Risk of closed proprietary "RAW" digital imaging formats

After I published the entry on building the dcraw "RAW" image format converter for OpenSolaris I found an interesting post on the photography forums regarding Pentax PEF files:
Default Opening Pentax \*ist DS RAW .PEF files in Windows 98? Pentax say on the box that the Windows system requirement is Windows ME/2000/XP and they're not kidding... However, the software with the \*ist DS (including the software for processing RAW images) requires some methods in Share32.dll which simply don't exist in Win98. My other half says it would be a mistake to copy Share32.dll from WinME or WinXP and overwrite my Win98 version... ... I've found and downloaded a .PEF plugin from the Pentax site, but it also claims to need Windows ME/2000/XP plus it needs PhotoShop 5. I'm currently running PhotoShop 4 LE but have a CD with 5 LE on it in the box that my Epson Stylus Photo 1200 printer came in five or six years ago. I've just tried to load it and the serial number on it doesn't work: ...

Has anybody had any success at opening and editing .PEF files on a Windows 98 system?

... I might have to bite the bullet and upgrade to WinXP, but I'd rather not if I don't have to, particularly as I've still got the \*ist DS to pay off my credit card and don't want to spend any more than I have to:-)

On the bright side, I can upload JPEG images via my USB card reader, and I've got software which will open and manipulate those, so I can use the \*ist DS, just not its RAW facility...

Oh my! Doesn't this just make you thank heavens that you chose an open operating system? Here's a clue to digital camera manufacturers, most photographers wish to be able to see the images they've taken. There is no good reason to shackle digital photography to a single company's operating system and there's no good reason (Sony, Canon, Nikon...) for encryption which might eventually prevent the photographer from viewing their own photos. If you don't want to maintain cross platform utilities, please open up your data formats so that Dave Coffin and others can make useful utilities for past, current and future operating systems. In the above linked article, Dave Coffin said it well,

"Photographers have reason to feel scared. Not being computer hackers, they feel powerless to stop Nikon from asserting property rights over their images."
Comments:

Brian, "My CANON employs JPEG (.jpg) file compression for photograph files." Wikipedia states JPEG is an unencumbered format that continues to advance technology in this arena. Works well for me within GIMP!

Posted by William R. Walling on April 11, 2007 at 04:25 PM GMT+00:00 #

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