New Modern Skin Soon
Monday April 2nd, 2001
Joe Hewitt writes:
#88 Re: Re: Re: Are we using PNG yet?
Friday April 6th, 2001 1:39 PM
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The advantage of using PNG images is that they can do pretty much everything GIFs can, but without the legal issues.
CompuServe invented GIFS in the 1980s to allow its members to swap images without huge downloads. It uses LZW compression to achieve this. Unisys own the patent to this particular type of compression. With the growth of the Web GIFs became very popular, sometimes being the only option for particular types of images. So Unisys decided that anyone who uses GIFs should pay for them. Something ridiculous like several thousand dollars a site. Some graphic manipulation software manufacturers have deals with Unisys, so if you use their products you'll already be licensed and won't have to pay.
Essentially the problem is that GIFs use patented software, which isn't acceptable in an open source project such as Mozilla.