Protesters burn an effigy of Richard Stallman in response to The GIMP user interface

Protesters burn an effigy of Richard Stallman in response to The GIMP user interface

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.

The Elegant Simplicity Of The GIMP User Interface

The Elegant Simplicity Of The GIMP User Interface

“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.


I combine trauma awareness, emotional healing and comedy to heal painful events from your past, so you can live a future life you love; and have fun doing it.


mb · November 1, 2014 at 3:18 am

"You can't even so much as draw a red circle without having to resort to the fucking manual"

almost the exact search terms that landed me here.

Damon Montano · March 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Exactly. If there were ever software that resembled hard-ware it's GIMP. I actually stumbled upon this post trying to find out how to draw a freaking line for dog's sake.

Rui · February 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Excuse me... but there IS "something more frustrating then GIMP" ant that is the the above referred GIMP "single window mode" :O

Frank · November 9, 2013 at 3:56 am

Sounds about right. I'm slightly surprised you didn't get a dig in against Emacs. Stallman had the devil work on that one too, or at least it seems that way unless you've a background as a piano player in a whorehouse. Just ask any Vi user.

And if the only server in the world running GNU/Hurd was torched, maybe it would work better. Its sort of like the Chinese proverb about the tree falling and noone being around to hear. If the only working instance of Hurd is lit up and noone cares, does it really happen?

pouar · March 17, 2013 at 6:59 am

seems easy to use for me, also GIMP does have a single window mode.

Gregoire Hostettler · March 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I never seen something more frustrating then GIMP.
Today I tried to use a good old tool "colorize" tnhatb used to work as expected. Not in version 2.8 no more, dear.
If I count the frustration, rage, even tears brought by the GIMP, it should sell on retail for at least a few bilions of peanuts.

Anyway, great post. If it could only be true... Burn them. Slowly. Using shift click meta key control w-k and selecting the right tool.


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