Graphics utility

As I was preparing an updated preview image for the Lubuntu Arc theme in lxqt-config-appearance (now available in lubuntu-artwork 23.10.1), I came to discover that we really don’t have a tool that can do simple image editing tasks, even cropping. I mean, technically, Libreoffice Draw can do it but it’s extremely tedious. So I was thinking we should start seeding a solution.

Naturally, we’re looking for something that depends on Qt to minimize additional dependencies. That said, Krita is an obvious solution, kind of the Gimp of the Qt world. I’d be open to something more simple but I’m not sure I know of anything else. Thoughts?

BTW I’d be inclined to drop Libreoffice Draw in lieu of whatever we decide, but it’s a requirement of Libreoffice Impress (for presentations) which I’m inclined to believe we’re going to keep, so nevermind that idea.


Here are two light-weight ones.

phototonic (927 k)
nomacs (3,880 k)

nomacs cannot adjust the compression level while
phototonic lacks drag n drop.

(this is compared to krita (68.5 mb)

/Edit - correction: nomacs can adjust the compression for .jpg (but not for .png).


phototonic is unmaintained according to their GitHub. But I like nomacs. We could almost use it instead of lximage-qt. Thoughts?

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Alright, I had a go with kolourpaint (10Mb), this one actually has painting/annotation, similar to mtpaint. I would prefer this traditional gui over nomacs. But that’s cos I’m old skool.


Just tried kolourpaint which has really no extra depends and it works really well. It is very similar to mtpaint (and I’d argue a bit more user friendly to boot). I’d vote for adding that, especially given that it also adds additional functionality over the likes of nomacs.

I’m thinking we should just go ahead and add kolourpaint to the seed with no other changes.


How do I add crop to the toolbar in kolourpaint?

I like the Krita idea. At the end of the day, it’s not that much bloat and it’s a feature-rich application.

  1. Right click on toolbar
  2. Select “Configure toolbars”
  3. Under “Available actions” on the left side, type “crop” in the search box
  4. Select “Set as Image (Crop)”
  5. Click the right arrow in the middle
  6. Make any adjustments as needed (moving it up or down, e.g.)
  7. Click OK

I have to say, especially after the above exercise, I kind of agree. kolourpaint is kind of ugly, especially with most of its options lacking icons. The mismatched combination of text and icons is really rather deplorable.

10.4 MB versus 297 MB of actual used disk space. There’s definitely a difference. But are we really limited on disk space? I think not.

So maybe it’s a question here of whether or not we want something that can only do basic image tasks (nomacs) or something that can add additional drawing functionality (krita). Given that old LXDE Lubuntu came with mtpaint, I’m thinking that having krita would make sense.


I strongly suspect that anyone concerned with disk space will either be using a different distro or uninstalling applications they don’t need.

I’m okay with whatever decision is made, I’m just voicing my preference. Frankly, if I need an application that isn’t installed by default, I just install it. I do that with a bunch of applications, regardless of the distro.

So far, there has never been a distro that exactly matched my application preferences, meaning it takes some customization. I expect that to be true for 99.99% of the people out there. That and we’re Linux users. Tinkering and customizing are in our nature.


Well, I wouldn’t generalize too much. While I agree with you as a rule, I’ve found plenty of exceptions. I don’t think we need to include everything and the kitchen sink (Kubuntu) but I think like with the other flavours, we should include enough applications that folks can handle some common tasks without having to hunt for options. Giving them a starting point to work from, basically. And personally, I think basic image editing is a common enough task. Digital art, probably not. But some simple manipulation, yes. I’d probably just vote for kolourpaint if it weren’t quite so ugly.


The problem I have with krita is the loading time.
I only have a 1.8Ghz cpu (Atom),
with krita 5.1.5 and the 6.2 kernel (23.04) it takes 20s to load up.
Adding resource types 10s
Loading main window 10s
On my current kernel 5.15 (22.04), krita 5.0.2 it’s even worse (30s).
This is ignoring the very first time I ran krita (1min-2min) as it builds a database.
Although I have to say some users didn’t have this problem.

Compare this with kolorpaint 3s nomacs <1s or mtpaint < 1s.
I think this will not give a good impression to new users with old machines who are trying out Lubuntu.


The “officially” required disk space for a Lubuntu installation is set to 8 GB (

As long as the Lubuntu installation does not exceed this soft limit, it should not be a problem. But I agree that it should be easily possible to remove “bloat” from a system.


Ok let’s put this to a vote then.

Which graphics utility should we add to Lubuntu?
  • krita
  • nomacs
  • kolourpaint
  • something else (please specify)
  • leave it alone
0 voters

I’m new to Lubuntu and this issue is literally what triggered me to jump ship from another distro. :grin:

I wanted a simple GUI program to take/adjust (basics like crop, resize, blur, annotate and recompress) screenshots and screen photos (e.g pics of installation) for getting help with tech problems in the forum. But when I asked for a program suggestion in that distro’s forum, I got rather condescending or downright insulting comments from leadership there that I should learn to use GIMP or CLI tools (…just to post a couple of screenshots!)

I still have that (GTK-based) distro on one machine (for now) and used Flameshot for taking & adjusting screenshots and mtPaint to adjust screen photos and existing images. (If only I could use Flameshot to adjust images from other sources…)

(Blurring specific areas like private info in a screenshot in mtPaint is an unintuitive rigmarole; easier but uglier to use the Smudge tool.)

But I’ve been distrohopping on my new machine, and Spiral Linux XFCE introduced me to Drawing, description: “Edit Screenshots or Memes”.

It’s not QT but it’s small and Discover showed just 3 dependencies. And it’s focused on basic tasks (not a general purpose image creation program). It’s fine for blur, crop, annotate and resize, but I can’t find a way to adjust compression rate. (But exporting a PNG screenshot gave a decent JPEG at much smaller file size.) I’m using it on Lubuntu now. (For a newb like me, ImageMagick left me scratching my head.)

I will try out nomacs and kolourpaint (and maybe one or two others) before voting. One other suggestion was Pinta, a full-on image creator/editor but not as big as Krita.

Given that every user, and especially new users, will sooner rather than later need to post (edited, blurred, cropped, annotated etc) screenshots to get help, I think it’s great that Lubuntu is giving this issue serious consideration.

My personal preference would be for something GUI, small, and simple / intuitive. You shouldn’t have to learn how to use a complex / unfamiliar program with a gazillion tools and variables before you can even post a screenshot.


A quickie test of a few apps, re doing the typical things to screenshots / screenphotos that a new user setting up a distro might need to do.

  • Blur (e.g. blur root name in several places)
  • Annotate (e.g. text and/or shape e.g. arrow + “here’s what I’m talking about”)
  • Crop (e.g. remove irrelevant content)
  • Resize (e.g. phone’s camera shot of OS installation produces 4kx2.5k image of a laptop screen that’s only 720p)
  • Compress (e.g. phone’s camera produces 7.2mb jpg)

Tested using Screengrab to take screenshot, then selecting “Edit in…” (except for Flameshot). Changed Screengrab’s settings to default to PNG when I realized it was passing lossy JPGs to the editing apps.

Works only with screenshots it takes itself. (I even tried “Open with… > Flameshot” for an existing image but it didn’t work.)

  • Blur: Yes, extremely simple.
  • Annotate: Yes, extremely simple. And very visible default size & colour.
  • Crop: Yes, extremely simple.
  • Resize: No.
  • Compress: No.


  • Blur: No. I can’t work out how to select an area, so when I do try to blur, the whole image becomes blurred. Deal breaker for me.
  • Annotation: No. I see no possibility for annotating/text. Deal breaker.
  • Crop: Yes. The procedure for cropping was not what I expected but I quickly worked it out. Nice and simple.
  • Resize: Yes, nice and simple.
  • Compress: Yes, nice and simple, even gives automatic visual comparison preview and future file size.


  • Blur: Yes, although selecting an area is not “live” (you only see the selection box after you have selected). And the process takes more clicks than other programs.
  • Annotation: Yes. Text really stands out by default (outlined, embossed, dual-colour) but adjustments (e.g. pixel size) are not “live”. The text only changes size after you click again on the text box. Text will be lost if you don’t click “Insert here” button after you’re done.
  • Crop: Maybe there’s been a change between the version I used on Spiral and the one I installed on Lubuntu. But now I can’t work out how to do it the way I want. Not with the Selection tool, and the Crop selection tool seems to move in the opposite direction to what I want (and opposite to every other crop / selection tool in other programs). I’m sure I could eventually learn its idiosyncrasies, but that’s not what a new user who needs to quickly post a screenshot needs. Deal breaker.
  • Resize: Drawing seems to introduce so many intermediate steps for basic actions that I no longer know what’s going on. I think I’m still stuck in the middle of a (messed up) crop operation. How many times do I have to click Undo just to get out of this failed crop so I can try resize?!? I give up. I briefly consider restarting from scratch but then realize that would defeat the point of finding a simple, intuitive program.
  • Compress: Yes, I know from previous experience.

Simple interface for a general purpose image editor (which is good for this test). Have to play around with zoom settings to fit image in working area.

  • Blur: Yes. Confused when I couldn’t find “Blur” but then I realized “Selection > Make confidential” was what I wanted.
  • Annotation: Yes. Default settings (text size / colour etc) not really suitable for annotating screenshots but easily adjusted.
  • Crop. Yes, but “buried” in “Selection” menu as “Set as image (crop)”.
  • Resize: Yes, simple.
  • Compress: Yes. Also offers a preview button which opens a window showing post-compression image and file size.

I think this has all the features, but I believe it pulls in too many dependencies to fit with Lubuntu’s goals. So I didn’t test in Lubuntu. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)

Much easier to get started than GIMP.

  • Blur: Yes, fairly simple.
  • Annotation: Yes. The 1st time I tried, I couldn’t make text visible no matter what I tried. The second time I opened Pinta, text was visible straight away. Good options like “Normal and Outline” to make it extra visible.
  • Crop: Yes, dedicated button, nice and simple.
  • Resize: Yes, nice and simple.
  • Compress: Yes. No quality options offered the first time I Saved as a jpg, but yes the 2nd time. I have to work out what’s going on here.

Going into the quickie test I was hoping a minimal program would be able to get all these simple tasks done. (I thought Drawing but it turned out so problematic in practice, for me at least.)

But so far it seems only the general-purpose image creation programs do all of those simple tasks. And because they are full-on image creation programs, they don’t always have those tools up front and centre like a specialist program (e.g. Flameshot) and the tools’ default settings are not ideal for this situation. But they get the job done.

In an ideal world, something like Flameshot would work with not only its own screenshots but also images from other sources (e.g. phone camera photo of screen).

In an almost ideal world, the general-purpose image programs would have all the necessary tools front and centre with suitable defaults (size/ colours of text & shapes). (Can Pinta or Kolourpaint be modified that way?)

For now, though, my ranking of tools that can do all the steps:

  • #1 Pinta
  • #2 Kolourpaint

Failed: nomacs, Drawing, Flameshot
Untested: gThumbs (due to dependencies).

Personally, for now I’ll keep Flameshot for local screenshots and Pinta for anything else.


We’re a little late in the cycle for adding new things so I urge everyone to get their votes in!


I realized that I wasn’t considering what kind of dependencies, e.g. QT vs GTK.

Going through Muon > Graphics > search “QT”, I found some other options.


  • Download size: 546.9 KiB

  • Installed size: 2.7MiB

  • Dependencies: 17

  • Blur: Yes, nice and simple (once I realized you don’t even need to use the Selection tool first).

  • Annotate: Yes, nice and simple. Good defaults and handy extras for screenshots.

  • Crop: Yes, nice and simple.

  • Resize: Yes, called “Scale”. Nice and simple.

  • Compress: Yes. At least, when I “Save as…” and manually change the extension from .png to .jpg, the result will be compressed. It doesn’t give you the chance to set the compression rate right there in the Save dialog, nor a preview. But you can adjust the jpg quality rate (default) in the program settings.

ksnip seems to have the benefits of Flameshot, but with the added bonus that it can work with already existing images. And its dependencies are QT. Looks like a great candidate to me but I am not an expert.

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I voted Other, specifically ksnip.


ksnip is a great find !
It’s small, fast and easy to use. Has compression for both png and jpg.
It didn’t right-click->openwith, but you can define it later.
I followed your vote.


It has a nasty bug when you do selection screenshots. Otherwise, I’d recommend Shutter. It’s back under development, which is nice. I still tend to use it and just work around the bug.

I say this not as a recommendation for inclusion with Lubuntu. With that bug, it should not be included by default. I share this so that the curious can take a peek at it and see if it fits their particular needs.