This is the home page for Netpbm, a package of graphics software.

About Netpbm

For basic information, read the package's README file. For details, look at the user manual.

Getting Netpbm

Netpbm Source Package

The most normal way to get Netpbm is to get the source package and build it for the particular system on which you want to run it.

You can download the Netpbm source package and see a recent change history on the Sourceforge Netpbm project page.

There are two packages available for downloading on Sourceforge: Stable Netpbm and Latest Netpbm. These differ mainly in their release strategy. New releases of Stable Netpbm make only changes that are low in risk and high in reward. New releases of Latest Netpbm contain every change available, with little concern given to the risk of breakage. That means that Stable Netpbm will tend to have fewer bugs, especially severe ones, whereas Latest Netpbm will tend to have more function.

Bugs in Latest Netpbm are also left in longer (generally up to two months); But they are documented immediately in the release notes, as explained under Support.

Infrequently, Stable Netpbm is upgraded to the current Latest Netpbm, and then takes a little while to stabilize again.

If you are able to deal with simple software defects, please get Latest Netpbm. The defects don't get fixed unless people encounter them. Check the release notes for a complete list of all known bugs, so you won't be wasting your time, and report anything else you find.

Both of these packages are source code tarballs. You must build Netpbm, following instructions and using tools in the package, before you can install and use it.

The source code packages do not contain documentation. The documentation is online, and if you want a local copy, you download it from that webserver. Instructions for doing that download, and installing the documentation on your system, are in the source code package in the doc/USERDOC file.

note: If you're wondering why the documentation isn't simply included in the source tarballs: It's because the Netpbm maintainer is lazy and doesn't want to make multiple copies of things.

For each source code tarball package, there is also an "upgrade patch" package. That's just a patch (unified diff file) that you can apply to Release X to get Release X+1

Pre-Built Distributions

There are a few distributions of Netpbm pre-built for particular kinds of systems. These are often called "binary" distributions. The "Netpbm maintainer" is the maintainer only of the source package, though. The pre-built packages are distributed independently from the Netpbm source package. They are typically based on a fairly downlevel Netpbm source package.

If you have built Netpbm for a common platform, consider making it available to others; Contact the Netpbm maintainer to get it listed here or to add it to the Netpbm Sourceforge project.

Here are pre-built distributions the Netpbm maintainer knows about:

Release Numbering

A single release number space is used for both Latest Netpbm and Stable Netpbm. Latest Netpbm releases are two numbers, e.g. 10.27, and Stable Netpbm releases are three numbers, e.g. 10.26.12. The numbering of the Stable Netpbm release tells you on what Latest Netpbm release it is based.


There is no mailing list or tracking system for bug reports and requests for help. Just send an email to the maintainer, Bryan Henderson, at [email protected]. Bryan responds fairly quickly and reliably. If you're using Latest Netpbm, please check the release notes first.

There is no bug tracking system because there aren't enough bug reports to make it worthwhile. The maintainer responds to each emailed bug report immediately.

To see what bugs have already been reported, see the release notes on Sourceforge (click on the release name on the file download page). For Latest Netpbm, the release notes are updated to contain a complete list of the known bugs in that release, until the next release is out. For Stable Netpbm, there simply aren't any known bugs to speak of, because when a bug is reported in Stable Netpbm, there is a new release within a few days to fix it.

To see what bugs have been fixed, either look at the file doc/HISTORY in the package, or at the change histories for individual releases on Sourceforge.

Known Problems

Note that we don't call these problems "bugs" because a bug is a case where a program doesn't behave as its designer intended.

Netpbm has many arithmetic overflows.


Netpbm is maintained and distributed via a Sourceforge project. Logo

By Bryan Henderson, San Jose, CA; [email protected] last checked 2006.02.12.