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What Is The Future of PNG?

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the life-of-its-own dept.

Patents 609

miladus writes "The GIF patent (held by Unisys) will expire on June 20. C|Net wonders whether that will also mean that PNG "will lose its original reason for being". Remember Burn All GIFs? " My hope would be that at this point PNG can stand on its own technical merits, rather then on ideological merits.

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609 comments

Pong will ever be first. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148774)

forst = cold

PNG is so much better (-1, Redundant)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148775)

First, wow, is this first post?

PNG also supports larger pixel depths and alpha channels? How will the death of PNG void the existence of GIF?

PNGs (5, Insightful)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148777)

Unfortunately even half my coworkers don't know what a PNG is. I try to send them a UML diagram made from DIA and they demand a readable format :(

Re:PNGs (-1, Troll)

norculf (146473) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148885)

Your coworkers have shit for brains.

not yet... (4, Insightful)

5prite (655586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148778)

until GIF gives us more than Alpha channel with more than 1 bit :)...

ought to be enough (5, Funny)

gylle (531234) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148963)

One bit, that ought to be enough for anybody... :-)

here's hoping. (3, Insightful)

porter235 (413926) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148781)

I am dying for full PNG support in all major browsers... the 256 levels of transparency alone make it worth while!

Re:here's hoping. (3, Insightful)

questamor (653018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148813)

Same here, and it's pretty close. Most browsers support it in some fashion, and it IS technically superior to GIF format images.

It's a little like MP3 vs OGG, except PNG is far closer to acceptance in general applications than OGG is for music.

Curiously, does IE support more than one alpha channel with PNG? last I looked it didn't, but that was a long long time ago; most everything else did at the time

Re:here's hoping. (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148844)

Curiously, does IE support more than one alpha channel with PNG?

I looked at this a few months ago and I think the answer was: Yes, *but* you need to use additional VB to 'use' multiple layers of transparency.

But I could be wrong...

It's certainly not straight forward.

Re:here's hoping. (5, Interesting)

SirPrize (590850) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148890)

I was wondering about this just two or three weeks ago, and tested with Mozilla and IE 6. Both of them can display PNG files, but it's only Mozilla that could render the 256-level alpha channel properly. Made for some very neat effects. IE didn't manage the transparency at all. :-(

Re:here's hoping. (4, Informative)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148981)

This is such a sore point for me. To me the main raison d'etre for PNG's is that alpha transparency instead of the single-bit transparency that GIF's offer.

However, IE for Windows supports it *horribly*. If you want to use the alpha transparency feature of PNG's, you've got to jump through a lot of crappy, nonsensical IE-only hoops.

Here is a rather funny page [homelinux.net] (since the author's disbelief and anger at IE's horrible behavior is palpable) which does a good job of explaining the issue, and supplying a few workarounds.

It's a shame that IE is so crappy in this regard (and plenty of others, but that's another discussion)... there's no good reason for it. Apparently IE for Mac supports them just fine, btw... so it's not like Microsoft has some official PNG-hating policy, they just simply got sloppy with IE/Win. Another good example why too much share in a given market (in this case, web browsers for Windows) is a bad thing for competition. Why should they bother improving or fixing IE/Win? What's in it for them?

Sure (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148782)

Because everyone wants 256 color GIFs.

PNG does everything GIF does, only a million times better.

Re:Sure (2, Insightful)

$alex_n42 (679887) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148848)

Except of course animations, PNG will never do that. Plus IE won't display PNGs correctly, for some stupid reason or other.

Re:Sure (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148875)

The stupid reason is IE. Microsoft has never implemented proper PNG support.

Except, of course... (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148879)

MNG files, which are animated PNGs.

Re:Except, of course... (4, Interesting)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148933)

I don't know about other browsers, but MNG support has been dropped from Mozilla in recent builds. Apparently the MNG library was quite large (apparently just a few hundred k, though...), and rarely-used, so it was dropped as part of a bloat-reduction effort. Can't say I agree with them. More discussion can be found over at the mozillazine.org forums.

Re:Except, of course... (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148966)

MNG in Mozilla actually never worked in the first place. An animation would play once, then hang or crash the browser.

At least that's what happened to me, with several versions of both Mozilla and Firebird (previously Phoenix).

Re:Except, of course... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148991)

An animation would play once, then hang or crash the browser.

If only GIF support were this bad in major browsers! We could get rid of that accursed animated GIF altogether. Animated GIFs have no purpose in browsers except banner ads. Anything legitimate could be done better with mpeg.

Re:Except, of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148973)

MNGs future is gloomier than PNG - support for it has been removed from Mozilla's trunk :'(

Re:Sure (4, Insightful)

windows (452268) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148952)

Well, then you just use MNG [libpng.org] if you need animation. And if you read the linked page, MNG is superior to animated GIFs in a number of ways, one of which is better compression. Another advantage to MNG is it's not necessarily tied to one image format. The individual images can be stored in either PNG or JPEG format.

Personally, I think it's a good thing to have several image formats available with wide support in all browsers. The reason for this is it allows developers to choose which format provides the best results for what they're doing. This means which ones look better and compress better for a certain image. It's definitely a good thing that the patent on GIF is expiring, but it's also a good thing to make sure that PNG doesn't go away, either.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148968)

PNG is great except for the unforgiveably lame color-correction feature. Why in jebus' name did someone think this was a good idea to put into a graphic format? If your display needs color correction, just do it globally. Otherwise you end up with a bunch of PNGs that don't match the color of the page because some little PNG monkey is trying to do you a favor.

Anyway, the real problem with PNG is that aren't supported properly in most browsers. In fact, until they are supported properly in ALL browsers, they just aren't worth the bother. Why should I do browser sniffing just to show a graphic?

Re:Sure (1)

asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148977)

PNG does everything GIF does, only a million times better.

Doesn't it actually do 16,777,216 times better?

i've burned all my gifs (4, Funny)

jellybear (96058) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148783)

to cd

June 20th is my birthday (1)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148784)

Who wants to buy me a nice shiny patent?

I wonder, will this show up on eBay like so many other patents? [ebay.com]

Re:June 20th is my birthday (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148870)

Mine too... perhaps we could split it? ;)

Let's face it (4, Insightful)

nutznboltz (473437) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148785)

You can't get rid of a graphics file format once it's out there.

Re:Let's face it (4, Funny)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148904)

I know. I even see ANSI graphics now and then. ;)

GIF and PNG are completely different! (5, Informative)

flend (9133) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148787)

GIFs are limited to 8-bit colour depth, no alpha layer etc. etc. PNG is a standardised, open format with support for lossless encoding of full colour graphics with transparencies.

Saying that GIF becoming patent unencumbered is going to reduce use of PNG is like implying that when the original patents ran out on horses & carriages people gave up their cars and reverted. Ain't gonna happen :)

problems with PNG (1, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148790)

large file size- much larger than gif or jpg
poor standardization- alpha in particular is different accross platforms and browsers (IE is the worst offender here)
little exposure- even my grandma has heard of jpg but few people including "web developers" have heard of PNG, even after years of existance.

That said if you have to mix text and graphics PNG is the way to go as it will not trash the picture like gif and won't pooch the text like jpg.

Wrong! (5, Informative)

brennanw (5761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148845)

If you're getting larger file sizes with PNG, then you're using a program that creates PNG poorly.

When I converted all the graphics on my site over from GIF to PNG, I saved bandwidth. If I did my comic in GIF instead of PNG, the graphics would be much larger than they are now.

use pngcrush or some other kind of tool to optimize them if your stuck using an older version of Photoshop (some versions of photoshop have lousy PNG support) or get some shareware or free software program that supports PNG properly.

JPEGS will still be better for 24 bit color images, but with the right program PNGs will beat out GIFs.

Re:Wrong! (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148878)

All 3 of the graphics programs I use routinely creat PNG's that are larger than gif's, now this may not be a problem with the format persee, but it is a problem with the real world implementations that are out there and are being used. It doesn't matter for a hill of beans how cool a format is on paper if the implementations suck, if the graphics programs are creating bloated PNG's and the large leader in the web browser space renders them incorrectly it is unlikely that there will be a rush to adopt the format. Like I said I understand that it is a superior format for some things but for most people there just isn't much incentive to switch.

Re:Wrong! (3, Interesting)

larien (5608) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148939)

What colour depth are you saving PNGs as? If you're saving them as anything more than 8-bit, it's very likely that they'll be larger than GIFs.

As for IE not working, that's IE's fault and if we pussyfoot around a sucky implementation, we'll be stuck with substandard images. If we use enough PNGs on web sites and tell people that any rendering problem is IE's fault we'll hopefully either (a) encourage the use of non-IE browsers (e.g. Opera or Mozilla) or (b) force MS to fix IE.

PNGs will always be larger than GIFs... (5, Informative)

J_DarkElf (602111) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148994)

... if saved as truecolour images. What really killed PNG, imnsho, was that the first graphics programs that implemented it simply did not allow users to create indexed PNG files. An 8-bit PNG image is smaller than an 8-bit GIF.

What many people also seem to forget, is that there is no excuse not to safe your PNG image with maximum compression once you are done editing: there will be no image quality loss.

And of course anyone seriously creating PNG images cannot do without PNGCrush [sourceforge.net] , which can shave off every single bit of bloat. A crushed PNG image will look just as good as the original, but will be only a fraction of its size, and will be a lot smaller than a GIF would (1).

1: But not smaller than the JPEG. Lossless compression cannot compete with JPEG's lossy compression, and JPEG is still the format of choice for photographic images. For everything else you can and should use PNG.

Re:problems with PNG (4, Insightful)

aziraphale (96251) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148866)

large file size versus GIF or JPEG? Hardly. Take a 24 bit RGB image as your source, and find the format that provides the best reproduction of the original image in the least amount of space. PNG wins hands down. GIF can't reproduce the colour depth, JPEG can't reproduce the original pixels reliably without balloning the file size way beyond the PNG.

PNG is actually about the best lossless image format out there - better compression than TIFF LZW, and just as flexible.

Re:problems with PNG (2, Insightful)

lowmagnet (646428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148880)

It's not poor standardization. It's Microsoft not supporting 100% of the standard. PNG is standardized just fine, thanks. [w3.org]

Re:problems with PNG (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148913)

large file size- much larger than gif or jpg

Obviously because both GIF and JPG are lossy whereas PNG retains every color it can find. Try palettized PNG instead if size is important, it beats GIF at the same quality level in 90% of cases.

Also make sure you use a decent compression utility, such as PNGOUT [advsys.net] .

Re:problems with PNG (1)

fjin (36284) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148961)

poor standardization- alpha in particular is different accross platforms and browsers (IE is the worst offender here)
Do you really mean that it's PNG's fault, that Micro$hit can't still implement the open standard what was released to public use in 1996! Maybe it's their idea of innovation.
Browsers with PNG Support [libpng.org]

PNG is good (3, Informative)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148792)

I don't know why more people don't use PNG. It's a great format. For photorealistic images JPG is best, but for logos or other types of graphics and drawings, PNG is great. I hope that we start seeing widespread use of vector-based graphics in the near future, though.

Re:PNG is good (2, Insightful)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148954)

GIF's were already in use from a long time. Even the patents didn't scare ppl because unisys hasnt been relentless in pursuing them.

So people kept on using GIF's. And very few people used PNG. There is a popular saying "Its not what its worth, its how it is marketed"

Re:PNG is good (0)

jdew (644405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148956)

jpeg better then png? lossless png vs lossy jpeg? the better format is clear

Beta was better than VHS (4, Insightful)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148795)


Just because PNG is 'better' than GIF, doesn't mean it'll win.

GIF has such a huge head start...

Re:Beta was better than VHS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148833)

Beta was better than VHS

I found both to be as bad as one another after a few dozen plays.

praise DVD!

Re:Beta was better than VHS (1)

SlimFastForYou (578183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148971)

All I remember about Beta was the eaten tapes. I know someone who saves _incredibly_ huge JPEG files for good quality (non yucky text). PNG has resonably good browser support, and I use the format with any graphics with text in them.

JPEG isn't a portable network graphic when you have to make huge files to get the same quality of other formats. Precisely why the Slashdot logo is in GIF format.

Beta was *not* better than VHS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148990)

At least not to most consumers.

Beta suffered from the 1 hour 20 minute syndrome.

VHS was there with longer recording times (albeit with poorer images), and while Beta was trumpeting better image quality, Sony refused to license Beta, and it didn't record as long as VHS.

So the "common wisdom" is commonly wrong.

Sorry, dude.

Not likely (0, Redundant)

Psiren (6145) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148797)

GIF's drawbacks are well known, and are not limited to the patent. For example, 256 colour palletes are very restrictive especially now virtually everyone has high colour displays. PNG isn't going anywhere, I use it for all my images and I'm very pleased with the results. If IE's support was a bit better things would be perfect.

Its already moribund (5, Insightful)

Lysander Luddite (64349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148799)

Until IE fully supports the format, it might as well be dead. Nobody who wants the Alpha Channel support can use it in IE6 so it pretty much just sits there, an unused option.

Since IE apparently won't be getting an update until the next version of Windows, I don't see much changing.

It also doesn't help that creating PNGs with Alpha Channels isn't as easy as it can be in some apps.

Re:Its already moribund (2, Interesting)

drfireman (101623) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148883)

Worse yet, you can't just wait for IE to support it, you have to wait for the versions of IE used by everyone you want to visit your web pages to support it. If you want to support the oldest browsers (I don't, but some folks do), you'll never be able to use PNGs.

As an aside, many have pointed out that comparing PNGs to GIFs doesn't make a lot of technical sense. But it makes a lot of practical sense to anyone who has a web site. If you want to put up some images, you have limited choices. There are no options that are lossless, unencumbered, compressed, and supported by both old and new browsers. Depending on which of those you're willing to cave on, you may choose PNGs, GIFs, or JPEGs.

Re:Its already moribund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148905)

But even at the level you claim, it's better than GIF due to the high color depth support.

See this article [alistapart.com] for cross-browser PNG transparency. One of the techniques can be seen on this UK church site [freeserve.co.uk] .

Re:Its already moribund (5, Informative)

barcodez (580516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148909)

Apple's Quicktime can become the default plug in for PNGs and display them instead of IE within IE. Therefore full advantage can be made of Alpha channels. Obviously not everyone has QuickTime installed.

On the other hand... (1)

J_DarkElf (602111) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148948)

MSIE will begin to die out soon, and all other browsers have PNG support -- Mozilla even has MNG support natively.
Do you really think people will 'upgrade' their Windows license just to get a browser update?

Re:On the other hand... (-1, Redundant)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148984)

MSIE will begin to die out soon

Are you willing to put money on that statement?

Hello? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148805)

PNG will never be used until IE supports it properly.

GIF Patent (0, Redundant)

Flabby Boohoo (606425) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148808)

It appears that the patent covering the LZW compression technology is about to expire... LZW is the compression used in GIFs.

no animation support, but... (3, Insightful)

Kegetys (659066) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148811)

Only thing GIF has what PNG does not is animation support... PNG wins in everything else. And most of the GIF animations I have seen do nothing else than annoy so i'm not sure if the lack of it in PNG is a good or bad thing after all.

Re:no animation support, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148857)

There is an animated version of PNG as well; check the web site.

Re:no animation support, but... (2, Informative)

jpr1nd (678149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148872)

actually there is a 'partner'-like format to png called mng or multiple-image network graphics. i'm not too sure of how well supported it is but it does in fact exist.

voila: http://www.libpng.org/pub/mng/

Re:no animation support, but... (1)

GoldMace (315606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148884)

They are sometimes amusing, and I've seen some in some educational sites that denonstrate how something works, etc. I'd say the lack of animation is why PNG is not more popular. The only thing GIF has on PNG is that, the compression stuff most people don't know about for the most part, and most people use JPEG for stuff that doesn't require animation because it has more than 256 colors.

And that's what MNG is for (3, Informative)

J_DarkElf (602111) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148899)

Of course MNG has even less support than PNG, but thanks to Jason Summer's MNG plugin [entropymine.com] anyone using a Netscape-plugin-compatible user agent or IE can see them.

PNG has more features (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148812)

PNG is not just an alternative to GIF. PNG has things like Alpha Blending, Gamma Correction and Huge color depth (up to 48 bits, I believe).

So you can really do a lot of cool things with PNG that you can't do with GIF's.

The problem is that without browser support this is like having a CD library in the 70s... Useless. And as long as browsers don't handle PNG's properly it's also chicken & egg problem.

I hate to say it, but we're pretty much at Microsoft's mercy with mainstream PNG usage.

Re:PNG has more features (1)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148922)

And as long as browsers don't handle PNG's properly it's also chicken & egg problem.

If it doesn't seem obvious yet, one of the major reasons PNGs adoption has been slow for many is the simple fact that it still, after 4 years, hasn't been able to render properly in IE -- the majority browser at this point.

Not SCO! (1, Funny)

bazik (672335) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148816)

Dont let SCO buy the patent! They might sue everyone who ever saved a GIF file!

Re:Not SCO! (1)

5prite (655586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148898)

when will SCO becomes an obligatory joke?

I will still not use GIF (2, Interesting)

foolip (588195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148817)

Patented or not, GIF is an antiquated compression algorithm which performs quite poorly compared to PNG. There is descent browser support for PNG, and it can also do some nifty things which GIF cannot -- most importantly alpha transparency as opposed to binary transparency.

It seems most people just don't care enough to use PNG though, so I wouldn't expect it to take over the net very soon.

Re:I will still not use GIF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148825)

What are you talking about? IE's PNG support is piss-poor!

Re:I will still not use GIF (1)

foolip (588195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148917)

I'm sorry, but I truly don't care. There are other uses for PNG than websites, and one can use PNG images without transparency too. An I'll admit that even if I did make a website with some transparent images, I'd use PNG anyway, because it's not important to me to please everyone -- especially not IE-users :)

Just removed all the GIF's from my project, rats! (2, Interesting)

@madeus (24818) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148820)

At the weekend I removed all the GIF's from my project and replaced them with PNG's, because I'd had a submission (understadably) rejected to savannah.gnu.org because of this issue.

I'd only been using GIF's because my project outputs web pages and uses transparent images to render a nice customisable user interface (e.g. tabs) in a way that can only be achived with transparent images - and realistically most people use IE and it has problems with PNG transparency that would require me to use lots of VB scripting in IE just to get IE to behave in the manner I wanted.

Does this mean free GNU projects will be able to use GIF's, or are there still other parent related issues with GIF images?

Easy (0)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148826)

The last time I used GIF was for some humorous animation... and in either case, animated GIFs should be kept off of the Internet.

I use PNGs for everything graphics related today except when there are special compatibility reasons (some tools only work with BMP, PCX etc) or when space must be cut for photo-like images, in which case I use JPEG.

PNG generally compresses better than GIF, it has more features, and you can have as many colors as you want. So for me personally, it's certainly not as much a matter of ideology as it is a matter of functionality.

Technical Merits... (4, Insightful)

Jasin Natael (14968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148827)

My hope would be that at this point PNG can stand on its own technical merits, rather then on ideological merits.

It certainly does for me. PNG tends to display colors more accurately than GIF, has cleaner dithering, and has much better transparency than GIF. It also generates smaller files for complex/large images. But, Internet Explorer once again holds us back. IE doesn't do transparency AT ALL for PNG images. It doesn't even use the page color, or white, just a flat 50% gray. Once IE supports PNG properly, a lot more web developers will feel comfortable using it. Curse you and your "standards", Microsoft.

Jasin Natael

Re:Technical Merits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148921)

On my brother's Windows XP IE6 shows transparent PNGs with a white background. I think gray would actually suit my dark-themed homepage better.

IE and PNG transparency (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148929)

Not quite.

The background used is that saved in the PNG file, which you *can* specify, just like with GIFs.

And you can use alpha transparency via an ActiveShow style filter. Read this [alistapart.com] .

PNG will stick (4, Informative)

sklib (26440) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148828)

IIRC, GIF really specialized in 256-color paletted images, and any extensions to that along the lines of full 32-bit color were kind of a hack, and were never very popular. PNG, on the other hand, is a great compressed lossless format that seems to cleanly support 4 channels. I've used it plenty when storing graphics for programming purposes, and have never had any kind of problems.

It seems that the only reason GIF was around in the first place is because computers were slow, and then later (instead of lossy jpegs) for displaying little images with text in them in web pages. Since PNG does that now and does it better, I think there's no reason to ever go back to GIF.

Sure, the readers and writers might now be legally free or whatever, but anyone who really wanted to use GIFs has been able to do it anyway (it's not like all along Photoshop wasn't able to export, and Explorer and Netscape weren't able to view them), and there is support for better formats pretty much everywhere now, that I don't foresee any changes in the status quo regarding GIF use.

Animated PNG (2, Interesting)

emo boy (586277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148829)

What about the animation that gifs bring to the web? I know that no one was using the animated functionality of a gif back when the PNG specs were being drawn up but I think it's time to look back into it. It at least give users an alternative to Macromedia Flash especially whilst using GIMP.
Long live open source

Re:Animated PNG (2, Interesting)

sklib (26440) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148860)

Anyone who wants to have rotating skulls and burning fire on their script kiddie web page is still welcome to use animated gifs. I don't see a reason that all those graphics shouldn't be in Flash, because they are great for platforms that can handle it, and don't need to be shown at all (say, on a celphone or PDA) on those that can't.

Besides, mpeg-2 and mpeg-4 are certainly better at this sort of thing, and since pretty much anything that supports Flash can also display avi's or qt's or whatever, I think people should just use that instead.

Re:Animated PNG (1)

emo boy (586277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148927)

Maybe not everyone has 300 bucks to float to Macromedia for their software in order to put up a small animation. I think there should be a good and viable alternative to gifs and flash.

Re:Animated PNG (2, Informative)

jpr1nd (678149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148955)

if you look up the page a little you'll see several posts about animated pngs, called mngs

more info: http://www.libpng.org/pub/mng/

PNG GIF (0)

chendo (678767) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148839)

PNG is far better IMHO, because it's 32bit, as opposed to GIF's limitation of 8bit. Also, PNG supports 8bit transparency, which allows AA to work with transparency.

Only problem I have with PNG is that IE 5.5 doesn't support it's transparency properly without some extra code.

Re:PNG GIF (0)

chendo (678767) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148911)

Only thought of this after I clicked "Reply", but I think there should be a law for patents that if anything has been 'free' for so long, shouldn't be patented so there isn't a great deal of confusion over the royalties issue.

And all forms of communications shouldn't be patented either. Imagine if someone patented HTML...

Wonder how php will act to this (1)

ascii(64) (454365) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148842)

I wonder if GD will go back to gif or stay with png

Re:Wonder how php will act to this (1)

Ulven (679148) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148930)

I hope they keep PNG, and bring back GIF.

It was the first thing I thought of when I read the topic. I have a few sites where people submit images, and at the moment, if they are gifs, GD can do nothing with them - and it seems a limitation of the site, not the format.

GIF does still have a place.

.PNG have features (1)

Ummite (195748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148846)

If I well remember, I've done a presentation about file format and png has some features that doesn't exists in .gif, especially full 32 bits colors (alpha + rgb), wich doesn't really exists in .gif. I would personally prefer let .gif like it is actually, and upgrade .png if more features are required. For me, .gif is for little icons in web page, little photo. But full screen photo that requires no compression (like game screenshot, mpeg screenshot), .png is the right format. My 2 cents

what a whore (1, Insightful)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148847)

"We haven't evaluated the new recommendation for PNG, and it remains to be seen whether the new version will have an effect on the use of GIF images," said Unisys representative Kristine Grow. "If so, the patent situation will have achieved its purpose, which is to advance technological innovation. So we applaud that."

When the serial killer is born that executes corrupt lawyers, leeches and vampires, this Kristine Grow whore should be killed too.

I'm tired of people who just want money standing in the way of real workers, and then claiming that they're blood leeching is beneficial.

what GIF leads PNG... (2, Informative)

5prite (655586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148854)

GIF supports animation, but it is not supported in PNG.

I know with MNG, you can do animation plus all advantages of PNG. However in reality, not many people are using MNG yet, which make the support for MNG almost non-existant (even our favorite browser has removed support for MNG due to resignation of its maintainer [mozilla.org] , at least for now)

we still have many things to do to evangeliszed the use of MNG (imagine p0rn ad with full alpha transparency! sigh...) before we can get a full-blown replacement for GIF. Remember newbies will definitely say: `Wow! GIF does animation but PNG does not, PNG is a crap.' Regardless whether GIF has LZW patent or not.

PNG vs GIF (1, Redundant)

execom (598566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148855)

PNG is good for large pictures, but GIF has animated format (GIF89). PNG doesn't have this feature.
Also, IE still doesn't support correctly PNG [entropymine.com]
And GIF compression is generally better for 16 colors picture (icon and small images) than PNG.
I think that the two formats are just complementary.

----

PNG dead? (1)

__past__ (542467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148868)

Some people [w3.org] don't think so.

You mean the US patent expires (4, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148871)

Unisys claim to have a whole host of patents around the world covering the LZW technology.

You may wish to look at this thread [google.com] on comp.compression

Just as we in Europe are often affected by US patents, even thought he patent itself isn't valid here, now might be your turn to be affected by patents outside your jurisdiction.

A minor 'hack' get's fuPNG to work in IE though... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148873)

I have an include file tricking the transparancy into working here [illnation.com] , but this geezer has done it a more elegant way [ntlworld.com] ...

Until IE gets a major update it's the only way to ensure that your PNG stuff works cross-browser. And with PNG's superior colour depth and transpancy there really is no reason to NOT at least toy with using PNG's a little any more...

GIF patent (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148882)

In this country you are not allowed to patent a mathematical method nor a computer program, so presumably the LZW / GIF patent issue was never a problem? I guess the situation is similar in other countries.

I don't see how this will kill off the PNG format ..... it supports more colours than GIF; isn't lossy like JPG; and reads into applications other than the one that wrote it, unlike TIFF ;-)

A non-story. Ting! Next, please.

Part of why PNG hasn't been a big hit (5, Insightful)

jht (5006) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148893)

GIF and JPG each do something quite well. GIF is well-suited for the rendering of static elements with a relatively small palette, like webpage design elements. It doesn't support photo-realistic images, but that's OK - a GIF can make a very small, efficient file that can load quickly. And it's been supported since the earliest days of the Internet.

JPG compliments GIF by providing a way to display high-quality photo images, and you can control the size of the rendered file by deciding how much you're willing to discard. Again, it's supported by every editor and browser, and it's been around since the beginnning.

PNG is a superior format to GIF from a technical perspective, and it's not encumbered by the LZW patent. However, from the perspective of most mainstream users, it doesn't solve a problem that actually affects them (they don't know or care about the Unisys patent issue), it isn't perfectly supported by all mainstream browsers and servers in use today, and it's a johnnie-come-lately to the standards wars.

Like it or not (I think it kinda sucks), most web developers seem to do things one of three ways: if they need small static elements they use GIF, for photos they use JPG, and if they need fancy-schmancy stuff they use Flash. And nobody worries whether or not platforms other than Windows with the latest IE can render their site, anyway. So maybe PNG will slowly become more common - it is a better format for the most part than GIF is, and pretty much all current browsers and servers (going forward - not some of the older versions that are still in use) support it pretty well out of the box. Really, what matters most is the bottom line (especially once the LZW patent is dead) - can PNG produce a better browsing experience for a site's users? If it can, it'll get used. If not, then it's dead.

Spelling 101 (2, Informative)

Icephreak1 (267199) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148895)

My hope would be that at this point PNG can stand on its own technical merits, rather then on ideological merits

The word is "than", not "then". And while I'm here, it's "definitely", not "definately", "your" is not a substitute for "you are" and vice versa, and we certainly don't make plurals of words by tacking on an apostrophe followed by an S. We also don't use the word "where" in place of "were". We also spell "you" fully rather than using "U", and we should read [hop.com] more.

- IP

Choosy mothers choose GIF! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148900)

Not PNG.

~~~

Re:Choosy mothers choose GIF! (2, Funny)

fgb (62123) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148980)

Beware of geeks bearing GIFs!

Yippee! No more rebuilding ImageMagick RPMs (1)

weave (48069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148901)

The default redhat build for ImageMagick is to turn off lzw compression on gifs. To get it back, you have to edit the .spec file and rebuild the RPM.

Hopefully Redhat makes --enable-lzw the default in their ImageMagick builds now!

It's all about consumers. (5, Interesting)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148902)

Back in the day, JPGs were known for better compression, but with graphical loss. GIFs were known for preserving appearance, but with less compression than JPG.

Then PNG comes in...
- Open Source/Open Standard: cool
- Lots of options of graphic artists: cool
- even less compression: suckage, but whatever, people who really care about their net experience these days have broadband

PNG may be superior, but it suffers from being obscure and being too technically oriented. I remember when Animated GIFs were tough to create without a "wizard". I seriously doubt your average consumer will care about the added layers and alpha "stuff" that's supported by the PNG format.

Kind of like how Firebird may be technically superior to, say, Internet Explorer, but very few people know of Firebird, and few among those who do know about it would know how to use all its features. IE just "works" for them.

PNG rocks, but until the likes of many Photo CD "developing" companies and other consumer-oriented image business start using the PNG format, people will still only know a world of GIFs, JPGs, and BMPs.

Stupid article. (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148935)

Well ofcourse you need png. yes?
There's no other common loseless yet compressed format for images with more than 256 colors.

The unfortunate truth (4, Insightful)

bahamat (187909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148942)

is that PNG will never see large scale use until all of it's features are supported in IE. I would love to use PNG for everything, except that they look like hell in IE. And as much as I badger people about using Mozilla, they don't.

GIF does have full support in IE, and nobody seems to know that the patent even exists. Even those that do rarely care enough to even tell one person.

This is the truth and it sucks. PNG, better in every way, suffers for it.

PNGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6148958)

I like to look at pitchers of pretty girlz in png format

Alpha PNGs and IE (1)

aliens (90441) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148974)

You can use a DirectX extension to get transparent pngs to display in IE.

It works reasonably well. But still nothing close to native support which is why I have to stick with gif's.

Big MNG Failure (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148985)

I know I may be among the few using this feature, but it really annoys me that the motion feature of PNG to produce reasonably long animations at reasonably high resolutions fails so miserably. It even fails on Mozilla eventually. Apparently Moz's renderer insists on keeping the entire decompressed animation around in VM to playback in a loop if so requested.

Watch [clanarchy.com] .

The PNG I want to see (1, Funny)

utoddl (263055) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148989)

rather then on ideological merits

I went to saa e PNG thet would ba used by whetavar thay usa to post storias to sleshdot thet will taka tha pleca of then end than end meka tham hot pink, so whan thay raviaw en erticla thay heva to meka sura ell tha as end es era right.

I not trolling per se, I'm just trolling in general...

PNG is acknowledged by Google (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6148992)

If you go to Google's Image Search [google.com] , you'll find that it supports GIF, JPEG and, indeed, PNG. This is either because of PNG gaining popularity recently (which most definitely is true), Google wanting to endorse better formats (not unlikely), or because of the email I sent Google some time ago requesting PNG image searching (not likely :).
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