InkBlot's Mess

Archive/Compression Study - Part 3

26 Dec 2012 8:39 pm

The last group consists of compressors with no archiving capabilities. The bzip2 and gzip "applications" are actually MPW Tools, and were tested under MPW Shell 3.5 on the same system as all the other testing. You can review the details here:

There were no surprises here. The compressors based on the bzip2 format compressed better than those based on the gzip format, but were slower in compressing files. It was interesting to see both Easy-BZ and MacBzip2 outperformed DropStuff 5.5 in the sound compression test. Both of the MPW Tools performed almost as well as the rest of the bzip2 and gzip compressors, but were definitely slower, possibly because of the MPW Shell.

The performance differences between the bzip2 compressors and between the gzip compressors were small, except in the case of the slower MPW Tools. The only big difference is the number of options provided. The MPW Tools, bzip2 and gzip, have almost all the features of the original command-line programs. While they are true to the originals, they lack in Mac OS support. MacBzip2 and MacGzip have a fair number of options, and also support Mac OS features, like drag and drop and resource fork retention via MacBinary encoding. Easy-BZ and Easy-GZ are extremely simple, with few options and drag and drop support. This may, or may not, be a positive aspect, depending on the user.

For what it is worth, I have created "InkBlot's Picks." These are the compressors and compressor/archivers I use most often. My reasons for using DropStuff 5.1.2 instead of a newer version are not necessarily logical. Loyalty and stubbornness could both be considered reasons.

I neglected to include a few programs, some with a good reason, and some with none. Shrink II was not tested due to misplacement of the program. It uses the NuFX library and compresses/archives files in the ShrinkIt format standard on the Apple II series, including Apple IIgs. StuffIt Deluxe was not tested because I believed it unnecessary. It uses the same StuffIt Engine as DropStuff, so I assumed there was no need for testing. I may look into this in the future, to verify if there is any significance StuffIt Deluxe has over DropStuff, besides the interface-related features.

ZipIt and NutCase Gzip were not tested because they require the CarbonLib, a bane to all Mac OS 8 users. Besides ZipIt's capability of creating self-extracting archives that will work on the Mac OS, I would be surprised if either provided any significant features or performance over those that were tested.

Zipper was not tested because it is an oddity. It was written for use with MacMAME ROM sets, with a simple drag and drop only interface. It does not store resource fork data in a manner that is compatible with any other Mac OS Zip utilities. Rather than encode files with resource forks, it places resource fork data in the "extra data" portion of the Zip archive. It certainly has its uses, but it lacks in compatibility.

Hopefully this research provides useful information for the shrinking numbers of Mac OS users, and the growing number of Mac OS emulator users. This information should not be considered a definitive study, but hopefully gives those interested and curious enough facts to choose the best tool for their needs.

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