Apple Donates MacPaint Code To Computer History Museum

In a striking move of almost unparalleled generosity, Apple has donated the source code for its MacPaint application to the Computer History Museum.

The MacPaint application that debuted in 1984 and shipped for free with the first Mac computer is now open for all to see.

MacPaint, stunningly advanced and powerful in its time is now entirely defunct, most likely not having been used for at least 20 years by anyone other than true lifelong nerds.

The code, spanning just over 17,000 lines of code in 36 files was written in assembler language for the 68000 processor, which is currently only used in the OLPC laptop.

While the world recovers from the shock of the generosity of Apple giving away the code from a defunct program, it’s at least pretty cool that we get a sneak peek behind the curtain, even though the curtain is 36 years old.

Written by Toby Leftly

Toby is a Mac nerd, a hardware nerd and a web nerd, rolled into one. You can find him at or on Twitter.

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  • That is amazing.
    Also, did you mean 26 years or 36 years old? 1984 is 26 years ago.

  • I loved using the Mac 512K in my high school’s Graphic Arts class (’85-’88), where we designed business cards, notepads and stickers with MacPaint. My band’s demo tape cover was also entirely designed with MacPaint. Totally awesome program.

  • Seeing this makes me so nostalgic! I miss playing around with it on my parents old mac!