I’ve been using The Gimp for a couple months now and so far, it’s great. It took a bit of time to learn the new format and to be able to find the functions I wanted or needed, but I think most of the learning curve is behind me now.
It’s a keeper. I’m not a heavy user, but I am a regular user and I find that The Gimp loads much faster than Paint Shop Pro 7.0 and it screams past the molasses-style loading speed of Paint Shop Pro 9.0. I uninstalled 9.0 almost immediately because it loaded so incredibly slowly– on both my machines.
If you are an Illustrator user now, and you want to read a great review on the comparisons between the two, visit Brian White’s Review of The Gimp vs. Illustrator to determine if you can go with the current version of The Gimp, or if you need to wait until version 3.0.
Also, if you are coming from an Illustrator background (and are using Mac OS or Linux), you may want to consider adding GimpShop to your download que (this is a skinner for The Gimp that makes the program look and act like Illustrator). You can also download a program that provides traditional Illustrator shortcuts for The Gimp.
So, if you are ready to begin your journey into the world of open source, I’ll have to admit that this is a great program for beginners. It also has wonderful documentation and help files. Check it out at www.Gimp.org.