Thanks for the clarification Arthur. When I was poking around at the GIMP forum, I was under the impression that no one is currently doing any further work on GIMP. But that can all change quickly. I can't afford CS4 yet either, and the truth is, I'm not sure I really need it. I don't do a lot of graphics work right now, and that's where I think CS4 shines.
I tried GIMP a long time ago before committing to yet more expenditure on PS. Found it lacking but I was sure with development this would not be the case. I hate the notion that we all need PS. There are other alternatives but I was already a PS user as Aperture (thanks Apple) was not available to give all photographers a choice for post processing without a do all
massively bloated exel of the graphics world.
I assume you know that some of the solutions you have discussed in this thread are known as plug ins and as such don't all run natively in Aperture.
It is my experience that to get the full value and convenience of the plug ins speed of work flow only works for me if I have access to both Aperture and PS. OnOne plug ins I use, use actions linked directly to PS which must be running at the same time, this is buggy at present with CS3.
I like Silver FX B&W but can't justify the cost, and other plug ins have proved no better than simple solutions in PS yet cost £200!.....
Aperture is a bargain at it's present price, I need £175 to upgrade to CS4 just to get a PS version raw converter which supports a 5D mk2 for reasons I won't bore you with and just like you guys I don't need all the other stuff.
Are Adobe not supporting photographers needs with CS3 anymore?
I think I may have answered some questions with this last point. Support with GIMP?