History of the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) Format

PNG is a new, awesome graphics format designed to take the place of GIF—here's how it came about.
At Last...

It's always difficult for an insider to render judgment on a project like PNG; that old forest-versus-trees thing tends to get in the way of objectivity. But it seems to me that the PNG story, like that of Linux, represents the best of the Internet: international cooperation, rapid development and the production of a “Good Thing” that is not only useful but also freely available for everyone to enjoy.


I'd like to thank Jean-loup Gailly for his excellent comp.compression FAQ, which was the source for much of the patent information given above (Reference 11). Thanks also to Mark Adler and the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), who have been the fine and generous hosts for the PNG home pages, zlib home pages, Info-ZIP home pages and my own personal home pages. Through no fault of Mark's, that all came to an end as of the new year; oddly enough, JPL has decided that none of it is particularly relevant to planetary research. Go figure.

Greg Roelofs escaped from the University of Chicago with a degree in astrophysics and fled screaming to Silicon Valley, where he now does outrageously cool graphics, 3D and compression stuff for Philips Research. He is a member of Info-ZIP and the PNG group, and he not only maintains web pages for both of those but also for himself and for the Cutest Baby in the Known Universe. He can be reached by e-mail at newt@pobox.com or on the Web at http://pobox.com/~newt/. The Cutest Baby in the Known Universe can be seen at http://pobox.com/~newt/greg_lyra.html. The Info-ZIP home page moved to http://www.cdrom.com/pub/infozip/ at the beginning of the year, and the PNG home page moved to http://www.wco.com/~png/, as noted above.