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Mozilla The Internet

An Overview Of PNG; Mozilla M17 (Updated) 221

Mozilla's latest milestone, M17, arrived today(ish); early adopters, go thou and download. And while you're waiting, check out this summary of the state of the art of PNG written by Greg Roelofs. PNG is ready for prime time in its Mozilla incarnation (though there are a few outstanding issues). Imminent takeover of the net predicted. Film at 11. Update later by J: OK, so M17 isn't available yet. Mea culpa; Greg and I misread a planning page. Here are Greg's comments/corrections to clear up the matter.

PNG, MNG, JNG and Mozilla M17
26 June 2000

by Greg Roelofs

PNG support in Mozilla has improved greatly over the last few releases ("milestones"), and with each milestone comes a corresponding Slashdot posting and a lot of discussion. Unfortunately, not all of the discussion is entirely accurate, so here's a preemptive posting that attempts to update folks on the status of PNG support in Mozilla and other apps and to clear up some of the more common misconceptions. (This seems to be an annual event...)

Home Page

First of all, the PNG home page got booted off of cdrom.com in early March, and in early May it settled into what should be its absolutely final home:

This is currently hosted on freesoftware.com, Walnut Creek CD-ROM's new site for free software (quel surprise!), but if something should ever happen to Walnut Creek, libpng.org will be redirected appropriately. (On a related note, the new zlib URL is http://www.info-zip.org/pub/infozip/zlib/, which is also currently hosted on freesoftware.com.)

PNG Features for the Web

Insofar as this is ostensibly a Mozilla posting, let's have a brief rundown of the PNG features that are most useful to Web designers:

  • alpha transparency - This is geek jargon for partial or variable transparency, and it lets you do nice effects that are independent of the background color(s), such as antialiased (non-jaggy) text, drop shadows, gradient fades, and translucency. PNG not only supports a full 8-bit alpha channel in grayscale and RGB images but also what amounts to an "RGBA palette" in colormapped images. The latter lets you do nice transparency without a huge hit in file size. For example, all but one of the transparent images on my PNG alpha-transparency test page are 8-bit or less; the lone exception (one of the toucans) is a 32-bit RGBA image, virtually indistinguishable from its 8-bit cousins. Note that PNG supports only unassociated (non-premultiplied) alpha, since the alternative is not lossless.

  • gamma correction - Gamma allows you to display the same image on different platforms without looking too dark on some and too light on others. For best results it does require that both the designer's display system and the user's be calibrated, but even educated guessing is better than nothing in a viewing program (which is what Mozilla does). Warning! Watch out for Adobe Photoshop; version 5.0 had a serious factor-of-two bug in its PNG gamma support, and 4.0 also had some problems. (Things seem to be fixed in 5.5, however.)

  • color correction - Where gamma has to do with image "brightness," color correction has to do with rendering shades of color precisely. PNG supports it, but not many applications do; it's pretty tricky to get right. Note that Photoshop 5.5 writes incorrect PNG "iCCP" chunks, and this will crash applications based on libpng 1.0.6. (Older versions of libpng ignore the chunk, and the soon-to-be-released libpng 1.0.7 will work around it.) Also note that feeding a valid iCCP chunk to PS 5.5 will hang it.

  • compression - A lot of people have some seriously crazy ideas about PNG's compression. Here's the straight dope:
    • PNGs tend to be 15% to 20% smaller than equivalent GIFs on average. There are some GIFs, particularly 32- or 64-color ones, that are smaller than the best PNGs, but usually by only a couple of percent. There are also many that are more than twice as large as the corresponding PNGs, but these tend to be tiny images. (One exception is this image, which is dimensionally rather large yet only 1/3 the file size of the GIF version.)

    • PNGs tend to be much larger than standard JPEGs. JPEGs are lossy, while PNGs are lossless; for natural (photographic) material, no lossless format can compete with JPEG--PNGs will typically be 5 or 10 times as large. On the other hand, for simple graphics or text-filled images with relatively few colors and sharp edges, JPEG is much worse, both in quality and in file size. (This means you, Slackware guys!) Use the proper tool for the job--no single image format is best in all cases.

    • PNG is roughly comparable to JPEG-LS, the new lossless JPEG standard. On the Waterloo BragZone test suite, JPEG-LS beat PNG by 5% to 10% on natural images, but PNG beat JPEG-LS by 35% to 270% on "artistic" images. YMMV.

    • PNG's compression method can be implemented in such a way that it is completely free of all known patents, but it can also be implemented in such a way that it infringes on patents held by PKWARE, Stac and others. You can guess which way zlib was written. Folks who are neither rich nor expert in patent law should probably stick to zlib- and libpng-based implementations.

    • Unlike (LZW-based) GIF, in which the compression is basically deterministic--that is, you end up with pretty much the same data regardless of who does the compression--PNG's scheme leaves a lot of room for optimization. Some programs do a good job, some don't. The GIMP happens to be one of the good ones, as is pngcrush. Photoshop traditionally has been one of the not-so-good ones, although version 5.5 includes a "Save for Web" option that presumably invokes ImageReady. ImageReady 1.0 was mediocre and reportedly isn't much better in its current release (i.e., pngcrush beats it by 15% to 25%), but it is better than Photoshop's normal "Save as" option.

    • The compression engine can't help clueless users who perform apples-and-oranges comparisons. If you start with a truecolor image and save it as both GIF and PNG, chances are the PNG will be 24-bit while the GIF will be 8-bit. Guess what? It's pretty tough to overcome that initial 3:1 deficit, no matter how good your compression engine is. (If you're not sure what kind of PNGs you have, check!) Also don't add a lot of text annotations to the PNG--unless you do the same to the GIF--and especially don't add a useless alpha channel to opaque images! (That last is directed at the Burn All GIFs folks...) Recompressing an image after it's been through JPEG compression is also a bad idea; JPEG leaves a lot of nasty little artifacts (often invisible to the naked eye) that screw up non-JPEG compressors.

  • interlacing - PNG's interlacing scheme is two-dimensional, much like progressive JPEG, but unlike GIF--which uses a one-dimensional, line-based scheme. The upshot is that an interlaced PNG with text in it will be readable roughly twice as soon as the corresponding interlaced GIF.

  • animation - Nope. But see MNG, below.

  • MIME type - image/png. If PNG images on your server show up as broken images within Web pages and as gobbledygook text when referenced directly (i.e., as standalone URLs), you probably don't have the MIME type set up correctly. On the other hand, if they show up correctly for MSIE and some versions of Netscape but not others, you're probably running Microsoft's IIS server. Technically it's a bug in older versions of Netscape (versions 4.04 through 4.5), but consider switching to Apache anyway...

  • browser compatibility - We'll get to that in a moment.

PNG Extensions and the Future

PNG is extensible. PNG is lossless. PNG is a single-image, raster (bitmap) format. One of its overriding design goals was backward compatibility. As a result, don't expect to see any sort of lossy compression methods (JPEG is doing a fine job of that, with the exception of transparency--but see JNG, below). Also don't expect to see any vector-based extensions--SVG with gzip content-encoding has that covered. Indeed, don't expect to see any new, incompatible compression methods for quite a while. Until there are lossless methods that can, on average, halve the size of PNG images, the cost in software compatibility is far too great. (Keep in mind that there still browsers that don't support progressive JPEG, and that was a relatively trivial change! And let's not even talk about JPEG 2000...)

PNG is also not going to become an animated format. Leaving multiple-image support out of PNG was a conscious design decision by the PNG development group, and it's still the right decision. Overloading a still image format with animation or video features merely confuses users and Web browsers, which have no way to distinguish still images from animations without prying into the data streams (which usually means downloading them first). Developers who prefer to program monolithically can always program for MNG instead; it's architecturally identical to PNG, and PNG is a pure subset of MNG.

Related Formats

MNG: As the previous paragraph suggests, the animated version of PNG is called MNG, for Multiple-image Network Graphics. It supports looping (including nested loops), clipping, deltas, and other features, plus everything PNG supports--including alpha transparency, of course. The home page is here:

Since this spring, a free reference library, libmng, has been under development by Gerard Juyn; its home page is at:

Note that the MIME type is video/x-mng; it has not yet been registered with the IETF. Undoubtedly there will be many misconfigured Web servers in coming years...

JNG: JNG is short for JPEG Network Graphics and is a proper subset of MNG, just as PNG is, but it's worth a separate mention. The idea is to combine the best of both worlds: JPEG's excellent compression and PNG's incredibly spiffy alpha transparency and color correction. JNG is almost identical to PNG, but in addition to standard IDAT chunks (which in JNG contain the alpha channel), there are also JDAT chunks that contain a standard JPEG/JFIF stream (suitable for handing off to libjpeg). From a developer's standpoint, if you've got support for both PNG alpha and ordinary JPEG/JFIF, adding JNG is a breeze. Of course, JNG is also supported by recent libmng betas. Its MIME type is image/x-jng.

Browser Status

Most browsers have supported PNG since at least late 1997 (when Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer finally did), but almost without exception, their support for alpha transparency has been abominable. Amazingly enough, it seems that 2000 may be the year that browsers finally support it, more or less ubiquitously. In April alone there were three newcomers, with another in May; so far this year, the total has more than doubled. Here's the current list of browsers that at least attempt to do alpha transparency correctly, with their supported platforms indicated in italics. If screen shots of the PNG alpha-transparency test page are available, they're linked to the browser name:

  • Arena (Unix/X) - this was the first browser with good alpha support (at least for Unix, and I think anywhere). It died in 1998, however, and the final release tends to core-dump on PNG images. It always used its own "sandy" background pattern rather than that specified in the HTML. (Very old screen shot.)
  • Browse (RISC OS) - Acorn's browser was the first to fully support PNG transparency and gamma correction, including background images, but it died along with Acorn itself in June 1999. The browser may or may not eventually show up in Pace Micro's digital set-top boxes. (Very old screen shot.)
  • iCab (Macintosh) - this was the first Macintosh browser to support alpha transparency (since the 1.8 beta), but it doesn't do gamma correction yet.
  • ICE Browser (Java) - ICEsoft's commercial browser for Java reportedly has full alpha support, but I haven't verified that.
  • Internet Explorer (Macintosh) - version 5.0 added superb PNG support, including alpha, gamma and color correction. This is probably the best PNG-supporting browser available today. Unfortunately, the Windows and Unix versions seem to be a completely separate code base, so there's no telling when (or if) they'll have equally good support. (See the browsers page for details.)
  • Konqueror (Unix/KDE) - I just heard that KDE's file-manager-cum-browser has full alpha support, but I haven't had a chance to check it myself. I'll try to get some screen shots added soon, however.
  • Mozilla (Macintosh, Unix/X, Windows) - alpha was enabled in April, though there are a few gotchas: the Windows code is currently broken (bug 36694 and 19283, to be fixed by beta3), and the X code is a slightly nasty hack--it looks beautiful on 24-bit displays, but it's slow when scrolling, and the quality for users of 8- and 16-bit displays will be relatively poor. Nevertheless, it's a vast improvement over the previous code, and it's basically the only game in town for Unix users. Note that the infamous PNG interlacing bug (3195) was fixed in May, and Tim Rowley checked in initial MNG and JNG support on 12June.
  • NetPositive (BeOS) - version 2.2, released in April, added support for alpha transparency; but like iCab, it doesn't yet do gamma correction. (It also doesn't display interlaced PNGs progressively.)
  • Netscape - see Mozilla (which is basically what Navigator 6.0 will be).
  • Sega Dreamcast Web Browser (Dreamcast) - version 2.0 of Planetweb's browser for the Sega Dreamcast game console, released in May, fully supports alpha transparency, but I don't have any screen shots yet.
  • Webster XL (RISC OS) - R-Comp's RISC OS browser is claimed to have full alpha support, but I don't have verification, and it doesn't appear to be under development anymore.
  • WebTV (WebTV) - surprisingly enough, WebTV has decent support for 32-bit RGBA PNGs, but its support for palette transparency is broken. In principle it should be easy to fix, but then again, it's a strange platform. (Note that the fonts look considerably better on a television screen.)

Honorable Mention goes to Siegel & Gale's PNG Live plug-in for Netscape, which was the only plug-in ever to manage alpha transparency (in Windows only). It died before ever getting out of beta, though, and plug-ins in general are useless for PNG. So is the HTML 4.0 OBJECT tag, but don't get me started...

Other Apps, Libs, etc.

I currently list some 500 distinct PNG-supporting packages (more if you break things like Microsoft Office into their constituent parts) in 8 categories (soon to be 9 or 10), not to mention a dozen pieces of hardware. PNG has now reached the point where even freeware authors generally don't bother to tell me when they've added support; it's largely taken for granted. (I do occasional Freshmeat sweeps, but I usually don't have time, and many entries don't mention PNG even if it's supported.) Quite a number of the apps include full source code, by the way--which is the way it should be, of course. ;-)

Within the libraries-and-toolkits category, there are a surprising number of independent PNG implementations (either encoders or decoders or both), including ones in C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Pascal, and even Ada95. PNG is now a standard part of Java 2 SE 1.3 and Tcl/Tk, and it is the main image format in the popular gd library and all of its Perl-based derivatives. In turn, this has led to its online use in areas as diverse as server statistics, chemical diagrams, computer-generated mazes, and weather maps.

Even better, PNG is the native, internal image format for a number of major applications (including Macromedia Fireworks and Microsoft Office), and it's becoming a popular icon format for advanced GUIs. It also ships as a standard part of BeOS, via the Translation Kit, and it's supported natively in the Windows Me shell (and possibly in Windows 2000 Professional).

Conclusion?

Ordinarily I'd mumble something about how PNG has finally achieved massive studliness and will soon be taking over the world, but what the hell--it has, it is, and if it's not obvious from what I've already written, another couple of lines won't make any difference. Go forth, visit the web site, write code, make lots of PNGs, etc., etc.

And Microsoft, pleeeeease get on the ball with Internet Explorer for Windows and Unix...

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mozilla M17 Arrives; An Overview of PNG

Comments Filter:
  • by BrianW ( 180468 ) on Monday June 26, 2000 @11:35PM (#974055)
    When Mozilla reaches M25, will it slow down to an absolute crawl, stop altogether when overloaded, and crash lots?
  • by gunne ( 14408 ) on Monday June 26, 2000 @11:39PM (#974056) Homepage
    How come most of the time when a new mozilla release is mentioned on /., it isn't availiable for download? (Not counting nightly builds...)
    Maybe I'm just reloading too often.
  • by Yu Suzuki ( 170586 ) on Monday June 26, 2000 @11:39PM (#974057) Homepage
    Load up on grits and bring your aunts
    They're fun to pour right down your pants
    Natalie is naked and turned to stone
    Oh no, OOG's gone, now I'm all alone

    Hello, hello, hello, Katz blows
    Hello, hello, hello, Katz blows

    I like trolling, it's contagious
    Here we are now, moderate us
    You don't like caps, post aborted?
    ASCII art plans, they are thwarted!
    I got bitchslapped, I dissed Bojay
    I post flamebait every Troll Day
    Yeah!

    First posting's what I do best
    And for this gift I feel blessed
    Commander T likes other men
    And always will until the end

    Hello, hello, hello, Katz blows
    Hello, hello, hello, Katz blows

    VA's stock price, it's disastrous
    Hey, does timmy ride the short bus?
    All they post now: Lars and Napster
    Well, this sure ain't stuff that matters
    Raymond shoots ten who don't 'get it'?
    Read it Tuesday on ZDNet
    Yeah!

    And I forgot
    Just why I post
    Oh yeah, I'm first, so now I can boast
    I'm not that lame, the filters are blind
    Can you imagine a -- oh, nevermind

    I'm not rabid, like the zealots
    So they flamed me, they're just jealous
    Metamodding and IP bans
    Won't you use them on ol' sorehands?
    I don't want to beg for karma
    Don't hate patents, just your dogma
    I'm not insightful
    Not insightful
    Not insightful...

    Yu Suzuki

  • I'm considering installing Mozilla on my FreeBSD box and using it as my regular web browser. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and even if half of them are true this browser will kick serious arse.

    But really, I'd like to know from an actual user of Mozilla: how stable/fast/featureful is it in its current incarnation? Is it usable as an everyday, workhorse browser, or is it still not for the faint of heart? That is, compared to my current browser, Netscape 4.7, which hasn't been too reliable of late.

  • Is probably the best browser you can install at the moment, though Opera [operasoftware.com] is pretty good too. Too bad Opera isn't free (as in beer and speech) and doesn't render some sites too well, mostly to blame to not so good HTML.
  • Very funny, but we still need some jokes to handle M17 thru 24. M15 looked like MI5 and an M16 is a rifle so that was okay. M17 doesn't really suggest anything, apart from a few obscure references like the swan Nebula, and probably a tax form.
  • Sorry...but until Mozilla has the plugin (read: Flash) support, and speeds up its loading time and rendering engine, I will still stick to Nutscrape Communicator.

    I know it will be just a matter of time, but I certainly wish that they would be quick about it. I'm getting hives from using Netscape. Motif truly blows.

    JoeLinux
  • Well, I started using Mozilla mostly 'cuz Nescape 4.72 gives me bus errors on start up (it doesn't start nomore from a user other than root) and it looks cool, works fairly fast and renders pages better than 4.72.

    On the other side.. Like Netscape Mozilla has a habit of crashing every now and then, and the most annoying bug (??) in the browser is that it doesn't remember where you were on a page when you clicked a link, so when you go back, it's on the top again (try it with freshmeat, it's annoying). I hope they fix that soon! :)
  • As of about 2 weeks ago I've switched to Mozilla as my primary browser over Netscapae on my Linux box.... it's getting quite usable.
  • That was fixed about 2 weeks ago.

  • by christophercook ( 21090 ) on Monday June 26, 2000 @11:56PM (#974065) Homepage
    This is not the M17 release, they've just started to use 'M17' in the name for the nightly builds. That doesn't make it the M17 release.
    Come on slashdot, this happened before with M16 as well, it was released way after slashdot said it was out. didn't you see it coming this time?

    less irresponsible 'Mnn is out!' posts please. how would you like it if someone said 'hey look you've finished!' even though you'd just started. wouldn't be a true indication of the finished product would it.
    I'll stop ranting now..
  • AFAICS, the M17 milestone hasn't been released yet. Perhaps you are getting confused with the M17 *nightlies*.

    In other words, M16 has been released, the nightlies are now M17, once M17 milestone has been released, the nightlies will be M18, until M18 milestone is released, etc

  • RTFA (Read The F***ing Article), you **** ***.
    People really amase me, sometimes.
    This message was edited by ``Self Censoring Keyboard++'', proud member of ``Living Politely Suite'' :)
    ---
  • Just wanted to say to the author, that this might be one of the better pieces I've read on Slashdot lately. Shock-full of neat technical info, great links, and just felt solid and correct! Thanks you very much!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This message was edited by ``Self Censoring Keyboard++'',

    I'll have to get myel one o thoe. The one I have here prevent wearing and proanity by diableing ome of the letter key.
  • Is there set an aproximate date/month/year when we'll se the final version of this long-awaited browser?

    IMHO IE 5 / 5.5 still is the best browser around, to bad Microsoft won't relase a Linux version (or will they, after the ongoing battle with DOJ).

    The internal MS geeks probably have a Linux version of IE allready =).

    regards,
  • Not when I clicked on it, it didn't - took me straight to www.operasoftware.com. Admittedly, I didn't hang around long enough to see if it meta-refreshed me away somewhere else (I'm at work, and too busy even for this :-) ), but the page certainly looked genuine enough...

    Cheers,

    Tim
  • Obviously the browsers, but my question was more along the lines of additional software products or future ideas in development. Will it become say, popular as a standard Windows/Linux/etc format for backgrounds, or just become a format that has a single use such as the TIF?.. can we see any OTHER uses for it besides the web? Why must people be so narrow-sighted and short tempered?
  • Mozilla M17 is not out yet! M16 was only released in mid-late June. The current nightly builds do identify themselves as M17 is you look in about:, but this is because nightlies identify themselves as the next impending milestone. But it's not an actual Milestone release yet.

    Secondly, all the fancy PNG features mentioned in this article were working quite nicely as of M16.
  • My biggest gripe with Mozilla, from using the milestones a little, is the slowness of the GUI. I understand that the interface is implemented in some super-dynamic fashion internally (based on XML), but I still think it's too slow, and also less visually attractive than e.g. a plain GTK+ UI. They used to have a stripped-down version of the browser which I think used GTK+ natively, but it seems to have been dropped. Presumably, it is possible to reimplement the GUI using existing mechanisms, but I don't know if anyone has given that a try yet. I'm quite fluent with the keyboard, and having to wait the split second it takes for Mozilla to open the "Find in This Page..." dialog really gets to me (especially on an Athlon 550 MHz machine).
  • IE is the best browser around? Dropping any anti-MS additude I may have, I still like Netscape better. Why? Well, for one, Netscape tells me "404 not found" instead of "DNS entry not found" at the bottom of some long error page. Also, Netscape tells me what the FTP server said instead of "The server returned extended information". And finally, Netscape gives me error boxes instead of full page errors with the actual error in small print at the bottom. Oh, also, I just despise the ftp in newer IE's. Don't turn into an unstable explorer window, thats just wrong.

    Plus, Netscape has had print preview since before 1.0. IE added it in what, 5.5?

    I'll admit, IE 3 was better then Netscape 3. And Netscape 4 has it's problems as well, but IE went the wrong direction once MS played around with it for 3 versions.
  • well, I've been using it as my main browser since somewhere around M10. It's better than netscape. More stable and faster. There are still some screwy things that it does once in a while, but generally stable and quite usable.
  • I just got to downloading M16 yesterday.

  • If only all the people who complain about the M25 being a car park would use alternatives routes, I'd be able to get to work much quicker!

    Regards
  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @12:33AM (#974079) Journal
    I don't really like Netscape nor Explorer as these are obese pieces of software that carry in themselves all the patches required to overcome any operating system lacunas.

    Whenever a system is well done and integrated an application developper should only focus on features more than these disguised OS patches.
    For example, on RiscOS [riscos.com], JPEG decompression is handled by the system and performed during the display refresh so that the memory needs are even lower. Most system routines are stored in software modules that can be accessed from whichever program, even BASIC script.

    Concerning Mozilla, it is a shame that a Free Software Team is working on such a big thing instead of choosing to re-design it a more clever way.

    BTW, here in Europe downloading dozens of Megabytes is a bit expensive, you know?
    So, let's keep things small.
    --
  • I'm afraid it's still quite a bit unstable and resource hog. I don't recommend using it as your only browser, but by all means try it out; it's worth it. Occasional annoying bugs and crashes are inevitable, but for most of pages it works well enough and shows great promise. Considering the way it has improved during the spring I'd guess that it's good enough to become my primary browser in early autumn if same trend goes on.
  • by redd ( 17486 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @12:38AM (#974081)
    For those of you wondering about the demise of the word "hacker" to what it means today, I shall relate by explaining what you think you mean by "alpha transparency".

    alpha (the greek letter) is often used in equations to reflect a coefficient. In the case of calculating out the colour of a pixel, you may be left with an equation like :

    a * alpha + b * beta
    --------------------
    c

    In this particular case, "alpha" can be considered the coefficient for a source image intensity and "beta" can be considered the coefficient of a destination image intensity.

    What this all boils down to is "alpha" transparency is the same as "beta" transparency, "gamma" transparency, or "horse" transparency. The use of the term "alpha" to describe it is worse than meaningless. Alpha can represent ANYTHING, that includes refractive quantities, air density, paint, or a splatter of your gran's homemade shoe polish.

    It's called "transparency", not "alpha transparency". Perhaps semi-transparency, or if you're being really precise, "transparent filtering". Where in the latter case, you MAY use "alpha" to represent the filter.

    HAND.

  • With the increase in public broadband and harddrive spaces ever increasing, I'm not so much worried about compression as I am with the fact that browsers still only display images at 72dpi.

    IMHO, with broadband becoming more prevelent in homes, the 72dpi web-standard is no longer being a benefit (by keeping the file sizes lower), but a drawback in clarity for sites that sell intricate products via images on their site or are graphic-oriented.

    Is there any chance this may change in future browser versions?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Download the latest version, go to preferences, appearance, themeing, and change to "classic". Or go to mozillazine's chromedepot or whatever it's called. The default skin's the slowest (but also tests more stuff, which is why they use it).
  • Just wanted to let everyone know that CscHTML 1.1.0 fully supports png's including alpha channels. A screenshot is available at http://www.cyberdeck.org/screenshots/20000627.jpg

    CscHTML is available at: http://www.cscmail.net/cschtml

    And if you are wondering what web-browser that is in the Screenshot, its the built in "minibrowser" in CSCMail 1.7.8 (using CscHTML as its HTML renderer)

    Anyway, just wanted to let people know that there are other options out there.

    -CZ
  • Come on /. get your act together. Try not announcing a new milepost build until one is actually available for download and you put the link direct to the download in the news post.

    You are in a maze of twisty little daily builds, all different.

  • Interesting. I've intentionally taken out the flash plugin from Netscape in Linux and Windows, as it's not an open source plugin. I mean, imagine if everyone started using Flash. They could start charging for the plugin, and there'd be nothing anyone could do about it (OK, so there are open source plugins for Flash, but the last one I used, about 6 months ago, didn't work with every site).

    Hmmm...
    --
  • Is that the one from Good Omens? The one in the shape of the symbol of the beast or something like that?
  • My website has been GIF free for a year, and from fall-throughs to old pages I guess that less that 10% of users had problems. The situation will be better now.

    The benefits of PNG, apart from the patent issues, are that you can do greater colour depths and the files are often much smaller than the corresponding GIFs.

    In other words, I wouldn't even consider using GIFs any more.

    MNG support is however almost non-existent outside M17.
  • But in this discussion wouldn't it make sense to differentiate the PNG format's "alpha transparency" from the GIF format's transparency, to emphasize that PNG uses a seperate (alpha) channel to determine which pixels should be transparent, as opposed to how GIFs use a pixel value?

    The channel is called alpha (Red Green Blue Alpha) perhaps just by convention, but it's used very consitently.

    - Isaac =)
  • Yep. Thats the one. It means "Hail the great beast, devourer of worlds."
  • Because M17 is *NOT* out yet, and won't be for some time (as stated elsewhere [slashdot.org] in this thread).

    Apparently, slashdot made the same mistake with M16.

  • Great. Greg advocates PNG, documents it, generally makes the world a richer place, and you have to nitpick terminology. Maybe you have a (trivial) point, but your attitude is what I object to.

    Geeks routinely abuse English, and a consensus develops that makes school teachers mad, but you'll find that the geek terms acquire a certain standardisation and add meaning to English it didn't have before.

    For example, 3D graphics uses terms like "transparency" meaning [for 8 bit values] that (0 is opaque, 255 is clear), then introduces "opacity" to mean (0 is clear, 255 is opaque), THEN confuses us all by using translucency to mean (something between 0 and 255) - which goes against the dictionary - look it up.

    English is a dynamic evolving thing, as are science and technology. Think about that.

  • "alpha value" has been used for a long time as the name for the transparency value associated with a pixel (R,G,B,alpha). The PNG group did not make that up--see the book "Computer Graphics Principles and Practice" by Foley, van Dam, Feiner, and Hughes, for example.
  • I completely agree also. How about a policy of "when it says so on http://www.mozilla.org, THEN it's out". So simple. So very simple...
  • I have just downloaded that latest nightly and am using it now. Its a big improvement over the last version I downloaded ( Mile 12? ) verry impressed. I just hope that it becomes nore stable than the famous "NutScrape"
  • Just because it's not a Milestone release as it has been pointed out, there's no reason not to try a nightly build. They're getting more stable each day, and since some days ago a nice addition has been made: a "classic" skin.

    It has the look and feel of Communicator 4, native widgets and such. (Can't tell if they're really native, or just a XPToolkit skin to mimic native widgets. Anyway, it looks good.) It even uses your system colors!!!

    And more, Mozilla seems slicker, faster and more stable when using this skin... although it needs a little work still. So, check it out!


    --
    Marcelo Vanzin
  • Or maybe ``translucency'', which can mean ``partial transparency''. Generally speaking, one can see right through transparent things...

    Nik.
  • What kind of drugs are you on?

    Internet Explorer will give a friendly error page, but also the complete error message (yes, including the 404 at the bottom).

    IE also lets you explore FTP sites completely as if they were part of your filesystem. Unlike Netscape, it'll display ALL information the FTP site sends you (including hello message) on the left frame in explorer.

    Netscape is GOD DAMN SLOW.

    1) Load up slashdot in netscape.
    2) Resize the window.
    3) Watch netscape start and stop trying to rerender the page

    1) Load up slashdot in IE.
    2) Resize the window.
    3) Watch the smooth as silk dynamic resizing.

    And that's only one small (but important) example.
  • >The internal MS geeks probably have a Linux version of IE allready =).
    >regards,
    And who cares?
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @02:24AM (#974106)
    I read Mozilla articles that appear here and it's laughable how laughably inaccurate and misinformed they often are.

    Take this "announcement" for instance. A simple check around the Mozilla website would make it OBVIOUS that M17 is NOT out and won't be for a month or more.

    Why is it then that Slashdot seems incapable of checking it's facts before announcing it's "scoop" to the world? Hilariously this is not the first time either - Slashdot announced M16 was out a good four weeks before it actually was.

  • Does the M17 installer seg fault like the M16 one did?
  • by divec ( 48748 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @02:28AM (#974109) Homepage
    Mozilla gets its ass kicked by Opera in nearly every imaginable test (even IE 5.0 is better than Mozilla)

    How about the test of "will I have to abandon this platform if a single company goes bust / decides to discontinue development"? Especially for businesses, this is important. It costs time to change the browser on 100 machines, and it costs a hell of a lot of time to answer the support queries of 100 users who've just been handed a new browser.


    Opera and IE may be alright now, but they're not open-source so you may get left high and dry. That's a problem if you've just spent a fortune developing an intranet which relies on one of them.

  • The use of the term "alpha" to describe it is worse than meaningless. Alpha can represent ANYTHING

    So do you also object to using "pi" to represent a particular number close to 3.141592653589793238462643383279? Pi can represent ANYTHING, including products, probabilities, planes, the number of primes below a number, and my granny's phone number. It's not "pi", it's "the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter".

  • by Dacta ( 24628 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @02:36AM (#974112)

    Go Tools->Internet Options->Advanced, and then under the "Browsing" section there is a entry "Show Friendly HTTP error messages"

    IE 5 shows them ("Friendly error messages") if there is a HTTP error code and the page size returned from the server is less than x bytes (where x is some number I can't remember now).

    IMHO, it's quite a nice way to handle it - it tells newbies what has gone wrong and tells them ways in which they may be able to fix it, and yet it still enables website designers to display a custom web page (or redirect) on 404 errors, and advanced users can turn it off.

  • it strikes me that as long as it took you to post about it you could have fixed it
    .oO0Oo.
  • I'm still not too good to say that IE is by far the best browser.

    I disagree. It might be reasonable to describe IE as the best HTML renderer (depending on your point of view). But there's a big bug in IE whereby if its market share exceeds about 70%, it hands control of the HTML standard to a company who wants to pollute it. Then IE will rapidly become the only browser, and after a while it will even become crap as an HTML renderer (because no competition to beat). That's a pretty big bug IMHO.
  • I'm in Australia, so I feel your download pain. 6 Meg (in the case of Mozilla) isn't big at all for a major piece of software, though.

    Don't forget that the Mozilla designers were (from the start) working on cross platform compatibility, so they couldn't rely on non-standard system libraries like the JPEG decompression lib you refer to in RiscOS.

  • by obi ( 118631 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @02:44AM (#974119)
    Anyone else notice just how good IE 5 for mac is? (as opposed to Netscape 4 and IE 5 for PC)

    It's doing pretty good with standards, and is small and light-weight (takes like 4mb of memory - 7 mb install without java)

    Surprisingly enough it even trounced the win IE in more than one way, on a platform they don't control; What's even more surprising were the reports i heard later on that the mac IE development team was dissolved - who knows what the reasoning behind that was. (check out http://www.mozillazine.org/talkback.html?article=1 403)
    (Making the mac a better browsing platform than windows?! what were they thinking :) )
  • on RiscOS, JPEG decompression is handled by the system

    Is that greatly different from being handled by a shared library, libjpeg?
    Most system routines are stored in software modules that can be accessed from whichever program, even BASIC script.

    Isn't that the same as shared libraries? (which is how the image handling gets done in Mozilla)
  • by divec ( 48748 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @02:50AM (#974121) Homepage
    Statmarket reports that 86% of users are now using IE.

    I really hope that's not the case across the entire Internet (and let's face it, sampling client browsers is unreliable, much worse than checking server OS type, for example). Otherwise we can soon kiss goodbye to HTML and hello to the undocumented MS-HTML standard, and stop expecting it to be possible to write a competing browser that will display web pages.
  • If anyone could point me at some test images I'd gladly check out the "alpha transparency" issue

    Besides the page mentioned in Greg's article, there is a very nice diagnostic set of images by Nick Lamb: http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~njl98r/png-test / [soton.ac.uk]

    Also, there's my page for testing gamma support at
    http://pmt.sourceforge.net/gamma_test/ [sourceforge.net]
  • [It will be] hard for [mozilla to succeed on portable devices] with its processor speed requirements

    It's only processor intensive if you have the browser being rendered in XUL. For a portable version, fast native widgets would be much better. The core rendering engine fits on a floppy, so rumour has it.
  • I think that mozilla has reached a turning point. Bugs are finally being fixed faster than I can find them.

    I have submitted about 20 bugs and all but about 5 of them are fixed at this point. In the last week a javascript bug that kept many of my companies web pages from working was fixed and as of last night mozilla works with junkbuster again.

    I still have a few bugs that I want to see fixed before I can get rid of netscape: Mozilla crashes with some animated gifs, doesn't let you find on a page that contains frames, and the nightly builds don't handle encryption.

    It still may be a while, but it really is coming. I can see it.

  • I've noticed that PC Plus, a popular UK computer magazine, has taken to putting Mozilla releases on its cover DVDs (I'm not sure if they're on the CD versions). More of this kind of attention would go some way to beginning to redress the IE imbalance (as long at the distribution was clearly marked as a work in progress) - just by making people aware that there IS an alternative to IE other than the abysmal Netscape 4.x series.
    It's a shame that IEs predominance is almost certainly due to its Windows integration and 'default' status, and not to the fact that is is, basically, the best browser currently available (and not in extended beta). Konqueror looks pretty good, though...
  • I agree that FTP in IE sucks, but have you seen ftp in Mozilla? It sucks just as bad.

    Finkployd
  • I like this one a LOT better that that new blue/aqua crap. I like minimalist approaches SOMETIMES, but the new 6.x design was/is just ugly (IMO).

    Every once in a while it still likes to hiccup, but for the most part it's pretty good software, I just hope that they can be smart about it and have a minimal d/l package that only has the core browser in it, since I don't use a lot of the other stuff included (no, I DO NOT want to use AIM, or Net2Phone, or...). Of course I'm just bitching, but it would be nice :)
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @03:44AM (#974135)
    "MIME type - image/png. If PNG images on your server show up as broken images within web pages and as gobbledygook text when referenced directly (i.e., as standalone URLs), you probably don't have the MIME type set up correctly. On the other hand, if they show up correctly for MSIE and some versions of Netscape but not others, you're probably running Microsoft's IIS server. Technically it's a bug in older versions of Netscape (versions 4.04 through 4.5), but consider switching to Apache anyway..."

    This is FUD. PNG's working in IE as opposed to Netscape when served by IIS is probably caused by a miss-configured web-server. And don't tell me that Apache can't be miss-configured either.

    We had load-balanced web-servers which seemed to be identically configured. They were running NT 4 Server and IIS 4. Trouble was, the PNGs wouldn't show up in Netscape half the time.

    Using "telnet myhost 80", I finally discovered why. One of the servers was returning the wrong MIME type for the PNG images. One was correctly returning image/png in the response header, the other was returning something like application/x-octet-stream.

    The fix involved adding the image/png MIME type for .png files to IIS's list of MIME types. Dunno how one server knew about it and the other didn't. Presumably somebody had installed something that handled PNG's, or installed IE differently, so that Windows as a whole knew about PNGs. Whatever, it was a pain in the arse and a search on Dejanews showed lots of other people with the same problem but no solutions.

    A correctly configured IE client differentiates based on file extension. So it ignores the MIME type in the response header, correctly displaying the PNG. Netscape on the otherhand looks at the response header, and thus cannot display the PNG if IIS is incorrectly configured.

    The discussion on how IE uses file extensions is another issue.
  • by divec ( 48748 )
    Another kid who wants (but does not need or understand) the code.

    You correctly deduced that I'm not a mozilla developer. But, as Bob Young says, would you buy a car with the hood welded shut? And how much do you know about car engines?


    The point isn't that *I'm* going to save the day. The point is that if AOL were to yank mozilla then *somebody* would continue the development. Moreover, any big organisation could *pay* somebody to continue development. Wheras if IE or Opera get yanked / modified / "upgraded" to something you don't want, then nobody else can do anything.


    The source code to mozilla is useful, even to someone who doesn't speak a word of C. Its very *existence* prevents you from being tied to the whim of a single company. Get the big picture here, please.
  • Go forth and learn before you run your mouth again.

    Sorry, we apparently have different definitions of "documented". I wouldn't count it as documented if portions are missing here and there. The Windows API is another good example of this. See all the API calls which the WINE people haven't managed to reverse-engineer. It's no good if people can only make half-baked imitations of IE's rendering. The point about w3c HTML/CSS is that you can implement the spec *precisely*.
  • Okay, repeat after me. If it isn't on the FTP site under /pub/mozilla/releases, it's not a release yet . Ignore the "M17" in the nightly builds and check the releases for once! Better yet, wait until the release is announced on the mozilla.org website before announcing a new release to give mirror sites a fair chance to get the new release before slashdotting the main server...
  • What is the interest of porting a software to a dedicated platform if you don't attempt to benefit from some of its special features?

    Yeah, it's a shame. I hear people mention this all the time about Mozilla, and it has some merit.

    I just wish they'd release the source code [mozilla.org] so someone, somewhere, could do something about it. Wouldn't that be nice?

  • You can have a transparency value for any of the color channels, or layers that are present in an image format. By calling it alpha transparency, you know it is an overall image transparency.

    Yes, a variable can represent anything, but we scientists/engineers use conventions to not get confused. Theta is an angle. Delta is a change. In images, gamma is a saturation and the alpha channel is a global effect on an image format. Yes it can be called something else, or refer to something else, but isn't it nice when people know what the hell you are reffering to? In my own words, fwip klupe neeet bwlithe nyak. No idea what I said, eh? Aren't conventions nice? To be "really precise" call it alpha transparency. That way people not living in your personal world know what the hell you are talking about.
    Transparent filtering is a verb and not a noun anyway. They aren't interchangeable.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @04:16AM (#974148)
    Mozilla "ain't all that and a bag of potato chips" (Dr. Evil tone) until it has Java support. This is really crucial. Many companies and applications rely on a browser to deliver Java apps, whether publicly over the internet, or just privately on the intranet. If Mozilla does not support Java, nobody with Java as "critical path" will change to it. Java and Mozilla can certainly compliment each other.
  • by LMacG ( 118321 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @04:27AM (#974152) Journal
    C'mon moderators . . . the M25 is a major freeway in the UK, the parent post is a joke, a "pun" even . . .

  • "MIME type - image/png. If PNG images on your server show up as broken images within web pages and as gobbledygook text when referenced directly (i.e., as standalone URLs), you probably don't have the MIME type set up correctly. On the other hand, if they show up correctly for MSIE and some versions of Netscape but not others, you're probably running Microsoft's IIS server. Technically it's a bug in older versions of Netscape (versions 4.04 through 4.5), but consider switching to Apache anyway..."

    This is FUD. PNG's working in IE as opposed to
    Netscape when served by IIS is probably caused
    by a miss-configured web-server. And don't tell
    me that Apache can't be miss-configured either.


    Like the article said, it's due to a Netscape bug. Specifically, it was due to a missing comma in Netscape's "accept" header, which caused IIS to refuse to serve PNGs. What Netscape sent, up to version 4.51, was

    Accept: image/gif, image/x-bitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg image/png

    I don't know why (or if) apache wasn't affected by the bug, but perhaps apache was accepting whitespace as a separator when it interpreted the accept header.

    I suppose it would also refuse to send image/pjpeg, which was also combined into the single "image/pjpeg image/png" acceptable item.

  • Surprisingly enough it even trounced the win IE in more than one way, on a platform they don't control

    That's why it's so good - Microsoft knows that if they want to compete on the Mac, they have to make a good product, because nobody will use their browser unless it's actually good. With Windows, they don't have to try so hard, because they know everyone will use it anyway.

    What's even more surprising were the reports i heard later on that the mac IE development team was dissolved - who knows what the reasoning behind that was.

    I'd heard that too, but a more recent rumor [appleinsider.com] would seem to suggest otherwise. Who knows.

    --

  • It's been said before, but it's worth saying again. Microsoft's Macintosh Software division for the most part does a pretty good job. As much as MS' business practices may have hurt the Mac world and the computer industry in general, they still release a high volume of significant mac software, and as the IE team showed, when they're not forced to just do a direct clone from the windows world over to MacOS, they can do some excellent work.

    I really don't know for sure, but I'd imagine that Microsoft's mac teams probably have some people on them that were microsoft hating mac fans who went to work for microsoft just because it's a good job to have.

    Still, if Microsoft screws up the Mac version of Halo, then the whole company, including the IE team can go straight to hell ;)

  • What's even more surprising were the reports i heard later on that the mac IE development team was dissolved - who knows what the reasoning behind that was.

    Apparently they've just been reassigned to overhaul the web browser for WebTV. Supposedly this was the plan all along, which makes sense considering they can reasonably leave the Mac version alone for a while.

    Of course, I'd much rather they'd been reassigned to the Win/Unix IE ports, which could use their help (especially the later, of course). Amazingly, not only is Mac IE 5 cleaner looking and much more standards-compliant than any other browser, it also renders pages noticably faster than even IE 5 for Windows (based on my observations).

    On the other hand, hell if I could spend all day browsing the web with a one-button mouse...
  • A correctly configured IE client differentiates based on file extension. So it ignores the MIME type in the response header, correctly displaying the PNG. Netscape on the otherhand looks at the response header, and thus cannot display the PNG if IIS is incorrectly configured.

    This is crap. All web clients should look at MIME type first and then file extension (if any). This allows perl scripts to dynamically generate GIFs and the like without having to change their file extension. Believe me, the biggest headache is having to program web pages for browsers that don't recognize MIME types correctly.
  • ftp in most browsers sucks. but then I expect that.

    I agree, but in Netscape 4.x is was usable. Sometimes when I'm downloading a program, I don't want to fire up an ftp client just to pull one file. Mozilla took a useful, simple interface and 'innovated' it into a horrible one.

    Finkployd
  • Too bad the friendly HTTP error messages go against the RFC. I thought the RFC said you have to display the error page given to you from the server?
  • As far as I know, OJI (Open Java Interconnect) has been broken for some time. Is this not true? Are there any docs on how to enable Java support?
  • by nellardo ( 68657 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @05:59AM (#974187) Homepage Journal
    The channel is called alpha (Red Green Blue Alpha) perhaps just by convention, but it's used very consitently.

    And it has been used that way for something like twenty years, ever since Ed Catmull (king geek of Pixar) coined the term to contrast with the then-prevalent "z-buffer." He created a new rendering technique called the - cue drum-roll - a-buffer. Catmull added a channel to the frame buffer - the "alpha channel", so that there were now five channels in the rendering system - red, green, blue, depth (z), and transparency (alpha). In fact, he first used it more for "coverage" than transparency. The a-buffer renderer computed sub-pixel polygons and then used the alpha channel to store what percentage of the pixel was covered (i.e., how much light got through from a further pixel). This enabled his renderer to produce anti-aliased images at a phenomenal rate (especially when compared to an over-sampling ray-tracer, which was then the state of the art in anti-aliasing).

    At the time, the renderer was called "Reyes" for "renders everything you've ever seen" (and of course, for Point Reyes, near Silicon Valley). Guess what it is called these days? (pregnant pause) RenderMan.

    You can learn more about a-buffers and dig up references to the original literature (Catmull first published at SIGGRAPH) in "The White Book", aka, Foley, van Dam, Feiner, Hughes. [amazon.com]

  • I just think it's funny, more than anything else, that a silly throwaway comment has attracted such a large amount of moderation and comments about the moderation.
  • they're not real native widgets just graphical lookalikes but they provide a big improvement over the old widgets IMHO.

    BTW to switch to the classic skin download the latest nightly from mozilla.org and then go to Edit | Preferences | Appearance | Themes - select classic and click apply theme.

    I think the classic theme should be made the default in future.
    --
  • Anyone else notice just how good IE 5 for mac is? (as opposed to Netscape 4 and IE 5 for PC)

    Or, as opposed to Netscape on the Mac. I agree -- IE 5 on the Mac is really sweet. I'm still sticking with Netscape out of habit and because it's what I use at home in Linux, but I'm definitely making a sacrifice by doing that.

    Meanwhile, MacOS Mozilla M16 is barely usable. I tried it out, reported all the bugs I could find (lots of Mac-specific ones) and went back to Netscape. It's a pity -- Mac users are certainly a group that's receptive to using a non-Microsoft product but they'll never accept such a clunky UI.

    Support my favorite Bugzilla report [mozilla.org]!

  • While I agree Flash is more annoying than useful I have no doubt somebody has found a good use for it. Afterall Hushmail actually found a use for Java that seems to actually do something you couldn't do easily without Java. On the other hand I'm against maintaining a plugin interface as it allows lazy plugin creators to create plugins that are OS-specific. Mozilla should provide some sort of cross-platform programming language (even Java if used correctly would work) for implementing such things. The whole point is to make it so we can make web-sites that work equally across all platforms and nothing that won't follow our rules should be allowed. They can always take the Mozilla source and hack their own interface if they really want to. That's soon lead to major problems for companies I think. :) Better yet find all the most used plug-in's (Netscape doubtless keeps records from their searches) and create opensource cross-platform versions of each. Maybe that's what will happen. If so then great. :) The idea of a Flash/Beatnik enabled skin scares me though. On the other hand it might be interesting to use a live video stream into the spot currently held by the Mozilla logo. :)
  • > I look at routers configured by pointing a
    > www browser at them

    What's wrong with you? That's a _GREAT_ way to do it! Because you know what, when you look at that 'install disk' the company sends along with said router, it's a good bet the install program will be multiplatform - Windows 98 and NT. Maybe Windows 2000 if you're lucky. It's a lot easier for the company who makes said router to put a web interface on the beast than worry about an install program for Windows 98, Win NT, Win 2000, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, OS/2, and whatever else is out there. Everybody's got a web browser these days. The only 'trick' to it is making the web pages coming out of the box be VERY standards-compliant (OLD standards, at that!).
  • While I think that this is great that they have png now, I want to know when are they going to fix the javascript event model? Their is a lot of Javascript that does not work with mozilla and I think for this browser to make a hit it needs to be fixed. My page currently displays fine, as I have fixed most of HTML to be 'proper' syntax with the / and the b font /font b kind of sytaxing. I want to add more to my site and use JavaScript events and they do not seem to work the way that they are documented in mozilla. Does anyone know more information on their JavaScript events implementation and when can developers expect it to be fixed?

    send flames > /dev/null

  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @06:45AM (#974202) Homepage
    I understand that M17 doesn't appear to be out yet, but blame mozilla.org not slashdot.

    The milestone plan is maintained here [mozilla.org]

    If you look at it, you'll see that they have filled in the "on the wire" box, which appears to be an "actual" not a "schedule", because it's only filled in for past milestones and the dates appear (at first glance) to match the actual release dates.

    If mozilla doesn't want people to shoot off "mozilla M17 out today" then they need to keep this page accurate and current (or get rid of it).

    On the other hand, the M17 open bug and engineering task list is here [mozilla.org].

    It lists 1073 bugs and tasks. So is M17 coming out later today or is it going to be 6 weeks away? This gives me the impression that mozilla.org is confused and doesn't have it's shit together on the communication side.

  • I've only seen that bug in Mozilla. Netscape 4.x doesn't do that, IIRC.

    Finkployd
  • There seems to be a trend towards seperating web, mail, news and development. Unfortunatly mozilla has not reconized this and I am forced to use a web browser with other applications that I do not use. There is also the issue of speed and size which comes into play on my old 200 (though it runs good on my 400). Is there currently any effort being put into deveoping (at netscape or elseware) a stand alone, non themeable browser based on Gecko?
  • by FFFish ( 7567 )
    Can't *YOU* see that some people *DON'T* *CARE* whether it's open or not, as long as it gets the job done?

    Microsoft Word is a closed product. KOffice (presumably) isn't. Guess which one I, a writer, will use?

    Bang on: the one that makes the best use of my time. And KOffice ain't it: it doesn't have all the features I need.

    Open source just doesn't count for SFA in real-world use. Feature-set, ease-of-use and stability are more important. KOffice, Mozilla and, frankly, Linux all fail to satisfy *my* real-world needs.

    More open-source/Linux rah-rah yes-men need to get a clue about what most people really need in a computer. Maybe then we'd see some significant movement toward satisfying those needs properly.


    --
  • Or maybe ``translucency'', which can mean ``partial transparency''. Generally speaking, one can see right through transparent things...

    Yes, but transparent objects may have color. Think of colored glass. Translucent objects allow light to pass through, but scatter it to a certain extent. Think of frosted glass, or a fogged-up windshield.

    Translucency would be kind of a cool feature for an image format (blurring images beneath it). You could probably set up a "translucency channel" if you wanted in a non-standard PNG chunk--call it tlUc (check the PNG spec [w3.org] to see why the capitalization is all wonky). The only problems being support (although it would degrade gracefully if a viewer followed the spec strictly), and the fact that it would probably take a lot of processor time.

    It would be especially cool in MNG.


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • Just out of curiosity, who here thinks there is any chance that MSFT, probably the only software company with billion$ of dollars in cash reserves will either a.)go out of business or b.) quit development on a product in which from various [uiuc.edu] statistics [internet.com] is the dominant player in its market.

    Secondly, who believes that if AOL fired all the Netscape developers (who outnumber Open-Source contributors [mozillazine.org]) there'd still be a Mozilla? Considering that several laudable open source projects have languished without corporate support including IBM's JFS [slashdot.org] and almost everything SGI has GPLed for Linux.

    Finally from a PointyHairedBoss perspective which is more likely a.)MSFT goes out of business or quits developing IE or b.) AOL decides to stop flogging a dead horse and concedes defeat by keeping IE as its default browser instead of spending money developing a second stringer to IE?

    This is not a troll but a genuine counter-opinion, being Open Source does not mean diddly to most PHBs unless there is still someone to point at Apache has the Apache Group while Linux has Red Hat, SuSe, etc...Mozilla has AOL. Almost four years later, it is still primarily a Netscape operation with a minority of Open Source developers. Your argument would not hold sway with most bosses (heck, it didn't hold sway with my project manager and he's a developer) since it is unlikely that they are either a.) going to say "yeah, we can carry on development if it ever gets scrapped by AOL" or b.)We'll trust our entire corporate decision making on the hope that a bunch of random hackers will work on this software in their spare time.

  • 6 megs = 6144 kb = 6291456 bytes

    which is the same as

    2 1/2 paragraphhs = 1 side of a sheet of paper (about)

    and about 250 words per paragraph

    so that's 625 words per page

    so mozilla will fit the same amount of information as 10066 pages of information

    that is *way* to big

    if the OS provides all kinds of libraries, then it doesn't make sense to redo all of that code for GUIs, Pngs, etc.

    all for ease of development I suppose

    (note: this isn't very informed about Mozillaso it really shouldn't be here, but the numbers I hope are somewhat interesting)
  • by Cave Newt ( 4091 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2000 @10:23AM (#974241) Homepage
    Title: My original title for the article was PNG, MNG, JNG and Mozilla M17, specifically because the article was primarily about PNG and its buddies, not Mozilla. I'm sorry the actual title is misleading, but I can't take the blame for that one.

    M17 schedule: I checked the Mozilla milestones page [mozilla.org] on Sunday before beginning the article and again Monday morning (3am PDT) just before submitting it; it claimed M17 would branch yesterday (26 June) and be on the wire today, and in fact it still says that--although there's now a red comment at the top (dated 27 May 1999!) that M17 won't be out for another couple of weeks. As a side note, I submitted the article with the following comment:

    Well, supposedly M17 branches later today and hits the wire tomorrow (ha!)

    Unfortunately, it seems that both Jamie and I believed the other person was more informed about the true release date than we actually were. I apologize for the screwup.

    Background: Back in April, around the time of the M15 posting, I commented to Jamie about the recent progress in PNG alpha support in browsers and the, shall we say, somewhat uneven accuracy of /. comments w.r.t. PNG and MNG features. He suggested I write something up for the next milestone, and I agreed to do that. Unfortunately, M16 showed up while I was on an extended business trip, so I wrote the article for M17 instead. I assumed it would be posted when M17 actually hit the wire, but it seems we were a bit premature. Oops...

    Browsers and alpha support: As other comments have noted, OmniWeb and CscHTML also support full alpha blending, and Webster XL has not been abandoned--it's still under development. I've requested and/or have received screen shots for all three and will post them soon. On the other hand, I've been informed that Konqueror supports only binary (GIF-style) transparency, not full alpha blending. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know. (I've downloaded a recent binary but am still missing a sufficiently recent libstdc++, I believe.)

    Updated article: a corrected version of this article will be permanently available at http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/slas hpng-2000.html [libpng.org]. (The page is already there, but I haven't had time to update it yet.)

    Hemos: I'm not Hemos, but I play one on TV.

    Greg

  • Will it become say, popular as a standard Windows/Linux/etc format for backgrounds, or just become a format that has a single use such as the TIF?.. can we see any OTHER uses for it besides the web?

    Well, as the article says, PNG is used as an internal format for a lot of applications, including MS Office. One Macromedia app also uses it as its main format (can't remember which). There are also a lot of extentions having to do with scientific and geographical information, so I'd expect that those fields use it too.


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    Zardoz has spoken!
  • by FFFish ( 7567 )
    How adept of you to analyse my needs without knowing what I do! I'm sure my clients will appreciate my delivering technical documentation scrawled in pencil or delivered in a file format they can't use.

    Your original post tried to coerce a closed-source user into admitting that open-source saves its users time and money, and that closed-source is just fundamentally wrong.

    You ended with "can you at least see that some people like to save their own time and money?"

    My point is, can't *YOU* see that for some people, using closed-source software *IS* saving them time and money?

    There's room for and a need for both. Mindlessly bashing everyone who puts forward a closed-source solution or option is asinine. Open-source simply is not, at this time, a panacea.

    And, frankly, if you're using a design process that doesn't focus on end-user needs, you should get the hell out of the industry.

    --
  • All my votes are spoken for, sorry. And I'm not familiar enough with how LDAP works to implement it.

    But if anybody's interested, the bug report is here [mozilla.org]. You can also see the full list of LDAP-related bugs and feature requests here [mozilla.org]


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    Zardoz has spoken!
  • Who here thinks there is any chance that MSFT will [...] quit development on a product [which is] the dominant player in its market

    I think there is a fair chance that Microsoft will choose to do something with their browser which buggers some customers. E.g. they may choose to change the APIs, then drop support for the ones you use in future versions. Then bring out web development tools which assume the latest version of their browser. This is just one scenario. They have been known to leave customers high and dry in the past. For instance, anyone who was relying on them maintaining NT on Alpha is now in a mess. I'm not saying it's impossible for AOL to try something similar, but if there's many people who are dissatisfied then somebody else will fork development. For instance, many people hate XULed components and consider it a waste of processing power. So there is a project around to release Gecko on GTK. If enough businesses wanted Gecko/GTK then they could get it released pretty fast. It's all about alternatives. With IE you're stuck relying on a single company who may not provide alternatives. With Mozilla, if
    your business's needs are shared by other companies then something can be developed to address the need.
    Netscape developers [...] outnumber Open-Source contributors

    According to the article you cite, the balance has now tipped the other way.
  • there are no open source projects that are languishing in the dust bins anywhere.

    Not many that were ever really big. Certainly, much less than the proportion of once-popular proprietory software which is now dead and unbuyable.
  • I wasn't actually meaning to exclude Flash as I do recall them opensourcing it (and PHP even ahs some support I think) but I think that the majority of plug-in's are nasty and a pain to both the developer and the user. Myself I don't use sites that require plugins and as a developer I don't create such sites. If a technology is interesting enough it can be made a standard and be intergrated into any standardized browser. That's the way it should be. I think browsers should have to comply with gully supporting a list of standards to be able to use a certain version number. ie instead of saying HTML4 + CSS2 + DOM you could just say WWW4 or something. Make it easy for consumers to see which browser was best.
  • With M16 under Windows, the Netscape Flash plugin works great -- with one exception, that geturl(javascript:) and do_FSCommand() don't seem to work correctly.

    Just copy the nsswf-whatever.dll and the shockwave-whatever.class files to a directory called "plugins" under your mozilla-bin directory.

Quantum Mechanics is a lovely introduction to Hilbert Spaces! -- Overheard at last year's Archimedeans' Garden Party

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