libjpeg-turbo 3.0 Released But May Be The End Of Feature Work Due To Funding Constraints

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 3 July 2023 at 10:16 PM EDT. 81 Comments
The libjpeg-turbo 3.0 open-source release occurred today for this open-source JPEG image codec implementation focused on SIMD instruction usage for optimized efficiency. While libjpeg-turbo has been a great open-source development success and has seen widespread use, its feature development moving forward may be limited due to funding gaps.

The libjpeg-turbo JPEG image codec implementation has been great for optimized CPU usage with its SIMD tuning. However, lead libjpeg-turbo lead developer "DRC" notes that it may be the end of feature work and possibly not seeing any libjpeg-turbo "v3.1" release.

DRC explained in the release anmnouncement:
"I will continue to fix bugs in libjpeg-turbo and issue bug-fix releases in the 3.0.x release series, but there will not be a libjpeg-turbo 3.1 release series *unless* this project can secure more general funding. As it stands, libjpeg-turbo only has general funding for about 8-10 hours of labor per month. Finishing the 3.0 beta release required borrowing against all expected general funding for 2023, and fixing all of the 3.0 post-beta bugs required borrowing against all expected general funding through September of 2024. If things continue apace, then libjpeg-turbo is effectively in "maintenance mode". That means that no new features (even minor ones) can be considered, and tech support will be limited, for at least the next 15 months."

DRC went on to explain his other open-source projects VirtualGL and TurboVNC enjoy more backing:
"Because the majority of my income is from VirtualGL and TurboVNC, uncompensated labor on libjpeg-turbo forces me to steal time away from those more lucrative projects. Thus, I simply can't eat labor cost on libjpeg-turbo anymore. (I ate hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of it from 2010-2018, but when the libjpeg-turbo 2.0 release caused me to go into debt in 2018, I had to stop.) However, major releases still require a lot of general labor. Because the project is so high-profile (used by literally billions of people every day through major web browsers, operating systems, and image viewers/editors) and is an ISO/ITU-T reference implementation, it undergoes intense scrutiny. "

Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated problem in the open-source community. Hell, more than half of Phoronix readers block ads and less than 2% of readers subscribe to Phoronix Premium that in turn make my operations more difficult. It's unfortunately all too common for open-source users -- and especially corporations -- to enjoy the work of community projects but not to financially engage.

In any event libjpeg-turbo 3.0 is available today with 4:4:1 chrominance sub-sampling support, various fixes, and other improvements for those interested.

Here's to hoping a libjpeg-turbo 3.1 release can come to be along with other under-funded, high-usage open-source initiatives.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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