"Recent GIF scare underscores the importance of open source..."
"And what a great time it is to be writing about PNG, the portable network graphics format, after the most recent scare involving Unisys and the GIF file format. Unisys, which holds patents on the LZW compression algorithms used in the widely popular GIF image format, had Web site owners, users and developers fearing for their pocketbooks. That scare translates into an increase in the speed at which the Net is migrating from GIF to other image file formats, like PNG."
"The scare involved a rumor which spread like wildfire on the Net. Slashdot posts and newsgroups were full of the buzz, and the buzz was that Unisys was going to start coming after Web sites that were displaying GIF images without an expensive ($5,000) Unisys license."
"Of course, this latest scare turned out to be mostly smoke and false alarm. Unisys made it clear to those that asked for the facts (like Roblimo at Slashdot) that most Web site developers had absolutely nothing to fear. If the GIFs on their site had been created with software licensed to use the LZW algorithm to create the image, they were in the clear. Unisys was only going after those sites which had GIFs created with unlicensed software. Unlicensed software is usually free -- which means that open source stuff like the GIMP will be potentially affected."