New Image Format: GNU/GNU

Fake News written by James Baughn on Monday, August 30, 1999

from the free-beer-free-speech-free-porn dept.

BOSTON, MA -- "Choosy hackers don't choose .GIF." That's the slogan behind Richard M. Stallman's new campaign to replace freedom-subtracted .GIF files with a new patent-free "GNU/GNU" image format. The GNU/GNU format (GNU's Not Unisys) neatly solves the patent problem while introducing a vastly improved graphics format.

Unlike other formats containing a binary stream of data, GNU/GNU is a human-readable XML file. This design was chosen by the GNU Project after some preliminary research revealed that 98.3% of all images on the Web fit into one of these categories:

  • Pornography (by a wide margin)
  • Animated advertising banners
  • "Under Construction!", "Email Me!" or other useless icons hosted on free webpage providers such as GeoCities
  • "Powered by Linux" buttons (RMS is quick to point out that these should say "Powered by GNU/Linux")
  • "Best Experienced with Internet Explorer" warning images
  • Bill Gatus of Borg pictures

Using the GNU/GNU format, a porn image, for example, might contain such tags as "chestsize", "skincolor", "pose", and "facialexpression". Web browsers will render this image on the fly, eliminating the need to download a huge bitmap that takes two minutes to fetch. If this format becomes widely accepted, total Internet bandwidth usage may fall as much as 59% according to one analyst.

To show off the new format, RMS posted to Usenet earlier today a GNU/GNU file (named patents-suck.gnu.gnu) that contains the text "no gifs due to patent problems" in a 45 point sans serif font along with an image of the GNU gnu mascot. The size of the file? Only 231 bytes! (That doesn't count the 10KB copy of the GNU GPL that was embedded in the file's header).

GNU/GNU support should be available for The GIMP and Mozilla within the next month. The upper management of Unisys Corp. was unavailable for comment at press time.

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