After more than two years of development, GIMP 2.8 stable is finally available for download. The new version brings the long-awaited single-window mode (optional; you can still use multiple windows) as well as some other cool new features like on-canvas text editing, multi-column dock windows, a new set of brushes and many other features and improvements.

There’s no official announcement for the latest GIMP 2.8 yet, but you can download the source from its FTP servers.

New features in GIMP 2.8 (stable):

  • Single Window Mode: you can finally use a single main window instead of overlapping floating windows. This is optional and can be turned on from the Windows menu.
  • On-canvas text editing: editing text is not performed in a separate window anymore.
  • Multi-column dock windows which makes the GIMP UI a lot more customizable
  • Improved screen real estate for dockable dialogs
  • Using "Save" now saves the file in the GIMP XCF format and it can’t be used for saving PNG and other files. For non-XCF file types, you now have to use the "Export" menu entry.
  • You can now create layer groups which can be organized in tree-like structures
  • Brush system and tool preset improvements
  • You can now tag brushes and patterns
  • New slider widgets
  • A new set of default brushes and tool presets from Ramon Miranda (from GIMP Paint Studio)
  • Brushes can now be rotated
  • New open window navigation which displays a small preview for each tab
  • Tools rendering on canvas have been ported to Cairo to provide smooth antialiased graphics
  • A new "Lock Pixels" feature
  • Support loading 16bit (RGB565) raw data.
  • Export color values to CSS, PHP, Java, Python or plain text
  • Core integration of the graph-based GEGL library
  • Export to PDF
  • New tool: Cage Transform which makes it possible to easily warp parts of objects using an adjustable user-defined polygonal frame
  • Many others

Until the official GIMP 2.8 release notes are available, you can check out the GIMP 2.7 release notes (2.7 is the development branch for GIMP 2.8).

New brushes / tagging brushes

On-canvas text editing

Layer groups

Multi-column dock windows

New open window navigation (tabs with previews)

Install GIMP 2.8 in Ubuntu

Important: The PPA below provides GIMP 2.8 RC1 (so it’s not the final version just yet but GIMP 2.8 final should be available in the PPA soon) for Ubuntu 12.04 and 11.10 and while the packages in the PPA worked just fine in my tests under both Ubuntu 12.04 and 11.10, the PPA description says that there are some dependency issues, especially for Ubuntu 11.10, so use it at your own risk!

If you’ve install the GIMP Plugin Registry package, remove it or else there will be some installation issues because this package hasn’t been compiled with GIMP 2.8 support:

sudo apt-get remove gimp-plugin-registry
To add the PPA and install GIMP 2.8 RC1 in Ubuntu 12.04 or 11.10, use the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp
If you’re upgrading from an older GIMP version, instead of the last command above, use the following:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Revert the changes (go back to GIMP 2.6.x)

If you don’t want to use the GIMP 2.8 RC1 packages in the PPA above for whatever reasons, you can purge it by using the following commands:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp

Originally published at WebUpd8: Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

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