Gimp 2.8 was a long time coming, three and a half years in the making as mentioned on the May 3rd release notice on the projects official page. This is great news with a truck load of improvements over the 2.6 version with many more to come. There have been plenty of write ups on the improvements, so I will not be going into them here with any depth. I will simply have a few thoughts on what has become one of my favorite programs that has replaced virtually all my Photoshop use on my Laptop (which runs Xubuntu 12.04. For a good write up on the features you will find in the new Gimp version you can check out this post on Webupd8.org.
I have always thought the Gimp program was one of the most promising open source projects out there and have always been frustrated with the painfully slow development of the program that comes from having a small group of core developers. According to the developers, this is one of the issues that will be remedied, starting with the release of the long awaited Gimp 2.8.
This is very exciting news, as the list of coming features are also long awaiting and much anticipated form the community. High bit depth editing is due out in the next 2.10 release and the one listed under the "future" list (with no milestone number associated yet) is the script recording and playback option. This is one I am very much interested in, as this feature is one of my favorite features in Photoshop and would be amazing to have in the Gimp.
With 2.8 out they have "fixed" one of the long standing issues that I believe may have been detrimental to more novice users adopting the program: Lack of the long awaited Single Window Mode. I have tested this out and I can say it is very nice to finally have and will only benefit users who are used to this standard.
Gimp 2.8 is worth the time to upgrade and I sure hope we see 2.10 released sooner rather than later.