Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Paint doesn't have basic functionality

I remember back in the early 1990's when this "Windows" thing was still a cool, new platform that everyone was experimenting with. One program that was considered generally useful was MS Paint, which allowed you to create simple drawings.

MS Paint hasn't progressed one bit since then. Actually, to give Microsoft some credit here - looking at Wikipedia, MS Paint hasn't progressed since 1998.

Under Linux, I often used GIMP for simple editing of pictures - photos, screenshots, etc. I certainly don't consider myself a GIMP expert, but I used GIMP once in a while to touch up a photo, create a graphic for my web site, or to highlight things in, say, a screenshot. You can do some pretty advanced stuff in the GIMP, but I never did much beyond layers and a few simple "canned" effects.

As an example: I once needed to give campus directions to a friend visiting from out of town. Google Maps didn't have campus walking directions, so I opened the university campus map, in GIMP. Cropping the image to show just the part of campus my friend would be visiting, I used the Paths tool to highlight the route my friend would take get to his destination, including passing through and around a few buildings. Using the GIMP was fast and easy.

MS Paint, on the other hand, is way too limited: you can hand-draw some lines, or add cheesy spraypaint effects that might have been "neat" in 1990. I can't even crop an image! That's a basic operation, and I can't do it. I guess the only way to "crop" in MS Paint is to make a selection, copy, then paste. But that replaces the image you're working on - you cannot have more than one image open in MS Paint, apparently. Lame.

I don't mean to compare a jackhammer (GIMP) with your basic sledgehammer (Paint.) I know that MS Paint is simple, not really meant for anything more than basic operations. Clearly, Microsoft assumes that someone who wants to do more than just basic image operations would pay $$ for a "professional" graphics tool like Photoshop.

But hey, the tool (GIMP) that is provided by default and for free with any Linux system is way more powerful than the tool (Paint) that's provided with Windows. I'm comparing default-tool to default-tool. Hands down, Windows loses!


  1. "MS Paint hasn't progressed since 1998."

    To be fair, they added support for a couple more image formats with XP.

    Also, as a point of contrast, it was a long time after I started using The Gimp before I figured out how you can make a straight line. This is something *I* would consider a pretty basic; doing it in paint takes one mouse click o select the tool then a click and drag to draw the line. Two clicks.

    Doing the same thing in The Gimp the only way I know how to do it requires one mouse click to select the path tool, checking to make sure "polygonal" is selected (by default it isn't), two clicks to place the end points, one click to check stroke path, perhaps some editing of the properties for the line (by default they're "wrong"), and then one click to click "stroke". At least four clicks, not counting the second end point of the line, and six clicks plus typing the first time you do it.

    Sure, The Gimp lets you do that (in contrast to not having the feature at all, like cropping in Paint), but it doesn't make it easy.

  2. you have a point.. however... atleast in my case...
    i dont really need to draw lines as much as i need to crop-rotate-resize etc... all very basic operation... none of which are properly supported...
    considering the fact that the ONLY user i've EVER had for mspaint is for pasting screencaps.. which btw.. should be done automatically as in linux.. there's something horribly wrong!
    GIMP is not in the area of competing with mspaint... it is more in line with advanced photo editing software like photoshop... where once again to draw a line you would have to go through a similar tedious process...
    but then again you dont buy photoshop do draw lines! Even those who own a copy would probabily open a simpler program to do really basic stuff, rather than open the RAM guzzling monster...
    For linux you can try something like Krita or KolourPaint.. both are MUCH better than paint...
    Since you are paying a significant amount of money to buy an OS you would like to see something that provides alteast basic functionality, especially considering that editing an image is something someone ends up doing sooner or later..

  3. @evaned
    you can create a straight line in GIMP quite simply,

    select the pencil tool (or some other drawing tool)
    clink on point A
    press shift and click on point B

    it even shows you a preview of your line before drawing...

    pretty simple... and you can chain lines..


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