Well, it seems that the Ubuntu distribution managers agree with my friend more than the GIMP developers, as they're dropping GIMP from the default install. Why? Well...
If the most popular desktop linux on the planet calls GIMP a Photoshop replacement, then... it just might be a Photoshop replacement. No matter what the Devs think. It will be interesting to see what openSUSE and Fedora do in their next dev-cycles. If they keep GIMP, things will probably continue as usual. The same if a user revolt forces it back into the Ubuntu defaults. On the other hand, if Fedora and openSUSE follow suit, this will be a radical change in the GIMP community environment. They may start addressing the UI issues. Who knows.
- the general user doesn't use it
- its user-interface is too complex
- it's an application for professionals
- desktop users just want to edit photos and they can do that in F-Spot
- it's a photoshop replacement and photoshop isn't included by default in Windows...
- it takes up room on the disc
As it stands, Adobe has nothing to fear from GIMP. Anyone well versed in Photoshop will find the UI conventions of GIMP wildly different, and the same applies to methods to solve certain image problems(*). Adobe only needs to fear the people who a) don't want to pay the umpty hundred bucks for Photoshop, b) aren't willing to pirate a copy, and c) are willing to tough it out and learn a completely new package with radically different UI metaphors. There aren't that many of those.
Me? I've never used Photoshop. Or if I have, it was back in the early 90's. I've been using GIMP all this time and that's what I know. I intend to keep it that way since I really don't want to start paying Adobe all that money. That said, I totally understand why people don't like it. I also miss simple tools like 'draw a square', and 'draw a hollow circle'.
(*) Some of these solution paths are patented by Adobe, so no one else can do it that way if they wanted to. This is what closed source software brings you.