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To: mozilla-general@mozilla.org
From: Dotan Dimet <dotan@softlinkusa.com>
Subject: Vector Wars
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 16:41:48 +0300

The Mozilla source release could have interesting
affects in the hot new front of the browser wars:
the web vector graphics standard.

At first, vendors interested at pushing their web
Vector Graphics Format had to design a plug-in using
Netscape's proprietary API. Then, there was a shift
towards doing Java file players, which meant at least
moving towards a "standard" plug-in API (Java). Now, the
move towards standards compliance is accelerating. Companies
are publishing their proprietary file formats in an attempt
to make them "Open", and submitting them to standards bodies
in the hope that this approval will encourage general 
acceptance. I think that the source code release of Mozilla
will take this to the next stage.

Mozilla (and other browsers) needs to handle standard vector
graphic files internally, just like it handles gifs and jpegs
and pngs. The Mozilla Vector engine should be highly
scriptable (giving DHMTL designers graphics primitives) and
should handle multiple file formats (PGML, Flash, CGM, MathTML)
using some plug-in/module architecture.

Ben Pennington has set up a page for the project of creating a 
Mozilla vector graphic engine (www.lizardfx.org). However, because
there are some serious vested interests among the software companies
in pushing their own formats and designs, I think that the best
way for them to attempt to "win the vector wars" would be to 
contribute an appropriate vector graphics engine for inclusion in
Mozilla.

Think about it. Macromedia's announcement of "Open Flash" so soon
after Adobe/Netscape/Sun et all announcing the PGML draft looks 
like a return volley in what may develop into a real "potlach war"
between companies in the Vector Graphics field, in which a big
measure of a company's influence is how much source it releases.
It may be that the way for smaller guys to compete with big companies
attempting to push their standards is to release source code, that is
"open" and easily incorporated into products such as Mozilla.

This might end up as a Real Cool Thing if it would work in
a sustainable fashion in the commercial arena.

					- Dotan.
References:
------------
PGML proposal:
http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/NOTE-PGML-19980410.html

Flash File Format Specification:
http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/open/spec/

Xara Flare Format pages (another vector graphics format)
http://www.xara.com/webformat/index.html

Ben Pennington's page LizardFX: Vector Graphics For Mozilla
http://www.lizardfx.org

-- 
Dotan Dimet
SoftLink Ltd. - File Transfer Solutions
http://www.softlinkusa.com