Kakadu Software

Software Description

Kakadu Software is a comprehensive, heavily optimized, fully compliant software toolkit for JPEG2000 developers. It is a complete implementation of the JPEG2000 standard, Part 1, — i.e., ISO/IEC 15444-1. The Software Development Kit (SDK) also provides a comprehensive implementation for several of the most useful features from Part 2 of the JPEG2000 standard, including general multi-component transforms and arbitrary wavelet transform kernels. This image compression standard is substantially more sophisticated than the existing JPEG standard, both from a computational and a conceptual perspective.

Kakadu Software features:

  • Extensive and convenient support for Java native interfaces.
  • Automatically builds bindings for C# and Visual Basic programmers
  • Multi-threaded processing to fully utilize parallel processing resources (multiple CPUs, multi-core CPUs or hyperthreading). You can select  a new multi-threaded processing model (requires only a few extra lines of code in your application) or the single-threaded processing model from v5.0 and before.
  • A carefully engineered thread scheduler so once you have created a multi-threaded environment and populated it with one thread for each physical/virtual processor on your system, close to 100% utilization is achieved by using all computational resources.


The Kakadu Software framework provides a solid foundation for a range of commercial and non-commercial applications. By making a consistent and efficient implementation of the JPEG2000 standard widely available for both public good and commercial applications, our aim is to encourage the widespread adoption of JPEG2000.
Kakadu Software has been written specifically with a variety of different types of applications in mind. These include:
Image and volume compression:
Compression of image files in a variety of formats is demonstrated by the “kdu_compress” utility. You can now compress truly massive images (tera-pixels and up) in fragments. You can also compress medical volumes with or without advanced multi-component transforms.
Image and volume decompression/rendering:
Streaming decompression of a JPEG2000 code-stream to an output image file is demonstrated by the “kdu_expand” utility. Dead easy decompression and rendering of just about any JPEG2000 source (raw codestream, JP2 file, JPX compositing layer, JPX animation frame or MJ2 video frame) to a memory buffer is demonstrated by the kdu_render utility.
Transcoding between related representations:
Many of the transcoding operations which are natural in the context of JPEG2000 are demonstrated by the “kdu_transcode” utility.
Interactive rendering applications:
Interactive (or non-linear) decompression and rendering to display are demonstrated by the “kdu_show” utility. It can interactively render everything from still images, to medical image volumes, animations with complex blending of dynamically sized sprites, metadata overlays and motion videos.
Client-server applications:
The Kakadu Software tools offer extensive support for interactive client-server applications, implementing most features of the new JPIP (JPEG2000 Internet Protocols) standard, which has recently been advanced to the FCD (Final Committee Draft) stage by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG1 (ISO?s ?JPEG? working group).The “kdu_server” and “kdu_show” utilties provide a comprehensive demonstration of the interactive browsing capabilities of the new standard. They can be used efficiently to browse everything from a single image, to a complex multi-image composition, medical volumes with metadata markup, and much more.
Digital Cinema applications:
The Kakadu Software tools offer substantial support for Motion JPEG2000 content generation, editing and rendering, as demonstrated by the demo applications kdu_v_compress, kdu_v_expand, kdu_merge and kdu_show.

Why Choose Kakadu?

Efficient and faithful implementation of the JPEG2000 standard is a challenging task, which can consume years of a competent individual’s time. The Kakadu Software system provides a very broad and solid foundation from which to build applications using JPEG2000. Kakadu Software bears relatively few resemblances to the VM. The VM plays quite a different role to Kakadu Software, implementing Part 2 technologies, as well as experimental technologies which may never be included in any part of the JPEG2000 standard. As an implementation of Part 1, Kakadu Software offers higher processing throughput, lower memory consumption and many more features than the VM. Implementation of the new JPIP standard for interactive remote browsing of highly scalable imagery is another very challenging task, requiring a thorough understanding of JPEG2000, the JPIP protocol and networking principles. Again, Kakadu Software provides a solution which could save many years of development and effort. Kakadu Software is almost certainly the only implementation which currently supports the extensive features offered by the JPX file format. Well over 200 organisations have taken out full Commercial and Public Service licences to build and sell applications based on Kakadu Software. Visit our Partners Page for more information.

Origin of the Name

“Kakadu National Park” is located in Australia’s Northern Territory. It is a wilderness of extraordinary beauty, well worth visiting.

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