Gravatar restores PNG support

Posted in Life, Software at 1:03 am by

Some time ago, Gravatar announced the first round of “improvements” added to the service after having been bought by Automattic (the company behind WordPress, the software that powers افكار و احلام). Among those changes was a buried, but rather unpopular, one: Gravatar had dropped support for images in PNG format and, with that, transparency. Worse, the new Gravatar service had converted all existing PNG images into JPEG images, turning any transparent sections into pure black!

Automattic’s initial responses to the first questions about the deleted PNG support were a bit brain-dead, as others pointed out. I was flabbergasted at how clueless Automattic seemed, and I started working on my own post about the subject. Fortunately, I quickly got distracted with the run-up to Camino 1.6, and the mostly-finished post sat around, awaiting some polish and a conclusion. In the meantime, I also discovered that Automattic had attempted to unify Gravatar and WordPress.com, replacing email-based Gravatar logins with WordPress.com username-based logins. Initially, however, there seemed to be no way to prove you owned a WordPress.com username after Gravatar reported the username was in use. :(

Since I was busy with Camino releases, I just let my Gravatar complaints sit, the critical post still unfinished, hoping that at some point “soon” Automattic would come back from 1995 and rejoin the PNG era. In addition, I’m not overjoyed at writing involved criticisms of people whose work I’m otherwise fond of, so if I never needed to finish the post, I would be just as happy. Finally, today I happily discovered that Gravatar had indeed come back from 1995 and had restored support for PNGs and transparency. Even better, when I attempted to log in, I could supply my WordPress.com password to prove I owned the username I wanted to use. After that, it was just a quick upload, and my old gravatar plagued with a black line was back to a nice transparent PNG. :) Nice work, Automattic!

Now, if I could just figure out a good way to add gravatars to this theme, everything would be perfect.

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