Why is GIMP still so bad?


Forgive the inflammatory title, but it is a sincere question. The lack of a good Photoshop alternative is also one of the primary reasons I'm stuck using Windows a majority of the time.

People are quick to recommend GIMP because it is FOSS, and reluctant to talk about how it fails to meet the needs of most people looking for a serious alternative to Photoshop.

It is comparable in many of the most commonly used Photoshop features, but that only makes GIMP's inability to capture and retain a larger userbase even more perplexing.

Everyone I know that uses Photoshop for work hates Adobe. Being dependent on an expensive SaaS subscription is hell, and is only made worse by frequent bugs in a closed-source ecosystem. If a free alternative existed which offered a similar experience, there would be an unending flow of people that would jump-ship.

GIMP is supposedly the best/most powerful free Photoshop alternative, and yet people are resorting to ad-laden browser-based alternatives instead of GIMP – like Photopea – because they cloned the Photoshop UI.

Why, after all these years, is GIMP still almost completely irrelevant to everyone other than FOSS enthusiasts, and will this actually change at any point?


I wanted to add some useful mentions from the comments.

It was pointed out that PhotoGIMP exists – a plugin for GIMP which makes the UI/keyboard layout more similar to Photoshop.

Also, there are several other FOSS projects in a similar vein: Krita, Inkscape, Pinta.

And some non-FOSS alternatives: Photopea (free to use (with ads), browser-based, closed source), Affinity Photo (Windows/Mac, one-time payment, closed source).

submitted by /u/Spiritual_Iron_6842
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