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Make background black and white, foreground color using photo editor

Using photoshop (actually I use GIMP) how can I make the background b&w but leave the subject in color? A general outline would be nice, using non-specific tools, etc. 

Does this thread answer what you need to know http://forum.pbase.com/viewtopic.php?t=19230

Photo editing tutorial please
Ran across THIS tutorial today and thought I would give it a try on a photo of my son that I was told need some work. Now I have made a pact with myself never to do in PS that could be done in a darkroom, but according to this tutorial, thats where this technique came from. what do you think of the result? 
Your edited version is certainly superior. I'm not such a believer in this technique in general, though. Here's why: 

While it's called contrast masking, there is no masking involved. This isn't just a problem in terminology. What you want is to selectively change the tone of part of the image but not other parts. So how is this selection being made? By making a grayscale image and setting blending to Overlay. The three blending modes Overlay, Hard Light, and Soft Light regard pure gray as neutral -- so things that are pure gray are not blended with the underlying layer. But your grayscale image, especially when you choose a lousy technique to create it (the desaturation function -- see my B+W tutorial for why I call it lousy), does not choose what's pure gray and what's dark or light gray based on the areas you want to change. So you may end up making changes to areas you don't want and not making changes to areas you do want. 

If I were you I'd do this by making a mask either by choosing one of the RGB channels or with the channel mixer, using curves to drive it to a very high contrast image, then using it as a layer mask to block out or allow the modification to show through. Refer to my layer mask tutorial and my article about making selections to see some techniques.

Photo-Brush is a cool new image editor
Photo-Brush is a cool new image editor, natural and artistic media painting program, picture retouching tool, photo enhancer and Image Browser for Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP. It has many rich tools and effects for photo adjusting and photo retouching found in much more expensive professional tools. And there are also some effects and tools you can hardly find elsewhere. It is also one of very few featured image editors supporting full range of EXIF information from Digital Camera images. With Photo-Brush you can easily correct all unwanted problems of your digital images, you can create a new painting or web graphics. 

Photodex ProShow: image editing
This months' DP has an evaluation copy of ProShow Gold which I've tried and was impressed with the results. Just wondered if anybody has used it and whether I should go ahead and purchase the full version.It's only about 40 squids but being Scottish, you've got to be canny about shelling out hard cash 
I use Ulead DVD & CD Picture Show 4, and apart from having a silly long name, it's very good. Easy enough for an idiot to use (I use it!) yet it allows me to do everything I want, with a little tweaking.
The included templates all look a little bit daft and unprofessional, but they supply extra templates for download and if you use your own images for menu backgrounds, it doesn't really matter anyway. 

I briefly played with ProShow Gold but it all seemed a little complex (probably more powerful though, I must say) so I gave up and stuck with what I was already using.

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