What was the motivation for creating Exiv2?

A little history about the project: Exiv2 was initially created by Andreas to fix some of his pictures that had a wrong Exif timestamp. At that time he didn't have a good internet connection (if he had found jhead then, this project would probably not exist), but plenty of time to experiment. He was discussing ideas with some people at Kodak which resulted in Exiv2 becoming a proof of concept to read and write Exif Makernotes. Sometime in 2004 Andreas first published it on the Internet, "just to see what would happen".

Not much later, Brad joined and within a short time contributed IPTC support, the initial MSVC project files, the I/O abstraction layer, generalized Image class and more. He converted the CVS repository to Subversion, a public bug tracking system and has been hosting the entire project ever since.

  • Applications started to use Exiv2 more and more, notably Udi in his UFRaw and digiKam. Gimp, Shotwell, Darktable and PhotoFlow use libexiv2.
  • Robin added support for building the code with DevStudio.
  • Volker and Michael added support for EPS files.
  • A python wrapper pyexiv2 is supported in another project by Olivier.

In 2012 and 2013, the project enjoyed having 3 students contribute through Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Abhinav and Mahesh added support for video. Tuan added "Web Ready" which enables read/write using popular internet protocols such as http/https/ftp/ssh and several others.

Robin retired from Silicon Valley in 2014 to his home in England and v0.25 added a build server. v0.26 has been a "maintenance" release plus CMake/Visual Studio support, ICC Profiles and file dump features.

What's planned after v0.26/2106? Lots can be done.

  • Enhancements to video and xmp
  • Build/test support for mobile platforms
  • More file formats such as PDF, webp and webm
  • Extended test suite for raw formats
  • Rewrite the test suite in python

The biggest challenge for Exiv2 is finding the next project champion. Andreas ran the project in the early years. Robin has been the principal contributor since 2013. The next Custodian is out there. It could be YOU.

A final word about the value of Exiv2. Metadata enables workflows. Workflows across applications require a reliable and robust implementation of standards. All applications must rest on a proven cross-platform metadata library. Exiv2 is that library.

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