ZIP, Open Source, Mother-Son Relationship

By Xah Lee. Date:

Some readings on the ZIP format.

Quote from the zip article:

Once the PKZIP software was released, many users abandoned ARC because of its slower speed and less effective compression performance, and because Katz had successfully put forth the idea that he was the “good guy” who was being unfairly treated by an “evil corporation.”

Yeah, the Open Source, works the same way. They work by selfishness, ignorance, zeal. Jealousy of the big and successful. Added to it is a sense of moral superiority , and a spurious feeling of self-worth in our helpless modern post-industrial world. (in much the same way, bad Communism arose, and Nazi Germany.) See:

Phil Katz (1962 to 2000). The inventor of the public-domain zip format, as a byproduct of him stealing another company's product. Here's a interesting excerpt from wikip:

Katz battled alcoholism for years. His friends tried to help him with his addiction, but they were rebuffed, and he gradually shut them out completely. He was arrested several times for driving under the influence, and later in his life, spent more time in cheap motels and strip clubs than his own home.[3]

Katz was found dead in a hotel room with an empty bottle of peppermint schnapps in his hand on April 14, 2000 at the age of 37. A coroner's report stated his death was a result of acute pancreatitis bleeding caused by chronic alcoholism.

Here is a full featured story: [The Rise and Fall of a Software Star; Phil Katz Loved Code - and Liquor (~2000?) By Matt Murray, Jeffrey A Tannenbaum. At (local copy: Phil_Katz_zip__Matt_Murray_Jeffrey_A_Tannenbaum.txt)]

Note that this guy is pulling a $200k yearly salary, according to the article. And, there's fame. And, running his own company. However, often, these things don't help happiness. Also, the alcohol addiction, can be a biological propensity. The mother-son relationship, is particularly thorny.

Mother-Son Relationship

The article relates Katz's problem with his mom.

Mother-Son relationship is a curious relationship. Often, you'll have men living in their mom's house, but you rarely hear cohabitation with the male parent. This is almost a direct consequence of the male and female nature. Males, by evolutionary nature, go out and hit pussies to sow their seed. They in general wouldn't or couldn't care about a grown male child to the extent of having him around in the house. (or even female child, except in rare cases to put his seed into her (i.e. inbreeding )).

Males are territorial by nature, even between kins. It is common to have princes plotting against their father for the throne, both in European history as well as Chinese. The father-son fighting is well reflected in Greek mythology. Zeus's dad Cronus, cut off the genitals of his dad Uranus. Cronu himself, ate his own children to avoid being overtaken. His son Zeus escaped this fate, and grown up to overthrow Cronus. (See also: A Love of Mythology of the Greeks.)

Females, could not reproduce once past 40 (or 30, just a hundred years ago). Female parents, could use a grown male child as protection. Thus, mother-son relationships is symbiotic, and it is common to read about how some guy (in particular engineer, scientist, types) living in the basement of mom's house for a prolonged period.

I should also mention here, i'm not sure how common is mother-daughter relationship in comparison to mother-son. Probably slightly more frequent.

Reading Notes On Zip, Tar, Gzip Formats

Recently discovered the RAR archive format. It is a proprietary format, used in Windows.

Some issues or question i had recently are:

In 2006, i did some research on the ZIP format, and decided it is ok for me to use. In particular, the format is not likely to go away, and is good enough.

The advantage of zip is that:

On Mac OS X, its zip utility preserves resource fork, while “tar.gz” does not. This is important since some files, especially OS X application bundles, still uses resource fork. [see Mac OS X Resource Fork Tips]

“tar.gz” has one advantage. It put the whole folder's content together first before compression. So, file size reduction is noticeably better. However, i just realized while reading Solid compression article, that a major disadvantage of such is that if your archive is large, say 50 megabytes, then a corruption basically corrupts the whole collection of files in it. This means, for larger folder, zip is more suitable, despite its larger size.

Also note, i'm still not sure how well “tar.gz” handles file names with weired chars (i.e. with Unicode char or chars like " / \ :, or even newline chars). [see What Characters Are Not Allowed in File Names?]

Note: as late as “Mac OS X 10.4.11” (~2007), its zip utility BOMArchiveHelper does not handle file name char encoding well. Specifically, if you have a zip file containing file names with Chinese chars, after decompression, the Chinese chars gets screwed up. The solution is to use The Unarchiver, which is now part of “Mac OS X 10.5”.

Another compression format that becomes increasingly popular in the linux world in recent years is Bzip2 (“.bz2”). However, it is not versatile and its technical merit is not that much better, nor is it popular enough for me to consider adoption. (it compresses better, but takes longer, and does solely compression, does not handle folder, etc.)

In conclusion, for my website, zip is the preferred format, and “tar.gz” is good for single file or smaller folder.


Discovered 7-zip. The compression rate is actually better than bz2.


Discovered a new compression util xz.

See: Linux Compression How-to: tar gzip bzip2 xz 7zip rar zip

USB Flash Drive

I just bought a 18GB USB flash drive. Its speed seems to be 20 times slower than my 8 years old external 20GB firewire drive (which is 10 times as bulky). USB 2 should be as fast as Firewire. So, my initial guess is that flash drive's format is not native … Wikipedia comes to the rescue:

Some points of personal interest:

The 20 times slower USB speed is actually caused by plugging it into a cheap USB hub. Plugging it into a main USB port solved the problem. However, it is still slower than my Firewire drive, seems about 1.5 times slower. According to info from System Profiler, the Firewire drive should have a max speed of 400 Mb/sec, and USB drive should have 480 Mb/sec.