Version 2.8 of GIMP, the popular open-source image editing application, has been in development since 2009 and has dragged on much longer than most anyone anticipated. In January of 2010 it was expected for release after Christmas, but we're now nearly one Christmas later and the gold release is still missing.
We have seen some development releases, but at the end of 2010 the 2.8 release was facing hardship. It was expected now to be released around March of 2011 with a reduced set of features, but that didn't happen. The last update we heard placed the final release at the end of November, but obviously that was missed too.
Among what's not fully taken advantage of in GIMP 2.8 is the GEGL library, but there are some nice end-user features. This summer was when the single-window mode for GIMP landed in time for the 2.8 release.
What we finally have to report on today is that GIMP 2.8 is now under a string freeze! The GIMP 2.8 string freeze was announced this weekend by Alexandre Prokoudine on the gimp-developer-list.
Tasks left for GIMP 2.8 are writing the release notes, deciding on a splash image, a single-window mode related bug-fixing buffer, and one specific bug. The last remaining bug concerns interaction between old text parameters and new region specific text attributes. GIMP 2.8 is expected to be completed on the 25th of January in 2012. This is found on Task Taste.
Of course, the GIMP 2.8 release could slip again, but the work seems to be nearly complete and that we'll see this first major update in over three years land in early 2012. Now let's hope that the next GIMP release, which should contain some GEGL OpenCL action, won't be several years out.