PNG no GIF!
What is This About?
We are switching all the bitmap graphics files posted on this website from GIF to PNG (For the curious, GIF is short for Graphics Interchange Format, and PNG is Portable Network Graphics. For others, these are files with the corresponding filename extensions).We will delete all the GIF files and replace them with the equivalent PNG files. Most graphics, including equations and figures in the hundreds of papers and articles you see in this website are in GIF format. This is by far the most common format used in websites. Especially for black-and-white images as in papers, GIF file was the best choice because of its efficient data compression (for example a 200k Windows bitmap file becomes 15k in GIF format). This is important for fast downloading of documents even using slow Internet connections. Over the years we have acquired and developed our own utilitiy programs for manipulating these images, including those in the files submitted by authors. Now thousands of files will have to be converted from GIF to the new PNG format, in a short time.
Why, but Why?
The reason is that some company (no need to honor them by mentioning their name) has recently claimed to have the copyright of the GIF file format (more precisely the data compression algorithm used in that file format). Moreover, they said that it is illegal to use GIF files in a website, unless you purchase a licence from that company. The licence fee being way out of our budget, we have no choice but to remove all the GIF files from this website.
Good news, for you the users, is that the PNG format is not only free (being developed and published by the Consortium (W3C), it is considerably more powerful and superior to the GIF format although comparable in compression efficiency.
What do You Need to Do?
But (you knew a "but" was coming), you may have to upgrade your browser. You have probably downloaded your Web browser from Netscape or Microsoft (IE), or someone has done that for you. Unless this has happened many years ago and the version of the software you are using is earlier than 5.0, you should be OK, and you do not need to do anything.
As of this writing Netscape or Microsoft (IE) are in their 7th and 6th versions, respectively, but to make sure, you may want to find out going to your browser's Help-->About menu (the bottom selection of the rightmost menu on most browsers).
Another sure way of finding out whether or not you need to upgrade your browser is to see this page we have prepared for you: It is the new version of the EJGE home page. If everything looks fine, you are OK. Otherwise you need a newer version of your Web browser.