GIMP to go Mono to stay?

GIMP getting the boot from Ubuntu and Mr De Icaza drooling over Silverlight 4? Whatever next? It certainly appears though the community isn't drooling over F-spot.

Since Im suffering with the seasonal flu that does its rounds, this article was intended to be published rather earlier, as such I have only just got around to spell checking and publishing.

Its being reported that GIMP will be removed from default packaging with Ubuntu 10.04.  To be honest I have never really been a user of the GIMP.  This stems from the fact that the investment of time required to learn the package cannot be justified with my requirements in a graphics package.  My needs for photo editing etc are pretty infrequent and often very simple.  Ive found that online apps provide more than enough features for my needs. Thom Holwerder giving the reasons behind this decision as follows:

The reasoning behind removing the GIMP from the default Ubuntu install is solid. The application is geared towards a different audience than Ubuntu itself; it’s for technical and skilled high-end graphic editors. This makes it unsuitable for quick image editing, because thanks to all its plug-ins, the GIMP’s loading time is long. To make matters worse, because the GIMP is a complicated and advanced application, its interface reflects that.

So personally that decision makes sense.   A few things that I would challenge however,  “because thanks to all its plug-ins, the GIMP’s loading time is long.” which I would question the validity of.  Ive just run GIMP on a 5 year old PC and its  load time is about 6 seconds.  Is that too long for Thom?  I doubt Microsoft would ever adopt this ethos since I can’t even get IE to load in Windows 7 within 6 seconds[1] and if Microsoft started stripping out packages that took 6 seconds or more to load, I don’t think there would be much (if anything) left in 7.

I would question the skilled and technical point too.  So gfx designers don’t use Ubuntu?  I’d suggest a pro gfx user would want an OS as simple and as easy as possible so that they can concentrate on their profession.  I’d say Ubuntu is exactly the distro they would be after.

At the end of the day though, its all academic and just how the default bundling of Open Office doesn’t prevent me from removing it in favour of AbiWord, this is a minor point and one thats as simple as me removing Mono from Ubuntu.

Moving onto Mono

Whilst the Mono supporters claim that it benefits FOSS, they apparently are not too keen with anyone expressing their opinions on that Free and Open ethos.  In my experience with them free speech is acceptable, as long as its in agreement of Mono.

Ive repeatedly felt the need to say that I don’t believe Mono is some sort of patent trap.  If I don’t repeat that now, my opinion will be cheapened and distorted with all sorts of implications.  I personally don’t use Mono or any of its affiliated wares.  Thats my choice.  You can make up your own mind.

However I digress.  When I originally asked the question about the Mono killer app, I was cheapened by Mono supporters.  My point was simple, if Mono has no killer app to its name and people are happy with non-Mono software, whats the point of having Mono on your system?  Is it not just bloat?

Worryingly that question was answered all too quickly for my liking at the news of GIMP being removed.  Whilst F-Spot has been looking to get into users regular choice it too has an issue (apparently) when wanting to edit photos (that being load time).  Allegedly the viewer software or light version is fine, however full one with all the advanced features was the one that took the time to load.   It is reported by Thom:

F-Spot developer Stephane Delcroix added the editing tools to the view mode within mere hours of hearing of Ubuntu’s plans to remove the GIMP.

Thom’s comments on GIMP were in my opinion fair enough, where it was spoilt was the news of F-Spots leaping into action to try and fill that gap.  That makes me suspicious.  Ive always said the Mono/Moonlight packages (either intentional or not) were not for me firstly because they are based on a Microsoft framework and secondly because they appear to be a sickly sweet taster for the full blown “hard stuff” only available from Microsoft.  This is not paranoia.  Compare Mono/Moonlight for yourself.  Forget patent traps, this is in my opinion like a supermarket offering tasters of wine (no pun intended)

Roy Schestowitz makes a valid comment:

If Canonical thinks of disk space as an issue, then why not remove Tomboy (or replace it), then remove Mono altogether

and in the spirit of space saving it will certainly make a difference.  Of course in my view this has nothing to do with space saving does it?  As we see next there are plenty of space saving alternatives (or simply just alternatives)

F-spot though (and its Mono framework) are not all they are cracked up to be if you read some opinions on the net and certainly in the past there have been issued raised:

I quite like F-spot’s interface, but its slow as all hell, and not terribly stable. I blame Mono.


I can’t get F-Spot to do anything but crash

Taken from the Ubuntu forums in 2007 here:

Although as you will read in the next section, in my opinion the feelings continue today with a poll conducted on the Ubuntu forums.

Alternatives to F-Spot

I digress.  I am sure that Stephane is a supporter of freedom of choice as much as they are free software, so with that in mind, lets give Thom a little help here and offer solutions that take even less time to load (since that seems one of his problems)

If like me, your requirements of photo editing are small, here are just a few online tools that require no installation and (which Im sure Thom et al will celebrate) make your distro gb requirement shrink even further.

Thats just a small selection, you get the idea.

So what do users think?  Well if the Ubuntu forum poll is anything to go by when asked if they use F-Spot:

No. I find it to be unusable. I use gthumb, digikam, picase instead. 32%

No. I find it to be unusable too, but use file manager for browsing photos. – 34%

Yes, I use it, but I use gimp for photo correction. – 20%

Yes, I use it, and I use embedded image editor for photo correction – 11%

So currently then only 11% actually use it for viewing/editing.  Thats hardly a glowing recommendation and in addition tends to put down Thom’s opinion that the majority of Ubuntu users find GIMP unusable.  On the basis of those stats I would suggest its more a reason to get rid of F-Spot than GIMP.

Mr De Icaza “drooling”?

Apparently so and with news of F-spot updates and GIMP getting the boot from Ubuntu he may have another reason.  Over on his blog, he seems to be jumping (in relation to Silverlight 4):

But having Microsoft stand behind this new model will open the gates to a whole new class of desktop applications for the desktop. The ones that I was dreaming about just two weeks ago……Droolingly yours,
Miguel de Icaza.

and maybe now he will also be pleased with the news of GIMP and F-Spot?

What a lovely mental image I am building up here.

Now before its claimed that this is some attack on Mr De Icaza (which it is not) lets have a look at some of his more recent Twitter comments:

Why I am uber-super-fascinated by Silverlight 4:

Lovely.  So why is Moonlight dragging so far behind and why not (if you are such a champion of Silverlight [1]) do you not just be done with it and migrate to Windows where you can assist in that community instead?

Silverlight 4 Beta available now at, will ship first half of 2010. w00t!

Mr De Icaza does seem to love his Microsoft technologies.  Nothing wrong with that, but it makes me wonder, what on earth is he still doing here if thats the case.

Mr De Icaza also has this to say with how he is being portrayed (I am presuming in relation to Boycott Novell):

I am their favorite defamation target. He lies, twists and misrepresets me. That site is 1% fact 99 bile

Im not sure who “their” is.  Roy is responsible for his own opinions (many of which I differ from) and as far as Im aware Roy acts by himself.  There is no collective of agreement or exclusive gang over on BN Chat.  Anyone can check the logs to see the amount of debates people have with differing views.  So where is the bile here Mr De Icaza?  Have I misquoted/misrepresented you?  Please let me know.

Mr De Icaza, its not unfair to say that maybe, just maybe people moved from a Microsoft platform to Linux because they were disappointed and let down by it.  Its not Microsoft hatred to not want to go back to those days or at least aspire to emulate Microsoft technologies.


As always its up to the reader to draw their own conclusions and decide which route is best for them.   For me personally it makes no difference as any new distro containing Mono (and subsequently any of its wares) is removed upon install.  I do wonder why Mr De Icaza harks after Microsoft technologies as much as he does, but more importantly doesn’t consider the effect of doing this on, IMO an un-trusting Linux community in regards to Microsoft.


[1] I am currently still running/reviewing Windows 7.  I intend to spend longer with it than with any of my Linux distro reviews just to ensure that I am not unfairly representing it.

Links for further reading

Goblin –


7 thoughts on “GIMP to go Mono to stay?

Add yours

  1. **IMPORTANT**

    I apologize to anyone posting. Due to a sustained flu illness I am not in a position to respond.

    There are no more automated posts so you may not hear anything for the next couple of days.


    PS and I nearly forgot. Thanks everyone for the get well messages!

  2. I regularly use The GIMP to crop images and resize them for emailing. So while I only use perhaps 0.000001% of its vast capabilities, it loads very quickly and so I don’t have any complaints.

    However, I really don’t see a problem with leaving GIMP out of the default installation just as long as it is available for those of us who would like to use it. This is no different than Inkscape which is also missing from the default installation but is still packaged and easily available to those who request it.

    So now, instead of having to explicitly go and get Inkscape, I will also need to go and get the GIMP too. No big deal.

    What really breaks my heart is the complete lack of KPDF in the repositories after 8.04 or something. This is the best PDF reader, period, bar none, on ANY platform. Its browser-like navigation (following links and then letting you go back and forth just like Firefox or any other HTML browser) is breathtakingly stellar.

    Just my 2.31 cents.

  3. Cant say Ive ever used KPDF…maybe have to compile it myself now…

    I agree with GIMP comments and I think for me the only dubious issue was the speed in which F-spot seemed to leap into action to try and fill a gap. (although Ubuntu’s own forums suggest users want GIMP more than F-spot, complicated or not)

    Suffice to say, there is no place for f-spot for me anymore than there was GIMP.

  4. This so-called reasoning for removing GIMP makes me ill. We are geeks, uber-geeks. We like sharp, shiny powerful tools. To say it is to sharp, shiny, and powerful for mom and pop casual user is utterly bizarre. Compared to many programs pushed for all in the non-free world, GIMP is pretty simple. To dumb down our distros to not have anything that some might consider scary just makes us lose much of our goodness. All in my humble opinion of course.

    As far as Mono goes, we need a language that is good at systems level construction and that provides some common inter-language basis. C and C++ are not good at these things. Python and Ruby are too slow but make excellent glue languages. Lisp could have been and could still be it with a lot of love and cooperation between the most pig headed collection of huge brains in computerdom. Java didn’t make it and is boring as hell to write in. So what is left? Is there something else we can plug in? And personally, I spend a lot of time of late hacking in virtual world space, especially OpenSim. It is written in, quess what? C#. So either I have to stomach windows to do the work or I really really am happy to have Mono. Yeah, I and some army could rewrite the stuff in Lisp or something some years down the road. Sure. Maybe in Erlang.

  5. Quote ” To dumb down our distros to not have anything that some might consider scary just makes us lose much of our goodness.”

    Completely agree and Ive always said its the reason why Windows became the bloated product it was….pandering to the “one click fixes for one click fixes” user with layer upon layer of “features”…..I would not like to see Linux attract the users that are like this on the Windows lest we end up with a Windows like product.

    Quote “As far as Mono goes, we need a language that is good at systems level construction and that provides some common inter-language basis. C and C++ are not good at these things”

    To which I’d say that Linux got where it did today without MONO…performance wise its certainly no comparison in respect of Python…however lets not play the comparison game lest we mention C code compared to that of a C# binary. Theres no killer app, all the mainstream apps are not using C#, my point has always been “Whats the point?” its merely another language and layer of bloat that is not needed merely because the mainstream apps have proved its not.

    I have many examples of like for like apps which C# is no comparison….

    You say about dumbing down and yet go on to imply of the cohesiveness and accessability of Mono….I ask you when firefox going to be written with a Mono facilitation? what about OO? infact appart from tacky little apps written by bedroom coders I am seeing very little evidence of any devs of note even being interested in it..maybe you can correct me there?

    As for me, regardless of if Mono is leaning on a Microsoft Tech or even if Vince McMahon and the entire WWE endorsed it, I would not be interested…. The reluctance to involve myself within the Mono framework stems from the fact that its a another layer of bloat that offers nothing that can’t already be achieved (and for my requirements as a hobbyist) the “easyness” and “cohesiveness” that Mono allegedly promotes is no enticement to me because its a poison challace…and Im not even talking about the patent trap issue because personally I don’t buy that.

    Kind regards

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