I am interested to know what programs (particularly image viewers, editors and converters) support the PAM imageformat. So far I've tested 16 viewers (Eye of Gnome (eog), Eye of MATE (eom), Eyesight, Feh, Geeqie, gliv, gpicview, gThumb, gwenview, nomacs, qiv, ristretto, shotwell, viewnior, xfi (xfe), xzgv), and none of them support the format in question. For editors, I tried GIMP, mtPaint, Krita, but they don't support it too. So far the only programs that support it I found are:

  • XnView
  • ImageMagick
  • ffmpeg

Are there any others? Also, do you know any programs where it would be easy to make and install a plugin to load these files, preferably in C/Lua/Python/Lisp? I'm probably going to make a plugin for GIMP, I've already had some experience with writing plugins for it.

I'm asking because I need a simple image format that supports transparency and has the best possible support in the wild, and so far the best candidate seems to be PAM, but the support, despite being there for over 15 years.

Also, most probably many of those applications I listed have plugins I could install, maybe you know of some plugins that support PAM?

Thanks, I appreciate your help.

Update: Pinta, Gnome Paint, xpaint, kolourpaint do not support the format either.

  • I have never heard of this PAM and since you are having a very hard time finding an application that supports it, that would seem to counter your assertion that it has the best possible support in the wild. How about a nice PNG instead? – psusi May 4 '17 at 0:55
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    It doesn't. PNM and PAM are different things. PNM refers to PPM, PGM and PBM formats. PAM is not part of PNM. – Rusty Bludgeon May 20 '17 at 20:20

There are no more popular and notable in-the-wild viewer/editor applications that support PAM directly, but this is for a simple reason:

PAM is little more that a standardized pixel map with support for a few tuple types and transparency. It's intended purpose is fast, lossless manipulation and conversion of a raster image without accounting for gamma, color-profiles, pixels-per-inch, or any other image information. In ordinary use, many images use the additional information to make images display correctly on differing hardware and software, or provide additional significant information to the viewer.

Because of the specific and limited usefulness of the PAM format, it is generally supported via the command-line or with a compiled library, allowing the developer who uses PAM to use as much or as little extra information as they need in their own way, and then export the PAM to an appropriate public format, incorporating that information.

Since you have mentioned no need for anything more than viewing and editing support of PAM, you may be interested in the libnetpbm C library and the existing Netpbm plugins for Gimp. You may use those to create a plugin for PAM.

You mentioned that you are interested in a simple format and that PAM seemed ideal. PAM is a binary format, so if binary formats are allowable, you may be more interested in PNG. It is standardized for transport over a network as PAM is, and it is supported by virtually all viewers out of the box. Depending on whether you need to load stored images, create images, convert images, and whether you need the speed of accessing a file directly or through a pipe, you may consider using PAM and PNG together with the Netpbm utilities pamtopng and pngtopam, using PAM for low-level manipulation or creation and PNG for everything else.

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