I wonder if you plan on going to any of the free software conferences next year? Guadec? ArtLibre Meeting?
I would love to chat about your GIMP use. Are you using a tablet? Making use of the fullscreen mode? How's the docks accessible for you? Missing a better quality preview when zoomed out? What sort of things you go tweaking over an over (brush size, opacity, etc..)? Do you get lost in the layer stack often? Do you make use of the USB/MIDI input controllers?
I'm pretty sure I can't afford to go to any conferences anytime soon.
I am using a tablet. The lack of OS X support pretty much makes Gimp useless to me at work though, which is unfortunate.
I wasn't aware there was a fullscreen mode.
The docks are functional. I really wish they were all bound to one window though. One thing that's always bugged me about GTK is the size of the widgets. The 'small' theme in GIMP, for example, dwarfs photoshop's palettes.
Now that you mention it, the preview is kinda lame.
I constantly change the size of my brush. It annoys me that I have to create a new brush and have the (rather large) brush palette open to do so quickly. Pressure sensitivity handles my opacity needs.
Layer management is good, I miss adjustment layers though.
USB/MIDI input controllers?
I've been considering doing videos of my icon making process. I remember looking at one of your videos where you drew a white dog and getting inspired to make RAPI, a small set included in GANT 3.
I'm happy to say that some of the issues you mention are fixed in 2.3.
The window handling is much better and docks can me made to follow image windows around and docks hide and show correctly on tab (even in fullscreen mode). This however needs configuration based on what WM you use. I hope we can make the configuration less painful and try to make GIMP smart about figuring out what WM is used. Below are the two common gnome WM configurations that do what I expect:
toolbox hint: utility window
other docks: utility window
[ ] transient to image window
toolbox hint: normal window
other docks: normal window
[x] transient to image window
As for brushes, it's annoying that the two types of brushes expose a different interface. To be able to smoothly scale a brush size, it needs to be of parametric type. Currently the bitmap brushes don't scale (suck). By default (in 2.3 at least) scaling is bound to [ and ] keys. I have a neat USB device, powermate which I use to control brush size. But you can also bind these to a MIDI or game controller type device. I have yet to try my steering-wheel pedals for opacity or something
Having smaller widgets for docks isn't impossible. One could edit the gtkrc to match for specific widgets and specify smaller sizes for everything. The problem is that it's not exactly trivial to identify the widget classes. gtkrc editing isn't exactly fun.
So while I still think the redraw speed is below usable, the fullscreen mode is really nice for painting (and photo editing). I wish I had time to spec out some quick pie menu for accessing brush and layer functionality quicker, but tabbing my way and seeing as much canvas as possible is nice already.
I would *LOVE* to see screen captures of your painting session.
Nevertheless I still hope to meet in person one day