After reading the previous thread on GIF files, I did a bit of surfing. Seems Unisys is quite serious about collecting money for using the LZW encoding scheme (which they hold patent on until 2003). The cost to you per copy of software sold including this method is .45%, with a min of 0.10 and a max of $10. Yes, this means if you give away 100 coppies of a freeware GIFviewer you owe Unisys 10 bucks. BUT... Unisys wants the first $1,000 up front. No, owning a Microsoft development tool (IE, VB) that uses MS controls that enable GIF viewing does NOT give you a licence for GIFs. You have to buy your own if you want to re-use the picture control. Relevant web sites: http://www.microsoft.com/DEVONLY/Unisys.htm http://www.unisys.com/unisys/lzw/ War stories: http://cloanto.com/users/mcb/19950127giflzw.html http://smallest.hypermart.net/gif.htm http://www.serverobjects.com/lzw.html
Posted on 2001-02-05 04:16:00 by Ernie
GIF = Girly Information Files. :) Simple solution, use another format, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, each has its advantage and there are no rotalties. Regards, hutch@pbq.com.au
Posted on 2001-02-05 06:54:00 by hutch--
I think Unisys and IBM were both granted a patent on the same algorthm at the same time. But I do recall, GIF was originally _published_ source in a popular trade magazine (Update: LZW algorithm was _published_ source...). At some point, 2 years later, patents were granted. I do not know if it was the original author or who got the patent, I do know, that two corporations were awared at the same time... makes you wonder a little. Nonetheless, I think the MS Picture control can be distributed if it does not use GIF. Bottom line, cripple your app to not accept GIF. We should only hope they don't renew their patent in 2003. PNG certainly didn't take off, bmp and tiff are too large, and jpeg is too lossy at times, such as, say, as screen shot. However, you can implement GIF without the lzw encoding. It just won't be as small of a file. That won't infringe on anything. _Shawn This message was edited by Shawn Bullock, on 2/5/2001 2:13:18 PM
Posted on 2001-02-05 14:12:00 by _Shawn
What about very small animated files (ie something like the smilie faces on this board :)). I don't see a widely used substitute for GIFs. There REALLY needs to be! I found MNG, but it doesn't seem like it's getting a lot of support? How about GIF2001a :) with the LZW replaced with a different compression method! Rosco said in the other thread that decompression doesn't require payment on the patent - just compression. Does anyone have a source for this that I can check/verify? Thanks, bitRAKE.
Posted on 2001-02-05 21:32:00 by bitRAKE
you should all go to this site burnallgifs.org This message was edited by Hiroshimator, on 2/5/2001 9:46:54 PM
Posted on 2001-02-05 21:46:00 by Hiroshimator
Ah, forget it. I'm reading up on MNG.
Posted on 2001-02-05 21:58:00 by bitRAKE
Hi Here is the scene...where i come in smile :) and say my line: TOLD YOU, DIDNT I? But i am sad to be true...I wonder what other format can we use for animated pictures...one that IE4 and Netscape 3.0 will support...eh?
Posted on 2001-02-06 00:53:00 by BogdanOntanu
png official homepage has convertors and stuff with source code
Posted on 2001-02-12 13:20:00 by Hiroshimator
If the above is correct and the algorithm was puplished before the patent was applied for, then this makes the patents null and void as you cannot take a patents out on puplic published material, only copyright. Could be eggs on da face, ha. Cheers fiddler
Posted on 2001-02-12 23:49:00 by fiddler
Fiddler: sadly enough, it it were true, the patent would have been overturned long ago. Courts are very reluctant to throw out a patent based on published material alone. It is quite possible that they have one tiny small difference "improvement" that made it original enough. That's all it takes. To date, I know of less than 100 technology related patents that were overturned for any reason at all. Litigation is expensive and often even if you win, you'll get counter-sued (because you harmed someone's business -- as if they aren't harming the consumers by holding the industry at ransom)... whatever the case, patents once issued can be safely assumed to remain you'rs for quite some time. _Shawn
Posted on 2001-02-13 10:58:00 by _Shawn