As any experienced Linux user is realizing by now, Photoshop isn’t coming to the Linux desktop anytime soon. Yes, it’s a pain if this is your application of choice, but it’s a fact. And while I’m personally a big fan of GIMP myself, my Photoshop using wife has explained at length that there are some things that simply haven’t translated well from Photoshop to GIMP. So rather than gripe about it, I decided to venture out there to see what the real alternatives to Photoshop are for Linux users and whether or not they’re good enough to even bother mentioning.
GIMP — Great app, but not a replacement
I love using GIMP. It’s fast, handles image changes very quickly, and is frankly faster than Photoshop any day of the week for image rendering. Sorry, but that’s a fact I tested over and over on a modern PC. This said, there are still some things that aren’t quite a straight over switch from its proprietary cousin. Text handling remains a mess, select filters either have to be Googled and added, or just forgotten about altogether.
GIMP is a must have application for the casual user, but it’s simply not enough for most photo experts apparently. This led me to wonder what other possible alternatives might be available out there for those who are looking to find a viable Photoshop alternative for Linux.
Pixel Image Editor
It may not be Photoshop, but Pixel will feel very natural to any casual Photoshop enthusiast. And unlike Adobe’s software, it’s designed to run on any OS you choose — and I mean any desktop OS. Bundled with its familiar feel, Photoshop-like functionality, and speed make considering Pixel the logical choice for someone looking to dump their old OS and switch to Linux. It’s certainly better than trying to fight with Photoshop with WINE, that’s for sure.
Drawing tablet support
SANE/TWAIN scanner support
Multiple color managed clipboards
Anything else you might want from GIMP or most of what you miss in Photoshop
Now for the downside. Due to what appears to be a transition of ownership, Globell will be handling future transactions of the application. Worse, this appears to be going nowhere fast. So while the free/trial version is still available, you may not be able to get the full version at this point. Why highlight this at all? Because I have used this software extensively previous to all of this on a previous Linux box, circa 2009. It was fantastic and the software is worth watching out for despite this most recent hurdle.
In the meantime
For the time being, I hate to even suggest it, but the best bet remains Windows Photoshop via WINE or GIMP. As time passes, I see the likelihood of Pixel making a comeback. So keep your eyes peeled. It’s not lost just yet and here, any time, we may see that missing buy button return.