I recently noticed that there is no GIF support in OpenCV’s
imread function. According to several answers I found online, the reason for this is that there were patents that required a license to implement a GIF codec, even for open source software. Furthermore, GIF reading is possible using FFmpeg, which however requires FFmpeg support for OpenCV (which might not be available for different reasons). At least reading GIF files with FFmpeg works, still I’m curious why there is no native GIF codec inside OpenCV.
To the best of my knowledge, all patents protecting the GIF codec are expired for ages. So at least in theory, native GIF support could be implemented in OpenCV. Nowadays OpenCV is one of the biggest if not even the leading open source image processing library, but it still has no native GIF support. Are there any plans to change this? Or might there be even plans that GIF will never be supported natively? Is GIF simply too irrelevant nowadays and OpenCV does not want to support it besides indirectly by using FFmpeg? Or maybe just no developer time should be spent on such an old and rarely used format?