JPEG XL, denoted by the suffix .jxl, is a royalty-free image format. The ‘X’ in its name represents the sequential naming of updates released by the JPEG Project Team, such as JPEG XT, JPEG XR, JPEG XS, etc., and ‘L’ stands for long-term support, signifying enough time to replace old standards.
JPEG XL supports both lossy and lossless compression, aiming to reduce file size without compromising image clarity, thereby cutting global bandwidth and various network transmission costs.
In April of this year, the Chromium project team decided to halt support for JPEG XL. Google engineers reasoned that JPEG XL didn’t present enough incremental advantages compared to existing formats, and the entire ecosystem showed no interest in continuing to experiment with JPEG XL.
This decision sparked dissatisfaction from the Free Software Foundation (FSF), given that Chromium-based browsers hold over 80% of the market share, making the discontinuation tantamount to a death sentence for JPEG XL.
Apple quickly contradicted this stance:
During WWDC 2023, Apple announced in a slide that Safari would support the JPEG XL format. This posed a question: if Safari is supporting it, can Chromium continue to ignore it?
For Google, Chromium indeed has a significant share, but Apple has never been one to concern itself with others. If they feel something should be supported, they support it, despite typically being slow to adopt new standards.
Apple’s support undermines Google’s claim that the whole ecosystem has no interest in JPEG XL.
Chromium is reconsidering support for JPEG XL:
Currently, there are threads on Chromium Bugs discussing whether Chromium should restore support for JPEG XL, especially since Safari supports it. Hence, reopening the discussion seems reasonable.
No decision has been reached yet, but according to predictions, Chromium is likely to reinstate support for JPEG XL.
What about Firefox’s stance?
Among the main browser engines are Google, Apple, and Firefox. Google doesn’t support it; Apple does. So what about Firefox?
Firefox states: “We’re neutral. The Mozilla Foundation acknowledges some advantages of JPEG XL but nothing particularly striking. If JPEG XL develops further, then we will provide support.”
JPEG XL, Chromium, Safari, Apple, Google, Free Software Foundation, image format, browser support.
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