How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

GIMP is free, open-source raster graphics editing software primarily used for image manipulation and image editing, transcoding between various image formats, free-form drawing, and many more specialized tasks. GIMP is released under GPL-3.0-or-later license and is available for Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.

In the following tutorial, you will learn to install the GIMP application on Debian 11 Bullseye using three alternative methods that you can choose from.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Debian 11 Bullseye
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
  • Optional Installation Managers – Snap or Flatpak

Update Operating System

Update your Debian operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@debian~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on Adding a User to Sudoers on Debian.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su
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Option 1. Install GIMP with APT Manager

The first option is to use the default apt repository provided by Debian’s repository. This is a stable and secure version.

First, execute the following apt install command:

sudo apt install gimp

Example output:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y”, then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Once installed, confirm the installation by checking the apt-cache policy on GIMP.

sudo apt-cache policy gimp

Example output:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

In the future, updates are handled using the apt update && apt upgrade commands, respectively.

To remove GIMP when installed using APT package manager, use the following command.

sudo apt autoremove gimp --purge -y

Example:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y”, then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the removal.

Note that this will remove GIMP entirely from your system and all dependencies GIMP installed during the initial installation.

Option 2. Install GIMP with Snap (Snapcraft)

The second option is to use the Snap package manager. Debian users may be familiar with Snap as it is created and maintained by Ubuntu; however, it is not natively installed on your system. However, this can be installed relatively quickly.

To install Snap, use the following command:

sudo apt install snapd

Example output:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y”, then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Once Snap is installed, it is highly recommended to log out and back in again or restart your service to ensure snap’s paths are updated correctly.

sudo systemctl restart snapd

Next, some packages come in classic, so you need to create a symlink to enable classic snap support.

sudo ln -s /var/lib/snapd/snap /snap

Next, you need to install the “snap core files” for everything to work correctly. Failure to do this may result in issues down the track.

sudo snap install core

Example output:

core 16-2.51.7 from Canonical✓ installed

Next, install the GIMP package using snap:

sudo snap install gimp

Example output:

gimp 2.10.24 from Snapcrafters installed

As above, this informs you the GIMP was successfully installed and the version number.

Snap packages are more significant in size than traditional repositories through the APT package manager for several reasons. However, the trade-off is more straightforward maintained packages that are often updated to the latest available version.

For the future, to update along with and any other packages installed by Snap, run the following command:

sudo snap refresh

If you no longer need to have GIMP installed, remove it using the Snap remove command.

sudo snap remove gimp

Example output:

gimp removed
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Option 3. Install GIMP with Flatpak

The third option is to use the Flatpak package manager. By default, this does not come pre-installed on Debian but is available from its repository. This is another popular option similar to Snap.

First, install Flatpak and its dependencies.

sudo apt install flatpak gnome-software-plugin-flatpak -y

Next, you need to enable Flatpack for Debian using the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Now install SNAP using the following flatpak command:

sudo flatpak install flathub org.gimp.GIMP

Example output:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y” X2 times, then press the “ENTER KEY” X2 times to proceed with the installation.

Updates are handled by Flatpack automatically every time you log into your system. However, if you need to remove the Flatpack version of GIMP, run the following command:

sudo flatpak uninstall --delete-data flathub org.gimp.GIMP

Example output:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Type “Y” X2 times, then press the “ENTER KEY” X2 times to remove using Flatpack.

How to Launch GIMP

Now that you have the GIMP client installed, launching can be done in two ways.

In your terminal type:

gimp

If you would like to launch GIMP and use the terminal, send it to the background:

gimp &

Lastly, Flatpak users can run from the terminal using the following command.

flatpak run org.gimp.GIMP

However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your desktop to open with the path: Activities > Show Applications > GNU Image Manipulation Program. If you cannot find it, use the search function in the Show Applications menu if you have many applications installed.

Example:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Once you open GIMP, you will see the first default landing screen.

Example:

How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

Congratulations, you have successfully installed GIMP.

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Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to add the official GIMP application on your Debian 11 Bullseye desktop in two different ways.

Overall, GIMP stands above many other applications of its nature as it offers a great, streamlined workflow which makes it easier for beginners to get started with the application. GIMP also has an easy-to-customize UI that can help accelerate workflows in online digital photography. It is worth a look.

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