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GIF will finally be free!

Posted by joshy on September 29, 2006 at 12:23 PM PDT

I just read this. The last patent on the GIF format will expire on Sunday (October 1st, 2006). At long last the GIF format will be free. Of course we should all be using PNGs for everything, but thanks to lackluster IE support that's not always possible.

Interestingly, I was recently helping someone with a Java Web Start app. They wanted a shaped/transparent desktop icon for their app, but they also needed it to work under Java 5, which doesn't support PNGs for icons (that was added in Java 6). I used Photoshop to convert it to a 256 color GIF with transparency and an adaptive palette. It worked great and I almost can't tell the difference. I guess there is life in GIF still. :)

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