PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics -- a new bit-mapped graphics file format similar to GIF. It's been made a standard by the WWW consortium and is meant to replace GIF which has become cumbersome to use because of its patent-protected LZW compression algorithm. PNG is in contrast completely patent- and license-free. It has support for true color, indexed color, grayscale and image transparency and can be used in streams. PNG uses its own lossless compression method which is considered better than GIF and JPEG. It has become the preferred format to use on the Web lately.

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