This thread on Ubuntuforums made me think about color management aware browser. Until now, only Safari (on MacOS X and Windows) and Explorer (on MacOS X) were CM aware, but now with the close release of Firefox version 3, CM will become a standard on MacOS, Linux and Windows…
So let’s see what it means and how to use it.
Enabling Color Management in Firefox version 3
By default, color management is disabled in Firefox 3. To enable it, just enter about:config in the address bar, promise to be careful to the popping window and type “color_management” in the filter. Change gfx.color_management.enabled to true. This means that Firefox will honor the profiles embedded to the images it displays.
Close and restart Firefox to have your options taken into account. You can check this link to make sure it is properly working – the mountain image at the top should look normal (and not 4 quarters with different weirdo colors) .
What does it mean?
A web browser is not a photographic application; it won’t allow you to do stuff like converting a picture to your printer profile before printing. However with this new infrastructure, anyone with a CM aware browser will see your picture colors as closely as possible to how you see them on your own monitor. And this rocks.
To take advantage of that functionality however, your images have to have an ICC profile embedded in them – that is what happens by default in the Gimp when you convert an image to a profile, but with Cinepaint you have the choice to either embed the profile (make a copy of the profile inside your image file) or assign the profile to the image (put a note in the image that it should be opened with the specified profile). Obviously there is no way to guarantee that this or that specific profile will be present in any computer over the internet, so Firefox has to rely on embedded profiles.
Note that AdobeRGB or sRGB profiles weight about 1k. My printer profile, however, is 1.4MB so I certainly don’t want to embed it to my web images – but why would I?
How to take advantage of it?
So in order to take advantage of CM awareness in Firefox, just embed your profile in all your photos published on the web 🙂 I am using AdobeRGB as photo editing profile, but I will probably convert them to sRGB to avoid too much destruction on non CM aware browsers.
So one more tick to the list of “required features” for using Linux for photography.
And because this is a no-screenshot entry, let’s revive the tradition of the closing picture. Another one with my new 35mm, just a block away from my place.