HowTo: Install the Gimp on Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger)(PPC)

Briefly, How to install gimp on Mac OS X (Tiger)(PPC):

updated on April 3, 2008
EDIT: Read this section to install the GIMP with a DMG method (Easier)

Of course, feel free to comment and share your experiences with my howto.

(If you’re already a macports user and upgrading from Gimp 2.2.14 to 2.2.16 or newer read this post of mine)

Unfortunately, it’s harder than just opening a .DMG file and moving it to your Applications folder – familiarity with the command line is essential. Here we go.

1. Make sure you have X11 installed [ check out a page on the apple site –

OR (better yet), get out your Tiger Install disks and the x11 page should be on there.

2. install macports [at

3. Once installed, follow this guide [found at the macports site, but provided a link since it’s not easy to find]

4. Run the follow command to get any updates to the program to ensure all of the programs (I believe Macports installs a couple programs by default) are up to date:

sudo port -v selfupdate

5. Fetch the gimp package and install all of its dependent packages [additional software that it requires in order to be run]:

This can take a long time [i.e. three to four hours on my iBook G4 with 512 MB ram].

sudo port install gimp2

6. As the guide mentions, make sure that it installed fine:

port installed

If you think you’re all good here, nope. This is where I first got stumped…

  • if you open up your command prompt and just type in: gimp

you get this response:

GIMP could not initialize the graphical user interface.
Make sure a proper setup for your display environment exists

7. Instead, you have to use X11. X11 is located in the Utilities, under the Application Folder.

8. Open up X11

9. Then, type in the following command:



The Gimp should now open, all fine and dandy :)

You may want an updated version of GIMP. Even if it’s updated on the gimp website on, the macports edition may not be updated.

10. To update the list of the most current macports packages, issue:

sudo port selfupdate

11. If you want a list of what packages are outdated and have upgrades available, just issue this command: (You can skip #11 and go straight to #12 if you don’t want to see what has been updated).

port outdated

12. Then, issue this command to update the outdated software:

sudo port upgrade outdated


13. You’re updated :) Go to Step #9 and start up the GIMP.

Edit: After being away from my computer for 6 months, I issued a sudo port -v selfupdate (Step #10) and sudo port upgrade outdated (Step #12). Macports and its packages completed its updates after 6 hours with no errors reported. When I issued the command to start up the GIMP (Step #9), “no command could be found.” So, I noticed that Macports had created a folder with a GIMP icon inside in the /Applications Folder. I opened that up and the program instantly crashed.

I decided to try out the Darwingimp/Wilber loves Apple Port and readtheir guide and had no problems installing it. It’s like any Drag and Drop .DMG application file. I installed it and no problems !





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  • Frustrated  On February 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Forget it. I don’t want Gimp that badly. If I did, however, this guide seems informative.


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