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Re: The future of mkisofs

Joerg Schilling wrote:
mkisofs is a program that has been originally writen in 1993 by Eric Youngdale
and that has been extended by many people. In 1997, after Eric Youngdale mostly stopped working on mkisofs, I added mkisofs to the cdrecord source tree and started working on bugs and important extensions. After 2 years (in 1999) Eric Youngdale transferred the complete code reporitory to me.

At that time, several people helped to enhance mkisofs. The most active one was James Pearson - he is unfortunately no longer reachable since he became a father years ago. Since that time, more than 5 years ago, I am the main mkisofs maintainer.

Being now able to decide myself in mkisofs since 1999, I spend half a year only with bug fixes and code restructuring to make the code prepared for the future.... Now more than 8 years later, mkisofs has a lot more features than in 1999 and needs another code lifting.

As mkisofs is very powerful and supports many OS and filesystem-hybrids, it has become a de-facto standard for creating ISO-9660 based filesystem images.

We are currently a short time before the next "stable" release of cdrtools and
I am planning to start a bigger code clean up after that time. The current plan is to do it the following way:

- cdrtools-xxx.zzz-final (the next "stable" release) will be the last release that includes all features that are currently in mkisofs.
	People who need these features (e.g. because they own old hardware)
	need to keel the version of mkisofs that is included in the next stable
	version of cdrtools.

-	The ability to create "Apple-Hybrid" filesystem images causes problems
	since many years already because the "Apple HFS" filesystem type does
	not support files > 2 GB and includes other limitations.

- Support for this old filesystem is only needed for owners of Mac OS 9 systems and for people who like to boot Apple PPC based systems. These Apple PPC based systems are out of production since 3 years already.

	-	Recent Apple systems boot using El-Torito extensions and
		understand UDF + Apple extensions. Both is supported in mkisofs
since a while.
	It seems that support for "Apple HFS" is no longer needed in mkisofs
	and removing the support could help to clean up the code.

	I am planning to remove the "Apple-Hybrid" support with the developer
	versions for cdrtools that follow the next stable release of cdrtools.

People who believe that this change would cause problems are called to explain their arguments. Please comment.

I would offer the thought that to avoid confusion and people getting the wrong functionality, this would be a great time to pick a new name for the program and use that to indicate both deleted and added functionality. It would be easier than explaining having different features by the same name. Having two programs with different behavior called cdrecord has been confusing and has wasted your (and our) time repeatedly, so the cleanup could start by cleaning up confusion.

I happily offer the suggestion that since the program has not been limited to ISO9660 images for years, the name implies limitations which don't apply, and since you can create images for most common optical media, that a name like "mkoptimage" would be more correct as well as preventing confusion.

Bill Davidsen <davidsen@tmr.com>
 "Woe unto the statesman who makes war without a reason that will still
be valid when the war is over..." Otto von Bismark

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