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Re: Size matters. Debian binary package stats

On Sun, Dec 18, 2005 at 10:15:31PM +0100, Olaf van der Spek wrote:
> I guess what I'm asking is, why are tar and other applications using
> gzip instead of a generic library that handles all
> compression/decompression and can be easily extended.

General complexity, I'd guess. If you want “easily extended”, you'll have to
cope with dynamic, shared libraries -- look to NSS for a case on how evil
that can get. (And tar is really something you'd like to stay small and
simple.) Also, having to hunt down the right plug-in module for whatever
format somebody had the bright idea to use at some point can be a real pain.
(Ever had to use one of those “codec packs” for Micosoft Windows?)

Besides, UNIX does this a different way, traditionally -- via separate
programs. “gzip -d file.tar.gz ; tar xf file.tar” gives you most of the same
functionality, with zero extra complexity. (Try --use-compress-program in GNU
tar, but that probably doesn't exist in anything else.)

/* Steinar */
Homepage: http://www.sesse.net/

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