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Subject Re: [Fwd: png icons for apache]
Date Mon, 18 Sep 2000 10:22:05 GMT

In a message dated 00-09-18 03:53:19 EDT, Manoj wrote...

>  > J. Sutherland wrote...
> > How about the approach used by the W3C for the Validator's images -
>  > provide both formats, and let negotiation sort it out? That way, wherever
>  > possible you're serving up nice "clean" PNGs, but you still have the GIFs
>  > available for older browsers.
>  This doesn't avoid the problems with providing GIFs in the first
>  place, though, does it?

Two things about the whole GIF thing...

1. Leading experts agree the reason they haven't seriously pursued
the copyright is because it won't hold up in court. Too much prior
art. They stole it from someone else, anyway. The power of copyright
and patent lies more in what people think might happen than in 
what actually ever would if push came to shove.

2. Just FILTER the files. That's right... a simple FILTER will take 
care of the whole problem. From an Internet Server's perspective
( and from a legal perspective ) a .GIF file is nothing more than 
a pile of bytes sitting on a hard drive. The only possible tooth the
.GIF copyright/patent has concerns whether images are being
actually generated and/or transmitted 'as is' using .GIF format.

Solution is simple. Just don't send them. Use a 
filter and convert them to something else 'on the fly' like .PNG
or .JPG. No big deal. Any good transcoding server can already
do this if it has the right FILTERS written already.

BTW: Did you know that most modern browsers don't care what
the MIME type is or the file extension on a graphics file? Most of
them do 'the right thing' and actually decide what kind of image it
really is by looking at the 'magic signature' bytes at the beginning
of the graphics transmission. That means you can actually 
rewrite graphics on the fly and not have to touch the HTML document.

In most cases you can convert a graphic offline into another
format, leave the original file extension so the Server still finds
the requested object... and it all still works... only you never
actually sent the data format that was asked for.

Kevin Kiley
CTO, Remote - Free IETF compression filter

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