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'[EE]: GIF, LZW Patent Issues'
2001\10\15@192133 by Mike Hardwick

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I took the liberty of renaming this thread...

Okay, so what the heck *are* people using in commercial embbedded systems
instead of GIF, when they need transparency control and the code
distributions for PNG and MIFF are too unwieldy?

Mike Hardwick
Decade Engineering

>Unisys owns the patent on LZW and specifically permits the use of the LZW
>in the GIF compressors and decompressors for non-commercial use only.
>Commercial use requires a license. This causes many Open Source fans to
>avoid GIF at any cost and many other people to avoid it too. It is not
>clear whether a schematic published in a public forum in GIF format can be
>'commercial use', even if it is posted by a registered firm.

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2001\10\15@232936 by Bob Ammerman

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It is my understanding that if the programs that produce and display the GIF
(Photoshop, for example) has the proper license from Unisys (or are
non-commercial?) then the GIF itself it freely distributable.

However, IANAL

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems
(contract development of high performance, high function, low-level
software)

{Original Message removed}

2001\10\16@092004 by Marc Reinig

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This is correct.  It is the algorithm that is patented (and therefore any
implementation of it) not the end result.  Files produced using the method
are fine.  Programs that _implement_ the algorithm for coding or decoding
must have the license.

Marc Reinig
System Solutions
(A registered GIF developer when there was a Compuserve)

{Original Message removed}

2001\10\16@092906 by Sean H. Breheny

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But wouldn't any embedded system inherently have to contain the
decoding/display algo if it used GIFs?

Sean

At 06:17 AM 10/16/01 -0700, you wrote:
>This is correct.  It is the algorithm that is patented (and therefore any
>implementation of it) not the end result.  Files produced using the method
>are fine.  Programs that _implement_ the algorithm for coding or decoding
>must have the license.
>
>Marc Reinig
>System Solutions
>(A registered GIF developer when there was a Compuserve)

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2001\10\16@100318 by Marc Reinig

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It would depend on whether the system was encoding or decoding or just
storing or sending, i.e. an embedded web site that had stored images that it
sent as part of an html page would not.  However, if it created the GIF's,
then it would.  Likewise, if it decoded a GIF, then it would.  However, if
it passed on the GIF to something else that incorporated a legal GIF decoder
then it wouldn't.

Marc Reinig

{Original Message removed}

2001\10\16@132349 by Mike Hardwick

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Exactimo. The embedded system I'm developing has to *display* images, which
means that it must decode the files. If they are GIFs, then my system has
to use the LZW algorithm. The best deal we could negotiate with Unisys
involved a large advance payment. We decided to make a custom file format,
but I would rather use a standard. Whatever we use, it has to support
transparency because the system uses images for video overlay. MIFF and PNG
were the best candidates I found, but their code distributions are too
massive to be useful. Any ideas?

Mike Hardwick
Decade Engineering

>It would depend on whether the system was encoding or decoding or just
>storing or sending, i.e. an embedded web site that had stored images that it
>sent as part of an html page would not.  However, if it created the GIF's,
>then it would.  Likewise, if it decoded a GIF, then it would.  However, if
>it passed on the GIF to something else that incorporated a legal GIF decoder
>then it wouldn't.

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2001\10\16@134916 by Marc Reinig

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Well,

I haven't looked at the PNG code in a while, but I suspect that if all you
want is a GIF replacement then you just need to implement a subset of the
PNG code.  It shouldn't really be much larger than GIF if at all.

I don't know how it is packaged these days, but if all you really want is an
8- bit indexed palette and transparency, a subset would do it.

Marc Reinig
System Solutions


{Original Message removed}

2001\10\16@151011 by Dan Larson

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Try looking at the PCX format. It uses a form of RLE compression and has fairly
good results on non-photgraphic images. By that I mean images with large areas
of solid colors compress very well. Images with lots of "noise", such as photographic
images tend not to compress as well. In the past I used PCX images and designated
one of the color values as trasparent in my drawing routines.

The code for PCX decoding can be very small and uses very little ram. Likewise
it can also be very fast.

Good Luck!

Oh, yah,,,, try looking for information on the LZ compression algorythm. It is the
pre-cursor to LZW and is not protected, AFAIK. The W is the initial of the person
whom modified LZ into LZW and his company patented it. I think the W stand for
Welch. The L and Z are some strange names that I cannot spell, but phonetically
they sound like "Lem-ph" and "Zip-fell" or something to that effect. Sorry it was over
10 years ago that I worked with this stuff.

Dan


On Tue, 16 Oct 2001 10:19:41 -0700, Mike Hardwick wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2001\10\16@170545 by Mike Hardwick

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Dan,

That's similar to the solution we adopted... The source images have low
complexity. We translate GIFs supplied by the customer to BMP format, using
the 8-bit RLE option, with a standard translation tool. Then we extend the
BMP files to include a field for the color specified as transparent in the
original GIF files. The resulting morphodite image format is used
exclusively in our system. It's working okay now, but I still wish we
didn't have to use this odd-ball file format...

Mike Hardwick
Decade Engineering


>Try looking at the PCX format. It uses a form of RLE compression and has
fairly
>good results on non-photgraphic images. By that I mean images with large
areas
>of solid colors compress very well. Images with lots of "noise", such as
photographic
>images tend not to compress as well. In the past I used PCX images and
designated
>one of the color values as trasparent in my drawing routines.
>
>The code for PCX decoding can be very small and uses very little ram.
Likewise
>it can also be very fast.
>
>Good Luck!
>
>Oh, yah,,,, try looking for information on the LZ compression algorythm.
It is the
>pre-cursor to LZW and is not protected, AFAIK. The W is the initial of the
person
>whom modified LZ into LZW and his company patented it. I think the W stand
for
>Welch. The L and Z are some strange names that I cannot spell, but
phonetically
>they sound like "Lem-ph" and "Zip-fell" or something to that effect. Sorry
it was over
>10 years ago that I worked with this stuff.

Mike Hardwick, for Decade Engineering
Tel: 503-743-3194 ~ Fax: 503-743-2095
Post: 5504 ValView Dr. SE, Turner, OR 97392 (USA)
Email: spam_OUTmikeTakeThisOuTspamdecadenet.com ~ Web: http://www.decadenet.com

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2001\10\16@171702 by Karl Seibert

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Abraham Lempel, Jakob Ziv and Terry Welch.

Karl

Quoting Dan Larson <.....dlarsonKILLspamspam@spam@CITILINK.COM>:
{Quote hidden}

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2001\10\16@175037 by Dan Larson

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On Tue, 16 Oct 2001 17:15:45 -0400, Karl Seibert wrote:

>Abraham Lempel, Jakob Ziv and Terry Welch.

Well, at least I was somewhat close! <G>

I could have opened up my copy of the "The Data Compression Book"
by Nelson ISBN 1-55851-216-0 and got it right, but I was too lazy ... ;-/

Dan

{Quote hidden}

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2001\10\17@170741 by Peter L. Peres

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> what algorythm

Imho take a good look at the format of the image files used by WAP. It
should be do-able. This is on my to-do list (maybe next century...).

Peter

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