[sugar] Sugar UI design and Tux Paint

Albert Cahalan acahalan
Sun Dec 30 01:02:56 EST 2007

Jameson "Chema" Quinn writes:

> One thing I've noticed in Tux Paint is that an Edit toolbar is far
> less useful than an Edit menu. You want to copy something - you go
> to the edit toolbar - you select the copy 'tool' - and nothing
> happens, because you don't have anything selected. So how do you
> select something? Oh, that tool is over in some other toolbar.

Huh? Tux Paint doesn't have any of that complicated stuff.
Are you sure you're using Tux Paint? The icon is a penguin.

You have to install Tux Paint from here:

I certainly would appreciate comments on the Tux Paint UI design.

It's probably time to do some housecleaning to rip out the lower
quality stamps, "magic" (special effect) tools, and brushes.
It'd be great to have quality rankings from people who were not
involved in producing Tux Paint; I may be too harsh or lenient on
the things I've written.

Journal integration is an interesting problem. Tux Paint keeps
some extra per-image data in extra files. I'm thinking that an
export-to-journal button might be most appropriate.

I could use a way to tell Sugar to not start up a second instance.
I haven't verified that it is safe to run two copies of Tux Paint,
but even if it is, the laptop is unlikely to have the RAM for it.

Shutdown tends to have the usual trouble. Tux Paint makes this
highly configurable. I had two dialog boxes. I got rid of one by
configuring Tux Paint to save on exit, but I'm really not comfortable
with saving random junk that the user will just have to delete.
The other asks if the user should overwrite or make a new file.
Never minding the wisdom of such dialog boxes, Sugar is defective
to not allow for it. (one sees the problem in SimCity too, etc.)

I'm strongly tempted to configure Tux Paint to grab the screen.
That frame is horribly easy to invoke.

We're still searching for a mark-move, mark-copy, cut-paste, and/or
copy-paste interface that little kids can deal with. One idea is to
have something like the gimp's quickmask mode on one button, and a
stamp on the button next to it. Another idea would be to select via
flood-fill on non-background pixels. It's a really hard problem
because Tux Paint tries to support a bright 2-year-old or regular

So far, we haven't really considered supporting canvas sizes other
than the one that fills the screen. Do people think that matters?
I don't know of any reasonable way for a tiny kid to deal with
scrolling and zooming.

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