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Microsoft Patents Media

Microsoft's HD Photo to Become JPEG Standard? 369

Posted by Zonk
from the what's-wrong-with-jpeg dept.
Mortimer.CA writes "Ars Technica is reporting that Microsoft has submitted their HD Photo to the JPEG committee: 'Microsoft's ongoing attempt to establish its own photo format as a JPEG alternative (and potential successor) took another step forward today when the JPEG standards group agreed to consider HD Photo (originally named Windows Media Photo) as a standard. If successful, the new file standard will be known as JPEG XR.' Microsoft has made a 'commitment to make its patents that are required to implement the specification available without charge.' While JPEG 2000 exists, HD Photo has several advantages (not the least of which is a lot less CPU power is needed). Is this a big of an issue as ODF/OOXML?"
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Microsoft's HD Photo to Become JPEG Standard?

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:24PM (#20091187) Journal

    I can't for my life figure out how Microsoft or why Microsoft introduces evil into this format and standard, other than Microsoft's track record. Unfortunately, that is sufficient... I'd vote no on any of their proposals.

    The future and potential for photography is huge. There are:

    • all the new buyers in the pipeline and hence,
    • all the vendors of digital format pictures
    • conversion to some archival and historical preserve all existing paper documents
    • mapping and navigation software (e.g., Windows Live Earth).
    • web graphics in ever higher definition

    Microsoft makes their promise to make this free. Somehow, that just rings a tad hollow. Must we continue to be the Charlie Brown to Microsoft's Lucy?

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:31PM (#20091313)

      Microsoft makes their promise to make this free.
      The exact wording from the article is, "offer a royalty-free grant for its patents that are required to implement" --I'm sure there are more details to the offer, but just because it is royalty-free doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be other terms that are deal breakers.
      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:49PM (#20091633) Homepage Journal
        Microsoft's license for OOXML, for instance, does not include a patent license; only a promise not to sue, so long as your implementation only uses the necessary portions of details described in the specification, and not details referenced by the specification. IOW, to create an OOXML document importer or exporter, you end up recreating a lot of Microsoft code that isn't covered.

        So 1) you can't use code based on the specification in a GPL V2 or GPL V3 program, because you can't satisfy the patent clause, and 2) you can't write any program based on the specification, because Microsoft only promises not sue you for implementing the specification, not for any supporting code that you would need to write to implement the specification.

        See http://fussnotes.typepad.com/plexnex/2007/01/analy zing_the_m.html [typepad.com] for example.
      • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:00PM (#20091827)
        Though it almost makes we want to spit my coffee, I have to say that I do not see anything evil here... yet. Quite the contrary, it would seem on first blush. An RF grant is pretty clearcut, see the big discussion about that leading up to the famous W3 decision to require RF grants for all new web standards.

        Still, there are still ways to game an RF grant, for example, nothing stops Microsoft from supporting slightly off-standard formats in its own software and refusing to grant an RF license covering those changes to other implementors, using the argument that the original RF grant does not cover any extensions. I suppose the big question is, are other implementors free to extend the format also or does the RF grant evaporate as soon as an implementor extends the standard, perhaps in an effort to match Microsoft's own extensions? In which case the playing field would be far from level, and we have seen all too many times what happens when Microsoft manages to tilt the playing field. I simply haven't drilled into this enough to know what is true here, and no doubt, close readers will find other aspects of the grant to worry about.
      • The linked document is not from MS directly and is not binding on MS. No doubt all the small print with the hooks is in the actual legal docs.

        MS has a track record of submitting its specs/patents to standards bodies and then trying to gouge people later. Look at FAT and SmartMedia for instance.

    • by LionKimbro (200000) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:33PM (#20091345) Homepage
      Well, here's a thought --

      They say, "One important aspect regarding the standardization of HD Photo is Microsoft's commitment to make its patents that are required to implement the specification available without charge."

      "Alright, fair enough," I think, but then I wonder: "So, what's the application process like, and what are the licensing requirements?"

      Might they say something like, "Oh, it's available free of charge, but you can't use it in an OpenSource / FreeSoftware project, because that's uncontrolled, there's no telling what liabilities we'll be exposed to, for letting you implement this, ... (etc etc etc, filler nonsense here.)" ..?

      Maybe that's "the trick" here?
      • Deja GIF. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:57PM (#20091765) Homepage Journal
        If there are restrictions, Microsoft's HD photo will go the way of the GIF format.
        • You're right- what's the big deal anyway? We don't have to use jpeg.. lossless compression is better anyway, especially in this era of 700gb hard drives and verizon fios
        • Re:Deja GIF. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by omeomi (675045) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:03PM (#20091881) Homepage
          If there are restrictions, Microsoft's HD photo will go the way of the GIF format.

          Websites still use gif quite a bit. And the patents have expired, so there's no real reason not to anymore...Personally, I prefer png, but for some reason png hasn't really caught on. I imagine because graphic design schools break web graphics up into 2 categories, full-color jpg, and line-art gif.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Asmor (775910)
            Unrelated, and really just for my own edification/laziness...

            Where does PNG fit into the paraidgm? I mean, I know it's got more advanced alpha transparency than gif, and I think that it's based on plain ol' bitmaps as opposed to compression, so it seems like a strict successor to GIF...

            However, gif still has some legs up on it, namely ubiquity and the fact that animated PNGs support doesn't seem to be remotely common.

            So is this basically correct? Anything I'm missing?
            • Re:Deja GIF. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:34PM (#20092465) Journal
              If PNG had supported animations the way GIF does, it would have probably all but killed GIF completely. I know there were a couple of attempts at standardizing animation formats that used PNG as an underlying picture format (MNG and APNG come to mind), but I believe it was a serious oversight on the part of the original PNG developers to not define a standard for at least some sort of successive frame-based animation (sort of like GIF) as part of the core spec.
              • Re:Deja GIF. (Score:5, Informative)

                by LionMage (318500) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:09PM (#20092999) Homepage
                I already addressed this issue in a sibling comment to yours, but I figured I'd address this specific point here (as I'm one of the authors of the PNG spec).

                PNG was only ever intended to be a format to store image data, not animation data. The use of GIF animations wasn't very widespread when the GIF LZW patent crisis prompted a group of developers to work on the PNG specification. MNG is the sister format, is specifically intended to cover animation applications, and builds upon the PNG specification. (Without glancing at the specs, I recall that a PNG is more-or-less a valid MNG file, but not the other way around -- MNG is therefore a superset of PNG. Although I worked on the PNG spec, I have no real connection to the MNG folks.)

                APNG was an effort that originated outside the PNG/MNG group, and it failed to be ratified as an extension to PNG -- mainly because it goes contrary to the mission of PNG, which is to be a standard for storing single images. The rejection of the APNG proposal happened earlier this year, according to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]. Apparently undaunted, the Mozilla folks stuck APNG support into Firefox, but who knows if it'll stay there. The format extensions for APNG are officially unsupported and non-standard, making Firefox the lone holdout on this. Why they couldn't just support MNG is anyone's guess.

                Basically, by the time animated GIF became a serious issue, the PNG spec was very close to frozen, and the core spec authors and library developers successfully argued that PNG should be kept solely for image storage. (During PNG development, a THMB chunk was proposed to store a thumbnail version of the full image. This was killed for similar reasons to the APNG extensions.) I tend to agree that stuffing animation features into a file format intended for still images makes the decoder more complicated, and doesn't offer a very optimal solution for animation. The whole notion of animated GIFs never sat well with me either, even though they proved to be popular with HTML jockeys.

                Further reading seems to indicate that Mozilla's developers had MNG support, but yanked it in favor of APNG support. I can only guess the motivations, but sounds to me as though they wanted to blaze their own path for political/personal reasons, not necessarily sound technical reasons.
            • Re:Deja GIF. (Score:5, Informative)

              by LionMage (318500) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:47PM (#20092661) Homepage
              I'm one of the co-authors of the PNG spec, so I will give my answers to your questions. I can't claim to speak for the other PNG spec authors.

              Where does PNG fit into the [paradigm]? I mean, I know it's got more advanced alpha transparency than gif, and I think that it's based on plain ol' bitmaps as opposed to compression, so it seems like a strict successor to GIF...

              PNG was always intended to replace GIF and be a "better GIF than GIF." PNG is also a more-than-adequate replacement for most common TIFF variants, because you can do almost everything that TIFF can do, but with less complexity (fewer choices for implementation, simpler format, and no optional format features you can't live without that some readers may choose to ignore) and less ambiguity in the spec. The less ambiguity bit is important, since the TIFF spec's ambiguity is one of the main reasons that TIFF files written by one application may not be readable by another application -- even if both apps support the same TIFF extensions.

              PNG has compression -- it uses deflate (LZ77 + Huffman coding) instead of GIF's formerly-patent-encumbered LZW algorithm. The key here is lossless compression, so unlike bog-standard JPEG, PNG images are great for archiving exact image data. Radiologists like the fact that PNG can store grayscale images with 16-bit-per-pixel accuracy, in complete image fidelity.

              Yes, PNG has better alpha channel support than GIF (although it has a special palette-based transparency feature similar to GIF89's transparency, mainly to ease the transition from GIF to PNG). It also has a better interlacing scheme, for progressive rendering of images when your data pipe is constrained. Set-top-box developers like this feature.

              Where PNG fails with high def photos and the like is the lack of floating point representation of pixel data, which limits the kind of High Dynamic Range stuff you can do with it. PNG has chunk types which can contain many of the kinds of meta-data that you would care about for digital photography and scanned artwork, but much of the reader code out there does nothing with this meta-data.

              However, gif still has some legs up on it, namely ubiquity and the fact that animated PNGs support doesn't seem to be remotely common.

              Actually, PNG doesn't support animation at all. The animated sister format is MNG. Animated GIFs are kind of a poor animation format anyway, but they're great for small-size effects on web pages. MNG support in browsers is non-existent, so this has paradoxically limited PNG's uptake (and made GIF more difficult to kill).
              • Re:Deja GIF. (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Skapare (16644) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:34PM (#20093399) Homepage

                Actually, PNG doesn't support animation at all. The animated sister format is MNG. Animated GIFs are kind of a poor animation format anyway, but they're great for small-size effects on web pages. MNG support in browsers is non-existent, so this has paradoxically limited PNG's uptake (and made GIF more difficult to kill).

                And this was known (because I posted it) back when PNG was becoming a new standard. The design of PNG would even make it easy to have a rudimentary animation facility (that's all that would have been needed to bump GIF). Yet it wasn't done. What a missed opportunity. What a historical screwup. Well, OK, it wasn't your fault, I presume. Do you know whose fault it is?

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by dangitman (862676)

                because you can do almost everything that TIFF can do, but with less complexity

                Not supporting clipping paths (vectors) seems to fall well short of "almost all" that TIFF can do. It's a pretty major omission. Another question - does PNG handle CMYK images? Color profiles? Those are a pretty big deal, too.

          • by hjf (703092)
            Photoshop has always given best results compressing in either GIF or JPEG. I use PNGs only when I need an alpha channel (because GIF transparency it's really out of date), and for that it works great. I don't care if it renders differently in IE. People who would notice that, would use firefox (or opera, whatever) already. People who use IE, wouldn't tell the difference anyway.
            • by omeomi (675045)
              Photoshop has always given best results compressing in either GIF or JPEG.

              I don't have the most recent version of Photoshop, but from my own observation, Fireworks has always seemed to handle PNG better than Photoshop...maybe because it uses PNG as it's native file format.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by FLEB (312391)
            I think the biggest setback to PNG was lousy support in Internet Explorer during a time of rapid Internet growth and solidification. Even though 8-bit PNG was rather trouble-free, the whole format had a "new and iffy" feel to it. Indexed, single-color transparency worked well, but in that case there were few clearly visible advantages to PNG (true, it's better compression, but it's not like PNG24/JPEG, where you can clearly see lack of JPEG crud). Also, there's still no standard browser support for MNG, so
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drew (2081)
          Meaning that it will still be supported and used far more often than any of the much more advanced competing formats, despite numerous significant shortcomings and a restrictive license enforced by a litigious corporation?

          I think we could all do with a few less file formats going the way of the GIF format...
      • by RegularFry (137639) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:05PM (#20091911)
        They pulled back from a previous licence they were going to release it under, which would have specifically prohibited, for example, a Gimp interface. You can see the old licence details here: http://blogs.msdn.com/billcrow/archive/2006/06/30/ 651898.aspx [msdn.com]

        The current licence is *much* more liberal, and I think Microsoft deserve credit for the move. I still don't trust them, but they did make a move in the right direction in this case.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by LionKimbro (200000)
          You sound like you know what you're talking about;

          I wish I could mod you up.

          nntr
          • I did some early work with it when it was still Windows Media Photo. It's genuinely a good format. I just hope it doesn't get bogged down in politics and legal wrangling.
            • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:54PM (#20092763)

              I did some early work with it when it was still Windows Media Photo. It's genuinely a good format. I just hope it doesn't get bogged down in politics and legal wrangling.


              I won't speak to the potential for "legal wrangling", but regarding "politics", if this does get bogged down in politics then you can bet that it'll be the anything-but-Microsoft folks that are to blame. Hell, this very subthread starts with a post saying that this format should be rejected just because it comes from Microsoft, regardless of the merits and regardless of how liberal the license is. In other words, the format should be rejected on the basis of politics. The same BS that goes on in the ODF vs OOXML debates (the reality is that 90% of that debate is politics BS, not technical merits).
              • by Twanfox (185252) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @05:01PM (#20092901)
                I would imagine much of this distrust stems from Microsoft's tendency to stifle competition and get away with it. That is not to say that this move of theirs isn't appropriate, genuine, or truly innovative. Once you've been bitten once (or several times), you tend to look at the person biting you with a more cautious eye and wonder if/how/when they're going to bite you again.
              • by The_Wilschon (782534) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @08:01PM (#20095183) Homepage
                As I understand it, the reason for the politics in ODF/OOXML is that technical factors bring in politics. OOXML allows documents to contain chunks that look like <WORD97DocumentHere>mumble</WORD97DocumentHere>, where mumble is a binary dump of a Word 97 document. This is, of course, a technical matter, a detail of the specification. However, since Word 97 format is not itself open in the slightest (a political matter, openness), this particular technical matter drags in politics in a big way.

                OTOH, this political matter, lack of openness, drags in technical problems as well. A spec which is not open must be reverse engineered (and even then there is dubious legality), so only those who have access to the closed spec will necessarily be able to implement it correctly. This tilts the playing field for the software market heavily in favor of those with access to the closed spec. Any competitors will find that either their software fails to function correctly, or they have to do a lot more work to get correctly functioning software. The result: either a monoculture/monopoly in software using this spec, or a variety of incompatible attempts at implementing the spec, resulting in inability to carry files from one computer to another and expect them to still work.

                So, a technical matter in the OOXML spec results in political wrangling, which wrangling is motivated by technical reasons anyways. Dig a little bit deeper than most people are willing to, and you find that it really isn't a matter (for most people) of Anything-But-Microsoft. It may look that way, because MS offerings are so consistently rejected, but nearly always, it is actually for technical reasons (perhaps technical by way of political in the middle, but technical at both ends (motivation for objection, and object of objection)).

                Now, the OP who said "we should reject this just because it is from MS" might be a true Anything-But-Microsoft person. That would certainly explain the remark. OTOH, caution, a look at history, and an understanding of the technical matters involved in said history would also explain the remark quite easily. The reference to MS' "track record" suggests to me that perhaps the latter explanation is the right one. But then again, I'm an eternal optimist, always seeking to think the best of people until I actually have a real reason to think otherwise.
    • by St. Arbirix (218306) <matthew,townsend&gmail,com> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:35PM (#20091377) Homepage Journal
      They've made what appears to be a legally binding promise they aren't going to dick people over this one using their Open Specification Promise [microsoft.com]. Whereas the OOXML vs. ODF debate has good grounding in one specification being lower quality than the other, HDPhoto really is an improvement over current formats, especially for handling raw images.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:28PM (#20091265) Journal
    The key issue is not whether it is coming from MSFT or if it gives MSFT any leg up. They key issue, can anyone implement the standard directly without payments, without agreements without any restrictions? MSFT can very well say, there is no payment but all implementors should sign some agreement with us. Then there could be a clause that could revoke the agreement. Thus if any competitor gets too big MSFT can pull the rug from under them.

    If the specification is as free as ASCII, to use one example, then there is nothing wrong in adopting that as a standard.

    • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:41PM (#20091497) Homepage Journal

      They key issue, can anyone implement the standard directly without payments, without agreements without any restrictions? MSFT can very well say, there is no payment but all implementors should sign some agreement with us. Then there could be a clause that could revoke the agreement.
      You're not thinking deviously enough. What they REALLY want to do is have all of the most popular Web data formats require the use of their patents, and then issue a blanked right to use those patents for free to anyone... but in a way that's not GPLv3 compatible.

      This is Microsoft's dream because you can't contest it in court. The agreement you're violating if you mix this technology with GPLv3 code is NOT the agreement with Microsoft, but the GPLv3! You would have to sue the FSF in order to use Microsoft's image format in your GPLv3 code.

      For all that I despise the tactic, I have to admit that it's a clever little hack.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chandon Seldon (43083)

        I'm not seeing how they would cleanly construct such an attack. The patent license restrictions in GPLv3 are very specific - I don't think that Microsoft can come up with a licensing setup that would run into trouble with the GPL and still be considered distributable by "Open Source" type vendors.

        Even if they did come up with such a patent license, the vendors can simply ship libjpegxr as a platform library and still not have any trouble with the GPLv3.

      • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:00PM (#20091831) Journal
        So, what you are saying is that Microsoft is playing the same game as GPL3, except to their advantage, not FOSS or GPL3 or ......

        Begun the license wars have.
    • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:52PM (#20091685) Homepage
      It just so happens I am planning an HD Image product, service or technology and the spec is totally hostile to everyone BUT microsoft. (no surprise there)

      1. 1. You may review these Materials only (a) as a reference to assist You in planning and designing Your product, service or technology ("Product") to interface with a Microsoft product, specification, service or technology

      Mac/Linux/BSD? Nope. So, that appears to rule out web-based stuff. Fortunately, I'm only working on Windows, so I'll read on. ...You may not (i) duplicate any part of these Materials
      Okay I won't. But how does my engineering group work with the spec if I can't duplicate it?

      any Feedback you voluntarily provide may be used in Microsoft Products
      Okay, I won't provide any feedback. It was once believed that developers were Microsoft's focus. Apparently not anymore.

      Without going into specifics because the EULA prevents it, there are proprietary elements hidden inside this spec.

      It's clear they are *very* late to the pro-photo fight that is on now between Apple and Adobe. Each of those companies has a proprietary "pro photo" format.

      Sadly most pro photographers won't think about the consequences of adopting proprietary formats until it is too late. For example, some legacy proprietary raw images as provided by the camera manufacturers are not backward compatible. I've read it in the mailing lists already.
      • by Applekid (993327) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:06PM (#20091949)

        1. 1. You may review these Materials only (a) as a reference to assist You in planning and designing Your product, service or technology ("Product") to interface with a Microsoft product, specification, service or technology
        Mac/Linux/BSD? Nope
        Where do you see that exclusion? If you're downloading details on HD Photo, that's a Microsoft specification. Your product, service, or technology will be interfacing with a steam of binary data which is expected to be in the proper format i.e. adhering to specification.

        You may not (i) duplicate any part of these Materials
        Okay I won't. But how does my engineering group work with the spec if I can't duplicate it?
        "Hey, guys, go to http://microsoft.com/really_neat_spec [microsoft.com] and download it for review."

        any Feedback you voluntarily provide may be used in Microsoft Products
        Okay, I won't provide any feedback. It was once believed that developers were Microsoft's focus. Apparently not anymore.
        *sigh* In this litigious society, some smart-ass might report a bug or request an enchancement. Microsoft might get it and implement a fix or the added feature. Smart-ass might get the brilliant idea of filing suit against Microsoft for stealing his idea. It's a CYA move.

        There's PLENTY wrong with Microsoft spearheading a format and being very active in getting it consumed as a world standard. We'd do well to avoid it since it's basically steps two and three of "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish." Why should they embrace something when the rest of the industry will handle the leg work of getting the Embrace phase down?

        It's bad on it's merits alone. FUDing it up doesn't help anyone.
      • it's clear they are *very* late to the pro-photo fight that is on now between Apple and Adobe. Each of those companies has a proprietary "pro photo" format.

        Sorry, game over. The TIFF format won a while back. (.psd is in second). There is no real reason to change this for the foreseeable future. These are manipulation and storage formats, have been so for the past decade and do what they need to do.

        Sadly most pro photographers won't think about the consequences of adopting proprietary formats until it is

      • It's clear they are *very* late to the pro-photo fight that is on now between Apple and Adobe. Each of those companies has a proprietary "pro photo" format.
        What is Apple's?

  • Honestly, what's wrong with JPEG2000? CPU power has come a long way since it was originally released, so why isn't it more standard?
    • by fbjon (692006)
      Cameras don't have infinite battery.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)
      I think JPEGs would be a damn hard standard to overcome. They tried it with PNGs to overcome the GIF legal encumbrances, but just what percentage of images out there in the wild are PNGs?

      Quite frankly, I think JPEGs as they stand are too far along now for something that, with modern CPU power, offers an almost imperceptible advantage, to get any traction. Ten years ago, when computers and the Internet were slower, they might have had a chance, but now, no way.

      There are too many real things to hate and fea
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well, there are not many PNGs in the wild because IE6 does not support its alpha channel. Thus, there is no real reason to switch to PNG (although having a full color palette is nice by itself), especially concidering the hoops you have to jump through to get the file sizes down to the same size as a .gif (you need to use tools outside of GIMP/Photoshop such as optipng and pngnq). Web designers (I am, unfortunately, one of them) know how easy it would be to make slick looking websites using images with al
    • by cmowire (254489) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:53PM (#20091705) Homepage
      The problems largely boil down to:
      1. JPEG2000 is covered by patents that haven't been properly licensed
      2. JPEG2000 has very little software support, wheras good old JPEG will work eveyrwhere. Which helps your average user who doesn't want to need an image editor.
      3. The digital camera market has standardized to RAW for cases where JPEG isn't good enough. Neither the existing JPEG2000 nor HD Photo are designed to store un-demosaiced data from the sensor. This allows a RAW converter to offer smarter noise reduction and sharpening modes... and it's not trivial enough of an operation that any arbitrary JPEG2000-ish tool should be forced to implement properly.
      4. People don't quite realized the level of screwed we are with respect to TIFF [wireheadarts.com], so it still seems "good enough" for most folks.
      5. Adobe, who has the photo-editing market by the balls, would rather have you stuck with their proprietary formats as much as possible.
    • by Trillan (597339)
      Wasn't there a $25,000 USD fee associated with getting full access to the standard a few years ago?
  • Public Domain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daeg (828071) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:31PM (#20091315)
    If they are truly interested in making the patents "available", they would simply surrender the patents into the public domain. Since they have not done this, assume they will not always make the patents "available" to everyone or will have special cases where it is not available (for example, to extend the specification, or to set up a company that certifies HD Photo implementations, or "no government use without paying us", etc).
  • Seems the specs are pretty good, But what about the license?

    Are we going to have the same initial jpeg 2000 issues with licenses? Sounds like another license scam, its not free for consumers, there are submarine patents.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG_2000 [wikipedia.org] check the License Issues section...
  • by DriveDog (822962) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:40PM (#20091475)
    If MS gives away all rights to the format spec and any algorithms required to use it, fine. JPEG can declare particular implementations in compliance or not. Otherwise, no way.
  • I don't care that it's Microsoft. Here's what I care about:

    Patented? Yes, so it's a problem
    If patented, Royalties or License restrictions? We see no royalties, but what about license restrictions? Is it OSS friendly or will it not work within Firefox legally?
    Is it effective or does it offer anything we don't already have? I don't know...
  • There is a simple truth that has to be made, it has to be 100% open and 100% free of patent infringment, so there's nothing to come back and bite people in the rear. To bad the ogg people dont work on this.
  • MS patents (Score:4, Informative)

    by SillySilly (843107) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:50PM (#20091653)
    One of the requirements of the JPEG comittee for this proposed standard is that Microsoft (and all other participants of this process) provide their patents on a free and non-discriminatory basis. Free as in beer, no money. Non-discriminatory meaning that anyone can license them; Microsoft can't say that only certain developers are "cool enough" or "good enough" to receive a license. Many of the JPEG standards operate under these terms: the baseline process of the original JPEG, JPEG2000 part 1, and others.

  • by SolusSD (680489) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @03:52PM (#20091675) Homepage
    With the amount of memory imaging devices (digital camera, etc) have these days why not go a lossless compression route, like png? PNGs support alpha transparencies, layers, etc and it is a completely open standard.
  • Would someone who understands these issues please explain how this standard is similar and different to OpenEXR?

    http://www.openexr.com/ [openexr.com]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenEXR [wikipedia.org]

    Is OpenEXR more computationally expensive? (In other words, would the Microsoft format allow for longer battery life and shorter time interval between taking pictures?)

    Actually, are there any cameras available that can capture to OpenEXR? If not, perhaps that's a clue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RegularFry (137639)
      Or alternatively, we could do a little research and find the sample code [microsoft.com] that MS have released for writing a codec. Admittedly, the licence on the example code precludes including exactly that code in a GPL'd project, but a reimplementation looks to be clear... hardly "jealously guarded".

      Honestly, MS are behaving oddly with this one. It's technically a good standard, they've backed down from a restrictive licence scheme they were going to use, and they've showed everybody how to use it. I can't help wond
  • by AaronW (33736) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @04:07PM (#20091961) Homepage
    Taking a quick glance at Microsoft's HDPhoto standard [microsoft.com] it looks like it is not really suitable for capturing raw image data for cameras.

    In a digital camera, a pixel is red, green, blue and sometimes additional colors laid out in a pattern that can differ from camera to camera. A pixel is not RGB (unless it's a Fovon sensor), so standard lossless formats like PNG or TIFF won't work. HDPhoto supports N color channels and more than 8 bits per color, but I do not see support for the raw CCD data, which is usually not RGB, but R, G, or B (sometimes with additional colors).

    I like to preserve my pictures in RAW format since as time goes by, the algorithms to convert the image to a RGB image suitable for displaying keep improving. Also, when editing my photos, some of the processing is done on the raw data before converting it to RGB. Raw data helps for things like noise filtering, for example, since the noise filtering software can be aware of the camera's CCD properties (Noise Ninja, for example, has profiles for my camera at different ISO settings).

    The only problem with current raw photos is that each manufacturer seems to have their own format which is incompatible with other manufacturers, or even incompatible between different cameras. It would be nice if they could standardize on something like OpenRAW [openraw.org].

    Now, as much as I dislike Microsoft, I think this could be good for regular photos since the compression is about as good as Jpeg2000 (assuming Microsoft isn't spreading FUD) but with a much faster encoding/decoding speed. This could also be a good format for most people taking pictures (who are happy with JPEG).

    -Aaron
    • Think Apple's Aperture. The file becomes part of a bigger work flow if one of them is implemented correctly.
  • > Microsoft has made a 'commitment to make its patents that are required to implement the
    > specification available without charge.'

    Ok

    > While JPEG 2000 exists, HD Photo has several advantages (not the least of which is a lot less CPU power is needed).

    Has anybody checked that the more efficient algorithms are among those in the patents to be released? What if they're hiding a patentable, very efficient decompression version, which they'll "discover" and patent, after this becomes the standard?
  • Good for microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dirtyhippie (259852) on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:39AM (#20099655) Homepage
    For the record, JPEG2000 != JPEG. Just wanted to make sure everyone knew that, because from some of the comments it seems clear that many people don't.

    But yeah, good for microsoft. Yeah, I said it. On slashdot, no less, and I mean it.

    The trouble is that jpeg2000 is a patent minefield, and no one has made any promise not to sue or charge fees on it. Which is why, despite being dramatically better technically, we are stuck with blocky JPEGs. Microsoft's proposal is better than jpeg2000, because the IP is all in one place, and they are interested in giving it away for free (or so it seems).

    So, to sum up, technically HD Photo is about the same as JPEG2000, both of which beat JPEG.
    But licensing wise, JPEG > HD Photo > JPEG2000

    So, this is a death knell for JPEG2000, which is a good thing. Of course, it'd be even better if there was a good patent-free solution for a next generation format, but I suspect just about everyone will continue using JPEG anyway.

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