GraphicsMagick: doing ImageMagick right

Found out about GraphicsMagick while trying to remember the package name for ImageMagick in Ubuntu 10.10/Maverick‘s repository (I can never remember which package managers do case-insensitive substring matching by default and which don’t). It’s about time someone started making ImageMagick slightly more comprehensible. ImageMagick‘s useful in a pinch, but it’s far from perfect. Its list of command-line flags rivals the Bible in length, it’s sometimes so hard to figure out which options to stick where to do what that on more than one occasion I’ve said “Screw it, I’ll just do this in PIL/SciPy/raw OpenGL!”, and the way it names its various utilities is just rude. convert, identify, display — these are all common words! They get used by everything! Would it have killed them to put a prefix on there? I haven’t even finished installing it, but GraphicsMagick has already solved one of those problems: all of their functionality is accessed through the gm command. Thanks, GraphicsMagick Group! Now, if they suck at compression even slightly less than ImageMagick does, I’ll be a very happy man.

I hope most of the stuff at http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/ still works on GraphicsMagick. The examples there are a lifesaver if you happen to have a task that matches one of them, but they’re from ImageMagick v6 and GraphicsMagick forked from ImageMagick v5. We’ll see how much translates.

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