Compress


Compress

compress is a UNIX compression program based on the "LZC" compression method, which is an LZW implementation using variable size pointers as in LZ78.

Description of program

Files compressed by "compress" are typically given the extension .Z. Most tar programs will pipe their data through "compress" when given the command line option -Z (tar in itself does not compress, it just stores multiple files within one tape archive file).

Files can be returned to their original state using uncompress. The usual action of the program is not to create an uncompressed copy of the file, but to uncompress the compressed file (so that the uncompressed version retains the timestamp and other attributes of the compressed file).

The LZW algorithm used in "compress" was patented by Sperry Research Center in 1983. The person who applied for the patent published an IEEE article on the algorithm in 1984 [Welch, Terry A., "A technique for high performance data compression", IEEE Computer, 17(6), pp.8-19, June 1984.] , without mentioning that the algorithm was patent pending. Spencer Thomas took this article and implemented "compress" in 1984, without realizing that the LZW algorithm was patent pending. (The GIF image format also incorporated LZW compression in this way and later Unisys claimed royalties on implementations of GIF.) Joseph M. Orost led the team and worked with Spencer et al. to create the 'final' (4.0) version of "compress" and published it as free software to the 'comp.sources.unix' USENET group in 1985. The patent on LZW compression was granted in 1985 and this is why "compress" could not be used without paying royalties to Sperry Research (which became Unisys). "compress" has fallen out of favor in particular user-groups because it makes use of the LZW algorithm, which is covered by UNISYS and IBM patents — because of this, gzip and bzip2 increased in popularity on Linux-based operating systems due to their alternative algorithms. "compress" has however maintained a presence on Unix and BSD systems. The LZW patent expired in 2003, so it is now in the public domain in the United States.

'compress' for Mac OS X

There is also a Freeware Mac OS X application with the same name, but it is completely unrelated with the former. This program supports the zip, 7z, bzip2, gzip, and tar formats. A much earlier program dating from the 1980s, MacCompress, is a Mac OS GUI wrapper for compress, but has not been used for some time. The Darwin operating system includes a compress utility as described above.

See also

* Data compression
* Image compression
* List of Unix programs

External links

* [http://ncompress.sourceforge.net/ ncompress] - public domain compress/uncompress implementation for POSIX systems
* [http://www.fromconcentratesoftware.com/Compress/ Compress for Mac OS X home page]
* [http://ibiblio.org/pub/linux/utils/compress/compress.tar.Z compress] - original Unix compress (in a compress'd archive)
* [http://ibiblio.org/pub/linux/utils/compress/compress.z compress] - original Unix compress executable (gzip'd)
* [ftp://ftp.uu.net/systems/unix/bsd-sources/usr.bin/compress/ Source Code for compress v4.0]
* [http://www.willus.com/archive/unixcmds.zip ZIP File containing a Windows port of the compress utility]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Compress — Extension de fichier .Z, .TAZ, .tar.Z Type MIME application/x compress Développé par Spencer W. Thomas James A. Woods Type de format Compression de données …   Wikipédia en Français

  • compress — Extension .Z, .TAZ, .tar.Z Type MIME application/x compress Développé par Spencer W. Thomas James A. Woods Type de format Compression de données Spécification Format ouvert …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Compress — ist ein historisches Packprogramm unter UNIX ähnlichen Betriebssystemen. Die erzeugten Dateien nutzen die Dateinamenserweiterung .Z und werden von dem zugehörigen Programmgegenstück uncompress wieder entpackt. Wie auch gzip und bzip komprimiert… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • compress — ist ein historisches Packprogramm unter UNIX ähnlichen Betriebssystemen. Die erzeugten Dateien nutzen die Dateinamenserweiterung .Z und werden von dem zugehörigen Programmgegenstück uncompress wieder entpackt. Wie auch gzip und bzip2 komprimiert… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Compress — Com*press , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Compressed}; p. pr & vb. n. {Compressing}.] [L. compressus, p. p. of comprimere to compress: com + premere to press. See Press.] 1. To press or squeeze together; to force into a narrower compass; to reduce the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • compress — com‧press [kəmˈpres] verb [transitive] COMPUTING to make a computer file smaller, so that it takes up less space and is easier to store or send: • Compressing data reduces storage and communication costs. compare decompress * * * compress UK US… …   Financial and business terms

  • compress — (v.) late 14c., to press (something) together, from O.Fr. compresser compress, put under pressure, from L. compressare to press together, frequentative of comprimere to squeeze, from com together (see COM (Cf. com )) + premere to press (see PRESS …   Etymology dictionary

  • Compress — Com press, n. [F. compresse.] (Surg.) A folded piece of cloth, pledget of lint, etc., used to cover the dressing of wounds, and so placed as, by the aid of a bandage, to make due pressure on any part. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • compress — index abridge (shorten), abstract (summarize), cohere (adhere), concentrate (consolidate) …   Law dictionary

  • Compress —   [engl.], komprimieren …   Universal-Lexikon


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