About (FAQs)


Glimpse Image Editor is an open source image editing program based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10.12. You can read more about our development priorities and our target userbase here: https://github.com/glimpse-editor/Glimpse/wiki/Development-Priorities

Glimpse NX is a completely new open source image editing program that is still in the early stages of development. We will provide more information about it in coming months.

The goal of both projects is to experiment with new ideas and expand the use of free software.


Technical Questions

Money Matters

Project Governance

What is the correct name for your project?

The free software we produce is called “Glimpse Image Editor”, but we sometimes shorten that to just “Glimpse”. We refer to our governance structure, core contributors and participants on our public Matrix channel as “the Glimpse project”. We often call our social media followers, donors and end users “the Glimpse Community”.

“Glimpse NX” is the name of an entirely new image editing program we are developing. You may sometimes see it referred to as “the rewrite”. We will provide more information about that project in coming weeks and months.

If you are a blogger or a member of the technology industry press, we do not yet have branding guidelines in place. However we have provided screenshots, our branding assets and instructions for their basic usage here: https://github.com/glimpse-editor/branding. You may also contact us directly by email for further information about the project.

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Did you know that name is used elsewhere?

We are aware of a number of other unrelated projects called “Glimpse”. We have made changes based on feedback from our critics such as changing our website’s domain name and defining “Glimpse” as a shortened version of “Glimpse Image Editor”.

The project’s current stance is that while we are theoretically open to changing our name, there is very limited support in favor of actually doing so. We granted our critics time to find an alternative name that addresses the concerns they raised, fulfils our project’s requirements and enjoys popular support. Even with three months and our assistance they were not able to do so, so we consider the matter closed for the time being.

See “How does your project govern itself?" for more details about why we now limit discussion about this topic on our Matrix channels.

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What if I find the word “Glimpse” offensive?

That seems unlikely given we checked its meaning in every known language, but if you have a legitimate concern then let us know.

If you are offended by the fact we renamed the project, we suggest you continue using the GNU Image Manipulation Program instead of annoying our contributors and making more work for our moderators.

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What is wrong with the “GIMP” name?

It was originally chosen by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis as a joke reference to a questionable scene in an 18 certificate movie called “Pulp Fiction”. The word “gimp” also has other meanings that may be considered ableist.

While we cannot provide a solution that resolves the wider societal discussion about what is considered appropriate and “politically correct” in every situation, we can provide an alternative option that helps people who are offended or made uncomfortable by the name, and assist free software advocates that encounter barriers when they recommend the GNU Image Manipulation Program to friends, family, coworkers and employers.

Our project also offers a more constructive path forward to people that have become frustrated by the GNU Image Manipulation Program developers’ long-standing decision to not change the name of their software. That means fewer people yelling at each other on social media, and more people working on the code.

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Why are you forking?

Our contributors have used the GNU Image Manipulation Program for a long time, but like any free software project it has finite resources and has to prioritise some changes over others. That can mean good usability improvements and functional changes the community suggests go unaddressed because other changes take priority.

What the Glimpse project aims to do is inject some new ideas, energy, contributions and money into a free software program that most enthusiasts and power users take for granted. We also want to expand the adoption of this great piece of free software, and offer a valid alternative for end users that have become disgruntled with the GNU Image Manipulation Program and are tempted to switch back to using proprietary software.

The very first thing we focused on with 0.1.0 was our own rebrand. We chose a new name and commissioned a professional logo, and our efforts to replace the existing “gimp” branding throughout the software and its dependencies is something we continue to make excellent progress on today.

However, we want to go further, and we will do that by focusing on usability changes, UI themes, icon packs, and better installation mechanisms. We believe that by making changes and improvements in those areas, that will create a better overall user experience that broadens the appeal of the application and introduces more people to the world of free software.

Finally, we also want to make it easier for power users to find and install third party plug-ins. Initially that will take the form of an optional installer containing a selection of plug-ins already, but that is an area we can hopefully develop more over time.

You can read more about our development priorities and our target userbase here: https://github.com/glimpse-editor/Glimpse/wiki/Development-Priorities

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Is forking the project a duplication of effort?

No, because we are focusing specifically on the user experience and marketing, not on the underlying functionality of the software itself. That is why we intend to periodically rebase on tagged versions of the GNU Image Manipulation Program, and then port our changes to it each time.

From our point of view we are simply exercising our software freedoms by forking the project and redistributing a modified version for others to benefit from. This is fully in accordance with the spirit and requirements of the GNU General Public License and GNU Lesser General Public License as they both apply to this project.

There are some early plans to write an entirely new image editor with more modern technologies in parallel to our current efforts, but that is still in the very early design stages and will take a number of years to produce. In the meantime, that effort may still generate new ideas that we can use with the forked code.

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Do you intend to replace the GNU Image Manipulation Program?

No, this project does not intend to replace the GNU Image Manipulation Program. You may have noticed we already link to their donations page throughout our documentation and we periodically donate a portion of our own funds to the upstream project.

The Glimpse project is also run entirely by passionate enthusiasts. Development on the GNU Image Manipulation Program will continue as normal with same core group of developers and be entirely unhindered by this project.

We anticipate in the coming months and years that Glimpse will be a place where people can experiment with fixes that upstream may not have had the resources to work on and new ideas that upstream may have felt unable or unwilling to try for legacy reasons. You can read more about our development priorities on the project wiki.

If we come up with some popular improvements that really enhance the user experience or fix bugs that impact both projects, then we would assist with contributing them back upstream so the wider community can benefit.

You can read more about our development priorities and our target userbase here: https://github.com/glimpse-editor/Glimpse/wiki/Development-Priorities

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How does your release numbering work?

Glimpse Image Editor 0.1.0 is based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10.12. All 0.1.x releases add our changes, backport useful upstream functionality and update key dependencies on the same 2.10.12 base.

Glimpse Image Editor 0.2.0 will be rebased on the GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10.18, and we intend to release it in July 2020. All 0.2.x releases will add our changes, back port useful functionality and update key dependencies on the same 2.10.18 base.

We intend to continue providing “maintenance updates” with patches and updated dependencies for at least a year after each 0.x.0 release.

“Beta test” and “Stable” release versions always end in an even number. Odd numbered versions are “Unstable” builds created from our development branch.

Glimpse Image Editor 1.0.0 is currently reserved in case we decide to fork the GNU Image Manipulation Program 3.x.

1.0.0 or 2.0.0 may be used by Glimpse NX, a completely new image editing program with a different user interface and cross-platform graphical toolkit. That will not be based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program.

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Which operating systems do you support?

We support systems running Windows 7 or newer, and modern variants of GNU/Linux.

Unfortunately Glimpse Image Editor is not supported on MacOS. We recommend either running the Windows version in a virtualized environment or sticking with the GNU Image Manipulation Program.

You may also be interested in trying Seashore, an older fork of the GNU Image Manipulation Program designed specifically for MacOS. While it does have fewer features, it may still be suitable for your intended use case.

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Who signs the Windows installer?

Cynthia Revström, a renowned security researcher. She signs our Windows installers with an Extended Validation (EV) code signing certificate belonging to a registered company called Qs.nu.

If we do not sign our MSI installer then potential users can run into a number of problems. Certain web browsers block the download of “untrusted” files, Windows SmartScreen creates error screens that non-technical people find difficult to override, and anti-virus programs incorrectly flagging Glimpse Image Editor as “malware” can interfere with the installation process and normal operation of the program.

We initially tried a self-signed certificate, but that did not resolve the problem. The Glimpse project is not a registered company and cannot afford to reimburse individuals for certificate authority notarization requirements, so we cannot provide our own code signing certificate. As a result we rely on a trusted individual to voluntarily sign each MSI installer we release on our behalf.

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Can I install Glimpse and GNU Image Manipulation Program on the same machine?

On Windows, you can safely install and run both applications at the same time.

On Linux, the Flatpak and Snapcraft builds that we support and maintain are fully self-contained and should not interfere with any installed versions of the GNU Image Manipulation Program. If you discover that is not the case on your system, please report it as a bug.

If you are using a Linux build from a third party source that we do not directly support (such as AUR or your distribution’s package repositories) then it is unlikely because there may be package and file name conflicts. You should ask the people responsible for maintaining those packages for confirmation and any help you might need.

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Are you going to publish this for my favorite Linux distribution?

You can see all the Linux installation methods we are aware of for Glimpse Image Editor on our downloads page.

We intend to provide our own directly-supported AppImage builds very soon. You can track the progress here: #108.

We also publish builds on Flathub and Snapcraft.

All other installation mechanisms for Linux are considered “community supported”. That means we do not have any say about how they are built, packaged or maintained. We link to them, but if you raise bug tickets with us we may direct you back to those sources instead.

At the request of package maintainers, we have run make dist against source tarballs from Glimpse Image Editor 0.1.2 onwards.

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Will you support BSD, Haiku, Solaris or other UNIX platforms?

Other UNIX systems are treated the same way as any individual Linux distribution. We do not directly support the individual packaging formats and publishing platforms for each variant of UNIX because we don’t have the knowledge or resources to support and maintain them all.

However, we will accept code fixes that enhance UNIX compatibility and will assist any third party package maintainers that want to port Glimpse Image Editor to operating systems like BSD, Haiku, Solaris and other UNIX variants.

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Will you contribute changes back upstream?

We are already working with the GNU Image Manipulation Program developers to the best of our ability. We have passed $150 USD of our own donations to them, we report bugs and brief their developers on changes that might interest them, and we have updated our online materials so they are less combative towards upstream. Bobby Moss also currently acts as our representative on their IRC channel so we can deal with any problems they raise with us.

The Glimpse project governance team agrees that maintaining a positive relationship with the GNU Image Manipulation Program developers is in the best interests of both projects and the wider free software community.

We recognize that it will take time to build trust, particularly given this fork was started because of a long-standing disagreement. If contributors from both projects can conduct themselves well and act as an example for their users, then we can all have a more pleasant time making, using and sharing free software.

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When are you going to implement the bug-fix or feature I asked for?

The first place to check is our Github Issues list.

We aim to tag each bug and feature request to a release milestone so that you have a rough idea of when we think we can feasibly deliver the functionality. Those estimates are subject to change based on our shifting project priorities and any technical hurdles we come across. We also do our best to add regular comments to every issue so that you can see the most up-to-date information about them.

If the functionality you want is not listed, the next place to check is the roadmap page for the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Because that project has more contributors and resources than we do as a downstream fork, we are normally a release or two behind them. If they are implementing a fix or change though, then we will eventually inherit it.

Finally, if the change you want isn’t requested in either place then feel free to raise it as a bug or a feature request! Alternatively you can contact us by using the links on our Contribute page.

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Can you make Glimpse look like Adobe Photoshop?

Technically yes, but we are not going to do that.

We understand why it is important for Glimpse Image Editor to feel familiar to users of existing image editing applications, but we also think it’s important for us to do our own thing. Not only will that lead to more new and interesting ideas, it should also avoid any potential legal problems.

The developers of the GNU Image Manipulation Program have the same stance on this, and they go into much more detail on their FAQ page.

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Why are you using Github instead of Gitlab?

That was a choice made early on for entirely practical reasons such as project discoverability, ease-of-use, user familiarity and cost.

As a project we are aware some people have ethical concerns about using Github, and that other projects appear above us in the search results. For those reasons we periodically discuss how our contributors feel about using it, as well as the merits and drawbacks of potential alternatives.

There are no immediate plans to move our code, but we are open to potentially mirroring our project to other platforms if that can be balanced against the maintenance burden of doing so.

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Could you just run “find and replace” to fix the name?

We could, but that would completely destroy plug-in compatibility and break the upstream subcomponents on which we rely. That would also cause serious problems with all the build scripts and be very time-consuming to fix.

To preserve compatibility we had to maintain existing file names, variable names, constants, class names, methods and APIs. This meant we had to provide our own files, variables and constants, then identify where we wanted to use them, swap in those values wherever that did not break compatibility, and find a suitable replacement wherever we referred to upstream code that we had not modified (we settled on “GNU I.M.P”). That cannot be achieved by just using find-and-replace tools or regular expressions.

In addition to changing the name we also wanted to change the project logo. We commissioned an artist to do that for us, and subsequently had to make code fixes to the application to swap in our own art assets.

Finally, we also had to ensure that our changes were applied appropriately in the existing translation files and did not break the automated mechanisms in the build systems that keep them up-to-date.

In short, it is not easy to rebrand the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Similarly, the reason why this project is not just “one man and his Github repository” is because we do have other objectives and intend to create free software that other people actually want to use.

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How do I install third-party plugins?

We provide a full listing for how to install various third-party plugins on this wiki page: https://github.com/glimpse-editor/Glimpse/wiki#third-party-plugin-installation-guides

If there is a third party plugin you would like us to support better, feel free to raise an issue on our Github project: https://github.com/glimpse-editor/Glimpse/issues

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Why do you need monetary donations?

Just like many other free software projects we need to host the collaboration tools we use to develop and share the project. We have to purchase domain names, cloud servers, code signing certificates and subscriptions from service providers to make this project a success. In addition we also intend to pay the artists we commission for the re-brand, market our software, and eventually help our contributors represent us at conferences.

If you would like to donate some money to Glimpse project, you can do so by donating on Open Collective. Our Github Sponsors page is directly linked to our Open Collective profile.

We also encourage those who want to support the GNU Image Manipulation Program to use their donation page to do so.

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Do you plan to sell Glimpse Image Editor?

No. Glimpse Image Editor is an open source application, and we have no plans to sell copies of the software. The same applies to the new image editing application we are developing called “Glimpse NX”.

If that policy ever changes, it will go through the usual governance channels for this project, and our community will be consulted about it first. In practice, there is little or no support within the Glimpse project to start charging for copies of the software, so it is extremely unlikely to ever happen.

As for the project itself, we have not built a formal organization or legal entity around it. We are a group of volunteers that share the same online infrastructure and follow mutually agreed procedures.

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How much do you earn from this project?

Nothing. This is a strictly not-for-profit venture. Any money that we do not use to cover our own costs is eventually passed along to the GNU Image Manipulation Program developers.

When we switch across to our new image editing program (“Glimpse NX”) and stop forking the GNU Image Manipulation Program, any “surplus” money will continue to be held by Open Collective, and we will follow our usual governance process to determine how that money will be spent or donated.

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Are you scamming me?

No. There are people on the Internet who disagree with our project existing for political reasons, and unfortunately a small number of those individuals have been trying to smear the Glimpse project and our contributors with false accusations.

To determine for yourself if we have delivered on the objectives we have set out, you can compare your current experience of the software against our Development Priorities, the NEWS file provided with the source code, and the release notes we produce on our blog.

You can also review how much we have received in donations and the ways we have spent that money on our Open Collective profile. Open Collective is a 501(c) charity based in the United States, and they collect all donations on our behalf. We cannot access that money without raising an invoice for work or providing receipted evidence of an expense. Open Collective automatically publishes records of every donation we receive and expense claim we file publicly, and in real time.

Our Github Sponsors page is directly linked to our Open Collective profile, so all donations received via that channel are also collected and recorded by Open Collective without our intervention.

It is also our policy to provide a link to the GNU Image Manipulation Program donation page whenever we provide links to our own donation page so that it is clear to prospective donors that there are two separate projects.

We also state wherever possible that Glimpse Image Editor is based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program, and clarify which version Glimpse Image Editor is based on. You can review the source code and compliance with applicable licenses on our Github repository. We also display the names of upstream contributors in the Help > About > Credits… section of the software with a “(GNU I.M.P)” tag next to each applicable entry.

Whenever we provide download figures, we always provide links to the tools and websites we used so that (wherever possible) you can independently verify that the numbers we have published and our interpretation of them are correct.

Finally, you can review all of our previous blog posts to understand how our project has evolved and changed since it first started. Our project’s website is also kept under version control, so you can also review any changes that we have made to specific pages and posts.

While we doubt we will convince everyone, we hope that our commitment to transparency will help reassure those with an open mind that there is no sinister conspiracy, nefarious agenda, or evil plan. We are just a group of well-meaning volunteers trying to solve a problem in our spare time.

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Where is the Glimpse code of conduct?

You will find it on this page. Our code of conduct is based on the contributor covenant and will be developed and amended over time as the need arises. As this project spawned from the fediverse our experiences in that online space are going to inform the project’s future governance and direction.

There is no benevolent dictator for life in the traditional sense for this fork because we believe in the merits of collective decision-making. They might sometimes take longer to make decisions, but a group is often less fallible, makes better-considered choices and reflects the will of the wider community more accurately than an individual.

That approach has worked well for us so far, and you can read more about our governance structure here: “How does your project govern itself?"

We also want to make it clear that we value and encourage diverse representation in leadership positions within our community, and we believe that is the best way to enforce a code of conduct that protects all contributors and promotes wider participation. At this early stage our initial governance team is formed entirely of individuals from marginalized communities, and that makes our project very atypical. That emerged organically as a result of the project starting on the fediverse.

We know how important it is to enact the right code of conduct and enforce the rules pro-actively. We want to promote a safe and inclusive environment, not a toxic one. If you have ideas to help us do that and want to get involved with this discussion then please join us in the project’s communication channels.

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How does your project govern itself?

The way we govern ourselves is something that evolves over time based on feedback we receive and what we find works and does not work. The summary provided in this answer is intended to illustrate how we currently make decisions and are held accountable by our community.

Github Issues are used to track bug reports, suggestions and questions from the wider community, and items we have agreed as a project need action. Action items are allocated to a milestone to give an indication of their priority and likely timeline, but these are always provisional until the work is done.

Most day-to-day discussion for the forked code happens in the #glimpse:matrix.org (or “Glimpse Community”) Matrix channel. Anyone can join so long as they comply with our code of conduct and follow the rules. This is where most of the decision-making happens, and our community has the opportunity to voice their opinions or share their domain-specific knowledge there.

Day-to-day discussion for Glimpse NX (sometimes called “the rewrite”) happens on a separate Discord server. You can read their rules by following the links on the #rules-and-info channel.

Anyone we have credited as a Glimpse project contributor can join the “Contributors” area on Discord. These people make the low-level technical decisions necessary to deliver items that have already been agreed, and provide extra input for future governance decisions.

While they might make some time-sensitive moderation decisions as individuals, all other decisions are not considered “agreed” until they have been discussed on the “Glimpse Community” channel and a consensus has been achieved between all members of the “governance team”. Initiatives originating from the governance team instead of the community are sometimes discussed on the “Glimpse Contributors” Matrix channel first.

No decision is ever set in stone and can be revisited if new information comes to light or there is enough support within the project to do so. The governance team will generally only block the re-opening of an issue or delay a decision if the discussion is becoming too heated or obstructs the day-to-day running of the project.

There are currently three people in our governance team: Bobby Moss (started the fork), Christopher Davis (posted the renaming issue on upstream gitlab repository) and Luna (started the “UI rewrite” planning). New members are appointed, and that action requires consultation with Glimpse project contributors and a unanimous vote in favor from the existing governance team.

Finally, the project may from time to time run polls on social media to canvas opinion for specific issues if there is support for doing so. They are always non-binding and only intended to facilitate the existing decision-making process.

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What are all the Matrix channels for?

All of our channels are on matrix.org. You can get access to the invite-only channels by asking for it on the “Glimpse Community” channel.

There is also a separate Discord server for our project moderation channels and the Glimpse NX “rewrite” development stream. You can read their rules by following the links on the #rules-and-info channel.

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How do I stay up-to-date with this project?

You can follow us on the fediverse and Twitter. This blog also has a full text RSS feed. We also recently setup a Facebook page.

Our Open Collective backers also get regular updates about the project.

Our Matrix and Discord channels are primarily intended for contributors and prospective contributors.

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How do I contribute to this project?

All of our contribution links are available on our Contribute page.

Please ensure that you read our code of conduct before you join our community. Regardless of your past experience and the usefulness of your contributions you are expected to comply with it.

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