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Photoshop is so ingrained in photo-editing, it is used as a verb to describe an edited photo. Photoshop is very expensive though, and the price is often not worth it to the "average joe" or "average jane" (can't forget the lady geeks!) This is likely the reason it is heavily pirated.
There are alternatives though, and the biggest and best of those is most likely GIMP. GIMP is regarded as a very good image editor and even a free alternative to Photoshop, but never regarded as a replacement. There could be, and likely is, real, logical, statistical reasons for this, but at least part of this, is Photoshop has a trusted name that IS image editing. This gives a professional appeal to Photoshop, and makes it ideal for professional image editors, due not only to any aspects of Photoshop that are superior to alternatives, but by being able to associate themselves with the Photoshop name while seeking clients.
These factors contribute to the ongoing debate of Photoshop vs GIMP:
-- Is GIMP as good as Photoshop?
-- Why should I pay for Photoshop when GIMP is free?
-- What can Photoshop do that GIMP doesn't?
-- Are the advantages of Photoshop worth the hefty price tag for me?
While most will say that GIMP is not as good as Photoshop, it is good enough to where the remaining questions carry the actual weight.
There is no doubt that Photoshop is a very well built program. Photoshop is built so well, in fact, it has become the unofficial standard for other imaging programs, including GIMP. The standards that Photoshop set forth are the options that it offers to edit images.
GIMP follows this standard well, except for one major thing. GIMP is broken into multiple windows, including the Windows version of the software. Since GIMP is open source, there are variants of GIMP (ex: GIMPshop), most all changing the program to run in a single window, in the same way that Photoshop does. The multiple window setup of GIMP can actually get somewhat annoying, due to it not following the basic design of 99% of Windows programs.
GIMP (as well as Photoshop) has recently been updated, yet still follows a multiple window format. The following article is from October 2008, yet gives a short, sweet, and simple view on GIMP and insight into GimPhoto.
The decision between GIMP and Photoshop can be difficult because one has to weigh cost (though for many, the cost makes the decision easy).
For those that choose not to pay for Photoshop, the decision between GIMP and the GIMP variants can be difficult.
GIMP -- GIMP is the official release, and thus will get any updates the quickest, but has a multi-window setup
GIMPshop -- GIMPshop was designed to look and feel like Photoshop, allowing users to use Photoshop tutorials with little or not effort. Website does not say what version of GIMP, GIMPshop is based off of. May or may not be updated frequently.
GimPhoto -- Designed to be a free Photoshop alternative. Uses native GIMP naming conventions and Photoshop-like menu structure, allowing the user to use tutorials made for either. Based off GIMP 2.4.3, with the new version of GIMP being 2.6.3, but noting GIMP 2.4 was still used in many Linux distribution repositories until their new releases (Ubuntu specifically).
The decision between these three programs will differ from person to person, but based simply off the information gathered from their respective websites, GIMPshop seems to be in last place. The decision comes down between the newest, most updated version of GIMP with the official release, or a revamped, more Photoshop like setup with GimPhoto.
What are everyone else's opinions, thoughts, experiences, etc. on the [ GIMP vs GIMPshop vs GimPhoto ] vs Photoshop issue ( mainly [ GIMP vs GIMPshop vs GimPhoto ] )?