The Quick Start Guide to the GIMP, Part 1

This first of a four-part series introduces us to the GIMP, a Linux power tool for the graphics artist. Mr. Hammel used the GIMP to design this month's cover.
Disk Space Requirements

The version of the GIMP that I use, the developers 0.99.10 release, requires approximately 19MB of disk space for the runtime files. This includes about 11MB for the binary, 5MB for the various plug-ins and about 2.5MB for the libraries and data files, such as patterns, brushes and so forth. The source code takes up approximately 11MB uncompiled.

Working with images is very disk space intensive—this means that you need to have a lot of disk space for all the images you will be creating or manipulating. You also need space for variations of images, photos from archives to use as starting points for creating your images and a number of copies of the same image in different formats. Managing all the files alone could be a full-time job (and in large media shops, it is a full-time job), so be aware that in the long run you may need to add hard disk space.

Moving On

Now that you know a little about what the GIMP is, where to get it and what type of hardware and software requirements and support it has, you're ready to look at the application itself. Next month we'll discuss some basic features such as file I/O, dialog windows and cursors. Each of these topics could fill a chapter in a book, but we're going to try to cover them in one article. So hang on, we're just getting started.


Michael J. Hammel is an X Windows and applications software engineer for EMASS in Denver, CO. He is the author of the “Graphics Muse” column in the Linux Gazette, keeper of the Linux Graphics Mini-HOWTO and co-author of The Unix Web Server Book from Ventana. His interests outside of computers include 5K/10K races, Thai food and gardening. He suggests if you have any serious interest in finding out more about him, you visit his home pages at He can be reached via e-mail at



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Re: The Quick Start Guide to the GIMP, Part 1

Anonymous's picture

The gimp is allright for beginners in the imaging industry, but what is lacks is real power. Compare it to Macromedia's Fireworks for example. See the difference? If The Gimp could be as easy to use and have as many features as Fireworks does, i wouldn't even use Windows anymore. I think the developer should put this to thought. Powerful Powerful program, but lacking the cool tools like the motion trails, bevel boss', shadows, glows, rounded edged rectanges, smart polygon, and so so so much more!

Wat r u on about mate, ive

Anonymous's picture

Wat r u on about mate? ive got both fireworks and gimp, used em both and I like many others believe gimp is far more powerfull, how much real art is made with fireworks??

You obviously havn't used GIM

Greg's picture

You obviously havn't used GIMP for along time.
GIMP has all the features you mentioned. Some of them work better than the same sort of features in Photoshop and also there are some features that Photoshop hasn't got GIMP is a full featured Graphics tool in its own right. You need to use it regularly to apreciate the possibilities and where it is heading.
It is a stand alone High powered Graphics tool in its own right.