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Microsoft Move to be the End of JPEG? 447

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the just-a-little-bit-better dept.
jcatcw writes "Microsoft Corp. will submit a new photo format to an international standards organization. The format, HD Photo (formerly known as Windows Media Photo), can accommodate lossless and lossy compression. Microsoft claims that adjustments can be made to color balance and exposure settings that won't discard or truncate data that occurs with other bit-map formats."
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Microsoft Move to be the End of JPEG?

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  • Nup, No, Nada. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:14PM (#18284052) Homepage Journal
    Not going to end jpg - everyone dissatisfied with JPG is already using RAW. Everyone satisified with jpg will stick with jpg.

    This is going to enjoy the same sort of limited uptake as jpeg2000 vs jpg, mp4/wma/ogg vs mp3, png vs gif, etc.

    Few other things to note:

    1) The 'HD' doesn't stand for High Definition, it's just there to get the association with HD TV in consumers minds. *rolls eyes*

    2) This technology is patented to the hilt & the licensing terms for the HD Photo Device Porting Kit 1.0 licensing terms [wikipedia.org] specifically exclude copyleft (GPL style) licenses.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:23PM (#18284124)
      The PNG format uses the DEFLATE compression algorithm to minimize its data size. DEFLATE is the same compression method used by gzip. We all know that for larger files, the bzip2 compression utility tends to obtain better compression ratios than gzip. So would it not be possible to use the bzip2 algorithm instead of DEFLATE when compressing the image data, to obtain a smaller image file size at the cost of greater compression and decompression times?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Silverlancer (786390)
        Why not use LZMA then, which is both faster and has better compression than bzip2?
      • by rbanffy (584143) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:07PM (#18285096) Homepage Journal
        bzip2 is much more resource-intensive than gzip.

        In 2001 I considered using bzlib to compress some data files in the Brazilian electronic voting system and, since we had to support older, 386-class hardware with little memory, we went the gzip route.

        Later some Windows fanboy decided they should use .zip instead of .tgz for the files and someone else recoded that piece.

        Consider we are not talking only desktop PCs, but low-end embedded and photographic equipment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by harmonica (29841)
        In theory, yes. There is a byte compression type in the PNG headers.

        The PNG people (some of them?) don't want to use this, though, for maximum compatibility of readers and files. I don't have a source handy, so take this with a big grain of salt.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drgonzo59 (747139)
      Which raw are you talking about? Is it DNG, PEF or a hundred other proprietary raw formats?

      limited uptake as jpeg2000 vs jpg, mp4/wma/ogg vs mp3, png vs gif, etc As opposed to a rapid updake of Pentax's PEF raw format. How many browsers do you know that render that format?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Which raw are you talking about? Is it DNG, PEF or a hundred other proprietary raw formats?

        Doesn't matter, the point is that anyone who's dissatisifed with JPG has allready found an alternative.

        How many browsers do you know that render that format?

        If you'd bothered to read the article before commenting, you would know that support in the camera is the support that matters.
        • Re:Nup, No, Nada. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dfghjk (711126) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:51PM (#18284460)
          "Doesn't matter, the point is that anyone who's dissatisifed with JPG has allready found an alternative."

          That's not what you said. You said "Not going to end jpg - everyone dissatisfied with JPG is already using RAW." RAW is a camera format, not an output format. No one uses RAW as a replacement for jpeg except during image acquisition.

          As for everyone already using alternatives, that may be so but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. This may not be the answer but it's naive to think that the image formats we have now are all there will ever be.
          • Re:Nup, No, Nada. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by modecx (130548) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @10:14PM (#18284660)
            You said "Not going to end jpg - everyone dissatisfied with JPG is already using RAW.

            Yeah, they are using RAW data in the manner you outline, THEN they use TIFF for storing and transporting these images. TIFF is the industry de-facto. So, MS's little format might compress data better. It's not likely going to do much that TIFF can't be adapted to do.
        • If you'd bothered to read the article before commenting,

          <Gerald Butler voice [imdb.com]> "Read the article? THIS IS SLASHDOT!!!!!!!!!" </Gerald Butler voice>

          :-)

    • Exactly... (Score:2, Informative)

      by plasmacutter (901737)
      this is the same story with windows media..

      the lesson is: the looser the licensing terms (while still maintaining an actual standard), the more widely used it will be.

      this means microsft, sony, and real can keep scrambling to their hearts content, but they wont touch a majority share when they treat formats like this.
      • by Goaway (82658)
        It also means formats with only GPL'd implementations don't take off either. Like DjVu.
    • RAW? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Animaether (411575) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:32PM (#18284256) Journal
      "Everyone dissatisfied with JPG is already using RAW"?

      I don't know where you're getting that statement from. Everybody dissatisfied with JPG - which I can only imagine stems from the fact that it is lossy compression - is either using:
      PNG - because it's common, free to use, etc. etc.
      EXR - because it'll allow you to store whatever the hell you want
      GIF - because it's ubiquitious and is free to use nowadays (not that too many people cared a few years ago)

      'RAW' isn't used by anybody. 'RAW' does not exist. 'RAW' is a collective name for a shitload of formats by a smaller shitload of digital camera companies. And it is never "RAW".. it is never raw data.. it's compressed, stored integratedly or separately, encrypted or not (SONY, among other) and contains a bunch of camera data. The closest thing to a "RAW" format is, say, PFM (portable/pixel float map) or any other format that just stores every color(group) as a bunch of bytes in a long chunk with minimal to zero header/footer information whatsoever that you can only open if you know things like bitdepth and dimension. The closest thing to a unified 'RAW' format for cameras is Adobe's DNG (Digital Negative) - and that's finding slow (no?) adoption as it is. And the closest thing to a unified non-'RAW' format for cameras that isn't lossy compressed is TIFF. None of which you can toss on a website and make viewable in any of the major browsers without plugin installation (if even available!)

      That said, I agree with all your other points, especially point 1. Microsoft should be kicked even when down for jumping on the HD bandwagon with a product (or format) that has nothing whatsoever to do with HD.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Goaway (82658)
        The raw format of cameras is far more "raw" than PFM or any other RGB format. Camera raw formats save the actual output from the image sensor, before applying the numerous algorithms needed to massage the data into RGB form. The point of camera raw data is not just to avoid compression, it is to do the highly complex processing needed at a later stage, and allow for finer control over the resulting output.
      • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @10:33PM (#18284818)

        I don't know where you're getting that statement from. Everybody dissatisfied with JPG - which I can only imagine stems from the fact that it is lossy compression - is either using: (PNG, GIF, EXR.)

        You don't understand what "raw" images are used for. They're used PURELY in the acquisition phase. There isn't a (non-webcam/hideously-dumbed down) camera in the world that records to GIF, I don't know of a single camera on the market that records to PNG, and EXR is a very specialized format used mostly in "film" (ie movie production.) No still digital cameras on the market record to it.

        'RAW' isn't used by anybody. 'RAW' does not exist. 'RAW' is a collective name for a shitload of formats by a smaller shitload of digital camera companies.

        No, it's not. RAW = Canon's "raw" image format. "Raw" image formats are produced by many higher-end digital cameras. I'm sorry you don't understand the distinction between RAW and raw, but it does make it painfully obvious this isn't your area of expertise. It is mine: I've shot RAW images on my Canon dSLR for fun and profit for several years now. I shoot exclusively in RAW format because of the extra bit depth which makes adjustments much more 'transparent' (a level adjustment won't cause as much problems wit 10-12 bit data as it will with 8 bit, and you also have no compression artifacts.) I archive everything in the original Canon RAW format.

        Your characterization that "raw" formats are used by a "shitload of smaller digital camera companies" is also completely wrong. Canon's RAW and Nikons's NEF are by far the largest, most commonly used "raw" formats. Phase1 is probably up there with their digital camera backs. I'm now guessing, but Fuji is probably next (Fuji dSLRs were very popular a few years back, in part because the Fuji SuperCCD was superior to almost everything else on the market at the time), followed by Panasonic/Leica, followed by Pentax.

        Many point-and-shoot consumer cameras these days are incapable of shooting in a RAW mode; it's left to the "prosumer" models by most manufacturers.

        And it is never "RAW".. it is never raw data.. it's compressed, stored integratedly or separately, encrypted or not (SONY, among other) and contains a bunch of camera data.

        It most certainly is raw image sensor data; that's the whole point. "Raw" camera formats all use LOSSLESS compression. Yes, all of them contain incredibly useful EXIF-like data in them. This is not, despite your rant, a negative to anyone I know. Few manufacturers encrypt the data; Nikon encrypts the white balance info on one or two models (which happen to be the several-thousand-dollar professional digital SLR bodies.)

        In most cameras (certainly the Canons and Nikons), it is, in fact, "raw"; it represents the closest you can get to the original sensor data, with little or no processing (on Canon cameras, I believe they don't even do thermal noise subtraction prior to writing the RAW file; the file even contains the "dead" area of the sensor used for such compensation), and anywhere from 10 to 12 bits per channel precision. No white balance, brightness/contrast, gamma, or sharpening adjustments are applied before the data is recorded.

    • Re:Nup, No, Nada. (Score:5, Informative)

      by dedazo (737510) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:32PM (#18284258) Journal

      everyone dissatisfied with JPG is already using RAW

      Actually, in the context of digital photography (which I assume is what you're talking about here, though JPEG is of course not limited to that) "everyone" uses TIFF. Just try to do freelance for a news agency and watch how quickly they ask you for TIFF files, which only the high-end cameras can generate.

      I suppose some of the smaller shops or newspapers and whatnot do use RAW, but for Reuters et.al if it's not TIFF you're not getting a paycheck. The same goes for the big stock photography companies and so on.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by daviddennis (10926)
        Isn't it trivial to generate a TIFF from RAW using Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom or the software that came with the camera?

        As for Microsoft's format, if it's not freely usable I don't see it taking off, and others have said it can't be used in GPL style projects, so it's clearly not for me.

        It might be nice to have a format that compressed better than JPEG and had higher quality. Does JPEG-2000 render in web browsers?

        D
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by dfghjk (711126)
          It may be trivial as long as you don't care about the quality of the output. If that's the case, one would wonder why you shot RAW in the first place.

          RAW is not an image format. It's a dump of all the sensor data that can be used to create an image. A very substantial amount of processing is required, some of it subjective, to arrive at an image.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by daviddennis (10926)
            What I was seeking to prove was that a requirement to get a TIFF to a news agency would not be a huge hardship as long as the RAW file existed. So if you have a camera incapable of shooting TIFF, you can use Adobe's or Apple's software to automatically convert the RAW file to TIFF.

            Is that not pretty much the same as shooting TIFF in the first place, except that you're having Adobe or Apple's software doing the conversion instead of the camera's, and you have more control over the process?

            I agree that pro p
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MP3Chuck (652277)
        "which only the high-end cameras can generate."

        Not entirely true ... I have a $300 Panasonic that does TIFF. Granted it's higher-end than your typical wallet-sized point-'n-shoot but it's far from a bank-breaking DSLR.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dave420 (699308)
        Yup - I worked at company in London that provided images to the media (print & digital), and *everything* was TIFF. We used JPEGs for previews, but the actual production-quality images were massive TIFFs, sometimes over hundreds of megs big. RAW doesn't even get mentioned when discussing image formats for those purposes.
      • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:01PM (#18285052) Homepage Journal
        I agree. In geospatial technologies (e.g. satellite imagery, aerial photography, GIS, topography, etc.) the GeoTIFF format [wikipedia.org] is commonly used for georeferenced raster data. Additionally, the BigTIFF format proposal [awaresystems.be] comes to the rescue to circumvent TIFF's 4 gigs maximum size.
      • Re:Nup, No, Nada. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by moosesocks (264553) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:04PM (#18285076) Homepage
        Well.... the whole point of RAW isn't to share files. It's to preserve sensor data EXACTLY as it is received so that it can be processed on a computer, and not on the camera itself. This has numerous advantages, as it is possible to make substantial adjustments to the image without severely compromising image quality.

        Because there are various algorithms to do this, it would be downright foolish to send a RAW file to an agency. However, because there's no loss, converting the RAW to a TIFF is trivial, and there's no real reason not to shoot raw unless you don't plan on doing any post-processing. Also, RAW files tend to be smaller than TIFFs when shot on the camera.
    • there are plenty of formats out there that are better than JPEG, and yet only the popular will continue to live on.

      There used to be a direct JPEG competitor (wave based raster compression) called 'Lightning Strike' or something... you could actually control the level of compression by an alpha channel. That way, like a portrait, you could keep the face in sharp detail without loss, and the rest will be compressed to heck leaving a file size and compression truly in the hands of the person making the file.
    • Re:Nup, No, Nada. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:38PM (#18284314)
      I don't see how this would replace jpg in any remote way whatsoever. Where are most images stored and viewed? On the internet and a browser. I need a small, high quality image. I don't need to go visit cnn.com and adjust the tint, hue and color levels of the "breaking news" graphic on their site.

      Not to mention, I am highly skeptical of any attempt Microsoft claims to be making toward "standardization".
    • It might not completely wipe out jpg, but I don't think people would care enough to try to hang on to it. Most people don't really care what format their photos are in so long as they can edit them and view them without requiring a new hard-drive for storage.

      All Microsoft would have to do is add a camera to the Zune with this format and consumers would be using it. If it actually offers lower file size and better picture most manufactures would be happy to add it to their products , claiming its benefits as
  • Meh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Desert Raven (52125) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:16PM (#18284062)
    I predict it will succeed in displacing jpg just like png displaced both gif and jpg.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      I predict it will succeed in displacing jpg just like png displaced both gif and jpg.

      When MS adds "HD Photo" into the next OS (or patches it into Vista) & their line of Office programs as the default, what do you think is going to happen?

      FTFA:
      "Microsoft said HD Photo's lightweight algorithm causes less damage to photos during compression, with higher-quality images that are half the size of a JPEG."

      PNG has well known limitations when it comes to photographs.
      Size is a big one of them.

      • by Tim Browse (9263)

        "Microsoft said HD Photo's lightweight algorithm causes less damage to photos during compression, with higher-quality images that are half the size of a JPEG."

        Didn't they say that about wma vs mp3? It wasn't true then...

    • better example (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by twitter (104583)

      I predict it will succeed in displacing jpg just like png displaced both gif and jpg.

      Or WMA replaced MP3. png did replace gif with good reason and could take the place of jpeg without much cost to device makers. M$ pushed WMA as hard as they could, making it the default format for WMP, shoving it down the throats of device makers while forbiding them to use ogg, but WMA still flopped. It flopped because it sucked. They said it was better but it was not and everyone ignored them.

      • by dedazo (737510)

        png did replace gif with good reason

        Really? And where exactly did you get that from?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by arth1 (260657)
          (PNG having taken over for GIF)

          Really? And where exactly did you get that from?

          Well, this very web page you're staring at is a good example.
          I count 21 PNG files and 2 GIF files.
  • I thouht PNG was supposed to be the end of JPEG

    OTH perhaps this will be the end of "JPG"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JeepFanatic (993244)
      I thought PNG was supposed to replace GIF because it can do transparencies and because GIF used to be encumbered by patent issues while PNG was open.
    • Re:PNG (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:26PM (#18284174)
      PNG was not supposed to replace JPEG; it was supposed to replace GIF. Unfortunately, thanks to massive delays in getting PNG support correctly working in IE, that never happened. Also, some people still insist they need animated GIFs, which PNG doesn't do (see MNG, which is nowhere). It's sad, as for most file sizes of images appropriate for GIF, PNG was way smaller (unless you get way, WAY small, as in under 150bytes or so (not kilobytes, BYTES). Also, Adobe is still unable to provide decent compression on the PNGs its software generates, so to this day, you need compression tools like pngout or pngcrush (pngout usually produces smaller files). Weird that you can still lossly compress a lossy image, but whatever.

      This won't be the end of anything unless it is unemcumbered by patents, and as a previous poster noted, it isn't. So, this is a non-event.

      Perhaps the group that came up with PNG can come up with a patent-free replacement for JPEG?
  • Won't End JPG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by popo (107611) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:19PM (#18284086) Homepage
    If you're not discarding data when you're adjusting color-balance and other settings, you're by definition not compressing as much as you possibly can.

    For example, if I desaturate a photo I'm throwing away tons of color information. If that color information is still being written to the file, the file isn't as small as it could be.

    Aside from that, PNG should have dethroned JPG long ago for the very simple reason that it contains an alpha channel -- but I still see plenty of JPG's.

    • by Animaether (411575) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:26PM (#18284164) Journal
      PNG is a replacement for GIF, if anything. JPG files are much smaller than PNG files for typical photographs (though can be smaller for line art and the like), which will always leave JPG as the favorite much like FLAC isn't replacing MP3 anytime soon. The alpha channel in PNG is absolutely a nice perk, but thanks to the dim people at Microsoft never supporting it right until IE7, there wasn't much benefit over using GIF files. (Even though PNG did bi-level transparency just as fine as GIF files - even better, you didn't lose 1 palette entry - but that as an aside.)

      If you want a JPG replacement - a la OGG Vorbis over MP3 - try JPEG2000 or the lurawave stuff based on wavelets.
      • by ampathee (682788)

        The alpha channel in PNG is absolutely a nice perk, but thanks to the dim people at Microsoft never supporting it right until IE7, there wasn't much benefit over using GIF files.
        Except for the fact that GIF only supports 256 (256!) colours? That seems like rather a large advantage for PNG to me!

        I do agree that (high-quality) JPG is better for photos though. Horses for courses, really. Lossy for photos, lossless for icons, line-art, etc.
        • Oh, absolutely! That's why I use PNG where image quality is absolutely required, even if JPG saves much smaller normally - at the highest quality levels, it actually fares worse!

          What I meant was within the context of supporting transparency - PNG supports nice multiple levels of transparency, which was a huge boon over GIF if you have to deal with transparency. Sadly, IE 6 and below didn't support it right, which made it less attractive. So the huge advantage there was basically nixed.

          Though, there's no
    • by jmv (93421)
      Aside from that, PNG should have dethroned JPG long ago for the very simple reason that it contains an alpha channel -- but I still see plenty of JPG's.

      I think that statement alone disqualifies you for giving any sort of opinion on image format. PNG and JPEG are totally different formats, trying to compress different types of images. Each of then sucks at what the other one does well.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Aside from that, PNG should have dethroned JPG long ago for the very simple reason that it contains an alpha channel -- but I still see plenty of JPG's.
      Remember 1995? Dial up modems? 1 megapixel cameras?
      Back when file size mattered?

      PNG never took over because you end up with files that are 5~10 times greater than JPG. It was a technology ahead of its time.

      P.S. PNG was supposed to dethrone GIF
    • For example, if I desaturate a photo I'm throwing away tons of color information. If that color information is still being written to the file, the file isn't as small as it could be.

      Maybe, but if it gets rid of detail - which is the only way it would get markedly smaller when desaturating - is that what you really want to do? I think the idea isn't really related to compression, but of reversibility - I'm guessing that the color balance info is stored somewhere in the file along with some compressed (or

  • What's the catch? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:22PM (#18284120)
    JPEG and PNG are fine, if we want a HDR capable lossless image format we'll use OpenEXR (No George, we still don't forgive you for Jar Jar). Why do Microsoft have to keep re-inventing the wheel? OpenEXR has mad force powers, Microsoft image formats smell like Ballmers toe nail clippings. What have they patented or what DRM switch and bait are Microsoft trying to pull with this move?

  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ameline (771895) <ian.ameline@gmailMOSCOW.com minus city> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:26PM (#18284170) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't do anything tiff can't

    If this is the same as the last time around, they've just taken tiff, duplicated a bunch of the baseline tags for no good reason (other than to make it incompatible), added their own codec (which they could have done to tiff very easily), removed a bunch of useful stuff from tiff, and called it their own image format. It's a real hack job.

    It's just MS being the MS we've come to know and love so well -- making their own binary formats in the hopes of extending their monopoly.

  • What does it cost? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by e9th (652576)
    How does MicroSoft intend to license it?
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:31PM (#18284244)
    I doubt that Microsoft will make any headway in this. MS is becoming less and less trusted, and if there is a good alternative that already exists and is supported everywhere it will stick. JPG, GIF, RAW, will stay there. MS, is getting more and more pathetic trying to regain there loosing glory of the 1990's. They have been able to get some marginal headway on SQL servers, and some other software. But for data format standards they haven't gotten a good stronghold on a document foothold From office formats.
    • please dont take this personally, i just feel, after seeing the word "lose" misspelled so many times, to make this post asking people to please learn how to spell lose..

      "loose" is an adjective defined as "not firmly tied or held together" or "not properly tightened".

      "lose" is a verb defined as "to be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something)".

      it's just driven me up the wall having seen it so many times.
  • by John.P.Jones (601028) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:32PM (#18284250)
    If JPEG can't develop a standard to effectively replace JPEG (JPEG2000) then I really don't see much hope for Microsoft in doing so.
  • by callmetheraven (711291) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:33PM (#18284268)
    displays for sure!
  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:34PM (#18284276) Journal

    No. Next!

    Rationale? We already have JPEG for lossy and PNG for lossless and now that GIF is off-patent we have that too. All of these have un-encumbered implementations. Having lossless and lossy in one format doesn't really offer much of an advantage. Unless this new image format gives me time-traveling X-ray vision into whatever the picture is, why should I care? Extra compression is nice, and it might be worthwhile if you were archiving terabytes of image data. Most web sites are not, so even if it has better compression it's still not worth the hassle of switching. Bandwidth and storage are just not that expensive. In other words, it would have to totally blow away the existing formats by some performance metric. I have a hard time believing the ammount of effort to switch things over could be justified. What could possibly be that much better about any new image format? Anyone remember JPEG 2000? The wavelet compression was really interesting, but it was proprietary, somebody was trying to make money off it, and so nobody cared. It's tough to enter a market where the price is already set at ZERO. The existing product in such a market has to be inferior enough so that people are willing to pony up the extra bills. An example of where this has happened in the recent past is the compiler market. People were willing to pay extra for the Intel compiler even though GCC is free, because the Intel compiler generated faster code. It's been a while since I've looked into that, so I don't know if that's still the situation. Even with the performance difference, many people still just stuck with GCC rather than pay more. This is not MS-bashing. It's just basic economics.

  • by Shayde (189538) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:38PM (#18284316) Homepage
    In reality, this doesn't mean anything, because there's insufficient information in the linked article.

    Microsoft, just like any other vendor on the planet, is free to submit anything they like into standards bodies, and ask that they be accepted or considered for use in the world. If Microsoft's new format is useful, fantastic, we all should start using it.

    But if, and only if, that format comes free from the burden of licensing or copyright. We've seen how damaging these restrictions can be to simple file format (remember ARC? And all the fun that went on with GIF?) - If Microsoft is releasing an idea for folks to use and adopt? Excellent. If they're pushing an internal format that they hold a patent on, and are requesting other vendors to adopt it? Then it's simply Microsoft once again trying to dick over the industry. And I can't see how it can possibly work under those circumstances.

    They don't have the big stick they used to. This is no longer 2000, where the corporate juggernaut simply needed to wave it's financial might and the net doth tremble before it. Microsoft has to tread carefully on an increasingly powerful free software world.

    We'll see how this goes. Me, I'm waiting to hear more information.
  • 'HD Photo' blog (Score:2, Informative)

    by Animaether (411575)
    For more information on 'HD Photo' (damn I hate that name), check the blog at:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/billcrow/ [msdn.com]

    Hasn't been updated in a good while, but contains plenty of nice information. The various bitdepth storages alone make it an 'interesting' format if nothing else - though I'm sticking with EXR.. just a shame that doesn't offer lossy compression much yet - but then.. that's not its' purpose.
  • Um, no. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retro128 (318602) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:41PM (#18284358)
    Yeah right. When was the last time a proprietary Microsoft format overtook a reigning defacto standard? I also didn't see anything in the article that indicated technology licensing fees. Given that it's Microsoft, I'm pretty sure they're going to charge for it. If they don't, they will once enough people start adopt it. After all, this is Microsoft we're talking about, guys.

    Actually, never mind Microsoft. Let's look at the audio arena. The royalty-free OGG format should have bumped off MPG, but still device manufacturers are all too happy to pay Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to use MP3. In fact, it's still hard to find devices that support OGG at all. The moral of the story is that it's really hard to get anyone to commit development costs to support a new standard, let alone beat out one that's widely supported, even if you are giving away the tech for free.
  • The first thing I think of when I see "HD photo" is 16x9. With most things video and digital moving to widescreen, I wonder when cameras will change to widescreen as their standard picture format.
  • so that we don't get a repeat of the GIF, JPEG, MP3 patent scams coming up again in the future
  • I was disappointed to not see "Microsoft unleashes JPEG killer" as a title to this article.
  • by plazman30 (531348) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:02PM (#18285054) Homepage
    And look what happened there. WMV was supposed to be the death of MPEG-4/Divx. And the Zune was supposed to be the death of the iPod. They try so hard and always come up short.

    I'm sure the format has a boatload of patents associated with it that would preclude it from being used in any open source projects.

    Heck, if JPEG2000 and MP3Pro can't catch on, what makes them think this will?
  • by Provocateur (133110) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:12PM (#18285138) Homepage
    I believe it will be here where it will be met with stiff resistance
     
  • by dudeX (78272) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:13PM (#18285140)
    Microsof'ts HD Photo format is a forward looking codec. Vista can support future displays that will have wider gamuts and high dynamic range. Right now most video cards only support 8 bits per channel for color (24 bit, the other 8 bits are for alpha channels, meaning that it can quickly apply color effects efficiently).

    It is possible that in 2009, people will be buying wide gamut, high dynamic range displays in numbers, so it will become evident that the old graphic file formats aren't going to look as good anymore. HD Photo can fill that need by having the high bit rate for more expressive colors, as well as offering compression comparable to JPEG so that it can be used online. It also offers the flexiblity to trade files uncompressed for maximum detail.

    I suppose everyone can use a format like OpenEXR for high bit info, but I don't think it compresses as well as HD Photo.

    Nevertheless, I am going to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt that they're not going to sue people for decoding HD Photo. However, I don't know how flexible they will be with people encoding it. I think now the general industry has wisened up to close formats and now will consider open formats from now on.

  • by the_womble (580291) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:21AM (#18285560) Homepage Journal
    Surely the camera manufacturers will be a bit distrustful of an MS format after MS unexpectedly tried to collect money from them for using FAT.

    It seems to me that using any new format is very high risk. You do not know what patents may exist on it - not only those held by the deviser of the format (which may be safely covered by a license agreement), but any held by third parties.

    Of course even a format that has been around a while may be hit by an unexpected claim (as recently with mp3), but as a format gets olders the lower the risk, and once it has been in use for longer patents last, it is completely safe.
  • by cooldev (204270) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:25AM (#18285590)

    Before slamming the format, please read more about it. Regardless of what you think about Microsoft, I think it has great potential. Some highlights:

    • High dynamic range
    • Embedded ICC color profile
    • Lossy and lossless compression
    • Ability to decode part of the image without decoding the whole thing (see below)
    • Ability to crop, downsample (i.e. thumbnails), and rotate without decoding the whole image
    • Very efficient encoding and decoding, useful not only on the desktop, but also specifically designed for fast encoding and decoding on devices like digital cameras
    • High quality and small file size. (Around half the file size as JPEG (or) twice the quality. Claimed to be similar to JPEG 2000 without the additional performance and memory impact.)
    • TIFF-like container
    • The licence for the format *is* supposedly compatible with the GPL; only the source code for the reference implementation is not.

    Also, take a look at http://labs.live.com/photosynth [live.com] and http://blogs.msdn.com/billcrow [msdn.com]. To quote one thing from his blog:

    Because this is a compressed domain operation, the server never had to decode or re-encode the compressed data to create this low resolution "thumbnail" of the larger, high resolution image. The only work involved was to copy a portion of the compressed data and wrap it up in a container to make a new HD Photo file. This very small HD Photo file is sent across the network connection, and then decoded by the HD Photo codec on the client to provide the low resolution view required for the particular display.

    When zooming in to the fine details of a high resolution image, the HD Photo codec is able to very quickly extract an arbitrary rectangular region by accessing only the image tiles that overlap that region. Like the mipmaps described above, this is accomplished by simply extracting a small portion of the compressed data and building a new (and very small) HD Photo file to be sent across the network. The client receives and decodes this small file, combining it with the other segments required to display the required view.

    IMHO this seems like a well-balanced format that has most of the advantages of a cornucopia of different formats (JPEG, JPEG 2000, RAW, TIFF) without the corresponding disadvantages. If it's not successful, I at least hope something equivalent is!

  • widely supported? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Riquez (917372) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:39AM (#18285672) Homepage
    If it's widely supported by browsers, OS's, PDA's, phones, playstations, web tv, photo cd's & dvd's, email apps, [word, excel, powerpoint (& the superior rivals)], printers, print shops, memory card printers & copiers, cameras, ipods & design apps I think it might have a chance.

    Since Microsoft won't even be supporting it fully in their own apps (no evidence, but its just obvious right) I don't think it has much chance.
  • by mrnick (108356) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:04AM (#18286366) Homepage
    I wouldn't use this if you paid me, unless it made me Oprah rich. Anytime Microsoft introduces a file scheme you can be assured they have some hidden agenda behind it. Most likely this will be closed code / format. So, sure you will be able to benefit from all the great features as long as you use Internet Explorer or the like. Whenever Microsoft releases some new product, service, or specification ask yourself what is in it for them? Because the empirical evidence has shown that they have no altruistic motives behind anything they are involved with.

    Nick Powers
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday March 09, 2007 @06:10AM (#18287010) Journal

    It is simple, the new image format is NOT compatible with the gpl, meaning that once you have chosen that format you will be locked in to using software that supports it. Hmmm, now wich software would that be. Ooh, I know, MS wants you to be locked into OS-X!

    Oh, you thinks it is windows. Well I suppose if you are paranoid you could think that MS is trying to introduce a new format that would lock people to its own products by capturing their content.

    For this to work MS doesn't have to destroy jpeg at all, it doesn't even have to touch it. It just has to make it that enough people use the new format that it becomes an essential thing.

    Just imagine what happens to the web if IE supports this and other browsers can't. Voila, only IE (on windows) can be used to see the whole web. Wanna bet that losts of myspace and other social sites visitors where people upload snaps made with their MS phones would be laden with this new image?

    With every thing MS does you simply got to ask yourselve this, "how can this be used to futher tie the user into using MS software exclusively".

    If you look at the number of posts here that are about the format rather then the license then even slashdotters are taken in by it.

  • The real question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eagl (86459) on Friday March 09, 2007 @06:24AM (#18287058) Journal
    The real question - does it have to be licensed?

    If it does, then it's freaking worthless, no better than if I tried to tell everyone they could write text documents but had to pay me or I'd sue them. Because that's what happened with .gif and .mp3, and that's what makes those formats something to avoid at almost all costs because you can be sued if you use them without paying the man.

    There are plenty of perfectly good formats that don't require payment to anyone. USE THEM INSTEAD.
  • by NekoXP (67564) on Friday March 09, 2007 @06:26AM (#18287068) Homepage
    Yeah right. End of JPEG. As if.

    It may simply become the "other format" supported on every camera (alongside JPEG, RAW or even TIFF) the same way Ogg is the "other format" supported on MP3 players (also supporting WMA, AAC). I doubt they have wild new technology in there that will make it hard to support all of them at once.
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Friday March 09, 2007 @08:18AM (#18287450)
    Microsoft claims that adjustments can be made to color balance and exposure settings that won't discard or truncate data that occurs with other bit-map formats.

    It's trivial to do that: instead of changing the bits, you add a list of transformations to the image header. Trouble is: when such a format comes from Microsoft, they will have numerous patents on it and Microsoft will use those aggressively to maintain their monopoly. It doesn't matter that it's obvious how to do this. It doesn't matter that they weren't the first to invent it.

    The world does need a better alternative to JPEG, but it must not come from Microsoft. The FOSS world should instead repeat what happened with PNG and Ogg: create an open, patent-unencumbered format.

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