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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Graphics Interchange Format
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graphics, file format /gif/, occasionally /jif/ (GIF, GIF
89A) A standard for digitised images compressed with the
LZW algorithm, defined in 1987 by CompuServe (CIS).
Graphics Interchange Format and GIF are service marks of
CompuServe Incorporated. This only affects use of GIF
within Compuserve, and pass-through licensing for software to
access them, it doesn't affect anyone else's use of GIF. It
followed from a 1994 legal action by Unisys against CIS for
violating Unisys's LZW software patent. The CompuServe
Vice President has stated that "CompuServe is committed to
keeping the GIF 89A specification as an open, fully-supported,
non-proprietary specification for the entire on-line community
including the World-Wide Web".