JPEG2000/Part 6 (JPM) is new alternative to DjVu
a news report by PlanetDjVu, July 7, 2003

Algo Vision LuraTech GmbH has announced LuraDocument.jpm, an implementation of the JPEG2000/Part 6 open standard for scanned color documents.

The recent adoption of JPEG2000/Part6 (ISO 15444-6) as a new worldwide standard for multi-layer compression will see the release of LuraDocument.jpm, the first professional implementation of this standard and successor to LuraDocument, the proprietary document format of Algo Vision LuraTech.

JPEG2000/Part 6, LuraDocument and DjVu are all implementations of the MRC (Mixed Raster Content) model, wherein there are separate background and foreground layers with separate compression methods, and an image mask to blend them together.

JPEG2000/Part6 is now the new standard for compressing real documents in color. That's because the scanned documents are first segmented, i.e., the image components are separated from the text components and the text is divided up again into pure black & white text and the text color. The resulting three layers are compressed separately from each other. None of the text layer is lost (lossless compression), which means that the quality of the text is optimal. This is especially significant for readability and OCR capability (text recognition). The other two layers are each compressed separately in JPEG2000/Part1 (the image compression within the JPEG2000 format family).

While LuraDocument generated LDF files, the file extension for JPEG2000/Part6 is JPM. JPM is supported not only by Algo Vision LuraTech, but by other companies in document imaging, including such well-known names as Xerox, Ricoh, NEC and others.

In contrast to JPM, DjVu is a proprietary format, and DjVu is not supported by companies other than the owner, LizardTech, due to restrictive or non-existant licensing opportunities.  Although parts of the DjVu format is open-sourced, the key parts are not.

LuraDocument.jpm will first be implemented as a Windows SDK, and a viewer ActiveX component is under development for Microsoft Internet Explorer. A command line encoder and a Capture tool will follow. Prices for LuraDocument.jpm will be consistent with the current prices for LuraDocument, which are 10 - 20 times less expensive than DjVu, and which compare favorably with the cost for PDF tools.

For example, the cost of the SDK for LuraDocument.jpm will be about $3,250 for unlimited output, while the DjVu SDK costs $25,000, with no output (you begin paying per-page after acquiring the SDK, starting at 10 cents per page).

You can read the announcement of LuraDocument.jpm (in PDF format) by clicking here.

Both the original LuraDocument format and the DjVu format came to market in advance of JPEG2000/Part 6, but this 3-year grace period is now over. Algo Vision Luratech has elected now to migrate from a proprietary format (LDF) to an open one (JPM).  LizardTech remains silent on its plans and intentions for its proprietary DjVu format, we are sad to say.

Our requests to LizardTech and AT&T to address the licensing and proprietary issues of DjVu have gone unanswered. We are waiting to see if DjVu will come to life again after the acquisition of LizardTech by Celartem is completed.

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