I am a network engineer at a major public university. I’m a husband, a father and an open source advocate. I have recently noticed a dearth of GIMP tutorials on the ‘net. I’ve decided to use this space to adapt some of the more popular Photoshop tutorials out there for The GIMP, both as a learning experience for myself and as a service to the open source community. Eventually I hope to become skilled enough to provide my own original tutorials.
If you know of a Photoshop tutorial out there you’d like to see adapted, please email me, and I’ll put it on my to-do list.
Open Source Advocacy
I said in the intro that I was an open source advocate, so I thought this would be a good place for it. You already know that I use the GIMP, but what else? I run the GIMP on my notebook which runs Ubuntu Linux which many people find to be the easiest of Linux platforms. If you’re a person who’s tried Linux before but became disillusioned because of dependancy hell, or a lack of quality software, then I think you’d be surprised at how far Debian and Ubuntu have taken things. With the “apt” package manager, dependency hell is completely gone. You just search for the software you want to install, tell it to install, and apt does the rest.
If you’re a speed junkie, Ubuntu takes full advantage of the latest processor technology giving you unmatched performance. Almost all hardware with a few notable exceptions in the wireless network card area, is supported right out of the box, and you can get those wireless cards working with a few simple steps easily located on the www.ubuntuforums.org website. Ubuntu comes preloaded with everything you need for a basic home or office computer, and the Synaptic package manager makes finding anything else a snap.
Okay, enough about Linux, what else am I using? Well, I use the GAIM Pidgin instant messenger client on a daily basis to keep connected both to my work, and personal contacts. I use Mozilla Firefox for a web browser. I use OpenOffice for my word processing and spreadsheet needs. I use IEs4Linux as an Internet Explorer clone for those sites that won’t render without it. I have started experimenting with Inkscape, which seems like an amazing vector graphics application. Not to mention all the other open source projects that run on top of the Linux kernel to give me the work of art that is my GUI.
Don’t let me fool you though. Open source software is not for everyone. You have to balance the pro’s and con’s. Sometimes OSS can be time consuming to get working, especially if you have strange, proprietary hardware. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, the GIMP is more for the hobbyist than for the professional photographer. The same can be said for almost any OSS application. While they are functional, sometimes they are not what you expect. If you enjoy tinkering with things to make them work exactly how you want, OSS applications might be for you. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like tinker, then maybe not.
I encourage anyone and everyone to try OSS first. Before you go out and buy that hundreds-of-dollars software that you have to have for whatever, search around on Sourceforge and see if there’s a viable OSS solution. If you don’t like it, you can always go to the store and plunk down some money for the proprietary version. If you do like it though, you just saved yourself a big hunk of cash, and who doesn’t like that?