How Does GIMP Make Money? Exploring Open Source Success

Welcome to our article on GIMP, the popular open-source image editing software. In this section, we will explore the revenue model of GIMP and how it has become a success story in the world of open-source technology. Many people wonder, “How does GIMP make money if it’s free?” We will answer that question and more in the following paragraphs.

So, if you’re curious about how open source software can thrive without charging users, keep reading to learn more about GIMP and its unique approach to revenue generation.

What is GIMP?

GIMP, short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source image editing software. It is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. GIMP has many features that can be used for graphic design, digital painting, and photo editing.

GIMP has a user-friendly interface that allows users to easily edit and create images, making it a popular choice for professionals and amateurs alike. Some of its key features include image manipulation, color correction, image enhancement, and plugin support.

Graphic design with Gimp

Open Source Success

GIMP’s success story is unique in the software world. From its humble beginnings as a college project in 1995 to becoming one of the most popular open-source image editors, GIMP’s success is largely attributed to its community-driven development approach. GIMP is free to download, use, and modify, leading to a loyal user base contributing to its development in various ways.

The open-source community has been instrumental in GIMP’s success, contributing to developing new features, bug fixes, and translations and providing support to fellow users. The active community has helped the software evolve into a powerful tool without any marketing budget, relying solely on word-of-mouth recommendations.

The software’s user base is spread across the globe, making use of the software in various ways, from amateur to professional.

Revenue Model

GIMP operates on a unique revenue model as an open-source non-profit organization. With no marketing budget or paid subscriptions, GIMP relies solely on the support of its community and users. Despite this, GIMP has managed to sustain itself as a successful and widely used software.

There are a few ways in which GIMP generates revenue to support its development and improvement. These include donations, merchandise sales, and services.


One of the primary ways in which GIMP receives funding is through donations from its contributors and users. The GIMP team manages the donations through a platform called Liberapay, which allows users to make recurring donations to support the software’s development.

GIMP also receives donations through other third-party platforms like PayPal and Patreon. These donations go towards funding developer salaries, server costs, and other expenses related to maintaining and improving the software.


GIMP also generates revenue through merchandise sales. The merchandise store offers a variety of products such as t-shirts, stickers, and mugs. These products are designed by the GIMP team and are marketed towards the community of users who want to support the software’s development.

All profits from the merchandise sales go towards funding the development of GIMP. The merchandise also helps raise awareness about the software and its capabilities.


GIMP also offers services to generate revenue. These services include custom development, training, and consulting. The GIMP team works with clients to develop custom solutions for their image editing needs. They also provide training and consulting services to help users maximize their use of the software.

The revenue generated from these services goes towards funding the development of GIMP and improving the software’s capabilities.

Overall, GIMP’s revenue model is a testament to the power of open-source software and community support. By relying on donations, merchandise sales, and services, GIMP has managed to sustain itself as a successful and valuable resource for image editing.

Gimp image manipulation


GIMP relies on the generosity of its contributors and users to continue its development. Donations are a critical revenue source used to pay for essential resources such as web hosting and hardware infrastructure.

Contributors can donate to GIMP through various channels such as PayPal, Patreon, and Bitcoin. Donations can be made on a one-time basis or recurrently. GIMP does not require donations; they are entirely voluntary.

Users who donate to GIMP join a community of supporters who help to improve the software and make it accessible to everyone. The donations received by GIMP are used to sponsor development projects, collaborate with other open-source projects, and help to fund the annual Libre Graphics Meeting.

“We would not be where we are today without the support of our community.”

– GIMP Team


GIMP generates revenue through merchandise sales. The company offers a wide range of products that are designed to appeal to its user base. These products include t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and other branded items that can be purchased directly from their website.

The GIMP community designs the merchandise and it is available in various colors and sizes. The company also offers limited edition products occasionally, making them highly collectable among users.

The merchandise is marketed to users through the GIMP website and various social media channels. They also offer exclusive products to their Patreon donors to thank them for their support.

Examples of GIMP Merchandise

GIMP T-ShirtA classic black t-shirt featuring the GIMP logo in white.$20
GIMP MugA white ceramic mug featuring the GIMP logo.$12
GIMP Sticker PackA set of five vinyl stickers featuring various GIMP designs.$8

The revenue generated through merchandise sales helps the company to cover its operational costs and fund further development of their software. Additionally, it provides a way for users to show their support for the GIMP community and the open-source movement.


GIMP offers a range of services to generate revenue and support its development. These services include:

GIMP Development and SupportGIMP supports its software through bug fixes, feature requests, and updates. The development team also offers customizations and consulting services for businesses and individuals who require specific features or assistance.
GIMP MerchandiseGIMP provides support for its software through bug fixes, feature requests, and updates. The development team also offers customizations and consulting services for businesses and individuals who require specific features or assistance.

In addition to these services, GIMP also relies on the support of its community through donations. By contributing to the project, users can help to ensure its continued development and success.

Customizations and Consulting Services

GIMP’s development team offers customizations and consulting services for businesses and individuals who require specific features or assistance. These services can include the development of new plugins or tools, as well as support for software integration and implementation.

According to the GIMP website, the development team is dedicated to providing high-quality services that meet the needs of their clients. They will work closely with clients to understand their requirements and develop solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.

Merchandise Sales

GIMP sells a range of merchandise featuring the software’s logo and other designs related to image editing. These items are available for purchase on the GIMP website, with proceeds going towards the development of the software.

Merchandise sales are an important source of revenue for GIMP, as they provide a way for users to support the project beyond direct donations. The merchandise is often marketed towards users who want to show their support for GIMP and its community.


GIMP is a popular image editing software, but it is not the only option available in the market. Let’s take a look at how it compares to some of its competitors:

Adobe PhotoshopExtensive feature set, including 3D design and animationStarting at $20.99/month
CorelDRAWVector graphics editing and design toolsStarting at $249
InkscapeVector graphics editing software with some raster capabilitiesFree

While Adobe Photoshop offers more advanced features, it comes with a steep price tag. CorelDRAW is also a great option for vector graphics design, but it is not free. Inkscape is a free, open-source software that offers vector editing capabilities and some raster capabilities as well. GIMP is a strong contender among these competitors, especially for those who prefer open-source software and value a low price point.

Future Plans

GIMP has a bright future ahead with exciting new updates planned for the software. One of the major focuses of the upcoming releases is improving the user interface and experience. This will include making the software more user-friendly and easier to navigate for new and experienced users alike.

The GIMP team is also looking to enhance the software’s performance by optimizing the code and introducing new features to help users edit images more efficiently. These features will include better tools for color correction and image manipulation, among others.

Plans for GIMP 3.0

GIMP 3.0 is currently in development and is set to be a significant upgrade from the current version, GIMP 2.10. The new release will include major improvements to the underlying code, including the introduction of a new widget system, which will enable developers to work more efficiently on the software’s code.

In addition to the new widget system, GIMP 3.0 will also include new features such as support for multi-layer EXR files, better support for high-resolution displays, and improved color management.

GIMP 3.0 is still in the development phase, but it is expected to be released in the near future. Keep an eye out for updates on the GIMP website and social media channels.


How do I download and install GIMP?

You can download GIMP from its official website, Once downloaded, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.

What are the system requirements for using GIMP?

GIMP works on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. The minimum system requirements for using GIMP are:

  • Windows 7/8/10, macOS 10.9 or later, or a Linux-based OS
  • Intel Pentium 4 or later processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1280×768 minimum screen resolution

How can I troubleshoot common GIMP issues?

If you experience issues with GIMP, try the following troubleshooting tips:

  • Check for updates and install any available updates.
  • Restart your computer and relaunch GIMP.
  • If GIMP crashes frequently, try resetting its user profile by deleting your user directory’s “gimp” folder.
  • If you’re experiencing issues with plugins, try disabling them individually to identify the problematic plugin.