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Author Topic: Xnview vs. IrfanView - integrity issue examined  (Read 22963 times)
Steven Avery
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« on: April 23, 2008, 09:29:05 AM »

Hi Folks,

Here is an issue to consider.

From Irfanview, strong words, and this is part of their regular blurb.

http://www.irfanview.com/main_what_is_engl.htm
IrfanView is trying to create new and/or interesting features in its own way, unlike some other graphic viewers, whose whole "creativity" is based on feature cloning, stealing of ideas and whole dialogs from ACDSee and/or IrfanView! (for example: XnView has been stealing/cloning features and whole dialogs from IrfanView, for 7+ years).

Assuming true, we could look at this in a number of ways.

"Stick with Irfanview, they do the real research and concept pioneering. And avoid flagrant copying products. Integrity first."

Or

"Irfanview is being petulant and acrimonious without real cause, just improve your product and move on, with gazillions of users product feature cloning is expected and fine. And Irfanview did not give any examples."

If XnView takes whole dialogs (I have not researched this further) that is very tacky, and I would consider that a big negative, as it is not only clone copying but plagiarism, unethical if not illegal.

Here XnView was defended.

http://www.download.com/X...9241-2192_4-10127223.html
re: Alleged Stolen Elements - XnView vs IrfanView
by: adesigninteractive on 05-Dec-2007 10:14:20 AM
"Please identify these stolen items. As a long time user of both IrfanView, and XnView, I see no legitimate evidence in XnView which might support your allegations. the archaic IrfanView GUI is nothing like that of XnView. I recognize elements which may be inspired by ACDSee, where the author has implemented a Lowest Common Denominator of preferred features-- but this trend is pervasive in virtually every software category; in every dynamic. I believe you owe it, not to XnView development, but to the imaging software end-user to explain yourself."


I don't have an answer, however when we use software, integrity issues are very significant.  (As another example, I try not to use sites that have advertisements for rogue products, or if the ads are from Google, I try to do what is appropriate, such as informing the site.)

It does seem clear that XnView implements features not in IrfanView, (apparently their tab implementation is one) and does some features in a superior manner, so the issue becomes complex. e.g. It is possible that XnView would implement a feature, at first, using the Irfanview dialog and then at leisure change the wording.

Anyway, while considering this in terms of my own use, I figgered it really should be part of this thread.  I was a little surprised at the sharpness of the Irfanview words, there does not seem to be any notice or discussion on the XnView site. The IrfanView website is nicely done, the author, from Bosnia, introduces himself well and links to lots of good software, I do not think his forum discusses this.  The XnView site is also nice, less personal, and does have a forum where users discuss many things, including features they would like to see, that may be in Irfanview.

Your thoughts ?

Shalom,
Steven
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 09:43:14 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 09:41:27 AM »

Steven this is an issue worthy of discussion -- so i'm going to split your post off into it's own thread if you don't mind.
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 09:45:28 AM »

Well, I don't know about the legitimacy of the allegations but I think Irfanview could steal a few ideas from Xnview.  I've loaded Irfanview many times trying to like it but I can't get used to its browser. The browser in Xnview is very easy. The browser in Irfanview seems like a separate program.
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Steven Avery
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 10:42:57 AM »

Quote from: mouser
Steven this is an issue worthy of discussion -- so i'm going to split your post off into it's own thread if you don't mind.
Hi Mouser,

Sounds good.  Maybe "IrfanView-XnView Integrity Question" or whatever you feel is good.  I tried to send you a msg on this, twice, but they did not show in my outbox.

Feel free to delete this post, per Mission Impossible.

Shalom,
Steven
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 11:00:37 AM »

irfanview was alone at the top for a long time with speed and power that just knocked your socks of, and is a fantastic achievement.

xnview is a great program and I remember that when Nudone was doing his massive review of graphics management tools, xnview and irfanview were neck and neck in terms of recommendations.

Both irfanview and xnview continue to be updated regularly.

It's clear from using the programs that xnview is certainly not a clone of irfanview.  I don't use either program all that much, so i can't really address the issue of options dialogs -- it's possible that xnview may be leaning on the work of irfanview too much in that area, i can't say.

It's hard as a programmer to see stuff you've worked on copied by others.. you feel like you've spent a lot of time coming up with such, and then someone just comes along and copies it (and often improves it!).. it can be frustrating.
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 12:47:52 PM »

I've loaded Irfanview many times trying to like it but I can't get used to its browser.
Guess that goes to show how close these apps are, cause I've loaded xnview many times and tried to like it, but always end up back with Irfanview smiley

I suppose I agree on the browser issue, though, but I wouldn't use it anyway. Much prefer to browse thumbnails in Total Commander then just launch images with Irfanview for small bits of work or just viewing
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 06:10:42 PM »

This could have some base a couple of years ago, but today XnView has evolved far away from what IrfanView can offer. Though it's true that when I compared the two apps years ago, they felt remarkably similar in usage, and even Gizmo expresses these feelings in his list of best freeware, to make the claim that XnView has been reverse engineering IrfanView or copying it pixel by pixel is a very strong accusation, and ignores the reality of software development. Not to mention there's only so much you can innovate regarding picture viewers.

Personally, I think IrfanView always focused itself in being the best image viewer available, while XnView went further, competing (or trying to) with ACDSee in its own field. Also, XnView has the broadest format support of the two and supports even the most exotic platforms (with various degrees of success), and that's another point that defines the program. Besides, Pierre has been working in XnView and its predecessor for years, I never saw a freebie being developed since so long ago, so clearly it wasn't copying IrfanView at the time ;D
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Steven Avery
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 07:28:00 AM »

Hi Folks,

   Yesterday I wrote a short note to IrfanView (Irfan Skiljan) and to XnView (Gougelet Pierre-emmanuel) letting them know we were discussing this issue, giving them the URL, and welcoming their input.

  The following reply came from Irfan today.

========================================================================
Hi Steven,

Thanks for the info.

Ok, I will send my comment to you, you can place it there, if you want.
Thx.
---

I have no time to read and write in every possible forum.

1) Yes, XNView is stealing things (yes, sometimes whole dialogs, this is not a joke!) from IrfanView, since 10+ years. I can also send screenshots of some stolen (whole or partially) things from IrfanView.

Normal users don't have "eyes" too see such things. If an engineer is creating something new or unique, a tool, a dialog, an interesting option/feature, it is easy for him to see if somebody else is taking his work and making a copy.

Of course, I don't check every program and version then search for stolen things, but this is a fact, no matter if a user say, "the current version do not contain the stolen dialogs/things anymore, so forget it". If a program is doing this since 10+ years, this is done by intention.
The people should know the history and people should understand some "software ethics".

The fast is: in most cases, a specific feature can be realized in many ways, but copying/stealing is the easiest way, used mainly by non talented guys or thiefs.

Btw, yesterday, a user sent me an info about this program:
http://www.batchconverter.com
telling me about the very similar IrfanView batch dialog (and other things), used in this program.

2) IrfanView is primary a viewer, not a catalog based, fat and overbloated monster like ACDSee and others.
IrfanView is not trying to be another ACDSee like most other graphic tools are. Therefore, IrfanView offers less/another features like such programs, so they can't be really compared. The quality of a program is not the match how "cool" the skins are or how many features are avaliable. IrfanView is using another philosophy.
---

Of anyone wants to discuss this with me, please send me an email.
I don't know why people don't ask me about this, if they have doubts, it is really easy to proof this.

Thx!
---

PS.
If you want some screenshots, no problem ...

The current IrfanView version is 4.10

   Greetings/Gruesse/Pozdrav,

        Irfan

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Irfan Skiljan, DI, EMail: irfanview@gmx.net
Author of IrfanView, free image viewer for Win9x, WinNT, Win2K, WinXP, Vista
On Internet: http://www.irfanview.com
             http://www.irfanview.info
             http://www.irfanview.net
             http://irfanview.tuwien.ac.at

"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto" =
"I am human, therefore nothing human is strange to me."
   Terentius

=======================================================================


No compelling additional comments of my own at this time.  Especially as I am the person inviting
the two individuals to reply.  I will say that I think the question needs some public examination
precisely because of the long-term strength of the viewers as elite-quality freeware.

At this time I am not asking Irfan for the offered screenshots, perhaps later, partly because I
am at this time taking in the quality input of DonationCoder coders and users and want to see
if we receive input from Gougelet

I hope the limited color-coding of external comments is acceptable.

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 07:36:24 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
Daleus
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2008, 08:27:03 AM »

I have been a long time fan of Irfanview and am totally unfamiliar with Xnview, mostly because I have never had a reason to look beyond what I got with Irfanview.

I can certainly sympathize with his feelings that someone has stolen his work - it's happened to me many times, in different fields of endeavour.

I can say that calling people thugs or thiefs, or calling another product fat and bloated, is not very professional and certainly doesn't help win anyone over to your cause.

Having said that, I will continue to use Irfanview because I find that it does what I want it to, when I want it to and in the way I want it to.  But I don't think I'll be inviting the author to my next birthday party.

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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2008, 08:54:27 AM »

Humm,

I don't personally see a problem with lifting some inspiration from how other programs design their GUIs and dialogs - this has been done all the time, and it's generally for the greater good of end-users. Of course there's a fine line between inspiration and blatant rip-off, but you have to factor in whether it's a pretty standard-looking dialog or something completely unique.

Personally, I don't use either irfanview or xn (instead I stick with the last good version of acdsee, the blindingly fast 2.4), so I dunno how the situation really is - but Irfan's statements do seem a bit unprofessional and very bitter.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2008, 09:37:51 AM »

I can't say I recall any dialogs in Irfan that were anything special.  How can you claim copying when your dialogs are standard windows dialogs?  Maybe I'm missing some hidden, super-cool, knock-your-socks-off dialogs buried deep within the bowels of irfan.  That being said, I rarely use either program since I bought Directory Opus and have been using its built in viewer.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2008, 03:06:11 AM »

I understand that in certain fields, dialoge/controls ideas can be a competitive advantage (I can do things in certain tools in acdsee and lightzone or lightroom that i cannot achieve in the more traditional setting systems), but actually not as much. I did not buy acdsee because of that one dialogue/tool, i bought because the whole package was put together in a way that suited what i needed to do.

It is true that if you spend time thinking about a particular task long enough to work out a better way (you think) you might feel cheated. It happened to me several times that both writing and features (it was in ecommerce and cmses at the time) you come up with ideas noone else has done yet - then they end up somewhere else, exact copy down to the help text... Especially if these others manage to be more successful than you it does feel really unfair.

It is also true than most times if you are honest with yourself you can imagine that any smart person spending the same amount of time as you thinking about this has a high chance of coming up with a similar idea. I am not sure how many ways there are to do batch operations, for example, although I do remember irfan being great for this about 10 years ago.

Very rarely does someone come up with something that others couldnt come up with. Rarely is there an idea that is so unique and new and fresh - but those ought to be protected some. How you protect these without allowing all the i-m-just-the-first-person-to-spend-10-minutes-thinking-about-this pointless patents, alas, is near impossible in the software field.

Imagine if when writing messages you had to consult some database to make sure your wording is different from every app out there? or if you had to do a file/open in a different way from everyone's? Ugh!

But you still feel cheated when someone lifts and idea from you and they make more success than you with it - that's the bit that rankles and upsets.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 03:08:28 AM by iphigenie » Logged
Steven Avery
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2008, 06:10:23 AM »

Hi Folks,

  The issue about the dialog boxes, or the same screens, I believe is being misunderstood
some.  I doubt that the issue is the amount of work involved.  If the exact wording or screen
elements are copied from one product to another, it cannot be accidental, because of probability.
It is a demonstration that product B actually looked at product A and used it word-for-word,
or screen feature by screen feature.  Now, on the other hand, this does not mean that anything
was "reverse engineered" or "pixel by pixel" (or that any code was copied) since those are
technical terms that operate at a lower level. 

   What is strange about copying of wording or screens is the type of thumb-your-nose
chutzpah (arrogance) and laziness involved.  We likely all agree that looking at other products
to see what they accomplish is totally part of modern software enhancement design (although
of course the original designer can feel upset.  And it is unclear whether Irfan, when his ideas
showed up elsewhere, fully understood and agrees that this is legitimate).  However to be so
lazy as to not even always make a facial overhaul, a wording overhaul (and of course, technically
speaking, a somewhat different look-and-feel) while not being technically vital, is a slap
in the face of the original designer.  Even if there was nothing super-special in the elements
copied. From the comments and history here,and Irfan's offer to give us screens, it does
appear that XnView has done some of this lazy face-slapping copying.

   On the other hand, Irfan has not been Mr. Diplomat in the way that he discussed this
on his web site, or how he knocks things like other 'bloated' programs here and there.
Perhaps he was surprised that a later-comer like XnView was so successful in establishing
credibility and being a viable alternative to his software baby.  I have not checked downloads
and market share but neither one seems to predominate, both are considered very fine products,
and this is something that Irfan should probably be more gracious about. 

   I still have not come to a decision on this personally.  I would have liked XnView's
Gougelet to say ... something.  The lack of *any* response anywhere supports the
idea that he has been blatant at times.  Never denying the allegation (probably
because of evidence ready to be presented) or being a real mensch and saying
something like:

"Your right.  Structurally it was a minor issue, I always write my own fresh, clean
code, my system has its own advantages, and I have every right and it is proper
to look at a dozen programs for new features.  However my apologies for at times
implementing them in a way that was lazy and improper, using the visual elements
of IrfanView.  There is plenty of room for two or even more excellent freeware
viewers and I hope all the good programs can prosper.  I respect Irfan's excellent
program, that pioneered Windows viewing, and I will be more professional in the future".


   Gougelet He has not said this, he has not said anything, anywhere, leaving me with
an impression that he has dealt with this in an underhanded manner.  And stupidly,
since he probably could have sufficiently altered all the dialogs and visual elements
in a matter of hours to make the whole issue moot.

  These issues are important to me, I wrote a 30-page article on a Bible version
plagiarism, where the copying was totally blatant, but the original source was hard
to track down, however when one lady researcher tracked down the original source,
the fella was 'busted' (he had claimed it was an original translation).  From that
experience I am particularly sensitive about how these copying issues are approached.

  Shalom,
  Steven

« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 09:29:30 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2008, 07:52:51 AM »

@Steven

It feels like you are taking Irfan's side. Are you? Why should Xnview respond to Irfan's accusations? If that's true let Irfan provide a proof.
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2008, 09:18:52 AM »

Quote from: PhilB66
@Steven  It feels like you are taking Irfan's side. Are you? Why should Xnview respond to Irfan's accusations? If that's true let Irfan provide a proof.

Hi PhilB, I think you are reading more into what I said than is warranted.  Irfan clearly offered to send pics (and you can ask him for those) when I wrote him.  Yet, if Irfan took the time to make a whole web page up, some of you might rail at him for making too much of the issue, with all sorts of juicy adjectives. So the offer to document upon request seems appropriate.  One could take the position that the accuser should give the full evidence with the initial accusation, I think that is a bit of overkill in this situation, however his strident accusing tone could (and still can) have been moderated.

I also am going by big picture, including the comments here, in saying that so far I have some sympathy for Iran's view.  I also was pretty critical of Irfan above, so you had to bypass that to put me on one side. 

Now if XnView says "that is untrue, I didn't copy dialogs and screens" then I would be very interested in seeing the technical details, because one or the other would be lying. However XnView says simply nothing, not even "unworthy of comment" or "how I program is standard in our field" and his silence gives me an appearance of impropriety. 

However, I also grant that even if there was such impropriety in the past, it may be very minor (the point of some of the posters above) and I suggest how it could be corrected.  So in that sense you could say that I am, potentially at least, on the XnView side.  I personally would like to feel at ease to load both products on my systems without any integrity concerns.

Shalom,
Steven
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 09:25:53 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2008, 09:51:46 AM »

Maybe the XnView position is that they don't want (or can't be bothered) to get involved in a mud slinging match that can only flare up into a web wide flame war.

Whatever the merits of Irfan's argument he needs to get over it and get a life or else take XnView to court for infringement of copyright.

I doubt he'll get anywhere with the latter option and he certainly wouldn't win under the classic 'look'n'feel' argument since XnView has a completely different (and lets be honest a much more attractive) approach to GUI design, and as Irafn says himself it serves a different function too.

He can't have it all ways! Either XnView is a ripoff or it isn't - but I can't see how something that is different in look and function can be considered a rip off.

Having said all that all application developers pick and choose what is good and useful out there to include in their own apps.  Corel PaintShop uses loads of stuff from Adobe PhotoShop (as do many image manipulation apps even to the point of supporting the same plugins). Corel Painter IX onwards even adopts the GUI of Photoshop pretty much lock stock and barrel. No one would accuse Corel of stealing Adobe's intellectual property - just that GUIs have a certain consistency and functional similarity for the sake of the end user. Similarly Adobe has taken note of Painter's real media in PhotoShop.

Horses for courses I think - no one out there is developing in a vacuum.
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2008, 10:08:30 AM »

if there was such impropriety in the past,

May or may not be. It's my impression that Irfan explicitly mentions those points he believes he can prove. He may suspect, or have only circumstantial evidence for, a whole lot more. If he doesn't, its hard to see where the extent of the anger comes from.

I have both IrfanView and XNView - but I use both of them very rarely. I use Dopus for everyday image viewing and Faststone for anything in a bit more depth. So I don't think I am biased one way or the other.

With the evidence available, I don't feel able to believe bad of either. Something is not right in the situation, but I have no idea how big that something is or how to apportion any 'blame'.
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2008, 10:30:47 AM »

Quote from: Dormouse
It's my impression that Irfan explicitly mentions those points he believes he can prove. He may suspect, or have only circumstantial evidence for, a whole lot more.

Well I haven't seen any real implications of this, the accusation is more of design features and small-time interface stuff (dialogs, screen look-a-likes).  I doubt that they are written with the same tools, that there are any coding issues, and there is no reason to reverse engineer anything.

As for the legal issues mentioned by Carol ("take XnView to court" ..if its illegal, sue, othewise be quiet) that is a non-issue, and diversionary.  Ethics is not always what is legal.  I stay away from a lot of people and companies who haven't been caught for what they are doing. And legally, even if it were far worse a question, this is small-time stuff, companies with freeware, with countries far away.  And nobody is alleging illegal code-stealing, stuff of that legal nature. 

Try to sue a Chinese company for copyright infringement or 100 other things and see how far it gets.  Does that mean you shouldn't warn about some unsavory activities if they come out of China ? 

And that is why Irfan should better avoid the word "steal" instead of copied or some other less charged words, since stealing implies illegality.  Since Irfan is presumably still checking this thread, perhaps he will take that into consideration, and change his wording.  He might also acknowledge at the same place where he accuses that the products have many differences in interface and function as well as similarities.

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 10:45:49 AM by Steven Avery » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2008, 10:46:59 AM »

As for the legal issues mentioned by Carol ("take XnView to court" ..if its illegal, sue, othewise be quiet), that is a non-issue, and diversionary.

Actually pretty much what I said - the point I was making really was that a one sided argument leaves him angry and frustrated. If he can't do anything about it then it is better to let it drop and get on with life in a positive and more productive way - for his own sanity and health.

If he has evidence for what he has written perhaps a simple paper displaying that evidence would suffice to warn others of the issue - but getting steamed up over a number of years about evidence he has is not productive for him either, making him come across as aggressive and defensive.
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2009, 06:38:42 PM »

... (for example: XnView has been stealing/cloning features and whole dialogs from IrfanView, for 7+ years).

One thing XnView did not steal is the full Unicode support. XnView is wonderful in many ways, but I find it embarrassing how many file name characters it cannot handle. Characters that Microsoft and IrfanView will handle without any problems. Just one example: "ما ذكرفرحتن حتى من by _ ♥ ~ β@ЯβŸÄĦ ~ ♥ _.jpg" will not open in XnView. If I try to remove the problem-causing characters, one by one, I'll have to shorten the name to "by_@_.jpg"!!! >Western Only< may not be a problem to Americans etcetera, but to me it has been a problem a little too often.
 thumb down


Edit: 'Latin' replaced with 'Western'.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 06:49:05 PM by Curt » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2009, 07:17:58 PM »

2Curt
Unicode is not handled perfectly in IV too. Irfan's support is not built-in and external plugin is used instead. Starting IV by double-clicking on problematic file does not always work and only loading it via File -> Open (or via Space key when IV is already running) gives expected results.

As you wrote, XnV doesn't handle Unicode named files correctly so IV wins here. Hopefully: upcoming XnViewMP will solve this problem (works nicely in beta) once for all.

One thing about "stealing": I've been using both viewers for years and not even once I thought something was copied in any way. Although I am sure that Irfan should steal Configuration dialogue Wink It is not normal to have so many "misc" pages within (and tabs at all).
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 09:41:25 PM by fenixproductions » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2009, 08:08:27 PM »

- oh, I didn't know. Most likely because I don't have IrfanView as my default viewer, so its always right-click > Open With....

For convenience I have Microsoft Office Picture Manager 2003 as default; it is by far the fastest to use when I need to crop or resize an image.
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fenixproductions
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« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2009, 09:44:36 PM »

For convenience I have Microsoft Office Picture Manager 2003 as default; it is by far the fastest to use when I need to crop or resize an image.

For me Imagine plugin plays such role but that's because I am Total Commander junkie Wink

EOT
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Curt
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« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2009, 07:59:43 AM »

- well, you are a coder, aren't you?
"N.A.N.Y.W." New Applications for the New Year Windows....?
 Wink
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« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2009, 10:46:32 AM »

2Curt
- well, you are a coder, aren't you?

Do you think that's the reason?

For me it's simple: I don't make hundreds of photos to be in need for some cataloguing features of viewers. Even if I made them, I am trying to keep my folders structure organized and in the most of cases I know where I put what I need.

I am using TC because it is easier for me and I don't really need more than it can provide. Of course, I have XnV as default application for Enter key but I use it that way very rarely. For me more important is XnConvert tool.

How TC can be better for me?

Well, there are couple of reasons:

  • Dozen of plugins allows me to preview or to have thumbnails for hundreds file formats.
  • In addition to the above I can use XnV through TC interface for unknown types.
  • If there is no good (or any) XnV plugin for something, I can write my own WLX easily as long as there is some converter for it. I did it for SVG files and it works not so bad for me. I don't know XnV API but writing thumbnails support for TC is piece of cake.

It is just easier and quicker to use TC to find out the picture I was looking for.

Last thing is that I have never seen "general" image viewer with good icons preview. Really. Almost all of them shows you the best ICO they can get and you have no possibility to see how many icons are within. ICO files can contain many of these with various sizes and palettes. Viewers gives you only one but for TC - ICLView plugin is what I need.
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Надо было учиться, а не камни в школу бросать...
--
When I am bored I write for displaynone smiley
--
f0dder is my personal hero smiley
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