I have a gif image with a 16 color palette. How can I rotate it and get a clean image with pure colors? I can’t — not in any drawing program I’ve ever seen. In every case, you have to increase the color depth to 24 bit, rotate it, then manually clean up the screwed up colors. Even Gimp, which is supposedly dedicated to users.
Can’t speak for the other issues (UNIX user, so lists of files are really trivial to get, but I don’t think that addresses your point very well at all), but I am actually able to rotate a 16-color indexed image in Photoshop CS3(exporting via Save for Web and Devices to make sure the palette is intact)—without increasing the color palette. Preview on OS X allows 90° rotations (which is slightly irritating).