We've had some requests from internal users here at STScI to make it easier to save JPEG files directly from matplotlib. We currently support JPEG saving from the Gtk* and Wx* backends (because those libraries come with JPEG saving support), but not in the Tk backend that most of our users use.
One solution to this may be to add an optional dependency on PIL, and if found save JPEG files (and maybe some of the other esoteric formats PIL supports). The work done a couple of years back to manage the supported file types should make this pretty easy.
While adding a hard dependency on PIL is probably not a good idea, are there any objections to making it a soft dependency?
Science Software Branch
Space Telescope Science Institute
Baltimore, Maryland, USA