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reBlog | eyebeam.org

GREANE TREE’s ReBlog of the day:

Shared by eyebeam

Emma saw this a month ago, and mentioned to me it might be interesting to teach GIMP and Photoshop side by side, more about “skills development than product knowledge.”

Reading about open source and free software, as par Richard Stallman’s take, I realized that though I’ve never really jumped on Linux, I do have experience with a certain pet-project of the free software/open source world: GIMP.

While I physically cringe searching the title in Google, “GIMP” is a free software photo and picture editing tool. It has many of the same capabilities of the popular Adobe Photoshop software, without the $700+ price tag. Of course, there are some serious advantages to the more costly Adobe product (more filter options, more intuitive controls, enhanced responsiveness), but overall, especially for the casual user, GIMP preforms admirably as a replacement for otherwise outlandishly expensive software.

Prior to reading the Stallman articles I had never really been exposed to the debate about, much less between, open source and free software. I knew bits and pieces about it, but I definitely wasn’t aware that there was such an ideological component underlying the free software argument. Reading “Why Open Source misses the point of Free Software,” however, reminded me of what initially attracted me to GIMP.

I started using Photoshop, in some version, over half a decade ago. I didn’t pay the box price, as my father works for a large government administration and was able to secure a copy that way. When I got my laptop shortly before coming to college, however, I didn’t install Photoshop right away — though I certainly could have badgered my dad for another disc.

After hearing about GIMP, I downloaded it instead to try it out. I liked the sort of spunky, scrappy aspect of using software that more or less did what Adobe did without the crippling cost. Since either version was not going to personally cost me anything, price didn’t factor into my decision nearly as much as a certain respect for the scale of the project that GIMP was tackling.

Though I’m not sure exactly what folks working at Adobe think about programs like GIMP, I think that free — not just the “free speech” type but also the “free beer” type — play an important role in offering an alternative to less-than-legal software sharing. After all, though torrenting software may not require the most advanced computer knowledge or present a huge inconvenience, downloading a program like GIMP requires less technical know-how and takes a lot less effort.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about some angry legal department knocking down your door.

reBlog | eyebeam.org.

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