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I keep getting emails from people who have paid money for The GIMP and are looking for assistance. Please note that GIMP is, and always has been, available FREE OF CHARGE. Anybody who asks money for the GIMP's software itself is trying to rip-off naive people. Of course, there is teaching, consulting and/or services for the GIMP offered for money legitimately, but the software itself is free!


"Anybody who asks money for The GIMP software itself is a criminal trying to rip-off naive people."

This is a complete bogus. Selling GPL software is perfectly legal. Just read the license.

Selling GPL software with no added value and not saying it could be obtained for free is not nice. But there is a universe-large difference between "not nice" and "not legal".

I understand that there is rich history of debate on this point, and yes, you are right that it is permissible, but please, could you stop talking narrow legalities here and focus on the issue at hand? Even RMS had mostly distribution costs in mind when he put in that clause. The simple and sad fact is that there are people being ripped off and they have clearly been fooled into thinking that they had to pay money. From the inquiries I've been getting, its clearly not some kind of package deal.

The thing is this, these people find the registry. How could someone who finds the registry not be aware of and the free download there? In other cases, I have seen people spread lies, such as that "the other version" is not legit and that therefore you should buy. My strong suspicion is that something such as that is going on here. That would be clearly illegal by any reading of the license. That is why I have inquired where these people have gotten the software from.

Essentially, it boils down to that, in theory, you can ask money for GPL software, but, in practice, who would pay it? Either, something else has to be included (such as distribution or packaging or support), or you are being taken advantage off.

Whatever. I will take out the "criminal" in the above text, but I stand by the statement that this is a rip-off going on.

i agree that the discussion should not be focuses on what is legal but on what is correct

About (Quoted from Ingo )

"How could someone who finds the registry not be aware of and the free download there?" doesn't offer downloads( if not for the source code)

,only Linux Distro and for Windows a Sourceforge page (as for Mac the situation seems less clear ) offer binary and installers

And for Windows users the sourceforge page is very far to be user friendly,(not pelemic here i simply state a fact) so is not surprising that many if not most usually download from others (Major geeks,, Filehippo and so on )

Normal that in this confusions somebody try to grab some profit

PS installing gimp from any linux distro is so user friendly
. the package manager will take care of everything, obviously including download ,check , compatibilty and then install the right files

Not a case that usually to be "sold" are usually Windows and more seldom, Mac versions

I checked the page and you're right, that is very unfortunate placement -- when you click on download, all you get is Linux instructions and source code. You have to click on "Other downloads" to see the one for Win/Mac. I'll talk to the gimp-web people about that, it should be easy to fix!

The downloads page shows the section for the detected OS and hides the others. This is done on purpose.

If you want to help with a real problem, then look into - on old versions of IE, the download link is offset towards the top.

No need to detect the Os , "gimp for Windows" has a separate Sourceforge space and there are installer only for Win

So to be exact going the download page (for windows) linked from the link just make pop out the installer for the last stable

But search anything else from there (i.e a previous version, as now there is a bug in gimp 2.6.9 that may push to reinstall the previous version ) is not exactly intuitive and may be tricky

I agree with you, Photocomix, not what is legal but what is correct.

Law is a better-than-nothing ersatz of morality, but I think that we should not forget morality.

These wretched lamers make money with the work of others, they abuse weak and naive people, they steal the poor, they are a real plague of our century.

Believe that someone does have a right to package GIMP in a way for resale. Seen these sites before. They usually add value including support and a few additional customizations if I'm not mistaken. At the very least, they usually supply a CD Rom disk (some folk are very novice; doing a few helpful steps can be of value to non-techies). I have no issue for any entity that can make money by making Open Source programs more friendly. I won't do so myself since I don't have that desire. Still, I repeat that I don't think that, in itself, violates GPL that GIMPs under. :)

Yes, you can do that, but I'd be interested to see exactly what the terms are and what the cost is.

Furthermore, from the e-mails I got, people have clearly not been instructed very well and not been pointed at the right venues for asking for help. For example, they do not seem to be aware of at all, but know about the Registry. How could that be?

Anyway, people seem to be hung about my use of the word criminal and admit that it is very strong and I have been unsure whether I wanted to use it -- but I had frankly been outraged by the behavior. Now I have taken it out and the rest of the post should be uncontroversial -- it is just information, so that people know that there is a free alternative.

May I add that anyone who's still calling it "The GIMP" is living in the past? :)


Wordpress allows you to give a description of your subject line in the header. Is there anyway you can do that here, and "sort of" make a sticky that indicates that GIMP is FREE and can be downloaded at Since you mention that emails are indicative of people being aware of the Registry. It only makes sense to take advantage of that information. Otherwise, everyone here is just FREE tech support for those who are selling GIMP to the unsuspecting buyers.

Unless of course you can keep your original post at the top, so it doesn't cycle out when new posts/content is added.

Good idea: There is a "mission statement" at the very top of the first page. Maybe I can make that a little bit more explicit :-)

I could also keep this discussion at the top of the front page, but it takes more space that I'd rather reserve for more current announcements.

Ingo, it is very important to realize that anyone is allowed to sell GIMP as long as the duties of the GNU GPL are respected. This is a major difference to selling copies of non-Free software.

Please read

Your post doesn't help to educate anyone about the legal status of Free Software, and especially not about the requirements that one has to fulfill in order to be allowed to distribute it. I suggest that you remove this whole thread, take some more time to author a constructive post (e.g. pointing to articles about the GNU GPL, pointing out how people may be able to tell rip-off from legit offers).

This is not about what you can do. This is about what you have to do, or don't have to do. And you don't have to pay.

Yes, I am aware that this post does not do completely explain the legal situation. Doing so would only confuse and I believe that confusion is exactly what the people behind the rip-offs are exploiting. Therefore, I prefer a clear statement, and that statement is perfectly correct, because it is about users' obligations, and those are very simple, indeed.

As schumam wrote may be from a srictly legal point of view, perfectly lecit sold gimp or any other Open source program if the condition listed in the gpl licences are satysfied

But is also lecit consider, if at that price is only offered to users a download of the "free gimp" with no any extra
(as the expedition of a phisical CD or DVD, that may be useful in country were access to the net is not easy or very expensive ) consider similar offers attempt to rip off (even if a legal attempt to rip off )

I don't know to which offer refer Ingo but i saw several in the past that were combining the formal respect for gpl with a smart attempt to make money selling something that may be downloaded for free, with no any advantages

Warn from similar offers seems or not they are close to the commune concept of rip off

May be different, i may image hypotetical cases of somebody not only respecting the letter of gpl conrtact,
but offering in a bundle not only Gimp but a accurate selection of plugin script and add on, and the complete collection of the MeetTheGimp video, all in DVD or USB drive delivered by mail

In similar (hipotetichal) cases the users will pay for something "more" it may be a good or bad but that would remain a honest deal

Possibility to report and advice about very bad deal related to GIMP should be at least no less licit then offer them

But ...see just offered a download of a free program

Is this any different than companies bottling tap water and selling it for a 5000% markup?

There will always be people who are willing/foolish enough to pay for something that is free.

-Rob A>

Yes is the same kind of "lecit" rip off

In case advice users that is not the case of some very special mineral water, but just the same water they may get from the tap may be a useful info

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