Re[2]: Query: stuffed/zipped generic term

Subject: Re[2]: Query: stuffed/zipped generic term
From: "Walker, Arlen P" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 08:22:50 -0500

I've seen only one disk-compression system that operated strictly on
an individual-files basis: ZipStream for OS/2.

Must be because you've spent so much time holed up on OS/2. ;{>} Alisys has
one called "More Disc Space," Aladdin has one called "Stuffitt Spacesaver."
Fifth Generation and Now Software also have shipped products like this in
the past, perhaps they still are. And that's just all that come to me after
a moment's reflection; I'm sure there are more.

The true beauty of this type of system is that it works on the files
themselves, rather than the disk, so the type of file system in use
becomes irrelevant.

And there are two main troubles: Since the decompression happens at OS
level rather than disc driver level there is more opportunity for things to
interfere with the compression/decompression operation. And, since all disc
storage systems have a minimum blocksize, it can lead to a greater waste of
disc space than driver-level compression, depending upon the size of the
file.

To get back to "archive" vs "compress:" An archive collects multiple files
together into one file for an implied destiny of storage off-line. (The "t"
in "tar" stands for "tape.") Compression, OTOH, means the file comes out
smaller than it went in. A grouping of files can be both archived and
compressed, as in most zipped or stuffed files, but the generic term for
the act of making the resulting file smaller is compression.

True, unix has co-opted that generic term for its "compress" program, but
the number of files, even on unix systems, which are compressed (.Z suffix)
as opposed to zipped or, more likely, gzipped (.gz suffix) is not that
large. And even so, the operation to reverse the compression is called
"uncompress" on unix, and you can refer to it generically as "decompress"
if you're worried about confusion.


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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