gif vs png

Eric W. Weisstein eww at
Wed Jun 5 16:01:52 CEST 2002

On Wed, 5 Jun 2002, Jon Awbrey wrote:

> > I quote:
> > I was just looking at "a1523.gif" (about which more later) and
> > wondered why you have not switched over to PNG format. There is a
> > nice GPL program 'gif2png' which will do it automatically and easily.
> > Do a '' search for that name to find out why it is a good
> > idea to switch to PNG. There are many advantages. For example :
> > 
> > feynman:/tmp/local> gif2png a1523.gif
> > gif2png: 248 unused colors; convert with -O to remove
> > feynman:/tmp/local> ls -l a1523*
> > -rw-r--r--    1 somos    somos        9011 Jun  4 23:31 a1523.gif
> > -rw-r--r--    1 somos    somos        2019 Jun  4 23:45 a1523.png
> > 
> > The converted file is much smaller in this case. Usually the size is
> > more comparable but dramatic gains can be achieved.

I would think that for "properly generated" and optimized GIFs, the file
size is really not going to be that different.  Or at least not different 
enough to worry about switching formats...

I've stayed about from PNGs to avoid having to worry about PNG
compatibility issues and to maximize the number of people who can read my
equations/figures.  The "right" way to do math on the web is really MathML
(for equations) and SVG (for graphics).

Mozilla 1.0RC1 and Netscape 7 already support MathML (and a number of
third-party plug-ins are available for IE and other browsers).  I'm not
sure what the status of browser SVG support is, but Adobe Illustrator
already reads and writes it. So if I were Neil (or me for that matter;  
note that I haven't switched yet either ;), I'd be thinking more about
moving forward to SVG and MathML than which bitmap format to use...


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