Building Glimpse

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Revision as of 18:31, 19 January 2020 by TrechNex (talk | contribs)
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There are several components of the Glimpse source code that must be built in a specific order.

Component Purpose Link
BABL Converts between different image formats and color spaces
MyPaint Provides different brushes and image editing components
GEGL Core engine for non-destructive image editing and processing. Requires BABL
Glimpse Front end UI wrapper and plug-in framework based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Requires GEGL and MyPaint

Release Versioning Scheme

  • Glimpse 0.x releases are always based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10.
  • Glimpse 1.x releases will also be based on GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10, but with extra supporting documentation and functional changes.
  • Glimpse 2.x releases will be based on a rewrite of the front-end UI and plugin wrapper, but still rely on the same underlying components.

Component Versions

We stick to tagged versions of each component so builds can still be reproduced at a later date. That approach also ensures Glimpse development is never blocked by unanticipated upstream changes.

Release Status GNU IMP BABL MyPaint GEGL Release Date
Glimpse 0.1.0 Released 2.10.12 0.1.68 1.3.0 0.4.16 2019-11-22
Glimpse 0.1.1 In Development 2.10.12 0.1.68 1.3.0 TBD TBC
Glimpse 0.2.0 Planning 2.10.14 TBD TBD TBD TBD

Version Control

The source code we maintain is available at We currently maintain two locked branches:

Branch name Purpose
glimpse-0-1 Current stable release code for Glimpse 0.1
dev-g210 Latest development changes based on the GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10

You should ignore any other branches you see as they will usually be related to a pull request, and as a result they may not build and will usually be deleted once the changes have been merged into the development branch.

We have added the components that Glimpse project does not maintain as git submodules already preset at the correct tagged versions. This is provided for convenience so that you do not need to clone them separately and can have confidence that changes in the upstream "master" branches are not affecting your builds.

Build Tools

Because Glimpse 0.x is forked from the GNU Image Manipulation Program 2.10.12, we use Autotools and other programs contained within the GNU Build System. This also applies to the tagged versions of BABL, MyPaint and GEGL that we rely on.

When the GNU Image Manipulation Program 3.0 is released in 2020, that code will require Meson, an entirely different build system. If you do not stick to tagged releases of the components the Glimpse source code relies on, our documented build instructions will not work.

The Glimpse project and community can offer assistance with the instructions provided on If you choose to follow the upstream documentation instead and run into problems, we may not be able to help you.

Build Steps

The components you need and any additional steps required will vary depending on your computer's operating system. Please read the relevant post that applies to you before proceeding any further:

The order of the build commands you need to run will be the same regardless of your chosen platform. The main differences relate to how you set up your build environment, fetch prerequisite components and determining which environment and build variables you need to set. The essential steps are:

  1. Clone the source code:
  2. git clone
  3. Initialize the submodules inside the cloned directory:
  4. git submodule update --init
  5. Build BABL in the babl folder:
  6. ./
    make && make install
  7. Build MyPaint in the mypaint-brushes and libmypaint folders:
  8. ./
    make && make install
  9. Build GEGL in the gegl folder:
  10. ./
    make && make install
  11. Finally, build Glimpse from the top level of the cloned directory:
  12. ./
    make && make install

If you have already installed Glimpse on your computer and want to keep the configuration files of your self-built copy separate, you can optionally use the --with-gimpdir build flag with during the Glimpse build step:

./ --with-gimpdir=Glimpse/dev

Faster Builds

There are additional optimizations you can optionally make if you want to speed up the build process on your computer.

Removing Documentation

If you already have the stable version of Glimpse installed then you may not necessarily want to rebuild documentation for your own self-built version.

For the GEGL component you could change the step as follows:

./ --enable-gtk-doc-html=no --disable-docs

To achieve the same thing for the Glimpse build step:

./ --disable-gtk-doc

Processing in Parallel

If your computer's CPU has more than one core, you can instruct the build system to run multiple build tasks simultaneously by setting the MAKEFLAGS environment variable:

export MAKEFLAGS=-j4

That example will make use of up to 4 cores to run tasks in parallel. For an optimal setup you should set the number to match the number of cores your CPU has.

Fixing Translations

Glimpse Image Editor relies on *.po files that are generated with the gettext tool. As a result, fixing broken translations is not as easy as making a file edit because the automated build tools could overwrite your changes.

The best way to fix a broken translation is to follow this process:

  1. Find the hard-coded value where it is in the codebase (the translation file itself will give you a filename and line number) and change that if needed
  2. Now run the following command from the folder the po file you want to change is located in:
    make update-po
  3. Make the change you want to make within the po file. If you see this line above the text, go back to step 1 or (if it's already fixed) remove it:
    #, Fuzzy
  4. Now re-run the build steps for Glimpse Image Editor. Do not edit translations for subcomponents like BABL, GEGL or MyPaint! We use upstream tagged versions and don't want to fork them, so your change will not be merged if you do that.
  5. Test the program by manually specifying the language file you are editing. For example, to test with the German language:
    LANG="de.UTF-8" glimpse

    On Windows you would run these commands inside the bin directory:

    set lang=de.UTF8
  6. Rinse and repeat until you are satisfied with your translation fixes.