Installing open-source image manipulation software to MS Windows

Friend and fellow blogger Chris Walton (Philocrites) noted in a recent posting about blog images,

I don’t actually use any [images] on my blog, though, because I don’t own any photo manipulation software and have never figured out how to install the Open Source one you’ve mentioned.

Let’s fix that. The software in question is called The GIMP, meaning GNU Image Manipulation Program. I use it for everything. I even used it last night to trim some “paint chips” for PeaceBang. And since I suspect I’ll be learning more tricks, I’ll be blogging about that later, too.

First, for all of you Windows users out there, if this whole concept is unfamiliar, you probably don’t have the runtime environment — GTK +2 Runtime Environment — The GIMP needs. Go to this site and pick out the version of GTK +2 you need.: Windows 2000 and newer or Windows 98/ME and older. Click on the appropriate download link and “save to disk.” This is a zipped filed, you need to unextract it. There are open source options here and leave a comment if I need to write about that. But a good action would be to right-click on the file you downloaded and see if there is an “extract here” or similiar function. Do it.

A file ending . . . .setup.exe will be extracted from the zip. Double-click it to install. (I don’t know exactly what the steps are because, uh, I don’t do Windows.)

Now go back to the same page you got the GTK +2 and download The GIMP for Windows, version 2.2.14 as of this writing. You won’t even have to extract this one. Just download and click the resulting file to install. I’ve found the defaults to be pretty right-on for The GIMP.

Now, if you have dialup, these files may take a long time to download. Other than that, I’ve found the process pretty straightforward.

If you, Dear Readers, try this please share a comment. This is a quick and dirty pre-breakfast tutorial, so I might have left out some details.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. It looks like if you have your MacOS install disc, and can install from it, you can grab The GIMP for Mac here. You want the first download — the .dmg — as the others are for developers. (The source codes must be released in open source projects.)

    Looks pretty straightforward.

  2. I would think iPhoto would help the Macophiles some. But I live and breathe Photoshop (on Mac and PC). If I weren’t so spoiled by having the latest and greatest Photoshop bought for me, I’d purchase Photoshop Elements. It’s got all the commands I use routinely.

  3. iPhoto has really inexact cropping tools, and you can’t save as gifs or specify dots-per-inch and other good things like that. I do use it and the Nikon PictureProject software that came with my camera. (All the images on my blog are either snapshots managed with Flickr, book covers from Amazon, or Creative Commons-licensed icons and so on.) And, alas, Photoshop is too expensive for home use.

  4. While not open-source (and I do blog to promote it) I have a soft spot for the distributed way Google tools work. Would Picasa be of use? The Linux version runs with Wine (a way to use MS products on Linux, so not a native port) which is usually more trouble than its worth, or I would test run it for the readership.

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