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 CD Home < Web Review < 1997 < May 09  

Designers

PNG Supporting Browsers

By Greg Roelofs
Rank: 2

The browsers listed below are known to support the PNG image format, and are provided courtesy of Greg Roelofs' site on Portable Network Graphics (PNG).

Although most browsers currently support true progressive display of PNG images, some do not and require the use plug-ins (as with Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer).

Also, since Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer are the more commonly used browsers, we have pulled them out of alphabetical order and have placed them at the beginning of the browser table.

Known PNG Browser Plug-Ins
Plug-In Name OS Comments
pngplug SGI Irix/X All versions; read-only; also supports RGB and MS BMP image formats. (This plug-in is available on the Irix 6.2 update CD, along with Netscape 2.0S and half a dozen other plug-ins.)
PNG Magick plug-in Unix/X All versions; read-only (still an alpha version; requires ImageMagick's convert utility).
PNG plug-in Macintosh All versions; read-only; progressive display; uses libpng and zlib (beta only).
PNG plug-in OS/2 All versions; read-only (coming?).
PNG Live plug-in Windows 95, NT, Macintosh, Unix/X All versions; read-only; full gamma support; full alpha support in 2.0b1 and later; no progressive display; uses zlib. (Version 1.0 of this plug-in also works with Internet Explorer 3.0. The Mac version is for PowerMacs only and is coming, as is the Unix/X version [at least for Irix].)
KEYview Windows, Windows 95, NT Version 4.2 and later; read/write.
Live3D VRML plug-in Windows, Windows 95, NT, Macintosh Version 2.0 and later; read-only. (Note that this only provides PNG support for VRML texture maps [as will all VRML 2.0-compliant viewers], not for generic inlined PNG images. Unix support is coming; Mac support is still in beta. This plug-in was previously known as WebFX by Paper Software.)


Known Browsers with PNG Support
Browser Name Platform Comments
Internet Explorer Windows 95, Windows, Macintosh Version 4.0b1 and later; read-only; no progressive display; no alpha support; no simple transparency (uses gray background color even though default page color is white); no gamma support.
Netscape Navigator Various (Windows 95, NT, Macintosh) Version 2.0 and later with the following plug-ins; native PNG support may be coming in version 4.0. For more info, contact Netscape directly. Note that Netscape plug-ins currently do not support true inlined images; they only support images inlined with Netscape's EMBED tag, which is not usable by most other browsers.)
AIR Mosaic Windows See Mosaic 95 below.
Amaya Unix/X, Windows All versions; read-only; palette-transparency bug in 0.95b. This is a Web client that has both browsing and authoring (HTML-editing) capabilities. It can create client-side image maps on inline PNGs.
AMosaic Amiga Any version with Cloanto's free PNG DataType; read-only; requires MUI.
ANT Fresco Acorn All versions; read-only.
ArcWeb Acorn Version 1.70 and later; read-only.
Arena Unix/X Version 0.98b and later; read-only; full gamma and alpha support; full 16/48-bit PNG image support; progressive display of pages but not of individual images. (As of beta-3b, W3C development has stopped in favor of Amaya, above; an Internet-based development team hosted at Yggdrasil's site has taken over. PNG support is broken in version 0.3.07 and later, but beta-3b is still available.)
Ariadna Windows 95, NT Version 1.2 and later; read-only. (NT/Alpha and Russian versions also available.)
AWeb Amiga Any version with Cloanto's free PNG DataType; read-only (coming, except for closed beta test; does not require MUI.)
Chimera Unix/X (Any version?) Via external decoders (but images appear inlined); read-only; progressive display in 2.0 and later. (See Roman Czyborra's sample configuration for an example of how to set this up, especially the convert and mailcap files.)
Enhanced Mosaic Windows See Spyglass Mosaic below.
GNU E-Scape Unix/X Version 1.0 and later; read-only (coming).
Grail Unix/X Version 0.3b3 (?) and later via the Python Imaging Library (PIL); read-only. (0.3b2 supports PNG via a simple patch from Andre Derrick Balsa. Mac and Windows ports coming after the corresponding Tk ports are done.)
IBrowse Amiga Any version with Cloanto's free PNG DataType; read-only; requires MUI 3.2 or later (native PNG support with progressive display is coming.)
MindWalker Amiga See Voyager below.
Mosaic 95 Windows See SPRYNET Mosaic below.
NCSA MacMosaic Macintosh Version 3.0A1 and later; read-only; gamma support in version 3.0B3 and later; optional progressive display of interlaced images (either sparse or replicating method, or none at all); alpha support slightly buggy.
NCSA X Mosaic Unix/X Version 2.7b1 and later; read-only (PNG dithering is poor [libpng problem]; no progressive display; no alpha support; no simple transparency support; no gamma support).
Netkit NeXTStep, OpenStep All versions; read-only. (Netkit is actually more of an object-oriented toolkit for creating your own custom browser; it looks pretty cool. No word on Macintosh plans so far.)
NetShark Lite Windows, Windows 95, Macintosh Read-only.
Netsurfer NeXTStep, OpenStep Version 1.1 and later; read-only.
OmniWeb NeXTStep, OpenStep Version 2.0 and later; read-only; full gamma support; progressive display of interlaced images (sparse method); no alpha support.
Opera Windows, Windows 95, NT Version 2.2 (?) and later; read-only (coming).
PNET Windows All versions; read-only (was supposed to have shown up around end of 1995).
Spyglass Mosaic Windows, NT, Macintosh, Unix/X Version 2.2 (?); read-only (coming).
Termite / Webite Acorn Any version with David McCormack's Progress helper app; read-only.
UdiWWW Windows, Windows 95, NT Versions since Sept. 1995; read-only (also see Stroud's review).
Voyager Amiga Any version prior to 2.7 with Cloanto's free PNG DataType; read-only; requires MUI. (Also known as MindWalker in the Amiga Technologies Surfer Pack. Version 2.7 and later has native PNG support and is known as VoyagerNG; see below.)
Voyager-NG Amiga Version 2.7 and later; read-only; progressive display; requires MUI.
VRweb Unix/X, Windows Version 1.2 and later; read-only; full alpha support (?). (This is a VRML viewer; PNG and other image formats are supported for textures.)
XEmacs Unix/X Version 19.14 and later; read-only; uses libpng and zlib. (This is lumped in with the browsers due to W3 mode.)
Last modified 4 May 1997 by Greg Roelofs.




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