Re: Query: stuffed/zipped generic term

Subject: Re: Query: stuffed/zipped generic term
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- ROGERS -dot- WAVE -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 17:31:15 -0800

On Wed, 6 Aug 1997 13:00:38 -0700, Susan W. Gallagher wrote:

>and it's possible, although less likely, to compress files
>without archiving them -- for example, using disk compression utilities
>like Stacker or the one that came with Windows (I forget the name).
>These programs can decompress compressed data on an "as requested"
>basis, making it seem as if the data were stored normally.

Actually, that's not quite accurate. Stacker and Drivespace both
compress all non-critical system files (critical system files being
defined as those that must load first in order to load the
disk-compression drivers, such as CONFIG.SYS, etc.) into one large
container file that resides on a virtual drive and is normally
invisible to the user. Directory listings are extracted on demand and
displayed normally, and files are extracted on-the-fly from this
container when they're requested.

The scary part of these compression methods is that they use an
"all-eggs-in-one-basket" approach. If a zipfile gets corrupted, you
may have trouble extracting ANY data from it. Similarly, if a Stacker
or Drivespace container becomes even slightly corrupted, you may lose
access to all the files in it. If the drivers for the compression
system ever become corrupted or don't load, you're also stuck with all
your files neatly locked away inside the container.

I've seen only one disk-compression system that operated strictly on an
individual-files basis: ZipStream for OS/2. All files that are
compressed (and they can be selectively compressed, with compression
ratio modified depending on the type of file) are kept separate and are
uncompressed when needed. They can be manually uncompressed if
necessary with an included command-line utility. 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.

Your friend and mine,
<insert standard disclaimer here>

They say there are strangers, who threaten us
Our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness, too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
Those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves
- Rush, "Witch Hunt"

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