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Image module is being put into core, but not in it's current incarnation. Drupal 7 has already made several major improvements that will make handling images (and files in general) much easier, eliminating a lot of the existing code from image.module.
CCK has been moved into core, making image.module's approach to handling data "officially" obsolete. So the future of image.module is in following this trend and moving towards field-based storage.
The Drupal 7 core plan is as follows:
- Move ImageAPI into core to provide better support for toolkits such as ImageMagick (done).
- Move ImageCache into core to provide thumbnailing abilities as part of image.module (in progress).
- Move FileField into core as file.module.
- Move ImageField into core as part of image.module.
The core version of Image will basically consist of 2 things:
- ImageCache's thumbnailing abilities.
- ImageField's widget and formatters for uploading and viewing images.
The actual "Image" project will no longer contain an "image.module", since that name will be used by Drupal core. However an upgrade path will be provided to convert existing image nodes to use core's Image field. The other modules in the Image package such as image_attach and image_import will continue to live on either as part of the Image project or be split out into individual modules, but in either case be updated to work with the new field-based images.
Here are relevant action threads where this is taking place. Note that this issue is mostly announcement to image.module users. It is not an appropriate place to make feature requests or discuss the implementation of image.module in core.
Put ImageAPI in core (completed):
ImageCache in core (in progress): and
FileField in core:
At this point it's difficult to judge everything that is necessary to upgrade to the D7 image.module, since it hasn't yet been written. Making the "image" name space available to use again is the first step in the process of making it part of core.