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Why Xerox Copiers Were Mixing Up Their Numbers

Over at the Economist, our own Glenn Fleishman has discovered why certain Xerox copiers were mixing up numbers on copies. The culprit turns out to be the JBIG2 compression algorithm, which is not enabled by default, and copiers display a clear warning if it is enabled. JBIG2 is a form of ultra-high compression that duplicates similar-looking areas. It’s popular among businesses with extreme bandwidth requirements, such as remote oil rigs, but should not be enabled unless absolutely necessary. Xerox is working on a patch that will allow system administrators to disable the feature entirely.

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