It’s been 5 years since GIMP’s last overhaul so this one’s been overdue. It now has a single window editing mode, although the multi window mode is the default. It can be changed in the “Windows” menu, and the preference will be remembered.
Ars Technica has a ‘hands on’ review which might be more informative to read, as I’d only be quoting and I’ve never used GIMP.
GIMP also gained a number of other design and usability improvements. The title bar on the floating palette windows was removed and the associated configuration button was sucked up into the tab bar. The spin buttons have changed, and are easier to use, especially with a stylus touchscreen device. Save will be in the XCF format only, Other formats can be generated using the “export”. This should save errors in saving incomplete image documents.
More important is the new “nested layer groups”, so artists will be able to have a better, more organized work flow. Another major functional improvement is the new canvas-based text editing support, a feature that is sure to please the “lolcat” folks. No external text editor is needed, and a floating pane will appear above with formatting options.
More promising is the the potential for complete transition to the Generic Graphics Library – a sophisticated processing framework.
One problem: The binary RC or RTM hasn’t been released yet so if you’re desperate for it, you’ll have to compile it yourself…NOT recommended.
You can grab a peek here and read more in its release notes: http://www.gimp.org/release-notes/gimp-2.8.html
If you’re using GIMP, there’s a new book out about it “The Artist’s Guide to GIMP” here: http://nostarch.com/gimp2
The ebook (mobi, PDF and ePub) is free, as are the updates. Calibre has been updated to 1.0 for those looking for a great, feature rich ebook manager - reader and format switcher (also free). You can get it here: http://calibre-ebook.com/