The open-source software movement is like Lewis Carroll's Alice
in Wonderland. It's a topsy-turvy world where up is down, down is
up, and the normal laws of the universe no longer apply. Free
software that's as powerful and useful as commercial software? Yes!
It seems incredible, ludicrous, even outrageous...but it's
absolutely true. The Internet could not operate without Bind,
Sendmail, or Perl--all open-source, free software. Linux, a free and
open-source operating system, is making powerful contributions to
science, engineering, and business. And Apache, which has a dominant
share of the web server market, is also a free and open-source
software package. There seems to be a mad rush from contributors
around the globe to create the most useful, open, and free software,
and one of the most remarkable examples of this phenomenon is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a.k.a the GIMP.
In Lewis Carroll's story, objects marked ``READ ME,'' ``EAT ME,'' and
``DRINK ME'' were key to helping Alice during her adventures in
Wonderland. As anyone who has installed open-source software knows,
there is always a file in the top-level directory named README
that serves exactly the same purpose. In the same spirit, this
section, entitled README, provides a road map to this book and
instructions on how to set up your computer to get the most out of the
Welcome to Wonderland, and happy GIMPing!