News and History of the PNG Development Group from 1998
Herein lie news items and historical stuff primarily of interest to the
Portable Network Graphics Development Group itself. Feel free to poke
around even if you're not a member, though. Note that some of the links,
particularly the older ones, are broken; in some cases this is explained by
later entries. Other links (CompuServe, tcg.arl.mil) have fallen prey to
reorganizations or upgrades; should they ever reappear, the entries below
will be updated as needed.
Keep in mind that this is history here...
- current - see here
- 31 December 1998 - Perhaps "shortly" was a slight overstatement,
but the PNG 1.1 Specification is officially
released today! Wheee, much happiness ensues. The gamma-correction
sections have been completely rewritten, and new sections for the sRGB,
iCCP and sPLT chunks have been added. The updated and merged PNG Extensions document is
- 21 December 1998 - Opera 3.51, the lean and mean Norwegian
web browser for both 16- and 32-bit Windows, is released with native PNG
support sooner than expected. Kewl!
- 11 December 1998 - Jill Morton's article, Color, the Chameleon of the Web, appears on DesignInMotion's web site. It
discusses color correction (including PNG's capabilities) and cultural
issues surrounding color on the Web.
- 3 November 1998 - PC
Magazine's extended feature on Web Graphics
Tools discusses PNG rather prominently. Although it has a few
errors (e.g., overlooking Netscape's support for PNG), these were
corrected in the Dutch version of the article (February 1999) and
possibly other non-English versions as well).
- 23 October 1998 - The PNG Group approves a fairly major rewrite
of the gamma-correction parts of the core PNG specification, and also
the inclusion of the suggested-palette chunk, sPLT (formerly part of
the official extensions document). In addition, the gIFt chunk, for
conversion of GIF images with a Plain Text Extension, is formally
deprecated; according to the GIF spec, the Plain Text Extension amounts
to a separate image and is therefore inappropriate for a single-image
spec like PNG. (It had a few other problems, too, and was not widely
used.) These changes define the PNG 1.1 specification, which will be
appearing very shortly.
- 23 August 1998 - The MNG Home Site is born! Thanks once again to the
generosity of the fine folks at Walnut
Creek CD-ROM, the budding MNG pages now have a home of their own at
the same hierarchical level as the PNG pages, namely,
. Woo woo! (Further MNG news updates will appear only on the
MNG News page.)
- 17 August 1998 - The ICC profile chunk, iCCP, is approved for
inclusion in the core PNG specification. It allows for precise control
of gamma and color correction.
- 17 August 1998 - Draft 46 of the MNG specification is released
(PNJ renamed to JNG, PAST simplified again, BACK tileable, 16-bit alpha
allowed with JNG).
- 3 August 1998 - Draft 45 of the MNG specification is released
(more complete PNJ description, PAST tiling, BACK background image).
- 31 July 1998 - Draft 44 of the MNG specification is released.
(typo fixes, clarifications, PPLT instead of IPLT, initial JPEG [a.k.a.
- 20 July 1998 - TechWeb's
Paul E. Schindler Jr. updates
the world on PNG's status in a reasonably accurate article entitled,
Whatever Happened to PNG?. In listing some graphics
development tools with PNG support he somehow managed to overlook
Photoshop (or maybe that was intentional?), and he glossed over
the fact that there are some GIFs that beat PNG by a few percent, but
otherwise it is a fair look at the current state of affairs.
Chris Lilley is quoted several times.
- 9 July 1998 - zlib 1.1.3 is released. This version fixes more
bugs in the gz* convenience functions, corrects one "inflate
input-buffer bug that shows up on rare but persistent occasions,"
and adds new make options and contributed 586 and 686 assembler code.
- 6 July 1998 - Greg discovers that libpng and zlib were
respectively the third and fourth most popular downloads over the last
four days at the official HP-UX
archive sites. (gcc and gzip were the top two.) libpng and zlib
rank 23 and 28, respectively, among all-time most popular downloads
(tracked since August 1992).
- 30 June 1998 - Draft 43 of the MNG specification is released
(typo fixes, another optional index entry for SAVE, new reference to
W3C SMIL Recommendation).
- 14 June 1998 - libpng 1.0.2 is released, with performance
improvements, some new makefiles, and fixes for even more obscure bugs.
- 12 June 1998 - Dave Beckett reports
that the lack of PNG support in Java was voted by developers to be the
number 3 bug on Sun's Java
Developer Connection site. See this page if you are a member. (This was finally addressed
on 4 May 1999.)
- 9 April 1998 - Greg signs a contract with O'Reilly and Associates
to write a book on PNG! The working title is PNG: The Definitive
Guide, and it should be out in early 1999. Now Greg just has to
- 8 April 1998 - The PNG-writing code in Netscape's second release
of the Mozilla sources (specifically, in the Composer component--PNG
reading in Navigator is still included) is removed "for legal
reasons." According to the included ns/LEGAL file, Stac Electronics
claims that a pair of their patents cover the deflate algorithm (US
patent numbers 4,701,745
and 5,016,009). Since no one but Netscape seems to have been contacted
by Stac, and since both deflate and inflate received a clean bill of
health in the Free Software Foundation's patent search, both the PNG
Group and Info-ZIP are
considerably puzzled by this. Possibly Netscape simply misinterpreted
some statement while licensing the patents for their SSL (encryption)
- 31 March 1998 - Netscape Navigator source code is
released! While it arguably isn't even alpha-quality code (much less
beta), it does compile and run reasonably well under Linux 2.0, and
there are scattered reports of success on Win95 and other platforms.
More to the point, PNG support is improved, with better transparency
handling than MSIE 4.0 has (but still no true alpha support). With
luck, full alpha support will be working soon...
- 19 March 1998 - zlib 1.1.2 is released. This version fixes
a few obscure proto-bugs and adds a number of make features and
contributed minizip/unzip code.
- 15 March 1998 - libpng 1.0.1 is released, fixing a few small
problems with gamma correction and backgrounds. This should be the
last one for a while.
- 8 March 1998 - Oops, a couple of small oversights yesterday in
the creation of the distribution archives... libpng 1.0.0 is released
today with all that fixed and, as a bonus, an extra dot! Greg is
taking bets on how long that lasts.
- 7 March 1998 - libpng 1.00 is finally released, three
years (almost to the minute) after Draft 9 of the PNG spec was released.
Go forth and do PNG, folks! (And let's hope this one cools for a
- 7 March 1998 - libpng 0.99m is released with a final
const/PNG_CONST fix and an updated copy of ansi2knr.c. But wait! It's
gone already...`m' must stand for microsecond.
- 7 March 1998 - libpng 0.99k is released. This version fixes
some makefile macros (e.g., `CCFLAGS') and eliminates some ANSIisms
for old K&R compilers. (If only beta testers wouldn't wait until the
last four hours before release... Bad beta testers! Bad!)
- 7 March 1998 - libpng 0.99j is released. This version quiets
some final compiler warnings and should be it...better be it...
- 7 March 1998 - libpng 0.99i is released as the "1.0 in all but
name" version...but wait! There's a 0.99j yet to come. Greg's fingers
are getting tired.
- 6 March 1998 - libpng 0.99h is also released, in an exponential
explosion of day-before releases. This version corrects a pair of type
mismatches in the test program, pngtest.c.
- 6 March 1998 - libpng 0.99g is released as the day-before-release
final beta. This version updates the documentation and fixes a few
- 5 March 1998 - libpng 0.99f is released as the most
probable potential version-1.0 candidate to date! This version has
a new callback or two and is just generally better all around.
- 28 February 1998 - libpng 0.99e is released as the more
probable potential version-1.0 candidate.
This version fixes some buglets in png_do_shift() and
png_do_invert_alpha(), has a cleaned-up example.c and is less sensitive
to variations in zlib output.
- 27 February 1998 - zlib 1.1.1 is released. This version fixes
a minor bug that only affected debug mode.
- 24 February 1998 - zlib 1.1.0 is released. This version fixes
a bug where inflate() returned STREAM_END prematurely (which adversely
affected libpng) and reverts a single line to its zlib 1.0.8 version to
work around a bug in gcc 2.8.0.
- 17 February 1998 - zlib 1.0.9 is released. This version adds
gzputs() and gzgets() functions and fixes various minor bugs, mostly
related to makefiles and installation scripts.
- 12 February 1998 - libpng 0.99d is released as the potential
- 7 February 1998 - libpng 0.99c is released.
- 3 February 1998 - libpng 0.99b is released with minor changes.
- 31 January 1998 - libpng 0.99a is released, fixing an incorrect
return value that caused problems with some compilers.
- 30 January 1998 - libpng 0.99 is released. Expect the official
1.0 public release within a few weeks!
- 27 January 1998 - zlib 1.0.8 is released. This version fixes
a few more problems in the makefiles and new gz* functions of 1.0.6.
- 20 January 1998 - zlib 1.0.7 is released. This version fixes
some problems in the new features of 1.0.6 (particularly gzseek()).
- 19 January 1998 - zlib 1.0.6 is released. This version has some
new features and third-party contributions; see the zlib home page for details.
- 17 January 1998 - libpng 0.98 is released.
- 16 January 1998 - Guy Schalnat, original author of libpng,
officially returns from hyperspace (see 17 June 1996 below).
Group 42, on the other hand, appears to have taken up permanent
residence in the land of the dead...
- 8 January 1998 - libpng 0.97c is released, fixing some final
version-numbering problems and minor bugs still in 0.97b.
- 5 January 1998 - libpng 0.97b is released. Glenn
Randers-Pehrson is the new maintainer, and version 1.0 is just around
the corner. (Seriously!)
- 3 January 1998 - zlib 1.0.5 is released. This version fixes a
decoder bug triggered by corrupted or invalid data. It also fixes a few
small memory leaks and improves support for ROMmable versions.
Here are some related PNG pages at this site:
Last modified 27 January 2013.
Copyright © 1995-2013 Greg Roelofs.