On Cinepaint, GIMP and GEGL

The Cinepaint/GIMP crusade will probably never die. Sad but true. I keep reading the same bullshit over and over again, for years, so I thought I should probably write about it once and never get back to it again.

The legend runs, as an ill-informed Phoronix user recently suggested, as this: “Just think, its only been 11 years since the functionality was handed to them on a silver platter and they rejected it unanimously in favor of vapor ware. It has got to be one of the biggest boneheaded moves in software development.”

It has got to be one of the biggest boneheaded moves in software development indeed, except the author of the statement is out of touch with reality. Let’s go back in history.

Cinepaint is a new name of FilmGIMP, the project born out of “Hollywood” branch of GIMP which was started in 1997. The first commit by the joint username “People doing a 16 bpc version of gimp” (more on that later) was done on December 15, 1997, and the last commit was done on August 27, 2002. Got the dates?

Now move to GEGL’s commit log. It starts on January 2, 2000, with commit of the very same username, “People doing a 16 bpc version of gimp”. The last commit from that username in GEGL was done on December 22, 2003.

So the idea that the pro-Cinepaint folks are trying to sell is that GIMP developers refused FilmGIMP developed by R&H developers in favour of vaporware GEGL developed by the very same R&H developers. Amazing, isn’t it? That’s some unbeatable logic if I ever saw one.

And yes — “People doing a 16 bpc version of gimp” is the joint username of Jonathan Cohen, Calvin Williamson and Caroline Dahllöf, all of them being developers at the famous Rhythm and Hues company at the time.

If you really want to understand how the actual FilmGIMP/GEGL developers (not either project leads) felt around 2002 when the whole unpleasantness was unleashed, read Jonathan’s mail to gimp-developer from early December 2002. It also answers the “why projects did not converge” concern re Cinepaint/FilmGIMP and GIMP. Then compare it to what you thought you knew.

You can choose to believe, or you can choose to find out what things really are—it’s entirely up to you. Either way, don’t fall for politics. And it’s the best advice I can give you at this time in the morning :)

4 thoughts on “On Cinepaint, GIMP and GEGL

    1. Anonymous

      Yes, end of Dec 2003 was when it ended. There were few long pauses in GEGL development, and one of them was after R&H folks stopped working on it. IIRC, Calvin wasn’t R&H employee at the time already, but that needs doublechecking.


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