What does .gif mean in File Extensions?

This page is about the meanings of the acronym/abbreviation/shorthand .gif in the Computing field in general and in the File Extensions terminology in particular.

graphics interchange format

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What does .gif mean?

Graphics Interchange Format
The Graphics Interchange Format is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability. The format is almost universally used to support up to 8 bits per pixel, thus allowing a single image to reference a palette of up to 256 distinct colors chosen from the 24-bit RGB color space. Although the format can technically support 24-bit color, this is considered bad practice and results in inflated image sizes. It also supports animations and allows a separate palette of up to 256 colors for each frame. The normal color limitation makes the GIF format unsuitable for reproducing color photographs and other images with continuous color, but it is well-suited for simpler images such as graphics or logos with solid areas of color. GIF images are compressed using the Lempel-Ziv-Welch lossless data compression technique to reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality. This compression technique was patented in 1985. Controversy over the licensing agreement between the software patent holder, Unisys, and CompuServe in 1994 spurred the development of the Portable Network Graphics standard. All the relevant patents have now expired.

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".gif." Abbreviations.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014. <http://www.abbreviations.com/term/1420892>.


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