developer.gnome.org: GdkPixbuf as a Replacement for Imlib

As of October 1999, GNOME programs and the core libraries
use the Imlib library for loading and rendering images.
Unfortunately, Imlib has several important design limitations that
make it hard to write efficient and highly modular

“GdkPixbuf is a new GNOME library designed to solve part of
Imlib’s problems. The GdkPixbuf library provides a basic, reference
counted structure called GdkPixbuf. This structure points to a
block of image data, has fields that describe the format of the
image data, and also contains a reference count. The library also
provides a simple mechanism for loading images from files, and a
more sophisticated mechanism for loading images progressively from
arbitrary buffers. It also provides utility functions to transform
pixbufs and render them to GDK drawables.”

“The GdkPixbuf framework is thus composed of the following
parts. Not all of the functionality is provided by the GdkPixbuf
library itself; parts are provided by the Libart and GdkRGB


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