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Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Mirage is a relatively new image viewing application which has been designed with speed in mind:

Mirage is a fast and simple GTK+ image viewer. Because it depends only on PyGTK, Mirage is ideal for users who wish to keep their computers lean while still having a clean image viewer.

The project was started in March, 2006 according to the CHANGELOG file. Mirage has undergone rapid development since then, with fifteen releases so far.

[Mirage] In 2004, LWN's Jon Corbet wrote The Grumpy Editor's Guide to Image Viewers. One conclusion of the article was that none of the current image viewers were as useful as xv:

Your editor stands by his original claim: xv, even after nine years of absolutely no development, is still superior to any of the free alternatives. No other tool provides the same ease of use, speed, features, and quality of results.


Nothing has changed in regards to xv development, but xv is still the standard that other viewers are judged against. Let's see how Mirage stacks up.

Here are some of the features offered by Mirage:

  • Supported image formats include png, jpg, svg, xpm, gif, bmp, tiff, and others.
  • Has the ability to cycle through large collections of images.
  • Images can be dynamically resized, full-screen and best fit modes are available.
  • A built-in slide show viewer is included.
  • Has a random image viewing function.
  • A user-selectable status bar shows basic image metadata.
  • An image properties pulldown shows more detailed image metadata.
  • Images can be rotated, zoomed, cropped, resized and flipped.
  • Panning through zoomed-in images can be performed with the mouse.
  • Many of the program's options are user-configurable.
  • A number of command-line switches are available.
  • A number of shortcuts are bound to various key combinations.
The online documentation explains the application in more detail.

Some of the features that your author has come to depend on in xv, but are not available in Mirage include:

  • A grab function for turning windows into images.
  • The ability to convert and save images to another format.
  • A full-featured color editor window, especially the R/G/B/mono linearity adjustments.
  • The lack of a spinning clock as an indication of ongoing image processing.
  • Cropping via mouse clicks in the main window.

Some of these missing functions, such as image grab and convert, can be handled by external commands. Perhaps that is in line with the Mirage lightweight design philosophy, but the omissions come at the cost of user inconvenience.

Your author tried out version 0.8.1 of Mirage on an Ubuntu Edgy Eft system, for the most part, the application behaved as advertised. There was a slight problem starting up the slideshow mode, when the application was opened up with a *.jpg command line option, the slideshow button was grayed-out until several images were first viewed manually. A repeat slideshow option would also be useful if the application were to be used in an unattended mode.

Mirage has a nice look and feel, for the basic job of viewing large collections of images, it performs quite well and your author will keep it on his machine.

The Mirage source code and packages are available for download here.

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Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 15, 2007 5:08 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242) [Link]

Ah yes, xv ... my thoughts exactly, how does this stack up against such an archaic program. I had not realized it's been 9 years now. So I tried it. One of the first problems I ran into is -maxpect, which displays each picture to the maximum size possible without changing the aspect ration. No good news here. Mirage has -f/--fullscreen, which certainly makes its own window full screen, but alas, the picture sits forlornly in the middle, normal size.

This is 0.8.3 on gentoo. Back to xv :-)

Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 15, 2007 5:56 UTC (Thu) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

My view is you are asking your image viewer to be an image editor. Consider using an image editor for image editing. The Gimp, for example can capture images, change their formats, crop, adjust colors, and many other things.

I am curious if Mirage is actually fast, as compared to program such as qiv and feh, but I suppose I can evaluate this myself.

I'm surprised people are still viewing xv as the benchmark. I view xv as unworkable. It isn't free software; the commandline is a total mess of a million switches; it leaves a dribble of files all over my filesystem; it implements gui elements like file open dialogs but does not use what has come to be the standard dialogs from gtk and qt for these activities. I dumped xv around 1999 and have found that the features it gave me were available in different tools focused on different tasks. This is the unix way, right?

Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 15, 2007 8:24 UTC (Thu) by evgeny (guest, #774) [Link]

I don't understand how people can work with image viewers that lack the very basic (to me) functionality - remembering (throughout the current session) per-image settings (rotation, brightness,...). Of all the viewers I tried, only xli supports it, and so I use it exclusively. Not to mention it's extremely light and fast.

Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 15, 2007 12:05 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164) [Link]

I hope gwenview will come out improved a lot in it's KDE 4 incarnation...
Imho, it's a almost-perfect image viewer if used embedded in konqueror.
And I don't see a pygtk app being half as fast as an equally/better
featured KDE 4 C++ app, so I don't worry about performance...

Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 15, 2007 17:14 UTC (Thu) by JohnNilsson (guest, #41242) [Link]

To grab windows to images in GNOME just hit Alt+Print Screen

Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 16, 2007 10:32 UTC (Fri) by flewellyn (subscriber, #5047) [Link]

I tried Mirage, and it's very nice, but lacks one major feature found in XZGV, which remains my
favorite image viewer, even after years without development. XZGV has a thumbnailed directory
browser, allowing you to just browse through the directories and choose the image you want.
Mirage seems limited to opening images through a dialog box (much more cumbersome), or
opening the ENTIRE directory, which forces you to scroll through the images until you find the
one(s) you want.

IF Mirage gets a thumbnailed directory browser, it will make a good replacement for XZGV.
Mirage has better zooming and scaling capabilities, is lighter weight, and opens images much
faster. Plus, it has slideshow. But without a directory browser it isn't a viable replacement for

Mirage: a fast and simple image viewer

Posted Mar 17, 2007 12:41 UTC (Sat) by sstein (guest, #15028) [Link]

Mirage seems to not have a view where I can see all images in one directory. For me this makes the program useless.


qiv and gliv

Posted Mar 18, 2007 21:56 UTC (Sun) by grouch (guest, #27289) [Link]

For viewing, I haven't found anything I prefer more than the following, although gliv could be much improved by allowing brightness and contrast adjustment:



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