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The Mandelbrot set rendered in Fractint
The Mandelbrot set rendered in Fractint
Developer(s) Stone Soup Group
Initial release September 1988; 29 years ago (1988-09)
Stable release
20.04p14 / August 22, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-08-22)
Operating system DOS, Linux
Available in English
Type Fractal generating software
License Freeware

Fractint is a freeware computer program that can render and display many kinds of fractals. The program originated on the MS-DOS platform, but has since been ported to Linux. Additionally Tim Gilman has ported Fractint to the Macintosh. During the early 1990s the program was the definitive fractal generating program for personal computers.[1]


Its name comes from the words fractal and integer, since the first versions of it computed fractals by using only integer arithmetic (also known as fixed-point arithmetic), which led to much faster rendering on x86 computers without math coprocessors. Since then, floating-point arithmetic and "arbitrary-precision" modes have been added, the latter of which emulates an arbitrarily large mantissa in RAM. The arbitrary-precision mode is slow even on modern computers.


FractInt can draw most kinds of fractals that have appeared in the literature. It also has a few "fractal types" that are not strictly speaking fractals, but may be more accurately described as display hacks. These include cellular automata.


A Mandelbrot fractal with FractInt's colour palette editor (version 20.0 in DOSBOX 0.72 on Vista).
One portion of the Mandelbrot set at extreme magnification, showing how the set contains near copies of itself.

FractInt originally appeared in 1988 as FRACT386, a computer program for rendering fractals very quickly on the Intel 80386 processor using integer arithmetic. Most 386 processors of the era did not come with floating point units (387), so the integer approach was much faster.

The early versions of FRACT386 were written by Bert Tyler, who based it on a Mandelbrot generator for a TI-based processor that used integer math and decided to try programming something similar for his 386 machine.[2]

In February 1989, the program was renamed FractInt. In July 1990, it was ported to the Atari ST with the math routines rewritten in M68K assembler by Howard Chu.

It was written and maintained by the "Stone Soup Group" who took their name from the fable of the stone soup. Along with Emacs and NetHack, it is one of the oldest still-maintained free programs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ray Girvan (24 August 1991). "Review: Fractint brought to book". Newscientist. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Tyler, Bert and Wegner, Timothy, Fractal Creations, 2nd edition, Waite Group Press, 1993, ISBN 1-878739-34-4, p. 461

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]