1) I made the mistake of creating a document with 29 full size image layers (6MB JPEG) that saved to about 1.9GB. It was too much for my 4GB (maxed ) old Desktop iMac running Lion, so I copied it over to my newer Macbook for further processing.
Later, having left the original .xcf file with layers on the iMac desktop I found that whole system grinding to a complete halt as I tried to use it. Apparently, every time I opened or saved to the Desktop the Quicklook previewer was firing up Gimp in the background (not showing in Dock as running at all). I assume it was trying to give me a preview of it. I thought my system was slow when I only had one Gimp process with that file open! Yikes! I'm happy my hard drive survived that serious thrashing before I figured it out. I have since deleted the offending file. I'll look deeper into how to kill Quicklook previewer off (though it is useful at times), and also take better care not to create such large files to begin with on that machine. I doubt there's anything else that can be done for the ported Gimp for OS X, but am reporting it anyway. Every gimp instance had also fired up a script-fu that was my last action in that file. So I had multiple copies of both gimp-2.8 and script-fu in the background to kill off.
2) Some things in GIMP steal focus. In particular I know that using the bimp plugin on big files renders the computer useless for the duration of processing. I consider this a bug in the Finder/OS and have reported it in the Apple bug tracker. They apparently consider it a feature, and so I don't expect they'll ever fix it after some years of complaints by other people. One response in the Apple support forums was "just use your computer for one thing at a time". When I use GIMP and some other applications for batch processing, that's effectively my only choice as the other applications steal focus every second or so. Sometime a decade ago this feature crept into Windows, and it was one reason I left MS land. I expect that Apple's unwillingness to change it will drive me to Linux sooner rather than later.
On (1) I believe the problem is that I was closing off the Finder window that had requested the preview before gimp in the background could complete it's task, effectively orphaning it. I went through a couple cycles of accumulating and killing 2-3 gimp processes before figuring out how it was being triggered and am only 95% sure I've identified the culprit as Quicklook Preview (I saw it running alongside and that gimp launched in background when I clicked for preview in Finder)
2) I meant when I use bimp on large filesets, not large files. It takes 1-2 seconds to open and process an image - just enough time to click into another application and prepare to use it before having focus stolen again.
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