Re: GIF Info (long and opinionated)

Subject: Re: GIF Info (long and opinionated)
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 18:00:45 -0600

At 06:35 PM 9/18/98 -0400, Linda Sherman wrote:
>My own feelings about using GIF is that in the absence of signed
>letters from both companies saying I can use GIF images freely on any
>commercial websites I develop, it's not worth taking the chance just to
>have marginally better quality and download time. They can afford better
>lawyers than I can.

I strongly disagree with this--all of the information I've read
clearly states that only developers of software that saves
GIF images need worry about licensing. Sorry, don't have time to
find sources now, but we found sources reliable enough that
we've recommended GIF format when appropriate in several
books now, with no concerns on our part or on the part of
technical reviewers. (One of the tech reviewers was pretty
intimately connected to the GIF development process, and
would undoubtedly have commented if there were a problem.)

>What we really need is a first-rate, non-licensed, 24-bit, lossless
>compression standard which the browser manufacturers are willing to
>implement. If we keep using old 8-bit GIF simply because it is lossless,
>we don't give developers much impetus to develop a first-rate 24-bit
>version, which is what we really need.

That's PNG (pronounced ping) format. Search at Yahoo for
png for all you'd ever want to know about it. Both major
browsers in the newest incarnations claim support it (but
I haven't tested this recently). It offers the best of GIF and JPG
and more, including controllable compression, millions of
colors, great compression efficiency, and transparency. It'll
be in wider use as soon as more browsers in use support

If there's interest, I'll try to cobble up something on PNG in
the next few days.


* Eric J. Ray, ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com,
* TECHWR-L Listowner, co-author _Mastering HTML 4.0_
* _HTML 4 for Dummies Quick Reference_, and others.
* Looking for new consulting projects--please query if interested.

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