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GIF Patent Problems and the Language ViewerIt has come to my attention that both Unisys and IBM have patents on the Lempel Ziv Welch (LZW) data compression and decompression algorithm that is used in GIF files. The language viewer in the access gateway uses GIF files for its foreign characters. Many users rely on this because their browsers are old or limited and cannot display the PNG format. Therefore, I have modified the GIF files so that they do not use the Lempel Ziv Welch (LZW) data compression algorithm and do not infringe the patents on that algorithm. The files are larger, but they do not infringe.
(The patents should now have expired, but I'm no longer actively maintaining the language viewer images so I have no plans to reverse the above change. Web Adjuster has more modern image rendering.)
See also my essay on software patents and mental health which was prompted by the news about US patent 5,893,120 making it supposedly illegal to use a computer with a modern operating system.
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