PNG support in other browsers varies considerably by platform. On the
Amiga, it is ubiquitous, thanks to a technological marvel known as
datatypes (a kind of super-DLL that, among other things,
provides generic image support); but under operating systems like BeOS
or Atari TOS, it is virtually nonexistent. The following sections list
many of the known PNG-supporting browsers, sorted by platform.
Two datatypes provide PNG support for virtually every Amiga browser in
(http://www.aminet.org/pub/aminet/util/dtype/PNG_dt.lha) and Andreas
Cloanto made their first version of available within months of the PNG
specification freeze, thereby making the Amiga the very first platform to
support PNG in web browsers. Andreas's datatype at one time was considered
to have better overall PNG support, but the two datatypes appear to have
comparable features as of early 1999. Unfortunately, the datatype architecture
itself currently precludes alpha transparency and progressive display, but an
operating system upgrade due in the second quarter of 1999 is expected to
add at least alpha support.
In the meantime, there are three Amiga browsers with native PNG
support in addition to basic datatype support: AWeb
(http://www.hisoft.co.uk/amiga/ibrowse), and VoyagerNG
(http://www.vapor.com/voyager). The first two claim to support
transparency, possibly including full alpha support. AWeb also does
gamma correction, and all three display PNGs progressively as they
As of this writing, the best bet for a PNG-capable web browser running
under BeOS is a toss-up between the upcoming Opera port to BeOS, which
will presumably include Opera Software's recently added PNG support,
and the upcoming release of BeOS R4.5 and NetPositive 2.1
latter is Be's bundled web browser, which in its beta version already
supports PNG--though not alpha transparency or gamma correction.
BeOS R4.5 will ship with a PNG ``Translator,'' which is the BeOS
version of the Amiga datatype concept.
Surprisingly enough, given the Mac's popularity among graphic
designers, there are only four PNG-supporting browsers for the
platform, as of early 1999. That Netscape Navigator is one of them, and
that Internet Explorer is also available (though without PNG support
until version 5.0 is released) presumably has a great deal to do with
this lack of other PNG support. Aside from Navigator, the only known PNG-supporting Macintosh
browsers are iCab, Spyglass Mosaic, and versions 3.0A1 and later of
NCSA MacMosaic, and development on both of the Mosaics ceased in 1996.
iCab is a promising new browser for both Classic and Power
Macintoshes; as of this writing, it is still in beta (Preview 1.3a)
and has no gamma support or progressive display of interlacing, but it
is reported to support alpha transparency. It is available from
There are also two or three plug-ins for Mac versions of Netscape
prior to 4.04, depending on how one counts: the PNG Live 1.0 plug-in
for PowerMacs, Sam Bushell's (beta) plug-in, and Apple's QuickTime 3.0
plug-in. Since Sam Bushell was also responsible for PNG support in
QuickTime 3.0, it may be considered the successor to his own plug-in.
Only one currently available browser for NeXTStep and OpenStep supports PNG
natively: OmniWeb, versions 2.0 and later, available from
http://www.omnigroup.com/Software/OmniWeb/. OmniWeb displays interlaced images
progressively and does full gamma correction, but version 2.0 has no support
for alpha transparency. (Version 3.0 is still in beta as of February 1999;
its release notes do not mention PNG or alpha transparency.) Another NeXT
browser, NetSurfer 1.1, once supported PNG, but it is no longer available.
Until mid-1998, the options for native OS/2 PNG-supporting browsers were almost
nonexistent: they included a widely distributed plug-in from Giorgio Costa
and a beta plug-in from Panacea Software that was available for only two weeks.
These could be used with IBM's OS/2 port of Netscape Navigator 2.02. (IBM's
own WebExplorer browser never supported PNG in any way.) But September 1998
saw the public release of IBM's Navigator 4.04 port
(http://www.software.ibm.com/os/warp/netscape), which includes native