Gimp 2.6 – A Backward Step?

Posted By Stan

OK, it’s taken me a while to get around to looking at the new Gimp and my first impression was disappointment!

The Toolbox menu has gone and with it the Xtns menu! It took me a little while but I’ve found the inhabitants of the X’d Xtns menu and File menu.

‘Buttons’, ‘Logos’, ‘Patterns’ and ‘Web page themes’ live under ‘Create’ in the File menu in the empty image window that opens on startup. Also in there are what used to exist under the Toolbox File menu ‘Acquire’ entry, namely  ’Paste as New’ now ‘From Clipboard’, ‘Scanner/Camera’ and ‘Screen Shot’.

Other entries from the Toolbox menus have been scattered around. Sticking with the File menu ‘Preferences’, ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ and ‘Units’ are now in the Edit menu of the afore mentioned empty image window. Also in here is the Xtns menu ‘Module Manager’ now just called ‘Modules’.

‘Script Fu’ from the Xtns menu now resides at the bottom of the Filters menu. The last two items from the Xtns menu ‘Plug-in Browser’ and ‘Procedure Browser’ have eloped to the Help menu.

The Dialogs menu that used to exist on image windows has been replaced by the Windows menu and has an added ‘Recently Closed Docks’ entry which is basically a Dialog history.

One major addition to this version is GEGL the Generic Graphical Library which is a programming library under development for image processing applications. It is mainly developed to bring support for images with more than 8 bits per color channel to GIMP. It has been partially implemented in GIMP 2.6.

You can check out the release notes for 2.6 here.

A lot of the changes in 2.6 are in the engine room with the only obvious ones being the change to the user interface, brought about, apparently, by many users complaints.

Personally, I can’t imagine what complaints could have led to this change in the layout. The only obvious advantage is that in Windows it now only takes up one slot on the taskbar and clicking on it will restore all windows and dialogs whereas before you needed to do them individually and Gimp could fill the taskbar all on it’s own.

When I first looked at this latest version I have to admit to having a minor panic attack when I saw the Toolbox menus gone! Checking the release notes confirmed my worst fears, it had been taken away. What I found to be disappointing was that no one had taken the trouble to tell us poor schmucks where all the contents had gone to!

I did quite a bit of searching around forums, user groups etc to see what the story was, nothing! Admittedly it didn’t take too long to find them all again in the new version but to my way of thinking if you are going to change something like that it’s just good user support to document it. Isn’t that a sign of the times? Don’t get me started on that one, a topic for a grump session!

As yet, I believe the latest version of Help is the 2.4 version so you won’t find it in there.

I haven’t yet used this version enough to be able to comment on the other improvements so I’ll have to leave that for another day. One thing I did do though, was to install this version in a seperate location so that I retained my familiar version 2.4(security blanket). I suggest you do the same, at least initially. All your shortcuts, Start menu etc will be overwritten with the new one, just means you have to make a shortcut to the previous version.

Well, that’s my take on it so far. I would be really interested to hear what your thoughts are on it and also your thoughts on my thoughts so, please, feel free to leave a comment.

Oct 22nd, 2008

8 Comments to 'Gimp 2.6 – A Backward Step?'

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  1. andylockran said,


    How can I acquire from scanner in the new system.. I just can’t find it and it’s really bugging me.



  2. Stan said,


    Under the File menu in the image window go to create and the second entry should be ‘Scanner/Camera…’. If you click on that you should get a list of the devices on your PC.



  3. sede said,

    “When I first looked at this latest version I have to admit to having a minor panic attack when I saw the Toolbox menus gone! Checking the release notes confirmed my worst fears, it had been taken away.”

    I had the same shock. I very much miss the menu in the toolbox. It had a good place, when I attached all windows together. Now there is an extra empty window to occupy the space, I don’t know why they call these changes “improvements”.

  4. sham said,

    what they have done to the GIMP tool box menu is realy horrible.First time I thought that I have messed up the settings.So I restored the default settings from the preference.When it did not come I uninstalled and installed it again.So i faced lot of harrashment.After searching in the net I came to know the proper scenario that the option is no more there.
    I think they are giving user manual only of versn 2.4 in which the screen shot of tool box have file menu.

  5. sham said,

    I am facing a problem using GIMP 2.6.2
    can you please help me.
    I somehow removed the tool option from the main toolbox.But i need to attach it again.But till now I did not find a way to attach.At the same time they provided a space for dragging and dropping dockable dialogue.I think the dockable dialogue should be attached in the space provided.But it is not being attached.

  6. Stan said,


    I’m really sorry but I can’t help you. I’m not sure how you managed to detach the tool option from the toolbox. Do you mean the whole tool selection area? I have also tried to drop dockable dialogues onto the bars where it says you can and it just doesn’t work. I suspect that some of these features only work in Linux as all dialogues still show in the windows taskbar when they were supposed not to any more!
    I’ll have to set up a Linux system and test this theory, I should anyway.
    I’m afraid this sort of thing is really annoying. It’s fine to ‘improve’ software but at least provide some help as to the new features and how to use them. As you say the help system is still for 2.4. Which, by the way I’m still using, most of the time.


  7. Simun said,

    Hello Stan and Happy New Year.

    I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.
    Gimp is undoubtably a wonderful piece of software, but updates like the recent ones are quite scarey. OK, There are ways around many of the problems, sometimes different locations for functions and often reasons for change, but I think such changes are damaging to the widescale adoption of Gimp crucially when the documentation fails to keep pace. The large number of casual users out there just want to do simple stuff with the minimum of fuss and are not going to find it helpful when functions are moved to somewhere completely different. They will just get frustrated following a tutorial and not being able to find things.

    I am used to having Dialogues on the image window menu bar and now it isn’t there. OK I have now worked out its under windows-dockable dialogues and that i can have layers automatically open each time I run GIMP but it took me a while and scared the crap out of me. I didn’t find an answer in help or the release notes I found it in your blog! So Thank You.


  8. Stan said,

    Thanks Simon, glad I could help.


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