Removal of MNG/JNG support
Phillip M. Stewart writes "MNG/JNG support has been removed from the Mozilla trunk. This upsets many people including myself. Vote for Bug 18574 - restore support for MNG animation format and JNG image format if you want it back. Mozilla has had MNG support since July 2000."
Much like PNGs were created as a patent-free replacement for copyrighted GIF technology, MNG (which stands for Multiple-image Network Graphics) was created to replace animated GIFs. JNG files are JPEG images with PNG alpha-transparency.
According to bug 195280, some of the reasons JNG/MNG support was removed was because of the large size of the decoder library, the fact that it's not w3c recommended, and mostly because the file formats are currently of little use on the web and the fact that animated gifs and flash already cover much of the feature set of MNG.
If you would like to restore MNG support, this MNG XPI for Mozilla might be of interest to you. You'll only needed it if you have a recent nightly, because MNG support was only removed as of June 3rd.
And if you're posting comments on Bugzilla, don't forget about the rules. Other than actually writing code, voting for a bug is probably your best bet.
This really pissed me off.. hope it gets resolved soon.
Over at the mozillazine forum, Stuart (who checked in the patch) was going to explain why he did so.... but never got around to it =(.
Please go vote for bug #18574 http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=18574
With enough votes, and an active maintainer, this should definitally be made available.
personally i never heard of jng and mng before, and considering "the large size of the decoder library, the fact that it's not w3c recommended, and mostly because the file formats are currently of little use on the web and the fact that animated gifs and flash already cover much of the feature set of MNG," i can't see why whould it be needed by the general public. if someone needs it, he can use the XPI.
MNG is used by quite a few Mozilla theme authors as a replacement for GIF animations. MNG has alpha-transparency like PNG and can do more colors than GIF. So this is a little step backward for Mozilla themes.
Non-standard technologies will find themselves unsupported any minute, that is precisely why developers should be encouraged to use certified file formats only.
I'd be happy to disagree with that myself if I could understand what we're loosing here. I'd like to see if an actual MNG does something than cannot be achieved with PNG, SVG and scripting but I haven't been able to find one around. If support can be implemented by an XPI I don't see how the discussion can get this heatet, especially considering how Mozilla users generally take pride in hating animated images.
MNG is to an animated gif as PNG is to a static GIF or JPG file (albeit without lossy compression). One advantage of using an MNG animation is that it handles alpha transparency instead of just binary transparency, so if you're designing, say, a themable website or a mozilla chrome, you can use the same animated PNG for the different background colours you'd like to include. This is much easier than doing different animated GIFs for each background colour. It's free of the patent fiasco concerning GIF images, and it's also, in my opinion, easier than writing a script to make an animation effect.
While MNG isn't a recommended standard, it is useful, and I have found myself wishing there was at least support for MNG images in my favourite image editor.
Speaking of which, are there any free image editors for Windows that saves or exports as MNG?
i don't know, continued "MNG support" sounds orthogonal to any goals of making mozilla a fast, useful, stable browser.
it's a little hard to imagine there's a debate about supporting a format that image editors don't read, msie and ns don't support, and that sounds like a chrome-plated buggy-whip in the face of things like flash or conventional animated gifs.
maybe a compromise would be to take the existing code and move it into an optional plugin; the core mozilla size decreases and the people who need MNG/JNG/ZNG can enable it.
With all due respect, GIF is not capable of doing what MNG can do, and Flash is not free. I'm not going to fork out money just to make an animated image. A Flash animation can not be part of a background, nor can it be specified in a CSS file (as far as I'm aware). As for support: MSIE *still* doesn't support CSS2 properly, nor does it support alpha layers in PNG images without a nasty workaround. Should Mozilla drop this support too because MSIE doesn't support it? What about MathML?
Image editors do read it MNG, they're just a little slow in adding support. Mozilla carries a lot of persuasive weight with it: years ago, when PNG wasn't a widely used format, Mozilla still included it, and it kickstarted a load of other people to use and supporting PNG. Now it's pretty widely used, and supported in every decent image editing software I can think of.
to further add to this thread, C|Net is reporting the GIF patent is set to expire on June 20.
the point about mozilla supporting PNG in the early days, and that support subsequently helping PNGs adoption in the larger world is a nice story, but it's fantasy. PNG support in photoshop and fireworks isn't there because adobe's or macromedia's users care at all about mozilla, or even saving PNGs on the web in a widespread fashion. PNG use has grown not because of web browser support at all (even though GIF patent detractors and friends might want to believe that), but rather because the PNG format supports 8bit alpha transparency (which enables transparent image layers in flash), and because of fireworks' bactching/scripting support, which uses PNG as a vehicle format. Though the end result might be the same (more programs know what PNG is), to imply causality and put mozilla in the driver's seat ascribes way too much weight to mozilla's contribution.
don't get me wrong, i love mozilla. and i evangelize it to all the other web headz i know. but it's a very tough row to hoe. and when i hear that the sort of debate above, it depresses me. i see people getting further and further mired in debates about formats that for all practical purposes don't viably exist. no one is using them. old browsers do not support them. despite whatever standards banner you're waving, do you really want to introduce yet another format into the mix that most people viewing your site won't be able to see unless they go to mozilla.org and download something?
please don't tell me that MNG supports alpha channel widget whatevers, or that i don't understand the difference between animated GIFs and MNGs, etc. the debate is NOT one of capability. this to me is NOT a hill to die on; formats will come and go, it's great that mozilla supports/-ed MNG. cool. but to me, something like this is far afield from the critical path.
i'll sit down now, sorry for ranting. i just can't shut up when i see something i love (mozilla) seem to falter and woolgather so much.
> Non-standard technologies will find themselves unsupported any minute, that is precisely why developers should be encouraged to use certified file formats only.
OK, so which animated imageformat supported by the W3C do you suggest we should use instead? Oh yeah, that right, W3C doesn't support any animated imageformat...
> PNG use has grown not because of web browser support at all... ..., but rather because the PNG format supports 8bit alpha transparency
And interestingly enough, that is one of the things broken in eg PhotoShop 6.x (it only allows binary transp with indexcolor images and not the full 8bit alpha). In short, proper browsersupport have certainly pushed forward the PNG formats general adoption.
My favourite thing about MNG is JNG - basically a PNG using jpeg compression. This allows translucent jpegs! PNGs are non-lossy and useless for complicated images (enormous file sizes). Jpeg has no alpha channel.
JNG is a wonderful solution. There is no substitute for this online, and no plugin could replace this capability in web pages. I used it on my site since everyone who viewed it used Mozilla - similar situation could apply for intranets. Now? Forced to use a hideous stripped and compressed low colour PNG to get a similar job done.