Plugins and Gimp (.xcf)

  • dige_st

    dige_st - 2012-03-19

    Hi, this is just some question about future development.

    The Gimp image editor is growing and will reach a new milestone with version
    2.8. How about an integration for native gimp (.xcf) format?

    In the freeimage makefile, I've read something about plugins. What does that
    mean? For several image effects, I would like to integrate the familiar
    Photoshop-compatible plugins (.8 bf). Is something like that possible?

    Thank you.

  • dige_st

    dige_st - 2014-05-15

    Hi folks, just two years later, but same question: how about integration for native gimp (.xcf) format to load Gimp files? Are there any news on this topic?

    Specification of the XCF format:

    Ciao dige

  • Mihail Naydenov

    Mihail Naydenov - 2014-05-23

    +1 for this

    BTW You can create a patch entry on the tracker and gather all info, specifications and (hopefully) any implementations. That would help a lot.

  • Tanner Helland

    Tanner Helland - 2014-05-25


    FYI, most open-source projects that support XCF (e.g. Krita) base their XCF decoder off Henning Makholm's XCFTools package:

    It is lightweight, well-tested, and GPL2-licensed. It provides support for pulling just the composited XCF from file, or individual layers (which would be very nice with with FreeImage's multipage features, no?).

  • Mihail Naydenov

    Mihail Naydenov - 2014-06-10

    GPL is a no-go or am I missing something?

  • Floris van den Berg

    GPL is indeed a no go. Gpl requires that derived works are also gpl, which FreeImage is not.

  • Tanner Helland

    Tanner Helland - 2014-06-11

    My apologies for posting a GPL reference. I mistakenly thought that FreeImage's plugin structure provided a way to include an XCF decoder based off GPL code without affecting the licensing of the FreeImage project as a whole, but IANAL!

    If GPL code is out of the question, might I recommend GraphicsMagick's XCF parser as a reference? It only supports reading XCF files, not writing them, but it is MIT-licensed (, concise, and well-commented:

    GraphicsMagick homepage for those not familiar with the project:


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