   *  Supports 8, 15, 16 and 24 bit color.
   *  Ordered and Floyd-Steinberg dithering for 8 bit displays.
   *  View images as rgb color, grayscale or indexed color.
   *  Simultaneously edit multiple images.
   *  Zoom and pan in real-time.
   *  GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and XPM support.

 Image editing
   *  Selection tools including rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy, bezier and intelligent.
   *  Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip.
   *  Painting tools including bucket, brush, airbrush, clone, convolve, blend and text.
   *  Effects filters (such as blur, edge detect).
   *  Channel & color operations (such as add, composite, decompose).
   *  Plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters.
   *  Multiple undo/redo.

 *  The operating system must support shared memory.
 *  X11 R5 or R6\. (Actually, it may work on R4, but we have not had a chance to test it).
 *  The X-server must support the X shared memory extension. (The X-server does not actually need to support shared memory so this is only a temporary situation until we integrate the configure information with the source code).
 *  Motif 1.2 or above.

The GIMP has been tested (and developed) on the following operating systems: Linux 1.2.13, Solaris 2.4, HPUX 9.05, SGI IRIX. Currently, the biggest restriction to running the GIMP is the Motif requirement. We will release a statically linked binary for several systems soon (including Linux).


Brought to you by
  Spencer Kimball (
  Peter Mattis (

This software is currently a beta release. This means that we haven't implemented all of the features we think are required for a full, unqualified release. There are undoubtedly bugs we haven't found yet just waiting to surface given the right conditions. If you run across one of these, please send mail to with precise details on how it can be reliably reproduced.

Much has changed since then. Here are some landmarks:

- They came with GTK - a set of interface tools used by GNOME and Xfce. GTK is now a standalone project used by thousands of developers.

- They brought a new image processing engine called GEGL, now used by several other software projects.

- They have a few debatable pseudonyms, such as "Photoshop for Linux", "Free Photoshop" and "that ugly software".

Happy birthday Gimp!


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