Paint.NET turns 4!

According to the Roadmap page, version 1.0 was released four years ago on May 6th, 2004. Happy birthday Paint.NET!

As most people know, Paint.NET started as a senior design project at Washington State University‘s EECS department. When we finished the first version, it was meant as a “hey look we actually made something – neat!” project that we showed off to family and friends. A simple website was put up on the web server, and the project was neither hyped nor advertised once the semester was over. Fast forward a few months later, after I started working full time at Microsoft, and I was forwarded e-mail from some interns who had managed to find it and were asking about why it wouldn’t install on XP SP2.

Interesting things to know about the first version of Paint.NET, in no particular order:

· It took 15 weeks to complete, from start to finish.
· It was about 36,000 lines of code.
· It was distributed as a raw MSI, instead of an installer/wizard EXE.
· It required Windows XP SP1 as the minimum OS. There was no support for 2000.
· And, because of a typo, it did not work in Windows XP SP2! Changing an equals operator, =, to a greater-than-or-equals operator, >=, fixed this.
· Plugins were not supported.
· We used a CVS server that was running on an XP box that doubled as one of our development workstations. It was in the EECS computer lab that other people had access to, and we had to tape a piece of paper on to it that said, “SERVER – DO NOT TURN OFF!”
· We did not have a bug tracking system. We either fixed bugs immediately as we saw them, or put them in to an Excel spreadsheet (mostly the former).
· I made the floating windows translucent after observing that most people didn’t even try drawing in the occluded areas when I handed them a tablet PC with Paint.NET on it (“hey you, draw something!”). It was if that area of the canvas didn’t exist. Once the windows were made translucent, this went away! Usability studies really do work.
· For the first month or so of development, the status bar had no information in it. Instead, it had the text: “I am the status bar!!!!!!!!!1111”


17 thoughts on “Paint.NET turns 4!

  1. JoshuaSmyth says:

    Aww, I thought this was going to be an announcement for Paint.Net version 4.0 🙂

    Anyway congratulations on creating an excellent tool – I use your product all the time, and I’m sure it’ll just get better. When I graduate from university I’ll send a few dollars your way.

  2. Eric Eitner says:

    Happy Birthday… the best free software ever. Thank you so much for making this happen.

  3. BoltBait says:

    I remember using version 2.0 and being really excited when 2.1 came out. Look how far you’ve come!

    Now, where’s that fameous screenshot of 1.0?

  4. Ken says:

    Happy Quad Birthday! 😀 And thanks for a great program. It’s really fast with Vista 64 bit. I love it.

  5. D@lton says:

    This is a screeny Rick posted in the pictorium.
    (VERY FIRST screenshot of

    I love how it says
    “I’m the status bar!!!!!!!!!!!!11”

    I saw rick talking about that somewhere.. and had to see if it really did say that..

  6. Mike Ryan says:

    You should set the unofficial release date of Paint.NET v4.0 to be on May 6th, 2009. That is around the time that v4.0 is planned for a release, no?

  7. Racecar 56 says:

    I also thought it was 4.0! But is pretty soon to be version 4.0! 😀 PWNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 thanks all u pplz!

  8. ste aka glennlad says:

    I have just recently downloaded and still learning how to use it, but i gotto say its a wicked program and much easyier to use then paintshop and photoshop etc.
    You have done great work on the program that weren’t even gonna be used as a program.


  9. Hardik Shah says:

    Happy Birthday! 😀 And thanks for a great program. It’s really fast & easy in use. I love it.

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