I abjectly refuse to put any version of .NET framework on my machine. So paint dot net was out of the question for me before I even looked at what it could do. The framework installs loads of stuff which can be requested from the app to do things like load up bitmaps and networking etc. The problem is tho that your target audience needs to have the right version of the framework to run. Like the controversy over DLLs and their version, MS has blown it again and done exactly the same thing with .net. If you have a program that needs 1.1 then it might or might not run on 2.0 Thats a killer. It means that when your new app only runs on 2.0, all your 1.1 only ones go in the bin. Consideration ends right there. 2.0 was supposed to have all the functionality of 1.1 plus more which is what the old COM stuff was all about but then COM was designed by DEC not MS which says it all. So when your app writers get Vista and Win7 and 2.0 becomes 3 and 4 etc then more and more of your stuff goes in the bin. I am not playing that game.
In this respect Linux does better and worse. Its better because you can get a version of your app that is compatible. But its worse because the expectation for it is that you need to build it against the version of the OS that you are running. Now if your ok with compiling up your software before running it then its cool. Geeks are quids in. But if thats not something you enjoy doing then its a rats nest of interoperability there. To some extent ubuntu have gone a long way to solving this by having set versions which are guaranteed compatible with a number of apps which get installed as part of the distro. They have a dedicated and paid team to check the interoperability unlike most of the linux world. Still, I have set up a number of ubuntu machines and not one so far has worked 'out of the box' without me getting real dirty on the command line shell. Its good, its getting better, but its just not quite there yet. I am hoping that it gets good enough before I am forced to move off of Windows. My XPx64 will be the last version of windows I run.
My opinion, keep your machine off the net, don't upgrade it other than to install the big service packs and run a small number of trusted apps. If your on Win2K then install the huge Service pack 4 but don't do the security updates etc. They were all bundled into the service pack and they're not doing any more anyways. You don't need packs 1-3 if you get 4.
If you do put it on the net, accept its going to be insecure (its win2K) and at the very min go via a cheap router. If you don't do a router, expect your machine to be 'owned' in about 5 mins.
I have been looking for a PSP replacement but I am not seeing exactly what I need either. I think it might be Gimp in the end too but for now ill stay with PSP.
Service pack 4 DL:
If you really don't trust MS or have problems then its here too. But now you have to trust this download instead
Heh - just come across this site which is well cool.