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March 4, 2008

ImageJ vs. Pixcavator, a follow-up

Filed under: updates, image processing/image analysis software, reviews, rants — Peter @ 2:16 pm

In the last post I provided a list that compared the capabilities of ImageJ (without plug-ins) and Pixcavator 2.4 in analysis of gray scale images. Then I submitted the link to the ImageJ’s forum.

The premise was very simple. The list contained enough features of ImageJ’s to show that they are comparable (in a certain narrow sense). It also contained some Pixcavator’s features that ImageJ doesn’t have to make the comparison interesting. I expected people to try it and give me some feedback. This is done every day because it’s a fair trade: people get to try something new and I get to learn something new. That didn’t happen.

My post was taken as an attack on ImageJ. The responses were along these lines:

  1. ImageJ is free (as in “free speech” as I was explained).
  2. ImageJ works on all platforms not just Windows.
  3. ImageJ’s plug-ins include “particle tracking, deconvolution, fourier transform, FRET analysis, 3D reconstruction, neuron tracing…”

Clearly, this wasn’t the kind of feedback I expected. I thought they were simply off topic.

To resolve the issue somewhat I added the first two items to the table and also promised to have a post to compare ImageJ with plug-ins to Pixcavator SDK (it’s free but unlike free speech it will only stay free for some time…).

Even though this was very unsatisfying, it wasn’t all bad - there were a few positive/neutral responses (thanks!) and there were spikes in the number of visits and downloads.

In retrospect, I should have made it clear that the comparison was from the point of view of a user not a developer. In this light, the main advantage of Pixcavator becomes evident – its simplicity!

So I didn’t learn anything new and didn’t get to improve my software, so what? I can turn this around and say that the end result is in fact a good news:

None of the statements in the post has been refuted.

The only statement that has been refuted – multiple times – is: “Pixcavator is better than ImageJ”, the statement I never made or implied.

One interesting reaction came from Mark Burge: “I would hazard to say that everything in Pixcavator is surely available through a plugin”. I wagered $100 that he was wrong. No response so far. How about we make this a bit more interesting? Here’s is a challenge:

$300 for the first person who shows that all of these features of Pixcavator’s are reproducible by the existing ImageJ’s plug-ins!

Meanwhile life goes on. We had a couple of milestones recently. First, we reached 30,000 downloads of Pixcavator since January 2007 (versions 2.2 – 2.4). Second, the wiki - the main page – has been visited 10,000 times since August 2007. Recently we are getting over 80 daily visitors.

One Response to “ImageJ vs. Pixcavator, a follow-up”

  1. Kevin Mc Carthy Says:

    I’ve looked at both sites Imagej and Pixcavator, there is no compparison.
    Doesn’t matter that imagj is free, I ran some analysis on both systems, Pixacator produced what I needed in seconds, still trying to get to grips with Imagej and no results.
    Keep up the good work.

    Kevin Mc Carthy
    MD Technelogix Ltd

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