Glimpse is discontinued… is it worth supporting forks created on a whim?

In the second half of 2019 we share here on the blog the news about the birth of a fork of GIMP, which has the name of "Glimpse" and that was born from the requests of a group of activists dissatisfied with negative associations derived from the word "Gimp."

At the time the fork created a lot of "echo" between the Gimp community and also Linux, as it was created after 13 years of this group of activists trying to convince the Gimp developers to change their name, who obviously simply refused to do so.

As a reminder, in 2019, Glimpse forked from GIMP after 13 years of trying to convince developers to change its name. The creators of Glimpse believe that the use of the name GIMP is unacceptable and makes it difficult for the publisher to distribute in educational institutions, public libraries and corporate settings, as the word "gimp" is perceived by some English speakers as an insult to certain social groups. , and it also has a negative connotation associated with the BDSM subculture

After his last decision to create the fork and continue with the "development" (so to call it) for a little over 1 year and a half, what is surprising now is that Glimpse developers have decided to stop development and move the repositories on GitHub to the archive category. Currently, the project no longer plans to release updates and stops accepting donations.

The news broke shortly after Bobby Moss, the leader and founder of the project, left the project, there was no one among the remaining team capable of taking his place and continuing to keep the project afloat.

Bobby was forced to leave the project at the request of the employer, who expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the development of Glimpse began to affect the performance of Bobby's direct functions in the workplace (the main job is related to writing technical documentation at Oracle).

Additionally, due to a change in company policy, Bobby was required to obtain legal confirmation in the absence of a conflict of interest.

Starting in the second half of 2020, only Bobby and a few outside contributors continued to work directly on the fork, while the remaining contributors got bogged down trying to start redesigning the UI.

The problem was not the lack of funds and users, but the inability to find collaborators willing to join the job on non-code related tasks such as analyzing error messages, troubleshooting packaging, testing new versions, answering user questions, and maintaining servers. Due to the lack of assistance in these areas, the team struggled to scale the project in accordance with the increasing demand.

The abandonment of the project may not be so relevant, but the problem that arises in the first place is how relevant is the creation of a fork from a whim? Free software has seen the birth, death and even triumph of many forks, whether from distributions or applications that at the time the developers or communities had disagreements and chose to take their own path.

But in this case creating a fork of a software which is quite known worldwide for the simple fact that its "name I dislike" and taking only as a basis that said name in "x" language, culture or social entity has "X" meaning, it really has no relevance and it is largely understood why for 13 years his request simply did not proceed.

Now, I would like to share a personal opinion on the subject, as the situation reminds me a lot of the part in the Nemo movie, in which the fish escape and do the iconic scene where they say "Now what?" where the reference is interpreted in many ways, but mainly it gives rise to that for so long they were trying to achieve something to which after obtaining it they do not know what to do.

The situation is similar in this case with all the people who created the Gimp fork, since a 13-year struggle is not easy and dismantling the project due to the lack of 1 leader ... well, it leaves a lot to think about.

Finally, the last part that attracts my attention at the moment and that has begun to echo for several months is the famous topic of "the carbon footprint", since the issue of software billing is an important area to consider.


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