After burning an effigy of Free Software Foundation (FSF) president Richard Stallman, protesters in Massachusetts today burned down the building housing the headquarters of the FSF in response to rising frustration caused by the user interface of the GNU Image Manipulation Program.
“The GIMP”, as the program is affectionately known, is the leading free image manipulation software developed as part of the FSF's Project GNU effort to take over the world by writing free software. It has frequently been compared to Adobe Photoshop with the devil himself as human factors expert.
“Who the hell designed this user interface anyway? You can't even so much as draw a red circle without having to resort to the fucking manual!”, said one disgruntled protester who did not wish to be identified.
Mr Stallman narrowly escaped the flames by exiting through the fire escape carrying the only server in the universe running the GNU/Hurd operating system under his arm. “Damn that Torvalds”, he was heard muttering under the influence of shock as he was put in an ambulance and taken to hospital.
“I didn't even write the fucking thing”, Stallman later said after recovering. “They just applied the GNU General Public Licence and contributed it to the project; as we encourage every software author to do. Developers don't need to eat; they should all give their work away for free, like other artists do. I just wish those idiot protesters could understand that.”
Lead GIMP developer Spencer Kimball confirmed that building a cryptic user interface which takes weeks to learn and is then easily forgotten was a key GIMP project strategy to prevent idiots from using their freely available software. “We worked long and hard on this thing, you know”, he said. “We only want really smart people using it. If you can't work out how the thing works, that's just fine by us. Go use MS Paint instead.”
To avoid the need for future rioting, Mr Kimball suggested that protesters could draw red circles by “simply”:
- Double-clicking on the Foreground Color tool in the Toolbox panel
- Selecting Red in the color selector
- Clicking OK
- Selecting the Ellipse Select Tool in the Toolbox panel
- Dragging out a circular region in the drawing window
- ... while holding down the Shift key.
- Selecting Edit → Stroke Selection from the drawing window menu
- Selecting Stroke Line → Solid Color
- Clicking Stroke
“I mean come on; it doesn't get any easier than that!”, concluded Mr Kimball.
Not in the GIMP it doesn't, anyway.