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XV Viewer

By Greg Roelofs

Rank: 2

XV Viewer

John Bradley
Platforms: Unix/X, VMS/X, Windows NT with X Server, and BeOS
Open, adjust, and convert a variety of image files with this smart editor. Can take screen shots too.

When it comes to image viewers for X Windows, traditionally there has been only one choice for the serious user: John Bradley's XV. This viewer has it all: a clean and unobtrusive user interface; support for reading and writing a large number of image formats, including JPEG, GIF, TIFF, XPM, PBM/PGM/PPM, and (with a patch) PNG; numerous image-manipulation algorithms, including cropping, rotation, smoothing, sharpening, edge detection, gamma correction, and embossing; and a really cute mascot (a red flying fish, who also doubles as the animated "busy" cursor). It can also do screen captures, set the X background to the specified image, and operate as the terminus of a Unix pipe—a very handy capability when used in conjunction with the PBMPLUS/NetPBM utility suite.

I've used XV for more than five years, and it is worth absolutely every penny of its $25 price tag—many times over, in fact. And unlike most shareware, XV comes with source code even before you pay for it. So not only can you make your own modifications (should you so desire), but others can do so as well. Want to run XV on BeOS? Not a problem thanks to David Powell's contributed patch. Scanner support? has a dandy commercial add-on to do just that. PDF support? Can do that too.

In fact, "can do" pretty well sums up this elegant piece of shareware. For anything short of full-fledged image editing, XV is the tool.

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