If GIMP is so good, why does everyone use Photoshop?  It’s a fair question, given the fact that GIMP is so often heralded by open source enthusiasts.  GIMP is a free photo editing software often cited as the best open source image editing software on the planet.  An offshoot, Gimpshop, features a user interface that mimics the appearance and terminology of Photoshop – and it’s also free.  Why doesn’t everyone use it instead?

First, I make no argument against GIMP as a world-class image editor.  What’s more, I have no problem whatsoever with open source – I’m also an enthusiast and have promoted GIMP in dozens of posts.  What I do wonder is, when the free GIMP is arguably every bit as powerful as the $700 Photoshop, why doesn’t everyone just use GIMP?

This is why:

Marketing – Adobe undoubtedly has a large marketing budget, which they put to good use.

You learned on Photoshop  Most design classes use Photoshop; once out of school, why learn a lesser-known software that does the same thing?

Advanced features – GIMP can do more than most hobbyists would ever need, but Photoshop can still do more.

Photoshop is the industry standard  Photoshop is the most established photo editing software in the professional world.  It’s what’s expected of professional firms.

Photoshop integrates with other Adobe products – From Acrobat to Illustrator, InDesign to Dreamweaver, Photoshop integrates seamlessly with other Adobe Creative Suite products.

Lack of GIMP support and tutorials  There are tutorials and excellent forums for GIMP users, yes, but not near the volume you’ll find for Photoshop users, including professional Adobe support.

Mistrust of open source  Perception that open source is always distributed with spyware or susceptible to crashes and data loss can turn some users off, whether the perception is valid or not.

Minimal investment  For the startup or hobbyist, the price of Photoshop might be a barrier to entry.  But for established professional design firms, the price of Photoshop and the entire Creative Suite represents an investment with an expected return.  Spending a few thousand dollars on software every few years is anticipated, and minimal given the fact that a single job might pay for the purchase.

What other reasons do designers cite for using Photoshop instead of GIMP?  Or are you a designer who uses GIMP instead?  Why?  Let me know in the comments!