updated 01:35 pm EDT, Tue July 20, 2010
Tech underlies modern art programs
Apple has donated two related pieces of software -- MacPaint and QuickDraw -- to the Computer History Museum, located in Mountain View, California. MacPaint was launched with the original Macintosh in 1984, and is often considered the archetype for modern illustration programs, having introduced concepts like paint buckets and lasso selection. Another novelty was creating images that could be used in other apps.
QuickDraw is said to underlie not just MacPaint, but all of the original Mac interface and a third of the first Mac OS' source code. The last version of MacPaint was v2.0, released in 1988; it continued to be available for sale until a decade later.
The attempt to get the MacPaint source code public has had a troubled history. Efforts first began in 2004, and through connections eventually reached Nancy Heinen, at one time Apple's general counsel. Although Heinen is said to have explained that Apple would be "delighted" to donate MacPaint to the Computer History Museum, a stock backdating scandal forced her to resign, and six further attempts to get the code released were denied. A breakthrough came only in January of this year, when the champion of the idea, Andy Hertzfeld, managed to get in touch with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Less than a day later, Jobs asked current general counsel Bruce Sewell to approve the action.