Windows App Alternatives For Linux: MSPaint

Some of you might know that I was in the hunt for a decent mspaint alternative recently. Note that I didn’t go for GIMP / Inkscape etc because they were overkill for what I wanted to do. Many a times, I just wanted to touch up a screenshot or make a simple flow image by drawing a few boxes, use a few pointing arrows, and add some text here and there. All this could be done with the previous mentioned programs as well but took a bit more steps than I wanted (stroking the selections / paths for lines, boxes, circles, and even then, no arrows). I didn’t find an adequate replacement at the time but got it now, so thought of writing about it. Basically I came across 4 apps: tuxpaint, gpaint, kolourpaint and mtpaint. Won’t discuss tuxpaint here cuz I found it a little too kiddish.

  • gpaint: (Available in Ubuntu repositories) gpaint is a very simplistic program that has a mspaint look and feel but feels a bit lacking. It can do basic procedures like basic shape selections, lines, boxes but that’s it. No polygon selections, brush, color picker, etc, and yeah no arrows. Moreover, it saves only in pngs.

gpaint screenshot

  • kolourpaint: (Available in Ubuntu Repositories) kolourpaint is very close to mspaint. Infact it does a bit more than mspaint. It has all the things that I mentioned as missing in gpaint, plus has basic image manipulation effects as well. I liked it quite a bit, but it had 2 drawbacks for me, still no arrows, and it depends on KDE/Qt libraries.

kolourpaint screenshot

  • mtpaint: (Available in Ubuntu Repositories from Gutsy onwards. Rest of the folks can search for a package on net, or find a suitable package or source here) This is the software that got me most excited. It is actually a kind of lower-intermediate package that lies somewhere between mspaint and a very basic, poor man’s GIMP. It has all the features ok kolourpaint, (plus arrows at last :-) ), a small smattering of basic effects (gaussian, edge detection, blur, embossing), can work with gifs also (handles transparency and animation quite well). So, this is the one I would be sticking to for now.

mtpaint screenshot

I am using mtpaint now for my basic needs. Hope the article benefitted you as well. If I missed out on some package, then do let me know.

See also