In the past several months I’ve started using the GNU Image Manipulation Program (the GIMP!) for Windows and have learned how to fix red eye and make downgraded transparent PNG files that display properly in Internet Explorer 6, but that’s mainly all that I’ve used it for. I’ve never used Adobe Photoshop so I can’t compare them from personal experience, but the GIMP is apparently loaded with comparable features. For those Photoshoppers who are confused by the GIMP interface, or for people who want to use Photoshop tutorials in GIMP, there is GIMPshop which emulates the interface of Photoshop.
I’m looking forward to learning the GIMP and performing its magic incantations, but more often than not I have simple jobs where I just want to get in and out with a lighter-weight program. If the high end in free software graphics is covered by the flagship GIMP, what about the economy class?
While writing the previous entry about password programs, I wanted to edit the logo for Password Gorilla and was curious to see what options I had in Ubuntu other than the GIMP, really hoping for something comparable to MS Paint, which I think is easy to use and has a good set of features.
I was very happy with what I found, and also pleased to experience again how well the Ubuntu program installer works. (I’m not sure what the difference is between Applications » Add/Remove… and System » Administration » Synaptic Package Manager. Is the “Add/Remove” applet just another face of Synaptic, only prettified and more accessible?)
I’ve already seen both of these installers in action and appreciated them, but using it the other day for installing these graphics programs just reinforced the convenience and power of the way that Ubuntu handles things. There are a lot of applications available “out of the box,” and in my experience so far it just takes a few clicks to add and remove them along with their dependencies. The whole process is seamless and quite satisfying.*
(Same goes for the software updater, although here I wish there was a way to suppress notice of an update until the next version is available, for example with vnc4server I don’t want to download the current update being offered because I think it will break my VNC setup. In the meantime I have that orange star-box sitting up there all the time and I’m in danger of becoming indifferent to its beckoning.)
A little searching for an MS Paint alternative in Ubuntu/GNU/Linux brought up several leads, including GNU Paint and KolourPaint. (I keep comparing and referring to MS Paint, not because I think it is the be-all-end-all of graphics programs, but because it’s what I’ve used for a long time. And I do think it’s a nice simple and functional editor, effective for many jobs.)