The author maintains a relaxed and encouraging voice, lending credence to the fact that this book is for artists and users, not system administrators and technical developers. The early chapters offer a rundown of the interface, with each tool--the color selector, the bucket fill, the various pencils, paintbrushes, and erasers, etc.--explained, while later chapters cover complex layer editing and selecting, switching color palettes, using GIMP with scanners, digital cameras, and preparing media for print.
With the rise of Linux-based desktop systems, GIMP is an important and flexible tool. Not only does it support Photoshop file compatibility, text effects, and color correction effects, it can also import and export JPG and GIF file formats--the image formats that make up 99 percent of Web graphics. Chapter 6, "Layers and Channels," even explains how to convert a multilayered image into an animated GIF.
A notable bonus: the CD-ROM contains GIMP already compiled for Linux, Sun Solaris 2.5, and SGI IRIX 6.4. If you need to build GIMP for your specific version of Unix, chapter 1 of the book goes into step-by-step detail on where to download the source code and how to build the binary executable.
If you are a systems administrator, Web administrator, or a user of any Unix-based system and need to edit graphics, this book--and GIMP--are for you. With its flexible scripting language, rich feature set, and Photoshop file compatibility, GIMP can be a powerful asset to any Unix user's graphics toolbox. --Mike Caputo