Pinta – Image Editing Alternative to The GIMP

The GIMP has been a poster child for the open source movement ever since it came out. It has been compared to Photoshop and has often been spoken of as the only worthy open source contender in the graphics editor category.

While that statement may or may not be true, it is definitely a rival to photoshop when it comes to complexity. And I’m not the only one who thinks that the GIMP is complex. Apparently the Ubuntu development team also thinks the same way and have removed GIMP from their default distribution. It is still available in the online repository but the Ubuntu 10.04 CD will not ship with GIMP on it. The point is that with all that power comes complexity and GIMP is definitely not a tool for casual users.

So, what are your options if you’re casual user who just wants to edit a few images here and there and isn’t really interested in all the power that GIMP offers but would rather have a light weight but functional editor.

Enter Pinta !

If you’ve used Paint.NET for Windows that we’ve talked about earlier, you’d be right at home in Pinta too.

Pinta is a GTK based image editor modeled after Paint.NET but because it has been created using the GTK# library, it is available for all the three major platforms, Windows, OS X and Linux.

If you’re using Linux, you most likely already have GTK installed, if not, install it before you download Pinta. For platforms that require you to install GTK, the download page provides a link for you to download the GTK# library easily.

Installation is quick and simple and the first time you launch Pinta and if you’re used to waiting for GIMP or Photoshop to load, you’ll be pleasantly surprised because Pinta opens up in a snap.


I don’t know about you but I took an instant liking to the neat and clean interface of Pinta that sports all the regular tools and features that we’ve come to expect of image editors in general.

Pinta provides for unlimited levels on undo/redo, has support for multiple layers and comes with all the regular drawing tools such as a paintbrush, pencil, eraser and a selection tool.

Pinta - Drawing Tools

If you, like me, are a fan of the filters that come bundled with the Gimp, you might be a little disappointed, though. Pinta does come bundled with some filters but the number pales in comparison to what you get with The GIMP.

Pinta - Image Effects

The current version of Pinta as of this writing is version 0.2 but I definitely felt that it was much more stable than what the version number would imply. The only thing I’d want the developers to work on is the speed of various operations and adding some more Effects to the base install.

Pinta, in my opinion, can definitely fill the gap that exists between Photo organizing software such as F-Spot and Picasa and full blown graphics editors such as The Gimp. Give it a try and let us know what you think.


Sharninder is a programmer, blogger and a geek making a living writing software to change the world. His tech blog, Geeky Ninja, is where he shares his wisdom, for free !


  1. It is misleading to say that this is a GTK app. It installs Mono when you install it. That is important for many users like me who will not use Mono applications.

  2. Installing Pinta drags in Mono, a poisonous platform meant to help Microsoft co-opt free software. According to Microsoft's own words, “every line of code that is written to our specifications is a small victory.” No thanks.

  3. Unlike previous comments, for me Mono is not such important. Between photo organizers and Gimp are my needs. Those needs, in my case are, one agile, light photo viewer and one medium-powered photo editor. My needs nowadays are met by 'Eye of Gnome' and 'Pinta'. While both applications are very useful, I think they still have room for improvement.

  4. “If you’ve used Paint.NET for Windows that we’ve talked about earlier, you’d be right at home in Pinta too.”

    That's because Paint.NET is written in… you guessed it, .NET, and Pinta is — for a large part — written in Mono, which is… you guessed it, .NET.

    gThumb meets most needs, thank you. If you are looking for a non-Mono GIMP alternative, try Krita.

  5. Correct me if I'm wrong, but installing this app which is based on GTK# which basically means you have to install mono.
    To me, mono is nothing more than just an extra bunch of software most Linux users don't really need to have installed, especially when there are existing solutions based on code that most have installed already. Plus I'm not 100% convinced that the open-source community should be embracing this technology based on Microsoft's .Net

  6. Is Pinta developed with Mono, as part of the GTK# toolset? If so it is unlikely that I and the school project with which I am working would use it. Representatives from the Software Freedom Law Center in NYC have expressed grave concerns about the use of Mono of any .NET derived software in Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) projects, due to the very real (and legally strong) possibility of Microsoft patent claims.

    The author should also recommend consideration of Krita, which is KDE/QT4 based, and is available for Windows as well as Linux, although still in “beta” stage.

  7. I don't use Mono because it's Microsoft and I love myself more than I love trying new software.

    Also it's 50 megs of library crap, and we all know GIMP is serious business.

    (but really, hating mono just because it's Microsoft is being as hypocrite as they are, but I'm gonna do it anyway)

  8. It is a DOA.

    Why contaminate my desktop with Mono when I have purge and better alternatives like Gimp (With new interface soon to come) and Krita?

    It is no brainier.

    No thanks.

  9. Well, I understand the strong sentiments that people have about Mono being a Microsoft product but I really don't see the reason. .Net is a language and the standards have been released by Microsoft. Mono is an implementation of those standards. It's like saying you won't use a Borland C++ compiler because it is Borland's implementation of C++.

    And yes, there are other alternatives like Krita but I've never really liked it. I'm a GNOME guy for the most part but if Krita is better, I'll definitely look at it.

  10. When I see the ongoing, never-ending debate regarding Mono and GTK#, I can't help but suspect that those who complain the loudest are a small, but incredibly vocal minority.

  11. I doubt that. There has been more support for removing it in Brainstorm than
    in keeping it for a long time. Fedora does not include it by default. There
    are at least two or three other distributions that have removed Mono in
    recent weeks. The FSF and GNU does not like Mono and they have many
    followers, as does BoycottNovell, now called TechRights.. You will find
    anti-Mono blogs and columns in great numbers if you search for them.

    It is a polarising issue to be sure which is my chief problem with it. It
    divides the community and gets us to take our eye off the ball which is
    precisely why Microsoft won't clarify the licensing issue. It serves their
    purpose to have us fighting each other. I see Mono as a Trojan horse for
    that reason. We are in control and we can not accept the “gift” of a company
    that consistently uses FUD, alleges IP violation, threatens litigation and
    wants to remove Linux as an option for users. Even Miguel de Icaza has
    faulted MS for not clarifying the issues that keep Mono from being more
    widely accepted.

    Mono should be released under one GPL license instead of the several parts
    of it released under various licenses which can only be done to cloud the
    issue. MS needs to come out and say that all users (not just Novell) are
    protected from litigation. They also need to cease and desist their threats
    of IP violation when they won't specify what we are violating.

    I am Microsoft free and better for it. I don't use Wine or Mono and am not
    missing anything. I am typical of many Linux users and not the exception.
    Many go even farther than I do and won't have any proprietary codecs or
    drivers. You see, Linux is a big community with many of different kinds of
    users. Mono advocates tend to fall into two groups, the developers who have
    a vested interest in it, and people who don't care. I have a problem with
    not caring. Linux is worth caring about and preserving. The time to do that
    is before we have a crisis and not wait for it to happen. Don't be too quick
    to dismiss anti-Mono users as a small group of noise makers. They are deeply
    passionate about Linux.


    1. There is no easy answer to this issue. It is a divisive issue which
      have strong proponents on both sides. Miguel de Icaza the brain behind
      Mono is seen by some as being ahead of the curve and a genius and by
      others he is seen as a traitor and a Microsoft apologist. I think that
      the truth is somewhere in between.

      The biggest problem with Mono for me is the licensing which is
      complicated. Different parts of it are released under different
      licenses. Licenses are at the core of Linux which is under the GNU
      General Public License (GPL). Some advocates prefer to call it
      GNU/Linux. I don’t. Everything in most Linux repositories is
      categorised by license. Things are called restricted if the license
      has restrictions for example.

      Some people do not care about licenses. Windows users see many EULAs.
      Most people just click Agree without reading them. Linux users see few
      because of the common use of GPL applications. Most users shun any
      applications that have any EULA in favour of open source ones. They do
      not want to see an increase in proprietary software. They know that
      software freedom is more than an expression. It is a lifestyle. It is
      about being alternative. Many new users do not feel the same way
      because they have not embraced the ideal. It is still just a novelty
      to them.

      Microsoft could clear everything up and make the status of Mono clear
      and unequivocal. They refuse to do that. Instead they allege that
      Linux is violating its intellectual property (IP) and software patents
      without having to specify what those violations are. Miguel de Icaza
      himself has been critical of Microsoft for not making it more widely
      accepted. This was published in a San Diego paper then was
      mysteriously removed. I am sure that Microsoft hushed it up. They do
      not want this out in the open are to add some light to this issue. The
      status quo serves their purpose which is to spread fear, doubt and
      uncertainty (FUD), especially among business users who do not like
      uncertainty. This has helped Novell who de Icaza works for and who has
      signed an agreement with Microsoft. Some would say they capitulated or
      sold out. For some Linux advocates, Miguel de Icaza is tainted goods
      because he works for Novell and therefore in their eyes has sold out,
      but he was doing this long before Novell signed with Microsoft.

      So for me, Mono is an issue, but not a defining issue. It is just one
      small thing that I can control and do something about. It is something
      that COULD threaten open source or free software and endanger Linux
      which I use everyday. I do not use any Windows or Microsoft products,
      not even through Wine. For someone like me, there is no choice. I
      refuse to go back to Windows, so I must do everything that I can to
      ensure that Linux is viable and strong. That means no Mono.

      People who are just dabbling in Linux and do not mind using Windows
      (and they are a substantial part of users, dual booters, etc.) do not
      feel threatened. They do not see Microsoft as evil. It is a benign
      presence that they just take for granted. I take Microsoft as a
      serious threat.

      They have us in their cross-hairs. They have been running a FUD
      campaign for years against Linux. They have threatened litigation and
      used this to coerce Novell and other companies to sign agreements that
      keep alive the idea that we are doing something wrong. Microsoft has
      said that Linux is its number two threat, ahead of Apple. Piracy is
      number one. They know that free software in both senses of the word is
      a serious threat. If more people came to believe that software should
      be free then it would threaten their ability to sell proprietary
      solutions. It threatens the empire also because they are trying
      through ACTA to extend the idea of software patents to Europe and
      Canada and other countries that do not recognise them.

      There is a battle going on that most people are not even aware of.
      Mono is just one small part of this larger battle, but it one that
      allows Microsoft to spread its FUD and weaken our position.

      As for your point about programming language. Does it matter? The idea
      behind C# was that it would be portable and easy for programmers. We
      should be able to use other applications written in C#, but there has
      been little actually ported to Linux as a result. Mono has been around
      a long time. Current Mono apps could just as easily have been written
      in another language as they are used in Linux and more specifically in
      GNOME. Little or none has come from Windows or been ported to Windows.
      In other words, there are no demonstrable benefits.

      This also raises another problem. Microsoft controls .NET from which
      Mono is developed and it is always behind by a generation or two. So
      by the time that we get it, it is rather old. So we are chasing a
      Microsoft standard that is stale dated. We are giving Microsoft a
      measure of control over us because they set the standard where they
      previously had no influence. The corporate landscape is littered with
      the remains of companies that played this game. Standards for
      Microsoft are just another weapon to keep others at a distance and
      keep them ahead of the curve. When others get onside then they change
      the standard so that the others are always at a competitive

      Should you care? That depends on how important Linux is to you and how
      political you want to be. Either way it will have its impact. I like
      to see a threat before it hits me.


  12. Hi, I was just wondering if there are any black people posting in here ? I can see many comments that relate to what black people would type on their fried chicken laptops.

  13. I've found Paint.Net on XP to be fast, intuitive & stable (I love it!) – as opposed to the GIMP and Adobe Photoshop which for me have been bloated, slow, buggy and unintuitive.

    After switching to Mac a year ago I couldn't believe there wasn't any thing nearly as good. I ended up running a TinyXP VM just for Paint.Net.

    Then I found the Pinta project! Version 0.2 wasn't really functional enough for me to use, but at first glance 0.3 looks excellent – very fast! & fully featured.

    As an end user of this software I don't really care at all about the .net / mono debate – I'm just happy that there's finally something as good as Paint.Net on Mac. Go Pinta go!

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