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Gray, color keywords

From: Susan Lesch <lesch@macvirus.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 22:22:54 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <l03110700b0b096fbc8f2@[]>
To: www-style@w3.org
If these sources and my reading are right, Netscape assigned 127,127,127,
to "gray" at one time [1], and 128,128,128 to "gray" at another time [2].
In short, gray might be the only named color with conflicting values,
#7F7F7F and #808080. I am trying to locate and patch the holes introduced
in CSS1, or at least understand why these colors appear and are undefined
in the Recommendation.

"gray" is about 50% [3], right on the line, and right on the plane if you
will. It turned out even color-picker math can fail to predict real-world
display [4]. In 1-bit output, with display determined by user preferences,
the operating system, user agent, graphics card, monitor settings, and
other variables, gray could be in nice contrast, or it could render a page
illegible -- not gray, but white on white, or black on black.

Reliable color sources are hard to find; these URLs connect at time of
writing. I have tempered my first impression, and only mildly wonder about
different names used for the same color. I am worried to see a name in
international standards used to signify at least two different colors.

[1] 123 color palette, courtesy Michigan State University
[2] 140 color palette, "Color values," in JavaScript Resources, Netscape
[3] "50% gray is represented by 127/127/127.."
    definition, courtesy Dave White, Color Theory basics, "Describing Colors"
[4] most useful farther from zero
    NTSC/PAL related equation, courtesy Jason Harrison

Susan Lesch
Received on Sunday, 7 December 1997 22:22:56 UTC

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