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X11 Bitmap Graphic (.xbm)

The XBM file extension, an acronym for X BitMap, is linked to a monochrome bitmap image format. Distinctively, it encodes image data as plain text using the C programming language, enabling direct compilation into software applications. Initially integral to the X Window System (X11), a graphical user interface platform for interconnected computers, XBM files are predominantly used for cursor and icon graphics. The format utilizes ASCII text, translating each pixel into a bit, 0 signifies white, and 1 signifies black. Consequently, XBM files are larger than binary image data but offer the advantage of being embeddable in applications as C source files. They define an image's dimensions and pixel data within static arrays, proving advantageous for developers crafting C-based applications for the X Window System through the incorporation of XBM graphics.

With the advent of the XPM format, which accommodates color images, the use of XBM files has diminished. Nonetheless, they maintain compatibility with various image viewing and editing tools. Additionally, they are accessible via text editors, revealing the embedded C code. Although now largely outdated, the XBM format's contribution to the nascent stages of graphical user interfaces secures its legacy within computer graphics history.

XBM Specifications

Name X11 Bitmap Graphic
File Extension(s) .xbm
Category Raster Images
Use For Storing cursor and icon bitmaps within the X graphical user interface.
Developer Massachusetts Institute of Technology; as part of the X Window System.
MIME Type(s) image/x-xbitmap image/x-xbm
License open-source; under the MIT License.
File Sample(s) N/A
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