I would love to see GIMP taken over and run like Blender (maybe even become a second project managed by the Blender foundation).
Before people start throwing spitballs at me and say that I don’t know what I’m talking about, let me follow up. I’m a professional game developer and have been in the game industry for almost 15 years. Blender is starting to get taken seriously and many modelers, animators and designers are playing with it. At large studios, it’s going to take years before it gets used, but small studios, especially indie teams are taking it very seriously (when you couple it with Unity and Ogre, it really shines). On the flip side, almost every single artist / content creator uses Photoshop (except for the 3 who use Painter).
GIMP is considered unusable for serious work by most content creators (not because it isn’t feature rich, but because it feels like the UI was designed by programmers and it’s a pain to use). The only people I’ve ever seen actually use GIMP were a few programmers who couldn’t justify Photoshop. The Blender Foundation has a proven track record of fixing that exact problem. GIMP easily has 1000x the possible users as Blender as many, many people would us it, especially those currently using pirated copies of Photoshop (which is an absolutely huge number - from students to house wifes to graphic designers to amateur photographers to wanna-be game developers - nearly EVERYONE uses Photoshop whether it’s legal or not).
I’m not sure how people think that GIMP couldn’t be a great compliment to Blender, even a necessity. If you work with textures in any serious way or edit image sequences, you don’t really have that many options. If you’re doing serious work with Blender, then you’re going to be working with many, many images. The OSS options you have are difficult to use and the other options are expensive or illegal. Yes, I’ve seen that it can be used (it’s been generally used to work on the Open Movie projects, no?) , but it’s not really being used by most of the people who should be using it.
My gut feeling is that the next big update to GIMP will be a make-it or brake-it release for that project. If GIMP doesn’t deliver a usable UI for people who do content creation, it will begin a slow death. If that happens, a branch should be created and the problems fixed by another party. Personally, I would prefer that party to be related to the Blender Foundation so that a real synergy and unified design approach can be achieved.