Thursday, April 12, 2012

GIMPshop: my exploration into the open source world

So for this class I have been assigned to be one of the graphics editors for the class... which means that the pragmatic scientist that I am needs to take the back seat and allow the creative Marissa to flow through. This means, naturally, that I have to create something. My co chair is wonderful, a competent and capable photoshop ninja who can throw posters and infographics together in her sleep. I have never done anything more digitally creative than draw a fish in paint... it was a beautiful fish, mind you. I got the award for best fish in my 6th grade year. But to do something well I was going to need to get more equipment. So I went to the internet to look up how much this was going to cost me to make a collage comic for the class.

Photoshop: $695 USD
InDesign: $849 USD

No choice there when you are on a college budget and can barely afford housing and I made the plunge (and disabled several notes from my computer that complained that I was downloading something evil from the interwebs)

However my little GIMPshop hated the fact that I had the latest and greatest Mac product. (MAYA had the same problem when I attempted to get into the Animation program) So I looked up 'hacks' or pieces of code that would make the program talk to my computer, but to no avail. I went to my Fiance, as I always do when my computer has decided to hate me (or I have flubbed up in Terminal when I am calculating my astronomy data and broken something in my system) And he tells me the most interesting story about what happened with the creator of GIMPshop.

Apparently he had taken GIMP, the open source version of a photo editor and changed how it was oriented to make it function almost the exact same way as Photoshop. While the opensource creators of GIMP were not impressed, the general public were. This became popular until a mysterious man bought the domain name of and linked it to the creator's web site and required people to enter their e-mails so he could sell them to spam companies before they could download the problem. This angered the developer so much that he refused to update the software with the new operating systems that were being developed... hence my unfixable problem.

But there is a happy ending to this story, for me at least, because my Fiance found a different opensource program that does the same thing and I was able to make the comic for my class. but it was an excellent example of why openness can be exploited by some for the detriment of the entire system.

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