How to Upgrade to Gimp 2.8 in Ubuntu

Gimp users, rejoice! After 3.5 years of development, Gimp 2.8 has finally arrived. This version of Gimp brings a plethora of changes and improvement, making Gimp a even better image editing software than its previous version.

What’s new in Gimp 2.8

Single Window mode

All previous versions of Gimp come with separate windows for the toolbar, main window and various dock dialogs. Some love it as it allows them to micro-manage, but some hate it and yearn for a Photoshop-like interface. In Gimp 2.8, the default interface is still the separate window mode, but you can get it to show the Single Window mode by selecting the “Windows -> Single-Window Mode” option.


Multi-column dock windows

GIMP 2.8 allows dockable dialogs in a dock window to be placed in multiple columns. To create a new column in a dock window, drag and drop a dockable dialog on the vertical edges of the dock window. This is an appealing feature for multi-monitor users where one screen can have a big dock window with all the dialogs and the tools, while all images are on other displays

Layer Groups

Gimp users with a Photoshop background will love this. In Gimp 2.8, you can organize your layers into group. Layer groups are also fully scriptable, making it easier and faster for you to get things done.

On-Canvas Text Editing

This is one feature that I love most. In previous version of Gimp, the text-editing feature always open in a new window, making it very troublesome to handle. The on-canvas text editing in Gimp 2.8 allows you to make changes on the canvas itself.


Simple Math In Size Entries

While resizing an image, you can now use simple Maths as the input size. For example, rather than calculating half of 768px, you can now input “0.5*768” into the width/height field. You can also input “30%” in the field without having to change the unit from “px” to “percent”.

For more changes, refer to the complete Gimp changelog.

Install Gimp 2.8 in Ubuntu 12.04

Ubuntu 12.04 is still running Gimp 2.6. For those of you who can’t wait for Ubuntu to include Gimp 2.8 in the repository, you can upgrade to Gimp 2.8 via the following method:

1. Uninstall Gimp from your system:

sudo apt-get autoremove gimp gimp-plugin-registry

2. Add the following PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo apt-get update

3. Install Gimp:

sudo apt-get install gimp

Configuring plug-ins and scripts for Gimp 2.8

Updated: The “gimp-plugin-registry” package has been updated to work with Gimp 2.8. The instruction below is no longer necessary.

The “gimp-plugin-registry” package in the repository is not compatible with Gimp 2.8, so if you are using plenty of plug-ins, you won’t be able to install them via the “gimp-plugin-registry” package. The only way is to manually install the plugins (until the plugin registry package is updated). Most of the scripts should continue to work though. I place the “arrow.scm” script in the “.gimp-2.8/scripts” folder and it works perfectly.

Here is how I install the “Save for Web” plugin:

1. Download the “gimp-save-for-web-0.29.3.tar.bz2” file to your home folder.

2. Extract it to the “.gimp-2.8/plug-ins” folder.

3. Open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install libgimp2.0-dev intltool
cd /home/your-username/.gimp.2.8/plug-ins/gimp-save-for-web-0.29.3
sudo make install

If everything goes smoothly, you should be able to use the “Save for Web” feature in Gimp 2.8 now.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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