Lack of performant open source decoding software

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JPEG 2000 is not well supported by open-source decoders. The following open-source encoders/decoders exist:

Library Language
JasPer C
JJ2000 Java

Both JasPer and JJ2000 were originally developed as official reference implementations that are part of the JPEG 2000 standard (ISO/IEC 15444-5). JJ2000 doesn't appear to be under any active development anymore. JasPer is widely used by other open source applications (e.g. see the list on the Jasper Project Home Page, but its development shows very limited activity. Development of OpenJPEG is much more active.

The problem is that, compared to their commercially-developed counterparts, these libraries are relatively slow, lack sufficient stability and don't support all features of the format.


  • Accessibility of digitised materials in the long term (vendors of commercial decoders may go out of business or continued support may not be economically viable if interest in the format diminishes)
  • Errors in digitisation workflows because of scarcity of quality control tools that are able to process/analyse JP2 images
  • Possibilities for analysis, re-use (e.g. mash-ups) by researchers and library patrons are limited by lack of available decoding tools




The archival community should work together and support (financially or otherwise) improvement and further development of open source JPEG 2000 decoders. OpenJPEG would probably be the most obvious candidate, considering its current status and the active developer community.

References - An analysis of 3 JPG2000 codec libraries - Kakadu, JasPer, OpenJPEG - on image quality when migrating TIFF to JP2, in particular looking at different combinations of encoding/decoding codecs.

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