Mozilla Open Source

HD Photo Follow Up

A few days ago I mentioned there are some limitations with HD Photo in it’s current state. The limitations are in the legal sense. Specifically they prohibit open source implementations. This obviously hinders adoption as many large organizations that work with graphics rely on open source software (think where we would be without GD or ImageMacick among many others). Bill Crow responded on my blog that it is royalty free in “all cases”. Great news. He then goes on to say:

That’s why we announced we’re committed to standardization. Once standardized, the goal is that the appropriate standards organization would then own the format and would publish a full specification. This would allow developers to create their own implementations independent of working with our source code in the DPK, with the option of releasing their implementation as open source.

Awesome. This does leave the question: why not release the DPK, specifically the encode/decode and push to get it in every popular graphics package. The blog has a new post that states:

Now we’re taking the next big step. Our goal is to turn the format over to an appropriate standards organization. Ideally, this will include the publishing of an open specification, making possible to implement compatible encoders and decoders that are completely independent of Microsoft’s reference source code. This should fully address any concerns that have been raised about the option for open source implementations.

That sounds promising. I guess time will tell. That leaves the door open for a browser like Firefox to eventually support HD Photo should it catch on. Who knows, perhaps we’ll all look at JPEG the way we look at 3½-inch floppy disks.

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