This is pure speculation on my part but it seems that Pphotoshop was developed first and foremost to replace photographic and prepress processes in a graphics firm. The program probably started out with a rich set of color correction and image enhancement tools as well as a means to create calibrated color separations to send out to image setters for color plates. As its users worked with it, they not only rediscovered the old photographic prepress effects, but new processes that could only be created digitally.
As successive versions of Photoshop were developed, they contained more elaborate means to produce special effects that were purely generative, meaning that images no longer required a scanned photograph or artist drawing as a starting point. With the emergence of the graphically intense World Wide Web, much more demand has been put on Photoshop's generative features.
I believe that the GIMP was developed during this later stage and as a result is rather ``top heavy'' in that it contains almost only generative features, and very few tools for image enhancement.
To compare the present, developer's releases and future releases of the GIMP to the current standard of the graphics industry is a little like saying ``Hollywood is the entertainment capital of Southern California, but we have our own movie studios in Los Colinas.'' The product of each is good, but there is a vast difference in scale between the two. However, since Photoshop is what the GIMP is modeling itself after, it seems to be the best yardstick we have of its progress. Table 1 contains a list of features and compares Photoshop with several generations of the GIMP
|Overall Comparisons||Adobe Photoshop||GIMP 0.54||GIMP 0.61||in development|
|Cost||about $600 +||free||free||free|
|Ease of Use||fair||poor||fair||?|
|Color Correction Tools||excellent||poor||poor||yes!|
|Image Enhancement Tools||excellent||poor||fair||yes?|
|Features||Adobe Photoshop||GIMP 0.54||GIMP 0.61||in development|
|Macros or Actions||yes||no||not yet||yes!|
|Working File Size Limitations||unlimited?||about 2meg||2meg?||unlimited?|