I believe with Ubuntu targeting 2 billion users, niche markets need to be targeted. I hear people saying Mac is for Designers and every designer use it because it offers tools for them. Obviously that is not true, but it makes you wonder that Ubuntu still lacks a great Image editing/manipulation program. Sure Gimp/Krita are great but they don't come close to the feature and usability that photoshop offers. I am not trying to start a Gimp-Photoshop debate here.
I believe that building something like Photoshop or Gimp from ground up requires re-inventing the wheel and investing in something that already exists.
I believe when it comes to Ubuntu and other Gnome-Based Distros, Gimp is the standard Image Editing tool.
What Gimp lacks really is a sense of direction when it comes to features, usability and milestones. Gimp milestones' deadlines slip every now and then. This really isn't a concern of Ubuntu if you think about it.
But what I am suggesting here is:
1. Ubuntu to provide a sort of Incubator for Gimp. Perhaps even a resource or two so that development proceeds swiftly and in a direction that if not compete with programs like Photoshop, then at least provide a decent open-source alternative.
2. Help projects like Gimp develop a sustenance model, something like Ubuntu Business or providing corporate support. Or perhaps through raising donations. This will again provide motivation for the developer and also pay for their efforts. This might even lead to hiring more resources for the development.
I am not throwing this idea just out there, this thought came to me because of recent developments in Compiz. I, like many others, thought that Compiz was on the deathbed. But Ubuntu included it into Unity and I have just installed version 0.9.7beta1 on my system and I can feel the difference of involvement of an organization as opposed to having no direction.
Also beer in mind I am not suggesting that Gimp/Krita are killer applications. Its not that having these applications will drive people to switch to the operating system. I suggest that having more usability in such application and more completeness will eventually bubble up at the OS level. Windows/Mac users live in this myth that there OS is a complete OS since good complete apps exists. I am talking about taking a look at such applications, mentoring them in a way to give them direction. Something that eventually happened with LibreOffice. It does take a revolution to see the capabilities of an Application. I know many designers which are hooked to Photoshop, but would like to move to Linux. Then using Gimp/Krita is a big step down. So Ubuntu or for that matter any other linux system will never appeal to them.
Let me know what are your thoughts on the same.