2.  Starting GIMP the first time

The first time you run GIMP, it goes through a series of steps to set up options and directories. This process creates a subdirectory of your home directory called .gimp-2.2. All of the information about the choices you make here goes into that directory. If you later remove that directory, or rename it as something like .gimp-2.2.bak, then the next time you start GIMP, it will go through the whole setup sequence again, creating a new .gimp-2.2 directory. You can exploit this if you want to explore the effect of different choices without destroying your existing installation, or if you have screwed things up so badly that your existing installation needs to be nuked.

For the most part, setting up GIMP is very easy, and you can just accept the defaults at each step, and possibly adjust things later using the Preferences dialog. The main thing you might want to give a little thought to at the start is the amount of memory to allocate for GIMP's tile cache.

Here is a walk-through of the setup process:

  1. Since this window mentions the GNU General Public License you know it is truly a Welcome dialog you are entering into. Also, note the “Continue” button. GIMP does not even ask that you agree to it, merely whether you want to continue. Feel free to press the continue button.

    Figure 2.1.  Welcome


    The Welcome screen

  2. The purpose of this screen is only to make the user aware of the GIMP personal settings directory, subdirectories and files creation process, before it begins. You just have to have a look and click to proceed.

    Figure 2.2.  Personal GIMP Directory

    Personal GIMP Directory

    The Personal Directory screen

  3. This window shows you the files that GIMP will create. It will have some complaints if you told it to install some place that it don't have permission to be. There is a scroll bar to see all the things GIMP has created for you.

    Figure 2.3.  User Installation Log

    User Installation Log

    The User Installation Log screen.

  4. Setting your memory usage is not an easy thing. So much depends on what your needs are for the GIMP and what hardware you have to work with. You have two options at this point. Go with the default value the developers have set here, or determine the best value. A brief tile-cache explanation. might help you determine this value. The tile-cache information might also be helpful to you if you are encountering memory problems when using the GIMP.

    On a Unix system, /tmp might be a good place for the swap.

    Figure 2.4.  GIMP Performance Tuning

    GIMP Performance Tuning

    The User Performance Tuning screen

Finally . . .

So now you have GIMP installed and configured, and are ready to go. Just a couple of suggestions before you start, though: First, when you run GIMP, by default it shows a "tip" each time it starts up. These tips tell you things that are very useful but not easy to learn by experimenting, so they are worth paying attention to. If you find it too distracting to look at them each time you start, you can disable them; but please go through them when you have the chance: for your convenience, you can read them at any time using the menu command HelpTips. Second, if at some point you are trying to do something, and GIMP seems to have suddenly stopped functioning, the section Getting Unstuck may help you out. Happy Gimping!