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On GIMP's 20th birthday (Nov 22), a new version of the free and open source image editor was released: 2.8.16. This is a bugfix release from the 2.8 stable series and it includes the following changes:
  • Core:
    • seek much less when writing XCF;
    • don't seek past the end of the file when writing XCF;
    • Windows: call SetDLLDirectory() for less DLL hell;
    • fix velocity parameter on .GIH brushes;
    • fix brokenness while transforming certain sets of linked layers;
  • GUI:
    • always show image tabs in single window mode;
    • fix switching of dock tabs by DND hovering;
    • don't make the scroll area for tags too small;
    • fixed a crash in the save dialog;
    • fix issue where ruler updates made things very slow on Windows;
  • Plug-ins:
    • fix several issues in the BMP plug-in;
    • make Gfig work with the new brush size behavior again;
    • fix font export in the PDF plug-in;
    • support layer groups in OpenRaster files;
    • fix loading of PSD files with layer groups.

The GIMP 2.8.16 release announcement also mentions that the devs' "immediate future plans are to release first public version in the unstable 2.9.x series that will feature fully functional GEGL port, 16/32bit per channel processing, basic OpenEXR support, vastly improved color management implementation, new tools, on-canvas preview for many filters, and more", this being the first milestone towards GIMP 2.10.

If you want to try the latest unstable GIMP, you can already do so by using a PPA.

Install GIMP 2.8.16 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint

To install the latest stable GIMP in Ubuntu (Precise and newer) / Linux Mint and derivatives, you can use Thorsten Stettin's PPA. Add the PPA and install GIMP using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp
It's important to mention that besides GIMP, this PPA also includes various GIMP plugins, such as G'MIC, and GIMP PLugin Registry.

For other Linux distributions, Windows and Mac OS X, see the GIMP downloads page.

How to revert the changes

In case you don't want to use GIMP 2.8.16 any more and you want to downgrade to the version available in the official Ubuntu repositories, you can purge the PPA using "ppa-purge":
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp