In Internet marketing or basically any online or offline marketing business, sooner or later, you will have to work with graphics and images.

It could be in the form of opt-in boxes for web pages to header and footer graphics or simply adding images to your web pages or cover graphics for your ebooks. But, at some point you will need to release the artistic genius inside.

So, if you are like me and still waiting for a release date on the artistic genius, let me introduce you to Wilber! Wilber is the familiar mascot of the free and open source software that is the topic of the day, G.I.M.P.

Wilber the GIMP mascott

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

GIMP has the capabilities to be used as a simple paint program up to image format converting and expert quality photo retouching. GIMP is available to run on GNU/Linux (i386, PPC), Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista and Windows7), Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris and FreeBSD. GIMP also has user manuals availble in several languages.

GIMP is designed to be extensible through the use of plug-ins and extensions. Over 100 are currently available in plug-in registry. There is a plug-in for most anything you will need to do from beginner to expert. These ranging from simple tools to animations and some even run scripting through Scheme, Python, and Perl.

GIMP screenshot

By-the-way, all of the images used in this series on free and open source software tools have been rendered through GIMP. Primarily in resizing and reformatting to .gif. File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others.

To save disk space, any format can be saved with an archive extension such as ZIP, GZ or BZ2 and GIMP will transparently compress the file without you needing to do any extra steps.

And thanks to the transparent virtual file system, it is possible to load and save files to from remote locations using protocols such as FTP, HTTP or even SMB (MS Windows shares) and SFTP/SSH.

The current stable version of GIMP is 2.6.11. When you download GIMP for the first time, while you are on the 'Downloads' page, be sure to download the user manual in your particular language.

Also, scroll down to the middle of the page under the source files and download the GAP (GIMP Animation Package) and the GIMP Help files. This will get you off to a good start and you can further extend your capabilities through the plug-ins registry as you progress.

GIMP is often compared as, 'the closest thing to Photoshop'. I run both programs and find GIMP to be not only the much more user friendly of the two, but in some ways, more extensible. The only thing that I find particularly lacking in GIMP is the 'Action' scripts Photoshop uses for creating covers for ebooks, reports, boxes and etc.

These actions work very quickly to create those images, which is a time saver. However, very similar results can be obtained using GIMP with the correct plug-ins, such as GAP and ScriptFu.

All this makes for another excellent tool for your Internet marketing toolbox of free and open source software. And one that I am sure that you will enjoy using, even if only for creating awesome gift cards for friends and family.

Also, here are some GIMP videos to help straighten the learning curve for your new tool.

Next time we will add some audio to your visual Internet marketing with another free and open source software tool, Audacity!

Till next time!

Technorati Tags: free and open source software, GIMP, graphics, image manipulation program, internet marketing, Photoshop

One of the many choices you will face in your Internet marketing business is how to create your website and product web pages and get them online. The choice, of course is, whether to do the work yourself or outsource the job to a web designer.

Certainly the first choice requires more knowledge and work on your part. But, you should understand that even if you outsource the work, you still need to know enough about web authoring to make minor changes to your websites yourself.

You don't want to have to wait a week or two for your web designer to return from vacation or while they complete projects for someone else before they can get to yours to make a change that you can do in 10 minutes. This is where the free and open source software KompoZer steps in to save your day.

KompoZer

KompoZer is a wysiwyg HTML editor that uses the Mozilla Composer codebase. As Nvu's development stopped in 2005, KompoZer fixes many bugs and adds some useful features.

Mozilla.org

KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.

KompoZer is based on Gecko, the layout engine inside Mozilla; it's a super-fast, very reliable, standards conformant engine maintained on a daily basis by a wide community of developers. Its support of XML, CSS and JavaScript offers the best authoring platform on the market. Its architecture based on XUL makes it the most extensible editing tool ever.

Once installed, go Tools>Options and under 'General', Check the box next to 'Save images and other associated files when saving pages'. Then under 'Advanced', if you want to use the spell checker, check the box next to 'Underline misspelled words'. Be aware that using this feature does slow Kompozer down a bit.

KompoZer offers a tabbed interface so you can have the Normal editor view, an HTML Tags view, Source view, and Preview to see how your project is looking. Also, new pages are opened in a new tab so you can edit multiple sites at once.

KompoZer screenshot

With the built in file manager and ftp, you can edit your websites on the fly. Simply login to your website and you can manage all your files directly.

When you have made changes to your website, click 'Save' and then 'Browse' This will give you a preview of your website in your default web browser. If you like what you see, click 'Publish' and your updated website is live and you're done.

KompoZer has too many features to list here, but includes:
WYSIWYG page editing; supports forms tables and templates; available for Windows, MAC, and Linux with contributed builds for Ubuntu and Fedora.

KompoZer contains some machinery to get rid of most of those annoying <br>. Combined with the ability to call W3C's HTML validator from within KompoZer you'll make valid, clean documents.

You can create stylesheets easily and manage the styles attached to your documents. You can see your style settings applied '"live" to the document you're editing.

KompoZer is offered in 21 supported languages! The full features listing can be found on the KompoZer website.

Web authoring can sound like a daunting task. But, with KompoZer, you will be surprised just how much your life is simplified. And you may even wonder why you haven't been doing this all along. It really can be quite a lot of fun.

By now, you may have noticed that we are addressing tasks that are more and more complicated as we go along. However, we are working toward making the business of doing business as simple and cost efficient as possible.

Our next topic will concern image manipulation. Well, that sounds too scary. How about image editing? And to accomplish the task, we'll have a look at the free and open source software, G.I.M.P. That stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program.

This will not only provide you an excellent tool for your Internet marketing toolbox, but also, strike fear in the hearts of your friends and family knowing that you have this and an internet connection.

Till next time!

Technorati Tags: free and open source software, Internet amrketing business, KompoZer, Mozilla, W3C HTML validator, web authoring, wysiwyg html editor

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