Monday, July 26, 2010

GIMP is not an alternative to MS Paint!

For anyone who keeps recommending this, GIMP is NOT an alternative to MS Paint! I'm not referring to sites like, which is a wonderful site and has it listed as such; that site is supposed to be comprehensive list of all types of software. I'm referring to specific people who respond to specific answers, saying or implying that GIMP is an alternative to Paint. IT'S NOT. GIMP is an alternative to Photoshop.

I can't prove this, but 99% of the time, when people say "I want an alternative to MS Paint," they're thinking "I want something that is lightweight, starts up in a few seconds, and does basic editing," not "I want layers and filters and alpha and feature and feature and feature." Saying that GIMP is an alternative to Paint is like saying that OpenOffice Writer is an alternative to Notepad. Sure, they both do generally the same function, but the target use is completely different.

So when I read a post asked by someone who wants just a simple alternative to Paint and immediately gets GIMP as a response (sometimes as the only response), I want to punch the responder continually in the neck, because the original poster will probably be completely freaked out by GIMP, since they were expecting MS Paint. No one asking for an alternative to Paint is going to try GIMP and think "This is exactly what I'm looking for."

I offer two more tests you can try for yourself:
  1. Right click your MSPAINT.EXE in system32 and click Properties, then note the size. Then do the same to the GIMP folder in Program Files and compare. One happens to be about 100 times bigger than the other.
  2. Start MS Paint and count roughly how long it takes for it to start. Then start GIMP and do the same. For me, MS Paint was up before GIMP's splash appeared.
That is all.

PS - Yes, I did discover GIMP by searching for an alternative to MS Paint, and I'm pretty sure it was recommended to me as one. But I also don't need to tell you how freaked out I was with GIMP for the longest time and how much I avoided it for as long as I possibly could since it was (a) not really an MS Paint alternative and (b) not user friendly. I believe my point still stands.


  1. GNOME-Paint is a good alternative to MS-Paint

  2. "GNOME-Paint is a good alternative to MS-Paint"...for Linux. The question of an "Alternative to MS Paint" assumes that you are asking for alternatives on the same system, i.e. Windows. If I asked for an alternative to K3B, people would not recommend CDBurnerXP because they're assuming I'm asking for an alternative for the same system: Linux. Had I asked "A Linux Alternative to MS Paint," then that opens up a ton of choices that were previously unavailable, but I did not, and responding in Linux choices is actually more obnoxious than it is helpful.

    And by the by, this post was certainly not asking for Paint alternatives. At all.

  3. No since being a douche about it. Forgive our ignorance, oh mighty word sleuth computer god, for not knowing that we had to put the word Linux in our question because the cool kids use Windows.

    And please have mercy on our soles for offering what we think is helpful advice about the subject matter, even if was not asked for. Just because you didn't ask for it, did you ever seem to think that someone reading your blog might like to know the answer someone gave in a comment? If you don't want a certain comment on your blog, take it down, or delete your blog, or be nice, or whatever... There's really no need to be a dick. I know this is your sandbox, but if you want others to play in it, you shouldn't be so angry and sharp tongued. Just sayin...

    That being said, I actually stumbled across your site because I Googled 'alternative to mspaint'. Your site was the least helpful of the query, because it didn't give me any helpful information and all your ranting and scoffing and scolding did was piss me off. Congratulations!

    Bottom line: you're an arrogant asshole.

  4. Anonymous,

    I have no clue what in god's name you're talking about. I still stand by what I said: asking for an alternative to a piece of software means that you want it to run on the SAME OPERATING SYSTEM. That's all I was saying in the previous comment. I said nothing about ignorance or what the "cool kids" use (if anything, the view is usually that the "cool kids" use Linux, so I have no clue where you are getting your info). Yes, I did call it "obnoxious," but I believe it is. It's just as obnoxious as if you were to ask a question on a Windows message board and get only replies like "Windows sucks, install Linux" rather than actual relevant replies.

    Secondly, that's the point of this post: "what we think is helpful advice" =/= helpful advice. I could recommend smashing your computer with a hammer in order to defragment your hard drive, but me believing that it is helpful does not make it any less destructive and useless. Also, I left up that comment for a reason: because I do want to hear what people have to say (just like how I actually dove into the automatic spam filtering to pull your comment out). However, I saw it as fundamentally flawed so I offered some counter-remarks, WITHOUT INSULTING the poster at all. I simply stated what I thought about his post (his 7 word post, mind you), and stated that "this post was certainly not asking for Paint alternatives" because that is the truth; I did not want a flurry of posts about alternatives when there are entire sites (AlternativeTo being a great one) dedicated to that, AND no one had even asked the question in the first place.

    I was never a dick, unless you really want to get picky and count my hyperbole about "[wanting] to punch the responder continually in the neck." (If you did, then I am sorry that you took it literally, but I did mean it as a hyperbole.) But seriously, go back and read both the post and the previous comment and hopefully you'll see that I was never angry or spiteful; I was maybe blunt or curt, but never "a dick".

    Unfortunately, this post is not about your search term to begin with, so I really can't apologize at all that it did not help you in your quest. The title alone tells you EXACTLY what it is about: that GIMP is not an alternative. And I'm not going to apologize for "ranting and scoffing and scolding" because, yes, this was a rant post, but you just took it way too seriously. I didn't attack a specific person or a group of people, I didn't even get mad when somebody didn't even read the post at all and posted a 7 letter response that had nothing to do with anything I mentioned. I just ranted about something that pisses me off and gave reasons to support my stance. If you are offended by that, then I'm sorry, but I just can't help you.

    As for me being an arrogant asshole, well, that's just like your opinion, man.

  5. I feel just as frustrated as Bry whenever I see and GIMP suggested as alternatives to MS Paint. People don't understand that there is a need for simple programs to do simple repetitive tasks and the lack of numerous advanced features does not make these programs inferior. may only have an executable of 10mB or so, but it does require the .NET framework which adds a big overhead and slows the application down, plus it's relative complexity means that these simple tasks take a while to figure out. I encounter the same folly when people keep on suggesting that Abiword is an alternative to Wordpad, even though it is closer to Microsoft Word. All I want from my Wordpad alternative is something that opens in microseconds that I can use for note taking with images and is updated with a spell checker and tabbed documents. I don't want something with a 130mB download or which requires .NET or JAVA which I would rather live without.

    There are dozens of lightweight raster graphics programs out there, but most of them include image editing which was not included in the Paint. However, the is a genuine alternative called Open Paint available at Source Forge. It looks like Paint with a modern interface. It even has the same tools in the toolbox. It can save as a greater number of formats and it offers five filters not available in Paint. It lacks the print preview and page setup of Paint. Perhaps this alternative is too simple, so I would be interested in reading other people's suggestions for genuine Paint alternatives.

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  7. I have tried a number of entry level paint programs that ought to offer slightly more functionality than Microsoft Paint. These include Paintbox, Mt Paint, PowerPaint, LazPaint, Paint Tool SAI, Pixbuilder Studio and Helios Paint. I found that most of these applications do not provide handles to resize selections. Helios Paint does not even have undo and redo. I rejected Pinta and Paint Ribbon because they require the .NET framework. LazPaint is the closest to an adequate Microsoft Paint alternative, but it does not show thumbnails of images selected in the Open dialogue box. Pixbuilder Studio is superb, but it is so advanced it is closer to Paint .NET rather than Microsoft Paint. Features that immediately impressed me were thumbnails of selected images in the Open dialogue box and preview, zoom using a slider, being able to select the level of compression of JPEGs when saving, and support for Adobe Photoshop 8bf plugins.