pngreader by / Project Gnutenberg
pngreader v1.1 pngreader parses png images and displays the results no copyright 2003 license this program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the gnu general public license as published by the free software foundation (; either version 2 of the license, or (at your [...]
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pngreader decodes specifically encoded PNG image files into other, like, for example, the text of a novel. This software works on the assumption that the digital zeros and ones of an arbitrary image - say, an abstract drawing or a portrait of Marilyn Monroe - could be the same zeros and ones of an ASCII text file, like (for example) Jorge Borges' short stories.
pngreader scans any input PNG image and extracts, if possible, the ASCII text it correspondingly contains. Of course, this doesn't work with arbitrary PNG images, but only with specially encoded PNG images - which are recognizable by the shopping cart in the lower right corner.
pngreader thus allows artists to create images which, accidentally of course, might also be read as certain pieces of literature. If an artist spreads a painting in the Internet which pngreader decodes as a copyrighted novel, the artist can't be held legally responsible since he or she created an image, not a text file, and can't be sued for the fact that the zeros and one of his files are also readable as text.
pngreader does not only extract texts from png artwork, but also zip archives, other images, music, video and more. It has a corresponding module "pngwriter" which recovers the original png graphic artwork from any kind of file.

by Florian Cramer, posted 06 Jun 2003

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