17 May 2007: LibTiff maintainers have started working on LibTiff 4.0, the next upgrade of the codec. This upgrade will include support for the new BigTIFF file format. It is planned to be a preliminary version (LibTiff 4.0alpha1) and will be operational by June 15, 2007. Testing and final release improvements for LibTiff 4.0 will be completed by July 30, 2007.
BigTIFF logically extends the original TIFF file format (referred to as ‘ClassicTIFF’ from now on), breaking the 4 gigabyte boundary, with 64bit offsets allowing files up to 18,000 petabytes in size. The BigTIFF specification is the result of work by a variety of parties on the LibTiff mailing list, including the current LibTiff maintainers, Joris Van Damme and Adobe staff.
The BigTIFF specification has not yet been officially approved by the TIFF specification owner (Adobe), but implementation within LibTiff could accelerate that process. BigTIFF will be especially useful for people and vendors that are confronted with very large images, and still seek to use an open, simple, and extendable format.
The LibTiff BigTIFF upgrade is made possible by four sponsors funding the project. The programming work will primarily be done by Joris Van Damme (AWare Systems).