How to Install GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is an open-source program for many different purposes. Its primary function centers around graphic design and editing images and 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 GIMP on Debian 11 Bullseye using the apt package manager or the flatpak package manager, along with some tips for maintaining or removing GIMP in the future.

Update Debian

Before you begin, ensure your system is up-to-date to avoid any conflicts during the installation, and for good practice, use the terminal command as follows.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install GIMP – APT Default Method

The first option is to use the default APT repository. This is a stable and secure version and is most recommended to install over any other package manager but can be outdated compared to Flatpaks alternative, usually up-to-date.

First, execute the following apt install command.

sudo apt install gimp -y

Install GIMP – Flatpak Method

The second option is to use the Flatpak package manager. By default, no third-package installation managers such as Snap or Flatpak are installed on Debian but are available from the Debian repository. Flatpak is perhaps the best among them, given many Linux distros natively install Flatpak as an alternative and have the most active maintainers of software packages due to its popularity.

First, install Flatpak.

sudo apt install flatpak -y

For users re-installing Flatpak, it is often recommended to reboot your system. Failure to do this can occur with odd issues, such as paths not being generated for icons.



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

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

Now install GIMP using the following flatpak command:

flatpak install flathub org.gimp.GIMP -y

How to Launch GIMP

Now that you have the GIMP installed, launching can be done in a few ways.

For users that have an active terminal window launched, you can type the following to launch the application immediately.


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.

Activities > Show Activities > GNU Image Manipulation Program


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


Congratulations, you have successfully installed GIMP.

How to Update/Upgrade GIMP

Updates should appear in notifications, but if these fail to show sometimes, it is recommended to check using the terminal regardless of the following commands to check for updates.

APT Method

sudo apt update

Flatpak Method

flatpak update

How to Remove (Uninstall) GIMP

Use one of the following commands to suit the original installation method for users who no longer require the paint application.

APT Remove Method

sudo apt autoremove gimp --purge -y

Note that autoremove will also delete any unused packages from GIMP and other leftovers from previous applications. This is usually safe and should be done to keep your system from bloating.

Flatpak Remove Method

flatpak remove  --delete-data org.gimp.GIMP -y

Next, run the following command for any leftover clean-ups required, similar to the autoremove command described for the apt remove example command.

flatpak remove --unused

Comments and Conclusion

Overall, GIMP stands above many other applications of its nature as it offers a great, streamlined workflow, making 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.

For more information on GNU Image Manipulation Program, visit the official documentation.

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