C source code to extract CP/M ARK archives?

From: Antonio Carlini <a.carlini_at_ntlworld.com>
Date: Fri Feb 4 14:35:06 2005

> > Is ASCII much better? How does it compare to puched cards?
> Welllll, I just dumped ~50K punched cards and converted to
> ASCII. Each
> card of course holds 80 characters, and each box has roughly
> 2000 cards.
> An entire box of 2000 cards = roughly 160,000 bytes and weighs about 8
> pounds.

My point was not information density. My question really was,
just how self-describing is ASCII? There have been plenty of ways
to represent letters and numbers (ASCII, EBCDIC, Morse) in the
past using various media (different punched card formats,
various paper tape formats, plenty of electronic formats).

There must still be many, many paper-based descriptions of
ASCII format lying around today. But how many will exist
in a short period of time: say 500 years? Even now, I bet
there are more descriptions of ASCII in ASCII than there
are in EBCDIC!

> Bottom line, it was foolish to pack it, and just downright
> imbecilic to
> pack it with itself.

Maybe. I'd certainly want some kind of checksum available
for anything I expect to store for any reasonable length
of time. Most archive formats provide that as a side effect.

When the .ARK file was created, it was probably done that
way to conserve space on either the hosting system's 5MB
hard drive or the downloading user's 360KB floppy.

It was almost certainly not the *only* electronic copy
of the ARK spec, it's just the only one that was to
hand right now. I'll bet there are plenty of existing
CP/M systems lying around that could extract it in
a flash.


Antonio Carlini arcarlini_at_iee.org
Received on Fri Feb 04 2005 - 14:35:06 GMT

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