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Manual Reference Pages  -  IMC (1)


imc - Image Compiler (v4.3)




imc [-h] [-v] [-q quality] [inputfile] -o outputfile {-I includedir}*

or in a URL, as CGI script:



This program accepts drawing commands from a file or from standard input. The output of the program is a either a PNG, GIF or JPG image (GIF and JPG if supported by the installed libgd and GD perl module). If imc is used in a URL as CGI script, the image will be output to the browser.

The input file can also be automatically piped through a C pre-processor first, if one is available.


imc needs Perl version 5.003, patchlevel 23, or higher (version 5.004 is recommended). Also the GD module, version 1.18 or higher, is required. For JPG input/output, version 1.26 or higher is required. For GIF input/output, version 2.15 or higher is required.


The following arguments are accepted when run from the command line (the arguments can be specified in random order):
-h prints a help text, then quits
-v prints version info, then quits
-q quality
  the quality parameter in case of JPG output (ignored for PNG or GIF output)
  the name of the input file with drawing commands (if no input file is given, standard input is used)
-o outputfile
  the name of the output file (the file to generate); this is the only mandatory argument; the output type (PNG, GIF or JPG) is deduced from the extension of the file (.png, .gif or .jpg)
-I includedir
  the name of an include directory to be fed to the C pre-processor; several include directories may be specified
In a URL, the inputfile and, optionally, some includedirs have to be given. Also the quality can be passed, for JPG output.


The supported syntax is described in the imc Reference Manual, which is included in the distribution (in text and HTML format). Releases with the same major version number have a backward compatible syntax.


imc came out of a kind of contest started by my sysadmin at work. He wanted a program that would allow him to generate web pages that show various things of interest about the system (system location, disk usage, ...), preferably in a graphical way.

HTML itself has some restrictions on the placement of text and graphics on a page, so he came up with the idea of generating a GIF file from a text file with drawing commands, which could then be included in an HTML page. The rest, as they say, is history...

Since there were patent issues in using GIF files, the GD library switched over to PNG instead, and so did this program (since release 4.0). Now that the patent issues are not there anymore, the GD library (and this program, since release 4.3) has re-added GIF support.


imc is Copyright (C) 1998, 1999, 2002 Peter Verthez

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.


Bugs should be reported to the address given below. Please include the version number of the program that you are using (or better yet: only report bugs on the latest version; see the README file on how to get the latest version).


Peter Verthez <>
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IMC (1) 3 April 2005

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