Installing the GIMP

Published: June 8, 2006. Filed under: Usability.

Anil Dash has written up some complaints about installing the GIMP on Windows.

Special care should be used while reading that, because he does go through several very valid points:

But his apparent conclusion — that someone who chooses to use exclusively Free software is doesn’t “give a shit” about their “quality of life” — should be handled with caution given that it does not follow in any way from his experience with the GIMP.

If I had to rate the installation processes of the various operating systems I’ve used, it’d look something like this:

  1. apt-get install on a Debian-based Linux distribution blows everyone out of the water.
  2. yum install on Red Hat/Fedora Linuxes is pretty darned good.
  3. The Mac’s “find package -> download package -> open and mount disk image -> drag file to Applications folder” is OK. Some applications (Adium in particular) make this much, much easier than others.
  4. Mac installer packages are flaky at best, even when they come from Apple.
  5. Installing anything on Windows is a nightmare I’d rather not walk through. InstallShield, reboots to install even trivial applications… the only reason this ranks as high as #5 is because I don’t have any other experiences to rate above it. Must be time to try a new OS or two.

Does this mean that popular pieces of Free software have no usability problems, or are in need of no usability improvements? Of course not. But dismissing the lot of it over an install process on Windows is… well, going out on a limb just a tiny bit.

And yes, I have been exposed to sunlight. My history of sexual congress with other human beings, however, is something only my hairdresser knows for sure.