split - Browser/GIF/PNG discussion

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ripcord, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. Ripcord macrumors newbie

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    #1
    JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that designed the standard. Related to MPEG, it was developed and turned into an ISO standard. Though ISO had charged for information on the standard (and as far as I know, still does), all the non-optional components of JPEG are patent-free, and implementations can remain royalty-free.

    GIF uses LZW compression (which was also the basis of some archiving utilities like LHA) which was patented by Unisys in 1973. The GIF format was invented by Compuserve, with license agreement from Unisys.

    In late 1994 Compuserve/Unisys began to try to make money from the patents - every program that used GIF/LZW technology was required to pay 1.5% of revenues or $.15, whichever was greater, per copy. This obviously caused a problem, especially with authors of "free" software like web browsers (Mosaic, others emerging), freeware GIF recompression utils, etc.

    It was generally perceived that Unisys/Compuserve were trying to use obsoleted, ancient IP and patents of dubious commercial and technical value to squeeze money from an industry that had been entrenched in the technology (this was very similar to what SCO appears to be doing now, except Unisys and Compuserve actually had somewhat of a real case)

    In 1999 Unisys reignited the furor by actually litigating against some web sites that used GIF technology without paying a license. This helped encourage the jump from GIF to PNG, another lossless, royalty-free, and in many cases superior format.

    The LZW patents expired this year in the US, and GIFs no longer are subject to any sort of license, though there's really little reason to use them anymore. However, there are still patents in Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and others, where Unisys is STILL attempting to squeeze money. There's no real reason NOT to use PNG.

    Hope that clears things up =)
     
  2. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #2
    Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    For the most part. There's just the small matter of the browser with the largest share *cough* IE/Win 4-6 *cough* not having full support for the standard.

    http://www.petitiononline.com/msiepng/petition.html

    Gotta love MS...
     
  3. SeaFox macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #3
    Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    It's funny you mention standards. I have to share this:

    Whenever I try to access the .mac pages with iCab, a browser built to specifically follow web standards, I get the error mesage that my browser does not follow web standards. Apple suggests I download Safari or Internet Explorer to access .mac!
     
  4. SeaFox macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #4
    JPEG ownership

    No, I'm well aware of GIF's Compuserve roots. I mean JPEG.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/26339.html
     
  5. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

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    #5
    Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    iCab is a sorry excuse for a browser. It's slow, plays Flash horribly, and renders terribly.
     
  6. SeaFox macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #6
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    Isn't it a little shortsighted to blame bad page renders on the browser. I did say it was built to follow standards, something most web pages don't. You can do some prefs fiddleing to improve things. Flash works okay I find.

    It can resume broken downloads and can block almost any ad you want with it (including Flash ads).

    I thik they reason it sucks now is that, well it simply doesn't have the development resources of other browsers. It's being written by one guy for the most part.

    I do prefer Safari now. But I'm not running OSX.
     
  7. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #7
    Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    iCab is great for HTML standards adherence, but its CSS support is severely lacking. However, the CSS on that site isn't much more than font specifications.

    Seems to be a browser sniffer gone bad. :(
     
  8. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

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    #8
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    I've never used it in OS 9, I just remember disliking it in OS X. You do have a point about constantly(sometimes senselessly) changing "standards".
     
  9. SeaFox macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #9
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    I had it set to identify itself as IE 5 also.
     
  10. elmimmo macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    Just what the heck are you talking about. Could you please read the page you just gave a link for? It clearly states Full native support for PNG still has not been implemented in the Windows version of MSIE. That is Full native suport. IE currently supports all the features that GIF supports (it does not support 8bit alpha, for example), so, quoting Ripcord, there is no reason NOT to use PNG.

    I am currently using IE 5 and can pefectly see PNGs that are indexed and have a 1-bit alpha, which is precisely what GIF tops at. Sure it sucks, but we are talking about if it is feasible to use png INSTEAD of gif.

    And BTW, could Apple once in a while deactivate the damn default Quicktime option to act as a plug-in to render PNG files. It does no better than IE's own engine (or whatever other browser), so they could quit picking on that.
     
  11. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

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    #11
  12. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #12
    Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    I said "for the most part", which means that in general PNG is a good replacement for GIF. Yes, IE handles PNGs in a manner consistent with GIFs (1-bit alpha), but that is not supporting the full PNG standard. Until IE implements full support, the PNG standard cannot be used to its full extent, if you care about IE compatibility.

    I was simply trying to spread some awareness about IE's limitations, and that some of the great features of PNGs cannot be used on the IE/Win platform.

    Lighten up.
     
  13. elmimmo macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    Yes, in an answer oppositing som other's argument about PNG being today a perfect substitute for what GIF can accomplish in all browsers, in all platforms. What you were talking about is something that has little to do with that argument and that deviates from the discussion of the feasibility of screwing GIFs.

    Did that sound harsh. OK. My excuses, no intention. (Besides, AppleMatt, heck=instatntly banneable!? ¬_¬')
     
  14. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

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    #14
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    No. Or I hope not cause I'll be in trouble, I was referring to;
    AppleMatt
     
  15. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #15
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    *sigh* Guess people aren't allowed to have differing opinions on things. ;)

    A car is a "perfect substitute" for a bike in that it accomplishes everything a bike can, but what good does it do the general community if you can only drive it by yourself, no faster than 40MPH and with no more than 50lbs of cargo?

    The limitations of its use have everything to do with the conversation of its use in replacing the GIF standard. I'm not trying to dissuade its use in general (as I've already said), but that people need to be aware that some of its great features will be completely unusable on the most widely used browser/platform combination.

    No offense taken, but some people might be quicker to strike back than I. :)
     
  16. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #16
    While we're on the topic of deviating from the discussion, I split this thread so as not to further dilute the RealPC discussion.
     
  17. elmimmo macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    It's patent-free. Probably that is more of a benefit to developers than users. (Will Adobe cut Photoshop prices in the US now that it must not pay for the GIF license?)
    Then we do agree I guess. There is no reason not to use PNG instead of GIF, AND WinIE's PNG support sucks. :)
     
  18. amnesiac1984 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    The problem with IE not fully supporting PNG is that hobbyiests like me won't know what they can or can't do with PNG to let it work in IE properly.

    I made a website years ago that jsut showcased what i oculd do with PNG, I basically had DHTML layers with a PNG graphic in that I could drag around. There was a textured background to the page and you could see through the semi transluscent bits of the PNG to the background and it all looked very nice, ON A MAC, and actually, I tested it now, and it doesn't even work in Safari, only Mac IE. :confused:
     
  19. elmimmo macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another opportunity to dump Office

    Well, to a lower level, I admit it, it does happen with such a spread format (i.e. standard) as JPEG. I have been asked many times why the browser would not display a given JPEG, to find out after many headaches it was in CMYK color mode, which is not supported by any browser that I know. And I am pretty sure that this has happened lots of times in the desktop publishing world, where CMYK is widely used, to people that are not familiarized to what they can and cannot use in a web page.

    Basically, as of now, you will have to stick to 256 colors with 1 bit transparency or full color without transparency.
     

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