Python 3 plugin support for GIMP 3 is ready

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The GTK+3 of the Green Is My Pepper aka GNU Image Manipulation Program is coming along nicely. It is still far, far away from being production or release ready but it is getting closer every day. GIMP 3 now supports Python 3 plugins, just like GIMP 2 does. It is implemented using GObject Introspection which means that other languages such as Golang and JavaScript could be supported when GIMP 3 is released.

GIMP had a Green Pepper as the default brush for years in its earlier days.

The bad news is that the Python API will "likely break" so existing Python scripts and plugins will have to be rewritten. A GIMP developer speaking under pseudonym told us that:

"GIMP 3 is a major release. We might break the API if really needed, though we will try as much as possible not to do it.

In any case, some API will definitely be deprecated (i.e. will still work yet raise warning messages), and some currently deprecated API will be removed.

The Python API may be an exception in that it will likely break. In GIMP 2.x, we had a custom Python binding and it has been basically unmaintained for years. We likely won't revive it and stick to the GObject Instrospected API."


Quite a lot of the current Python plugins using the "unmaintained" Python binding appear to be flat out broken so perhaps a fresh start isn't such a bad thing.


"In most cases when 2.x plug-ins don't work in 2.10, this is the reason: API deprecated for years and finally removed. There is no API break otherwise in the 2.x series, and when we deprecate functions, we warn years in advance (plug-in dev responsibility to update one's code!)."


Building GIMP 3 requires some pieces of rather bleeding edge software such as babl >= 0.1.68. That version of babl was released 3 days ago and no distributions has it in their repositories. It's not even available on Gentoo Linux or Manjaro Linux so we decided to not build and test GIMP 3 from the git repository at this time.

GIMP 3 could arrive "sooner than most people expect"

The GIMP roadmap page does not indicate when GIMP 3 will be released. The GIMP team's very tight-lipped about a potential release-date.

"We don't do dates so I can't/won't answer. 😛

Let me just say: we don't want to stall and certainly want before 3 years! I am even very optimistic and think it may happen much sooner than most people expect (given GIMP history).

Now life also happens, and who knows... 🙄"


"Our roadmap has never indicated release dates. It seems to drive some of our users crazy, which is a bummer, but we are all volunteers and can't predict how long it will take us to wade through mountains of old garbage code and do it right :)

We started allowing new stuff in stable releases for this very reason: people don't like waiting for years for new things in major updates :)"

GIMP Official statement

GIMP 3 won't be ready anytime soon but it will also not take 3 years before it's released. Meanwhile there's the current stable GIMP 2.x based on the GTK+2 toolkit. It is frequently updated with the latest version 2.10.12 released mid-June.

GIMP 2.x is available in all the major distributions repositories. You definitively want to install it if you do image editing on a regular basis. There are some good tutorials over at We also have some on this site linked below.