Re: gdk-pixbuf vs. ImageMagick

Subject: Re: gdk-pixbuf vs. ImageMagick
From: Leonard Rosenthol (
Date: Wed Apr 18 2001 - 11:37:28 CDT

At 05:02 PM 4/18/2001 +0200, Paolo Molaro wrote:
>On 04/18/01 Thomas Fletcher wrote:
> > Again the other thing to consider, as someone (dom I think)
> > mentioned is that perhaps going the ImageMagic route with a
> > common API that then uses these same libs would be more worthwhile
> > (and also reduce our internal code bloat).
>On unix at least, it would be far better to use gdk-pixbuf:
>1) it's a lot smaller
>2) it's faster
>3) it loads the image libs at runtime only when needed
>4) it will come anyway for free with Gtk 2.0
         As one of the maintainers of ImageMagick, I'm a bit biased here,
but do want to have this discussion...

         First, to address the issues above.

1) Yes, gdk-pixbuf is smaller because it only support about 10% (if that)
of all the functionality of ImageMagick. Now admittedly, a bunch of that
functionality is overkill for a word processor (eg. when was the last time
you color corrected or embossed a picture in Word?), but support for vector
formats like PS, PDF, SVG, WMF will definitely be a nice plume in AbiWord's
cap that IM can bring "for free".

2) Faster - I doubt it for the same functionality since both products leave
the "heavy lifting" of image format handling to libraries like libjpg,
libpng, etc. However, since gdk-pixbuf has different needs (RGB image
processing only!) it may be faster for simple things, but much slower on
others (where CMYK->RGB conversion is involved).

3) ImageMagick 5.2 and later also use dynamic loading of the image
libraries AND our "coder" modules.

4) That's great - BUT that doesn't help us on all the other platforms (Mac
OS, Windows, QNX, BeOS, etc.) that Abiword is available on that GTK is
not. ImageMagick, on the other hand, is available for all of those
platforms and many others.

         Martin and I had a LONG chat last night on IRC about the
advantages and disadvantages of using ImageMagick in Abiword and I THINK I
sold him on the idea of doing a "miniMagick" (ala what we already carry
with wv) which just includes the pieces we need and doesn't balloon up the
app size (or CVS) too much.


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