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MS Proposes JPEG Alternative

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the standard-was-getting-stale dept.

633

automatix writes "Microsoft's new competitor to the omnipresent JPEG format has been shown at WinHEC and is discussed on CNET. The Windows Media Photo format has many promises associated with it. The program manager is claiming 'We can do it in half the size of a JPEG file.'. While 'the philosophy has been that licensing should not be a restriction', it is interesting that the specification requires a click-through agreement to even read it."

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633 comments

Ummmm why? (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400585)

So, my question is fundamentally..........WHY? Other than to simply start solidifying platform specific requirements for websites and other such nonsense, i see no compelling reason why we should even give this a second glance. Besides, Microsoft does know that compression algorithms already present in JPEG can go further than they typically do resulting in smaller, yet more distorted images just like their "Microsoft format" JPEG, although I will allow that some of their approach is a bit more flexible than the current JPEG standard.

But the fundamental issue is that if Microsoft was being truly open and supportive of commonly used standards, this compression format would not require any click through agreement whatsoever to implement and would not require Windows Media Photo.

Steven Wells, quoted in the article as saying "Licensing can kill this" is absolutely correct.

Re:Ummmm why? (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400592)

So, my question is fundamentally..........WHY?

DRM.

(Oh, and expect PNG support in IE7 to be downgraded)

Re:Ummmm why? (3, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400715)

expect PNG support in IE7 to be downgraded

It's hard to see how even MS's third-rate programmers could make the PNG support worse than it is in IE6.

TEE

Re:Ummmm why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400723)

Awww, didn't catch this article before it was published so you could get your snotty +5 right away, so you do the next best thing and post in the first highly moderated comment hoping to snag your +5 that way?

Bravo!

Re:Ummmm why? (4, Informative)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400608)

Well, I clicked the "I do not agree" button, and it still takes you through to the details...

Re:Ummmm why? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400807)

I clicked on both the agree and disagree buttons. They do in fact go to different pages. Clicking on the I agree button takes you to a very sparse page with a link to download a Word document containing the specifications. When you actually dig around on the page you're directed to when clicking "disagree" to download the specification, you end up back at the same license agreement page.

You must agree to their license to get the specification.

Lossless AND Lossy (1, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400651)

I think the most important reason is stated in the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia article:
It can support both lossy as well as lossless compression ...
If you read all of that article, they get to the specifics of how computationally expensive it can be and I must say it offers a high performance.

If you look at JPEG, the Wikipedia article states:
In computing, JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is a commonly used standard method of lossy compression for photographic images.
And now you see that it only supports lossy. There are other lossless formats out there but I don't think there is another popular MIME file format that is widely used to support both lossy and lossless.

The big selling point here seems to be that you can have one file format to do all regardless of what kind of compression you prefer. I do agree that if it's not released open to the public, it will fail.

Re:Lossless AND Lossy (1, Informative)

harmonica (29841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400668)

If you look at JPEG, the Wikipedia article states:

        In computing, JPEG (pronounced jay-peg) is a commonly used standard method of lossy compression for photographic images.

And now you see that it only supports lossy. There are other lossless formats out there but I don't think there is another popular MIME file format that is widely used to support both lossy and lossless.


Actually, JPEG can do both lossy and lossless, no matter what the Wikipedia article might say (I haven't read it).

JPEG-LS Vs JPEG (2, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400754)

I think you're confusing JPEG with JPEG-LS [jpeg.org]. Yes, they are both "JPEG"s but I don't think many applications natively support JPEG-LS. In fact, I wanted to use it in Photoshop and had to go get a plug-in [datacompression.info]. Whether or not JPEG-LS is as efficient as the new proposed MS format, I do not know. I think that JPEG-LS was slow to catch on because people just didn't care about upgrading their software to use it. I would wager that Microsoft will force third party software to support their new filetype.

I'm not even sure if my browser supports JPEG-LS and I know that programming with JPEG-LS can be a pain if you're looking for libraries to read/write lossless compression image files.

Re:JPEG-LS Vs JPEG (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400815)

Jpeg2000 supports both lossy and lossless compression, and a variety of wavelet-based compression schemes that work better than normal JPEG.

Unfortunately, no-one supports Jpeg2000.

Re:Lossless AND Lossy (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400732)

After reading this comment I thought "doesn't png cover lossy and lossless already?". So I looked up some articles on png vs gif vs jpeg (I'm no expert in this stuff) and found no reason to ever use anything besides png.

Anybody know of any reasons?

Re:Lossless AND Lossy (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400792)

PNG doesn't do lossy compression, only lossless. I do very much prefer PNG over GIF files, but for lossless and lossy PNG doesn't work, nor does JPEG. The JPEG2000 standard does allow this however (though IIRC from my limited tests the JPEG2000 lossless images I saved were a bit larger in size than PNG images).

Re:Lossless AND Lossy (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400805)

PNG will make everything look good, but photographic data really bloats out the filesize, which is the niche that JPEG then fills.

Re:Lossless AND Lossy (4, Funny)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400831)

Woah, you mean we've got to use a second file extension if we switch to lossless?

That's far too much work, let's just invent an entire new standard, just so our image directories look neat.

Re:Ummmm why? (4, Interesting)

Epistax (544591) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400659)

Dude just do a subband contrast threshold analysis on the image and you can often find that you can compress using the DWT (discrete wavelet transform) (JPEG2000) with ratios like 4:1 or better while still having a visually lossless compression. As long as the conrasts in the distortions in the various subbands are below the contrasts in the image data itself (in those subbands), the image is pretty much visually lossless.

Like, duh.

Re:Ummmm why? (-1, Troll)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400767)

Dude - nicely cut and pasted.

Re:Ummmm why? (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400804)

Dude not quite you gotta know about the subband thresholds and the (subjective) reaction people have to an image! This ain't no copy paste shiat yo, you gotta get your wavelets to work for YOU. Just cause you ain't grasp'n doesn't mean my gears ain't spinning.

Big claims indeed! (5, Insightful)

ravee (201020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400595)

All the exciting features apart, will Microsoft release the file format as an open standard ? That is the big question. Any new file format is most welcome as long as they are open and not controlled by propritery licences.

Re:Big claims indeed! (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400626)

"Any new file format is most welcome as long as they are open and not controlled by propritery licences."

yes, that's why gif, flash, pdf, and real audio aren't popular.

Re:Big claims indeed! (5, Interesting)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400770)

GIF got popular because everyone *thought* it was free for a long time before Unisys unearthed their submarine.

Flash and Real Audio are crap.

The PDF format is completely open and documented, and you arent required to agree to any licenses to use it or to write software that reads or writes it (And in fact there is quite a bit of software that does just that - you could go an entire life using PDF *without* using any software from Adobe)

Is JPG open? (1)

drhamad (868567) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400641)

Like all of you, I see no need for this format.

However, JPG isn't an open standard, is it? Isn't it controlled by proprietary licenses as well?

Re:Is JPG open? (2, Informative)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400802)

However, JPG isn't an open standard, is it? Isn't it controlled by proprietary licenses as well?

JPEG [wikipedia.org] is a standard, created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. The problem with it is that it's entirely lossy. It's great for final images but any time you edit an image you'll lose more and more of the detail.

PNG [wikipedia.org] is a newer open standard that was created in part to address the issue of loss. Prior to PNG many people used the GIF format, which is losless as well, but GIF has licensing/patent issues. Most mainstream web browsers, graphics editors, etc. now support PNG graphics natively.

Re:Big claims indeed! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400654)

Was there ever a single open, documented standard from Microsoft, even?

RTF seems to be open, but is not really documented, from what I know (or am I wrong here?). Any other candidates?

Re:Big claims indeed! (1)

feijai (898706) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400746)

RTF is very well documented. Heck, NeXTSTEP's primary text format was RTF, and Jobs was no fan of Gates.

Alternative or Replacement? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400599)

If they're offering it as an alternative, why? If they're offering it as a replacement, we already have JPEG2000 thanks. I guess they've given up all pretense of caring and now are going all out for a file-formats landgrab in an effort to shore up their userbase before the shit hits the fan.

Anyway, shouldn't they be concentrating on finishing Vista?

first reaction, second reaction (3, Insightful)

boxlight (928484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400600)

My first reaction is:

GIF, JPG, and PNG do everything I need -- why a new image format?

My second reaction is:

Ok, I'm innovative, so maybe there is a good reason for a new image format. Maybe I'll read more. But then I re-read it's from Microsoft and it's got called Windows in it's name, and I think I've got enough MS and Win in my life -- I really don't want more.

Conclusion: No thanks.

boxlight

Re:first reaction, second reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400673)

GIF, JPG, and PNG do everything I need -- why a new image format?

really? so you could care less about alpha transparency?

I and many many MANY webdesigners would kill, no.. go on a murder rampage for an image format that has alpha transparency to show a background through.

PNG support for transparency sucks in IE and will not be fixed.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400718)

PNG support for transparency sucks in IE and will not be fixed.

Uhh...it's fixed in IE7.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400729)

so your argument is basically: we should adopt a microsoft format because microsoft won't properly support another format that already has that feature and that the rest of the world has supported for years?

Re:first reaction, second reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400738)

So your answer to this complex problem is to..introduce an entirely new image format? You don't think the sensible course of action would be to fix PNG support in Internet Explorer?

Re:first reaction, second reaction (2, Informative)

BobNET (119675) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400809)

I and many many MANY webdesigners would kill, no.. go on a murder rampage for an image format that has alpha transparency to show a background through.

AA! Don't kill me! [ntlworld.com]

Re:first reaction, second reaction (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400678)

GIF, JPG, and PNG do everything I need -- why a new image format?

Well, we were supposed to migrate to JPEG2000 a few years ago. That hasn't happened yet, for some reason. Is there even a free libjpeg-like C library for it?

*digs around in /var/lib/dpkg/*

Oh yes. libjasper. But the only major software which depends on it seems to be ImageMagick.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (2, Informative)

harmonica (29841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400700)


My first reaction is:

GIF, JPG, and PNG do everything I need -- why a new image format?


There are patents on certain parts of JPEG. Including the ones everyone uses, where the claim is highly disputed, by Microsoft and others are already paying licensing fees.


My second reaction is:

Ok, I'm innovative, so maybe there is a good reason for a new image format. Maybe I'll read more. But then I re-read it's from Microsoft and it's got called Windows in it's name, and I think I've got enough MS and Win in my life -- I really don't want more.


If they came up with a great file format I see no reason why MS would be a problem. Microsoft also helped defining TIFF, so what.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (3, Informative)

Alan (347) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400832)

The thing is, their browser doesn't even support PNG properly yet (even ie7 I believe), so why would I believe that a) they could support this properly or b) everyone else would.

My other reaction is regarding the photography side of it. Professional photographers aren't going to stop using tiff/raw formats anytime soon, and non-pros are happy enough with jpg because they don't know or care about the format, and really just want something they can get at easily and share/print easily.

Oh, and I don't trust MS not to mess up a potentially good format (if it is that) with licensing issues or other such trickery.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (3, Insightful)

enitime (964946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400705)

Lossy format with alpha channel?
Better image quality for lossy format?
Better compression for lossless format?
More than 32bit colour depth?
Layers?

There's lots of reasons for new formats.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400720)

Conclusion: No thanks.

Yeah, until your relatives start emailing you .wpd pics 'cause they're using Vista & it says "do you want me to prepare the pictues on this device for email?" when they plug in their digital camera.

I note in the license agreement that:
Agreement does not give You rights under any Microsoft patents.
So you can download the spec to comment on it or to:
as a reference to assist You in planning and designing Your product, service or technology ("Product") to interface with a Microsoft product, specification, service or technology
Nice. Go ahead & implement this, but you've agreed that you don't have the rights to any patents that cover it.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400794)

Nice! Now you've planted comments in the first two highly moderated comments to the story, this being the only +5 parent so far.

You're bound to get your own upmods out of them, Whiney! Congrats! Hey, are you crafting your "first post" for the next article yet ("Your Rights Online: Semantic Web Under Suspicion")?

I do have to congratulate you, though: keep your karma excellent (and post your leftist tripe occasionally!), and then you're guaranteed to have excellent karma for the trolling of anything related to Apple or Mac OS X you have to do. Kudos.

Re:first reaction, second reaction (2, Informative)

Glacial Wanderer (962045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400761)

The fact that you didn't mention raw, dng, or tiff tells me that you don't know enough for your opinion to matter much to me. Without the formats I just mentioned many of your pretty jpg would never have existed. I don't know enough about this new Microsoft format to say whether it is good or not, but I do know that there is a lot of room for improvement to jpg like support for HDR and an alpha channel.

My gut says it doesn't trust Microsoft to properly handle an open image format, but part of me also knows it might take a huge company like Microsoft to move everyone out of the jpg era.

Obvious statement (2, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400616)

Unless its a free open and non licenced standard with no potential patent problems that can be free implemented by all - its a dead duck.

Since the above is about as likely as duck being joined by a flying pig...

...Next.

I object to that (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400676)

Or I would do if I understood what it meant. Is somebody making allegations about me and ducks? Besides, nothing promoted by Microsoft is a dead duck, it is just resting while they spend enough money on it to achieve critical mass.

The slide continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400618)

Mr. Gates was seen at WinHEC selling jams and jellies in the lobby, incoherently mumbling something thought to be "must...innovate..."

Another Debate (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400619)

I think the editors should have entitled this one "Microsoft Proposes New Lawsuit Subject" instead of "Microsoft Proposes JPEG Alternative." I kid, I kid.

But seriously, is anyone else smelling that special scent of Microsoft imperialism where their current markets aren't satiating their need to dominate? I mean, they used to make only operating systems (which took them a while to perfect) and then they made Office (which took them a while to perfect) and then they made the Xbox and now they want us to use a new photo format?

I don't mind my JPEGs taking up 2 ~ 3MB each, in fact I prefer PNG [wikipedia.org] which are small and widely supported. Granted, they're not half the size of a JPEG but--you know what?--PNG doesn't have a lawsuit history like JPEG [wired.com] & GIF [gnu.org] have.

PNG is only lossless compression so I suppose it's only natural to switch to a file format that can be either lossless or lossy & will adequately adjust performance of the 'decoding' of the file if you select lossy. After reading the articles linked in the story, it sounds like Microsoft did a good job in the algorithm for this one ... now if they release it as free to use, it might take hold. But I'm not worried about switching formats anytime soon, and to quote Steve Ballmer:
The only thing we have a problem with is when the government funds open-source work. Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody. Open source is not available to commercial companies. The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. If the government wants to put something in the public domain, it should. Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works.
Hard to buy that the company would support anything open for free use after hearing that from its CEO.

Re:Another Debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400708)

There's a reason we all use lossy compression for photographic images, people who use PNG to compress photo's (or screenshots containing photos / movies) are missing the point. You're not comparing like with like. I'd love an open, unencumbered format that offers better lossy compression than baseline JPEG but it's not happening; especially if MSFT are involved.

Re:Another Debate (2, Informative)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400743)

Not arguing with you, just further debunking some of the MS spew you quoted.

"Government funding should be for work that is available to everybody."

Even this is MS classic twisting of words.

Open Source work *is* available to everybody. It is so available that no one (commercial company or not) is allowed to take it and lock it up into something that is NOT available to everybody.

"The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source."

You can *USE* any (Free and/or "Open") software you want, and no requirements are imposed. However, you are not permitted to make that software *part* of *your* software unless *your* software is also 'available to everybody'

Contrast this with proprietary software, where you aren't permitted to use it unless you fork over dough to its 'owners', you arent allowed to inspect it or modify it, or heaven forbid make it part of your software, at all.

Windows Media Formats (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400622)

A windows media image format? So does this mean people will have to log on to the internet to "validate" their pictures before they can look at them. Actually, this does sound like an interesting concept but I'd wait for it to be around a while before actually throwing any money at it. Wow... imagine the amount of pr0n people could fit on their cellphones now!

hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400623)

you're all complaining faggots. shut up.

Re:hi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400652)

Now Steve you know you're not supposed to be posting on /.

Steve what are you doing with that chair... steve... no steve, put the chair down.

Aughhhghhh! Squelllch.....

Even a better one (2, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400627)

PNG - No royalties (ever), no click thru, open source, available to all, proven, lossless and no pattent or copyright that will cause issues.

Re:Even a better one (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400826)

...and pretty much useless for photos, unless one is happy with very large files.

it exists already (2, Insightful)

gralem (45862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400632)

Isn't there already an alternative called PNG? And doesn't it have existing support? Who cares about 1/2 the file size w/ 4GB flash memory cards available all over the place? It definitely sounds like MS is pointing out false arguments to have an MS-licensed image format that they can control. It sounds very dangerous to me. If it was a RAW-like format at half the size, or something that addresses modern image issues, it would be different.

Re:it exists already (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400735)

Who cares about 1/2 the file size w/ 4GB flash memory cards available all over the place?

Let see... I know a few people with high quality digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. I have one myself (and mine is a lower pixel count than most). My images on highest quality JPEG compression (one step short of RAW) are about 4MB. The only reason I, and the others, generaly do not use RAW is that it is 18MB/shot and would quickly fill up the cards. If we could get compressed RAW quality, we would. Yes, I do realize that this would pretty much only be useful to Pro and semi-Pros.

Now, as for websites, I can easily see this as being useful. Images take up most of the bandwidth for websites. If you could cut the size in half without reducing quality I can't think of anyone who wouldn't do so. Bandwidth costs money. Cutting the size down by half would cut costs.

Re:it exists already (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400818)

If you have a DSLR and are not using RAW you are wasting 1/2 or more of the capability of your camera. The cost of a CF card is trivial compared to the cost of even one good lens let alone the entire DLSR kit which is likely to run 2000+.

Bill: We don't *trust* you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400637)

Despite your "trusted computing" crap.

Actually, because of your "trusted computing" crap, amongst a whole host of other pieces of your crap.

People are voting for Microsoft! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400642)

You can bitch all you want. Bottom line is more and more people use Microsoft. Less and less people use Apple and Unix.
Microsoft makes de facto standards: IE, Office, Visual Basic, etc. If they come out with a new format, people will use it because it's easy and seamless to use. If you quit fighting it and decided to get some work done (using Windows), you'd be happier in the long run.

Re:People are voting for Microsoft! (1)

popeguilty (961923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400683)

Bottom line is more and more people use Microsoft. Less and less people use Apple and Unix.

Are you being sarcastic or trolling?

Re:People are voting for Microsoft! (5, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400755)

You're probably trolling but I'll bite...

You seem to be forgetting that you're able to read Slashdot (or any Internet site) because the Internet allows you to connect from your desktop machine/laptop/etc. to Slashdot's server(s). It's an *OPEN STANDARD* called TCP/IP that allows you to do that and it doesn't matter what operating systems are running on either of those two computers (or indeed any other network devices on the network between you and Slashdot).

Sure, the new Microsoft standard may well be completely open but their past history suggests it probably won't be. Thus, applying your logic to networking standards, if those too were closed then that would restrict you from accessing a lot of good stuff on any intranet or the Internet because not every operating would support those networking protocols - it might even result in you paying more for every byte you download because someone somewhere has to pay a license to use a closed standard.

Added to this, please be aware that the majority of large internet web & mail servers run a UNIX-type operating system - they always have done and they probably always will do.

So whilst I would not argue that most desktops run Windows, this is not the case for the whole Internet.

And as to getting work done, the only time I run a Windows operating system these days is for gaming - every serious piece of work I do is on Linux in a company that uses a Windows-based infrastructure. Yes, it's taken me time to sometimes get stuff to work properly but it does - and I end up being more productive as a result because I can, for example, edit text files far quicker in Vi than I can in Notepad.

If Windows is your OS of choice then good luck to you & I hope you enjoy your computing as much as I do mine - but please don't make incorrect sweeping statements...

Embrace and Extend (5, Insightful)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400643)

And then MS Frontpage will begin importing pictures as default to the new format when making web pages, and suddenly people will need IE to fully see the site. Competing browsers will not be licensed to render the new DRMed format.

We've been down similar roads before (ActiveX, WMV etc)

No thanks.

Atl least they didn't call it... (2, Funny)

EnderGT (916132) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400645)

.WMP - Although "Windows Media Photo" would have been more straight-forward than "Windows Digital Photo" (or whatever), can you imagine how much fun the punsters would have with that....

If they can keep from killing it with DRM and licensing, I for one would love to have a photo format where the quality doesn't degrade as much as JPEG does at high compression.

JPEG 2000 (1)

chrimage (701619) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400648)

Whatever happened to jpeg 2000? I remember hearing about this when 2000 would have been an appropriate suffix for its name... http://www.jpeg.org/jpeg2000/index.html [jpeg.org]

Re:JPEG 2000 (4, Informative)

jacoplane (78110) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400671)

JPEG 2000 [wikipedia.org]:

JPEG 2000 is not widely supported in present software due to the perceived danger of software patents on the mathematics of the compression method, this area of mathematics being heavily patented in general. JPEG 2000 is by itself not license-free, but the contributing companies and organizations agreed that licenses for its first part - the core coding system - can be obtained free of charge from all contributors.

So basically, it's free for the moment, but who knows if it'll stay that way.

Back to basics... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400656)

Ofcourse this is a biased comment but after reading stories like these one has to wonder if MS doesn't change its priorities and if so; for what reason. When it comes to doing "good for the masses" MS is at an absolute bottom of the list, all they're doing is for their own profit, thats also what made them into the company they are today. The only real innovation MS has done is IMO the userinterface. That's an absolute given, they know how to distribute a desktop environment which can also be used by computer newbies.

MS has become quite big by raping standards. They're basicly picking up a product, pay for it if they have to, and start to reverse-engineer it (or something like that) and eventually come up with an own variant, thus hoping to push the original competitor out of the market (and they succeeded with that quite a couple of times, just check the history). Naturally we don't have open standards, thus tieing even more people to their products.

So my biased conclusion? Vista is going to pieces right now, the development costs are becoming staggering and new money is needed. But with big competitors like Google and Sun (to name my 2 favorites) the market has become hard. What to do? Once again copy a famous (or widely common) standard, promise to make it "bigger, better and faster" and tie the copy to your own product line. Most of the media will call it better and smoother (but they again; they'd do that with anything new) and the circus can start all over again.

One has to wonder how long MS can manage to play this game.

Why? (2, Interesting)

zaguar (881743) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400667)

What's the point?

The dominant image formats that we have are just fine: JPEG, GIF and PNG. Each one has its specific use (JPEG for photos, GIF for 8-bit or animated images, and PNG for alpha or lossless images.)

Currently, I can't think of anything new that this WMP (wimp?) format can do. Unless they can pack all this into ONE format:

1) Compression without introducing artifacts.
2) Accurate color, contrast and brightness.
3) Animation.
4) Alpha channel.

If they can squeeze that into one format, we wouldn't need 3 different formats anymore.

It is TIFF hijacked (5, Informative)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400675)

Reading all of 31 pages of the document makes me understand that it is just an attempt to hijack tiff an bend it with MS patented pixel codec to become incompatible with existing tiff technology. Salted with Adobe XMP metadata, ICC metadata and EXIF metadata. All of that registered as a Microsoft trademark. Did I missed something?

Re:It is TIFF hijacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400769)

well considering MS were heavily involved in the creation of TIFF this is not really suprising. So they hijacked something they helped create.

No licenses, like the ancient FAT filesystem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400680)

Didn't Microsoft once try to require digital camera makers to license the FAT filesystem? Microsoft doesn't really expect anyone with a brain to believe that they give away a specification with no strings attached? Well, I guess that's what they do expect.

I must say that I really hate how the business works. (I'm inclined to say "these days", but I suspect it has always been this way.) It appears that, in order to make people believe a straight lie, you only need to disseminate 10 times more lies: one will be taken for real and the other nine are forgotten.

Cool (4, Interesting)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400686)

MS got flamed for this on digg, and the few posts which are already here do the same, but I'm not so pessimistic about it.

Jpeg sucks, this should be clear to anyone who tried to compare it [compression.ru] to Jpeg2000, for example. Unfortunately, J2k seems to be stuck, and since most browsers don't support it by default (even the upcoming IE7 and Opera 9), using this format on web is suicide.

So, if this new format performs at about J2k level, and uses less resources to do so, I'm happy MS introduced it. Due to relative suckiness of jpeg, a lot of space and bandwidth is wasted in everything from cameras to online image galleries. If MS gets the licensing right, it could be a very welcome addition to the image compression methods.

Of course, a stupid/evil license can kill either the format, or whoever tries to use it ;)

Image quality ? (4, Interesting)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400690)

From Wikipedia :

Windows Media Photo processes images at 16x16 macroblocks.
Microsoft claims that Windows Media Photo offers a perceptible image quality comparable to JPEG 2000

If you use blocks, you will get block effects. While JPEG2000 don't use blocks. So I'm sceptical about that image quality claim... It might be true when you take speed rather than size into account, however.

This is incredibly STUPID. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400692)

We have PNG, and not only that but the JPEG patent is about to expire, putting it in the public domain as well. There is no reason whatever to adopt a proprietary alternative to a perfectly good open standard.

Burning your house down in order to rent one is about as dumb.

Dumb dumb dumb. Are prople really stupid enough to let this happen? I for one don't welcome our old Microsoftian overlords!

-mcgrew (If you buy this nonsense, I have some oceanfront property for sale in Arizona)

The click through agreement: (2, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400693)

4. You have no obligation to give Microsoft any suggestions, comments or other feedback ("Feedback") relating to these Materials [...] Microsoft may freely use, reproduce, license, distribute, and otherwise commercialize Your Feedback in any Microsoft Offering

Hi MS,

It's rubbish.

Cheers.

So how are they going to force us to use it? (2, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400696)

My first thought was that there was no way anybody would actually use this format but Micrsoft has enough power to blackmail^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H convince enough web sites or application developers to use this format that eventually everyone would have to have this regardless if they wanted it or not.

And I don't beleive for one second that this is really "open". Microsoft would never do anything unless it benifited them somehow.

Embrace and extend this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400698)

Thanks, but WMF already takes care of my vulnerability needs!

Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400712)

How many patents will it infringe?

Suck it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400724)

Gay
 
Good DAY, sir!

pretty pathetic (5, Insightful)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400727)

Mostly, what this tells you is that Microsoft is confused and doesn't know what they are doing in this area.

First of all, compression really isn't an issue with digital cameras or image storage. Among other things, the fact that most serious photographers store RAW images is a good indication of that.

Second, lumping together JPEG and JPEG 2000 as "JPEG" doesn't make sense; JPEG 2000 already has all the advantages that Windows Media Photo claims, but it's an open standard. Microsoft should implement it, as should electronics manufacturers.

Third, Microsoft is overestimating their market position and significance in the digital imaging market.

I suppose you can't fault them for trying, but this particular attempt at monopolizing the market looks pretty pathetic.

NO, no, a million times NO (2, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400728)

OPEN specifications only, please. it has to be supported on all platforms.

these two ideas, core to the net, means that Microsoft and its eely, oily ways should be barred from submitting the spec.

ODF differentiator? Cynical view. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400759)

We don't know what the ultimate (if any) licensing regime will be for this.

1) It looks like the algorithms won't be able to be patented in the European Union, so there'll be nothing to stop someone in the EU implementing their own software to do this and read/write from/to MS generated pictures.

2) Elsewhere, this could act as a differentiator for MS office. If the default image format in MS-Office is this new one, and applications that use ISO/IEC 26300-compliant (ODF-compliant) formats cannot use it due to patent restrictions, then this could act as a tool to prevent people from moving to applications that use ISO/IEC 26300-compliant methods of storing their files.

wmf like features (2, Funny)

brenddie (897982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400760)

I cant wait to see what wmf like features this one has. If it doesnt have at least one vulnerability (buffer overflow, embeded executable code....) I refuse to use it.

No EULA needed (5, Interesting)

Wee (17189) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400762)

it is interesting that the specification requires a click-through agreement to even read it

Not true. Look at the source of the page. You'll see that the "I accept" button is at actually a simple GET request to here [microsoft.com]. If you paste that into your location bar and then click the link on the right hand side of the page that comes up, you get the the spec.

I'm not sure of the legality of direct linking to their .doc file without agreeing to some nonsense EULA, but they put it on the web, so they have to expect a link here and there.

-B

Technology vs Licensing (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400779)

Once again, Slashdot parrots second-hand marketing hype.

If Microsoft has better compression methods, they should demonstrate them in a scholarly venue. Press releases and trade shows are not such a venue.

If Microsoft thinks that a better codec must be supported by a whole new standard, they'd better justify that -- technically, in the marketplace, and in the competition review processes throughout the world.

Looks like another bug waiting to happen (1)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400786)

The spec seems overly complicated and, if judging by previous implementation work performed by Microsoft, will most likely introduce hundreds of new attack vectors by which 13-year old script kiddies can remotely exploit MS Windows systems. WMF all over again!

Side by side comparison? (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400790)

I want to see a low-rez jpg of of a jpg next to a low-rez jpg of a wdp to compare the qualities...
(kidding, kidding..)

msn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15400795)

I'll bet that all MS websites (microsoft.com, msn.com, msnbc.com, hotmail.com, ...) will start using this non-standard file format on their webpages within a year and IE will be the only browser to support it. It's an easy way to make a browser look broken to many people.

Adoption is the key, so its dangerous (4, Insightful)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400803)

The future is obviously going to be media heavy, with tons of pics/videos all over the place. As such, better media formats are required. No doubt.

But when MS bundles decoders with the OS, it automatically gets a huge installed base. Now how will an open format compete with that, which the users will have to download? The MS format might get adopted even if it is proprietary. Which is very very bad.

jpeg2k has no adoption is for the same reason.

Interestingly, this is where a "platform" like Firefox becomes more important. As a delivery channel, of open formats. If Firefox ever becomes the dominant browser, that will solve a lot of the distribution problems. Of course, the Firefox team will decide what to bundle, but I am sure they are nice people.

WAHAHAHAHA (2, Funny)

JaJ_D (652372) | more than 7 years ago | (#15400820)

Microsoft... and 'the philosophy has been that licensing should not be a restriction'.

WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

wipes tear from eye

WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


please stop.....

WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*sound of side splitting....*

Seriously one of the funniest thing's I've heard resently...
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