The insanity continues. This time the open source GNU Image Manipulation Program, oftentimes referred to as GIMP, has been forked into a new name… Glimpse. Why? Because GIMP was deemed “problematic” and “Ableist”.
The Register did a basic breakdown of the nonsense that encapsulated the teacup tempest that resulted in the name change. It started over on Github in late June by Christopher Davis, where he wrote in a now deleted thread…
“I’d like to propose renaming GIMP, due to the baggage behind the name. The most modern and often used version of the word “gimp” is an ableist insult. This is also the colloquial usage of the word. In addition to the pain of the definition, there’s also the marketability issue. Acronyms are difficult to remember, and they end up pronounced instead of read as their parts. “GIMP” does not give a hint towards the function of the app, and it’s hard to market something that’s either used as an insult or a sex reference.
“This proposal would, at the very least, cover the appearances of “GIMP” in the desktop files, the UI, metadata, and marketing materials. I understand that it would be difficult to change every single occurrence within the code due to how it would mess with history. […]”
As is typical when these kind of topics arise, the deranged group managed to out-speak the people with common sense, and so it was decided by an Oracle technical writer, Bob Moss, to fork GIMP into Glimpse.
And so now there’s Glimpse… because GIMP was deemed… “ableist”.
Moss spoke to The Register about the name change, saying that it was about marketability…
“I’m a long-standing user of the project. I saw the abuse and unpleasant things being said to [Christopher Davis]. It was decidedly not cool and not how we should make decisions in free software. I also thought the arguments he made were well reasoned, not focused so much on the offensiveness of the name but on the marketability of the application.
“Initially I thought it was just going to be a quirky project on my own private GitHub but people expressed enthusiasm for it. It’s evolved now into this new thing where you’ve got multiple people running it, myself, Chris who originally posted the issue, and another woman called Clipsey … it’s all kind of ballooned out from there.”
Now the good news is that the original GIMP is still available over on the official GIMP.org website.
The prototypical software application hasn’t succumbed to the madness… yet. The website still says “GIMP” and the FAQ still states that the name isn’t changing. It still reads…
“I don’t like the name GIMP. Will you change it?”
“With all due respect, no. We’ve been using the name GIMP for more than 20 years and it’s widely known … on top of that, we feel that in the long run, sterilization of language will do more harm than good. … Finally, if you still have strong feelings about the name “GIMP”, you should feel free to promote the use of the long form GNU Image Manipulation Program or maintain your own releases of the software under a different name.”
So where does Glimpse fit into all of this? Well, it’s a fork. It’s based on the open-source code of GIMP, just with a different name. It exists as an alternative.
Whether or not GIMP and Glimpse will continue to co-exist is another story, though, and typically when we see these sorts of moves to muscle in on established brands and communities, the groups doing the muscling almost always win. In other words, don’t be surprised if GIMP is eventually officially replaced with Glimpse.
(Thanks for the news tip Tomato Tentacle)