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Phillip W. Katz, Creator Of PKZIP, Dead At 37 263

Posted by Roblimo
from the another-tragedy dept.
Danborg writes "ABCNEWS has the story. Evidently Mr. Katz died of complications from chronic alcoholism. A sad end to a true pioneer in the field of data compression. Who doesn't remember converting all their files to .zip format back in the BBS days?" The fact of his death has been out for awhile, but its circumstances only came to our attention yesterday (through *many* submissions). Genius and tragedy are too often linked.
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Phillip W. Katz, Creator Of PKZIP, Dead At 37

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:16PM (#1116020)
    I just read "Katz" and "dead" and got all excited.

    Then it turned out it was somebody cool.

    Darn.
  • by nadim (83776)
    I still use pkzip and pkunzip over winzip, his death is very tragic :(
  • by RyanAXP (60761)
    I have based many open source projects on libraries implementing his format.
  • It always sucks to lose a true hacker.

    Peace.

    Blue
  • by Anonymous Coward
    To his family and those close to him,.. untimely death is always terribly unfortunate whether is someone we all know or someone you have never heard of....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Subject says it all.
  • by FullaDumbAnswers (172686) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:20PM (#1116026) Homepage
    Judging by success of ZIP clones like WinZip, seemed like PKWare fell behind and was no longer profiting from its algorithm. I'm sadly curious to know the rest of the story ... was the company failing, did that drive him to drink? :(


    ...................
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I seem to recall there was a bit of a row over control the ARC and PAK file formats that led to the creation of PKZIP.
  • That's truly saddening, to know that someone so ... hmm, important, really, should die at such a tragic end. And so YOUNG! 37 is hardly old enough to even say that he lived a good life. No one's ever old enough to die, but some are simply younger than others.

    My condolences go out to his family, his friends, everyone that ever used the wonderful software, and in fact the world in general. It's sad to mourn the passing of anyone who pioneers anything, but sadder still when that very pioneer dies young.

    We each give up something in exchange for fame, if we want it, and that's something that he, clearly, gave up: A long life. We'll be the lesser without him.

    "I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."
  • The first two application programs I ever used were pkunzip and doom. I had just bought my first computer and someone in school gave me both on floppy.

    Since I used pkunzip to extract doom, that makes it the first program I ever used. It was a regular partner back in the days of DOS games.

    Thanks, Phillip.

  • by TunaPhish (81577) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:27PM (#1116030) Homepage
    Is anyone else with me when I say that I STILL USE command line pkzip?? I am so used to typing pkunzip file.zip -d!

    I am proud to say that I have NEVER EVER installed WinZIP on my computer! I tried using it on someone else's computer a while ago, and all those buttons got in the way. I still have my original PK204GRG.EXE file from five years ago. It is ALWAYS extracted in my \windows\command directory. Unfortunately, tho, it couldn't handle long file names... PKZIP 2.5 COMMAND LINE to the rescue!!! But, since I am so used to pkunzip.exe, I made myself a pkunzip.bat file that says: "pkzip25 -extract -dir %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9"

    PKware will never die! :) :)
  • by Pxtl (151020) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:30PM (#1116031) Homepage
    Amen. Its quite tragic that someone who gave something that became so integral to the industry is still going to be a relatively obscure death. I mean, I can think of a lot of actors who's deaths have made more waves then this, and yet what importance were they, really? I mean, I know pkzip isn't like the holy grail of technology or anything, but still, even windozers know what zip is.

    If Lord Linus died tomorrow, who would care but us? Meanwhile, David Hasselhoff would make front page. What a media-obsessed culture.
  • Reminds me of the story of Alan Turing's life. Strange how grreat thinkers often have so much trouble managing their lives. I wonder sometimes if ignorance really is bliss. Either way, hats off to a true trailblazer.
    Ps. Wonder if we could get the reply form to function like vi?
    Cheers,
    Craig
  • by zpengo (99887) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:31PM (#1116033) Homepage
    Oh, the memories...

    I used to go down to the local computer store, which had bins and bins of the latest shareware, all on precious 5 1/4 disks. Each one held some sort of magic that would transform my XT with Hercules graphics into a completely absorbing experience.

    Video games, clones of major applications, dinky little Pascal compilers, my first version of Spacewar....

    But there was a key to all of that magic. Back then, there were no auto-installing CDs. There was no "setup.exe" There would just be a single file, with that ever-familiar extension: ".ZIP"

    I had been on the scene long enough to know what was up, so I not only had PKZIP/PKUNZIP installed on my 4 meg harddrive, but I even had it in the PATH.

    A few keystrokes later, the magic was unlocked.

    We don't know how much we owe to this great man. I genuinely mourn his passing.

  • Did WinZip have to pay a license for the "zip" algorithm? Or was it open, or reverse engineered? How did PKWare lose out after creating such a ubiquitous algorithm?

    ---

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:36PM (#1116035) Homepage Journal
    So many celebrities, poets, actors, revolutionaries, wariers, politicians etc have died on 33 and 37, I tell you, if you pass 37 you'll probably live a long life.

    (to those of us who remember Vladimir Visotskiy) Na zifre 37, kovaren bog, rebrom vopros postavil: ili, ili
    Na etom rubeje legli i Bairon i Rembo a nineshnie kak-to proskochili...
  • According to this page [chronicle-online.com], the creator died back in 1999. It sounds like the credit could be in dispute here. Can anyone from the Slashdot staff comment on this development? I'd like to get some facts here before we have another misattribution like the GNU / Linux fiasco, where Richard Stallman actually wrote Linux.

    Yu Suzuki

  • by Phallus (54388) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:36PM (#1116037) Homepage
    I had a quick search, and couldn't find anything on the net about Katz. I was wondering if there's anything to indicate why. Did he have a wife? Did he get along with his family. He was a reasonably successful man, reading the article, and one would think there'd be some reason for him to drink himself to death.

    And hooray for PKZip. One assumes compression for the masses would have arrived soon, but I don't think computing would have been quite the same without PKZip.

    tangent - art and creation are a higher purpose

  • When I do use zip (I usually use RAR) I use winzip, but it's still important to note that whatever unzipper or zipper you use it still has that great man's code in it, and you can bet that when Linus dies (hopefully not for many many years), or even Bill Gates (Don't flame me) there will be a much larger mourning amoung the worlwide community, but most peoples work is most often not appriciated until a few (sometimes hundreds of) years after they have died.

    So,
    Phillip W. Katz,
    R.I.P.
    From the open source community.
    -0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
    Laptop006 (RHCE: That means I know what I'm talking about!)
    Melbourne, Australia
  • *sigh*

    Brings back fond memories of my youth, wasting away in front of the DOS command prompt. I still remember my first BBS download, EGATrek.zip. From the moment my eyes spotted the games file board, I was an addict. Took me awhile to figure out the differences between X, Y and Z modem, but I got the damn thing downloaded. Of course it took me another couple of hours before I figured out what a ZIP file was and how to deal with it. Luckily, the old hands were kind enough to show a punk kid the ropes. I felt so indebted that eventually I had to give something back in return. I started my own BBS. :)

    I must say PKZIP was one of the most reliable programs I've ever used. I don't recall it ever segfaulting, or losing any of my compressed data. It even ran quickly on my 386.

    PKZIP 2.04G will probably always have a reserved place on my hard drives, even now that I've moved to Linux.

    As an aside, anyone out there from Fidonet 4:920? I was the SysOP of the Razor's Edge BBS back in the day (4:920/35).

  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:37PM (#1116040)
    This is the first I've heard of his death and I have to say that it really makes me feel sad. I'm not aware of much that he's done outside of PKZIP, but I sure remember using ZIP for everything online (especially when a 2400 baud modem was considered fast and a zipped file could half your online time).

    Huffman, Postel, Stevens . . . Now P.W. Katz. I feel guilty for not ever considering any of these people beyond what their program does or does not do for me -- or how I benefitted from their books, until after their death. To think that while we're all out there unzipping our latest copy of the Jargon file or stashing a bunch of porn in a password protected ZIP file, this guy was suffering a serious problem which eventually took his life at the age of *thirty-seven*.

    I'm only 22. I spend all my time working at a desk. I haven't been in-shape for almost six years. I could be next. I could be next and I haven't offered a damn thing to the computer or internet community. These people -- and many others, have.

    I hope that we'll remember these things in subsequent posts in reply to this article. The last thing we need is another disgustingly barbaric replay of the posts we saw when W. Richard Stevens died.

    I hope you have peace, Phillip.

    W. Richard Stevens Slashdot Article [slashdot.org]
    W. Richard Stevens Home Page [kohala.com]
    David Huffman Slashdot Article [slashdot.org]
    Jon Postel Slashdot Article [slashdot.org]
    Jon Postel's Home Page [isi.edu]


    ---
    icq:2057699
    seumas.com

  • From the ABC News article:

    "In early days, compression was all done with software because there was no hardware to do this stuff," said computer science professor Leonard Levine at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "So Katz put together a program called PKZip, the Phil Katz zip program."

    "Early days" is of course in contrast to modern times, now that we all have Winzip PCI cards doing "hardware" compression. Or did the esteemed professor perhaps mean that PKZip was actually hardware? Either way...

  • by zombiechick (160889) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:41PM (#1116042) Homepage
    Every hear the song "Closet Chronicles" by Kansas? Our society values us by what we "contribute", how attractive we are... Many things which are meaningless in the end. If we live long enough to decay, if we cease to "contribute" then we are forgotten.

    We all come into this world precious, priceless.

    We leave it the same way. None of us has any more value, no one has any less.

    I have used the fruit of Phil's labor for many years, and I am greatful for his hard work.

    My symapthies to his family and friends.

    Tom

  • Well, from this [pkware.com] link, it looks like PKware was competing against winzip.

    Reading the documentation for WinZip, I come across this line:
    WinZip incorporates compression code by the Info-ZIP group, which is used with their permission.

    This seems to indicate to me that WinZip didn't licence anything from PKware.
  • by PovRayMan (31900) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:43PM (#1116044) Homepage
    JKZip, AKA Jon Katz Zip

    Features:

    - Compression methods to suppress massive ammounts of text and binaries of anti Jon Katz propaganda.

    - Can create self extractable exe's that include past articles written by Jon Katz as the data is decompressed.

    JKZip is available online as shareware. Everytime you run JKZip, an notice will appear that you have no registered and will be forced to read a Jon Katz article. If you wish to register JKZip, the cost is easily done by 4 easy payments of $19.95. If you order now, you'll get a free copy of Voices from the Hellmouth.
  • 37
    RIP
  • by Nessak (9218) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @06:45PM (#1116046) Homepage
    That is really tasteless. You may not like the Jon Katz who writes/posts for slashdot, but to get excited over his possible death is horrible. Regardless of what you think of this writing, he is still another human. I don't understand why this comment was moderated up. Death is not funny, it's sad. To enjoy the death of another is simply wrong.
  • Why is this obvious troll moderated to "interesting"?

  • Razor's Edge BBS!!!

    I'm greyice, still have my handle and yes I remember you!

    [bad joke] You do know I heard they buried him in a coffin 0.45 percent smaller..... [end bad joke]

    A sad day for the old schoolers....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    i didn't either.

    do you think it would be appropriate to register
    now, and contribute the check to his estate?
  • It's possible to make a joke about death without actualy wishing death on the but of the joke.

    You have to rely on the reader's sense of humor to pick up on this.
  • There's a quick mention on the Dr. Dobb's Journal webpage here [ddj.com].
    That's where I first heard about it.

    I remember well the first time I encountered pkzip.
    I was so amazed at how much smaller it could make things than arc.
    I remember feeling vaguly disappointed when, being over optimistic in the power of that mighty software I tried re-zipping a file over and over trying to get it down to fit on a 360 k disk :-)
    I was still impressed even after I failed.

    It was rather shocking to hear of his death.
  • by Bowie J. Poag (16898) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @07:00PM (#1116052) Homepage

    According to the article, this guy lived in a luxury condo filled waist-high with rotting food and garbage, infested with insects and mice..Found dead in a hotel room with 5 empty bottles of booze at the age of 37.

    An absolute and total waste. It just makes me wonder why he was trying to drown his sorrows.. For a guy with that much success in life, and for someone who actually managed to do something halfway important, why he'd slowly kill himself.

    Genius isnt linked with tragedy. Genius is linked with madness.



    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Founder, PROPAGANDA For Linux (http://metalab.unc.edu/propaganda [unc.edu])
  • FYI, Winzip actually does not use PK's code for compression or decompression. Instead, it uses the open source Info-Zip [cdrom.com] implementation of the inflat and deflat algorithm. As a matter, most of the freeware/shareware/commercial Zipper or Unzipper (other than the real PKZIP) uses or bases on the Info-Zip codes. I think it is remarkable that Phillip W. Katz was that he had never tried to enforce his patent(s) on the compression algorithm behide zip file formats.
  • by farrellj (563) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @07:04PM (#1116054) Homepage Journal
    O.K., here is the story as I remember it.

    Phil wrote a better compression program that was compatible with System Enhancements Associates (SEA) program called ARC. So they litigated. And so Phil went off and found a better algorithem for compression, and brought out PKZIP.Many people in the BBS community thought that SEA was a little heavyhanded (Perception, I don't know the reality), and moved to PKZIP. Others moved over for the speed and the better compression. The rest is history.

    See also "arc wars" [cs.hut.fi]MIT Jargon File ver 299. This story seems to have been dropped from the current Jargon File [jargon.org] for some reason.

    ttyl
    Farrell McGovern
    Former Sysop, Data/SFnet (One of the first few hundred Fidonet BBSs!) and Solsbury Hill, founding member of PODSnet.

  • by DeepDarkSky (111382) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @07:04PM (#1116055)
    I definitely remember Phil Katz and all the controversy surrounding him, and how grateful I was to have discovered his programs. I remember the first compression program which was SEA's ARC program. It was very slow. Then my friend and I discovered PKARC and PKXARC, which were much faster than ARC. As PKARC gained popularity because of its overall superiority, SEA sued Phil Katz, and he in turn created PKPAK/PKUNPAK (I think it was still paired like that). Tha PKPAK series didn't last long. The PKZIP series came out next, and that was the series that created the ubiquitous ZIP format that we see today. If I remember correctly, PKZ204G was the last official DOS version of the program, and there were plenty of trojans, etc. that were going around, and Phil created self-authenticating zip files, etc. Lots of neat little cool things. I also remember that other programs were giving PK a run for his money, such as ARJ and LHARC, but they never achieved the overall speed/performance/compression that PKZIP ever did (they were often better in one thing or another but not overall). Then WINZIP came out, and I kind lost sight of PK.

    I still have thousands of ZIP files that were zipped with PKZIP. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have been as into computers as I am, it was because of those early days of playing around with PKARC and PKXARC that really got me started. I am terribly sad to see him go and in such (I think) indignant way.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's a shame that anyone would die so young from alcoholism but using the word "genius" is pressing it a little. You usually think of folks in math or physics or art as a genius... but PKZip? Only folks focused on computers think you have to be smart to program them, create software, or devise new technologies but it's really more like being an engineer, and few people ever call an engineer a "genius!"
  • If Lord Linus died tomorrow, who would care but us? Meanwhile, David Hasselhoff would make front page. What a media-obsessed culture.

    Oh come on. I could say the opposite for all the linux hype on slashdot.

    "If Lord David Hasselhoff died tomorrow, who would care but us?. Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds would make one HUGE Slashdot article. What an http obsessed geek culture."
  • Because, sadly, nobody bothers to actually follow the links when they moderate.
  • He was a reasonably successful man, reading the article, and one would think there'd be some reason for him to drink himself to death.

    He may not have had any reason to kill himself. It may simply be that he didn't have a reason to live.

    Sometimes people just don't care whether they live or die.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I signed up at a COMDEX. Katz's mom, who helped run the pkware booth, ran my card.

    I still have the bound manual they mailed me. In fact, it's on the shelf not two feet from me.

    Damn. Poor bastard.

    Remember folks; money and success aren't everything. They can give security and pretty distractions, but they can't fill an empty void in your soul. You've got to be connected with people, and find some meaning in your life.

    Take are of yourselves!

  • by salthous (158541)
    My first programming job was working on a windows based zip application. For those that asked about paying royalties for the use of the format, the answer is no the other companies do not. Katz developed ZIP files as a published standard. A beautiful standard that he revised with new versions of his compression software. As I worked on my project the 2.04g standard was my guideline. It continues to be my standard for quality technical documentation.
    One of my assignments was writing the self extraction engine. I never did figure out how
    he made his so small. The rumour at my company was that he hand tweaked the assembler code with every trick in the book.
  • Well, PKZip seems to have stopped development around 1993, well before WinZip became popular. PKZIp v2.04g was pretty much the last version I know of, and it came out february 1, 1993. Up until then there had been fairly frequent updates, but throughout 1993, 1994, and 1995, PKZIp v2.04g for DOS remained the standard compression tool. Only then, after 2-3 years of no updates, did other tools like WinZip become popular. PKZIp finally made a Windows product in 1997 or 1998, but they were long gone by then. I'm not sure what led to the development halt, but the original stuff is fine coding...
  • You don't understand alcoholism. It's sub-rational. It doesn't work at the level of 'reasons.'
  • I posted this last night and it got rejected? hmmmmm
  • by Harinath (26296) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @07:28PM (#1116067) Homepage
    IIRC, the ZIP file format was made public domain, thus allowing the Info-ZIP people to write a program that reads ZIP archives, which in turn allowed WinZip to not have to license software from PKware.

    Unlike LZW, the ZIP "deflate" algorithms (LZ77 + Shannon Fano encoding) are unemcumbered. These compression algorithms are used in GNU Zip (gzip) partly for that reason. I think gzip can even read .zip archives with only one file inside. The zip algorithm is also in the zlib library, which is used in the PNG format, for one. The "deflate" algorithm is also described in RFC 1951.

    So, thanks PK, for providing one of the tools that enable us to thumb our noses at Unisys :-)
  • From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
    The original obituary notice [jsonline.com]
    A more complete article [jsonline.com]

    One interesting quote:
    "It was just a hobby," he said. "I didn't expect it to turn into a business."

    I had a moderately successful shareware program myself during the '80s, and it sure didn't help my life much. Fortunately I have no interest in booze or drugs -- they just get in the way of hacking. And also fortunately, I let it go when it wasn't successful any more. Maybe a little later than I should have, but I did move on.
  • by mosch (204) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @07:32PM (#1116070) Homepage
    Alcoholism is not as simple as it would appear to be... Alcoholism is a depressant and logically goes hand in hand with depression. When abused, alcohol can lead to a downward spiral which is hard to comprehend.

    One of my best friends is a recently recovered alcoholic. He used to down a bottle of hard liquor every night, often chased with some other nastiness. Finally, I got him to slow down, and just drink socially and he got out of a three year depression and thanks me far far far too much for helping him quit the alcohol abuse.

    The trouble is that you drink to stop feeling like shit, but the drink causes you to feel like shit later... so you drink more and.... well, it's just sad.

    (now some wannabe troll will just post a rude folowup that isn't even funny)
    ----------------------------
  • Couldn't find much so far about him but I came across this page where several patents on data compression algorithms are mentioned and this led me to one of his patents [ibm.com], a so-called string searcher and compressor.

    It would be interesting to know if what the patent decribes is the technology behind PKZIP.

    I first found out about this on CNET Download.com's front page; there was this little message in memoriam of PK but I don't think it was mentioned on News.com; that was strange. This is a sad event and I think it would be more convenient and respectful if we didn't get to know the details of his death just because it turned out to be a morbid and attention-attracting story for the media.

  • by Atlas (96843)
    I recently helped a family member pick out a new computer and promptly reclaimed my old 286 that I had loaned to them. I of course had to hook it up and tinker around. Qmodem is still installed and all my old BBS files are on there. I can vividly remember the excitement of unzipping the latest dl's from various BBS's. I hope that Katz had some idea as to the enjoyment and usefulness that his software provided to a geek such as myself. -Atlas
  • by Darchmare (5387) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @07:34PM (#1116075) Homepage
    Yes, I've heard of that format as well. I believe that no matter how large the content, it can be compressed into the following sentence:

    "Geeks are oppressed. Down with corporate America! Hey, what about those Sex Bots?"

    Very tight algorhythm, indeed.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • Ah, yes, back in the days of the BBS, those offline mail readers, all that downloading, with the piddling of bandwidth. I'd say Phil Katz was one of the most significant figures in computing and the early development of the Internet.

    I also remember all those programs that were written as utilities that use ZIP in one way or another, such as converters that converted all ARC files to ZIP files, with the extra compression. PKZIP was so useful for me with my 32MB HD...

  • actually, there is a 2.06 version of pkzip for dos, it's licensed to ibm and pkware confirmed it's existence when i emailed them about it:

    PKZIP (R) FAST! Create/Update Utility Version 2.06 01-24-94
    Copr. 1989-1994 PKWARE Inc. All Rights Reserved. IBM LICENSED VERSION
    PKZIP Reg. U.S. Pat. and Tm. Off. Patent No. 5,051,745


    PKZIP /h[1] for basic help PKZIP /h[2|3|4] for other help screens.


    Usage: PKZIP [options] zipfile [@list] [files...]


    Simple Usage: PKZIP zipfile file(s)...
    | | |
    Program ----------------- | |
    | |
    New zipfile to create ---------- |
    |
    File(s) you wish to compress ----------

    The above usage is only a very basic example of PKZIP's capability.


    Press 2 for more options (including spanning & formatting), press 3 for
    advanced options, 4 for trouble shooting options, any other key to quit help.

    then pkware came out with "pkzip command line" (last year?) which is a 32 bit windoze program (along with long file name support and stuff...) but it keeps the command line interface from the dos version of pkzip.


    _______________________________________________
    Television is called a medium because it is neither rare or well-done.
  • I tend to agree that 'genius' may be stretching it a bit, but that still doesn't mean that the guy didn't do some cool stuff.

    Plus, I imagine the ZIP compression algorhythm has some interesting mathemetics to it.

    There are a few people I would classify as genius, though. Woz comes to mind.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • by MrP- (45616)
    PKZip was a major app... One of the most popular zip apps today (for windows) Is WinZip, the older versions of WinZip were nothing more than a GUI to pkzip, he started it all... very sad

    #----------------------------
    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • by Oloryn (3236) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @08:07PM (#1116089)
    Phil wrote a better compression program that was compatible with System Enhancements Associates (SEA) program called ARC

    IIRC, Phil essentially wrote an assembler workalike of ARC, called PKArc. Naturally, it was faster.

    So they litigated.

    And they settled. My memory of the settlement is that Phil agreed to immediately change the name of his product to PKPAK, and to within a few months create a different product(which ended up being PKZIP). The rest of the settlement was secret(speculation in the BBS community seemed to be that it was SEA that wanted the secrecy. I later found a transcript of a thread on this subject on Bix where Thom Henderson(one of the founders of SEA) indicated it was PKWare that asked for it).

    Many people in the BBS community thought that SEA was a little heavyhanded (Perception, I don't know the reality) and moved to PKZIP.

    The suit basically had 3 claims:

    1. Copyright infringement. There may have been something to this, as there were indications that there were comment typos in the SEA source that also showed up in the PKware source.
    2. Usage of SEA's proprietary ARC file format.
    3. Usage of SEA's proprietary .ARC extension

    The latter two claims stuck in the craw of many in the BBS community(particularly the last one), and added a lot to the perception of SEA as a legal bully. As a result, many in the BBS community were quite eager to switch over as soon as PKZip became stable, and plenty of BBSs converted en mass shortly thereafter.

    I've since come to regard this situation as a good example of the danger of pursuing a lawsuit with "legal blinders'(seeing things only from the perspective of the law) on, particularly when your market has access to large-scale communications. Ignoring the likely perceptions of your market may very well result in you winning the lawsuit, but losing the market. ARC very quickly went from the defacto standard archiving utility for the BBS and online service community to an also ran, largely as a result of the BBS community's perceptions of the suit.

  • by zCyl (14362) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @08:41PM (#1116099)
    Does anybody else think it would be morbidly humorous if he were cremated, and then stuffed into a really tiny urn?
  • by XNormal (8617) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @08:44PM (#1116100) Homepage
    Don't you find it strange? Could this have anything to do with the circumstances of his death?


    ----
  • So many celebrities, poets, actors, revolutionaries, wariers, politicians etc have died on 33 and 37.

    That'd be a pretty neat trick and all, but unless they've mastered reincarnation where you're from, I'd be pretty stunned to have heard of someone dying at 33 and 37. :)

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Yeah, okay, so it was just a trojan horse, so sue me. :P

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • It was posted on http://download.cnet.com/ during that day. Shoot, I even submitted about it to /. but it got declined. Hmmph.

    I remember the days when pkware came out of BBS' and I went crazy to download it! Remember with all the bugs, and then 2.04g (MS-DOS) finally came out? After many years until last year, v2.50 came out (wow).

    [sniffs]

  • by skelly (38870) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @09:09PM (#1116109)
    Alcoholism is no laughing matter. It is sad that someone so young and who had contributed so much could have died in such a horrible manner. It is reminiscent of Leaving Las vegas, where the main charachter drinks himself to death. That movie scared me. It still scares me. I am an alcoholic in recovery and have been sober since September 1996. I wish Mr. Katz could have benefitted from being introduced to some recovery program like AA or if he was, that he could have stayed. Ten percent of all people are alcoholics and only 10% of them ever recover for any significant amount of time. There is hope for others though. My friend recently celebrated 25 years sober. May Mr. Katz finally find some peace.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 22, 2000 @09:09PM (#1116110)
    Not a troll. Take a look over here:

    http://www.co.ozaukee.wi.us/Sheriff/MostWanted.h tm#K
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday April 22, 2000 @09:28PM (#1116111)
    I really don't think its possible to mourn the passing of a complete stranger and be respectful or sincere. Is this the princess Diana for the geek set? Really, give it up you're mourning software, not a real person. You're going to get teary eyed because he wrote a program that let you compress a password protected French Postcards onto one 5.25 disk?

    I can't think of a worse legacy than having a bunch of people feel sorry for you not because of any of your personal qualities but because of some program you wrote in the 80s. Its a shame anyone has to die, but have some respect for yourself and dead and don't pretend that you're really sadened and feel a loss.

  • No, it is not linked to tragedy. Tragedy is an important component of being genious. I don't know any details of this special case - but study all the authors of good books, and they have lived misserable lifes, with very bad contacts to friends and persons of the right sex. Examples I can recall directly are Kafka and Karin Boye. You need to be misserable in order to have the energy to concentrate on some small detail of life and not on having a baby, going out with friends and so on...
    --The knowledge that you are an idiot, is what distinguishes you from one.
  • IKB = Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the founding father of modern civil engineering. No doubt whatsoever he was a genius.

    Anyone who says out of hand that "genius" can only apply to scientists and not engineers (or musicians, or cinema directors, or ...) is being foolish.
  • Yikes! I don't think I would have associated with this guy in real life. Informative, indeed.

    [For the copy-and-paste deprived, try this [ozaukee.wi.us].]

    --

  • If I remember correctly, PKZ204G was the last official DOS version of the program...

    Actually, PKWARE did finally release an updated version last year, PKZIP for DOS version 2.50. Its main feature updates were support for Win9x long file names, better support for archives with many (i.e. over 16,000) files, Y2K compliance, and a few other features scattered in there. You can find more information at http://www.pkware.com/catalog/zipdos.html [pkware.com].

  • Just to tell you that bzImage for the Linux kernel is NOT the bzip2 compression that you know. The Linux kernel compression is still gzip. bzImage is just a format for very big kernels.
  • Hey, don't kid yourself -- Princess Diana may not have been the saint that the media made her out to be, but she did a lot more for this world than Katz did. I doubt PKUnzip ever helped remove land-mines from post-war countries.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Not to say anything about anynody.

    Why do people have this anooying tendency to associate wealth and success with happiness? I can promise you the two years I spent with my wife I was as happy as a person could get.. No we had no money and were dirt poor.. But it does not matter how sucessful someone is in life

    Success != Hapiness.

    Jeremy
  • Oh you respected Katz as a developer? Most of the people here didn't even know what PK stood for before today; there's no way they respected him as a developer. You might have said to yourself "gosh, this PKUnzip sure is a good program", but that is not the same as saying "golly, I'd like to meet the guy who wrote this. I really respect what he's done here".

    The point is exactly what the above poster said -- people are mourning software. Before he died, nobody gave a shit about the guy who wrote it, and it's disrespectful to pretend that you did.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • by jd (1658)
    Alchoholism is a terrible disease, and one that is fatal in one of the most unpleasent ways possible to imagine.

    My guess would be that he'd been secretly suffering for many years - not unusual - and that he pushed his body too far.

    It's sad that so many true hackers perish from addictions, but when you get right down to it, it's not entirely surprising, either. To be the "best" requires blind obsession, ruthless dedication, and a reckless disregard for self or others. Exactly the same ingredients that you'll find in every addict you'll ever know.

    The greatest monument there could ever be to Philip Katz will not be PKZip, or some derivative, but the discovery of some way to express the genius without destroying the body enclosing it.

  • Why do people choose to drink even when it costs them friends, family, employment, health, and life?

    Our best answer in 2000 is (of course) both nature (genetics) and environment. Some persons brains are wired so that the sensation of intoxication is irresistibly pleasurable. They are cursed with an unfortunate gene that, in the modern world, is very maladaptive (in the ancient world perhaps this was not so). Not all these people will drink, but for many not drinking is a lifelong struggle.

    Others share this prediliction, but most of the time they manage. Personal loss or social pressure can tip the balance.

    I would suspect Mr. Katz shared a full dose of a bad gene (or set of genes). It is a true curse.

    Of course it is not that simple. 1950s middle-class euro-americans drank a staggering amount of alcohol by our (relatively) low-consumption standards, yet neither genetics nor 'happiness' appears to have changed that greatly in the past 50 years.

    Last note, contrary to the quotes in the news piece, the original PKZip was not free. It was shareware. I believe Mr. Katz's unique wisdom was to make the file format public, in contrast to the proprietary compression format it replaced (who's name is now lost to my aging memory). I have often felt we spend too much attention to code and not enough to file formats. Requiring Microsoft to use a published XML format for Word and Excel might have a greater effect on competition than requiring them to open source either application.

  • No, publicity is linked with tragedy.

    Being famous is linked with tragedy.

    • When John F Kennedy Jr died in a plane crash, people considered it a big tragedy because he was famous.
    • When Elyan Gonzales' mother died in a boat wreck, the resulting "soap opera" is considered a big tragedy because this got associated with the Cuban community, and thus famous.
    • You have concluded that "this guy" is famous, and thus that the death is a tragedy.
    In contrast, much bigger hurts get ignored when they don't involve people with some degree of celebrity.

    There is some tendancy for geniuses to tend to extremes; that means that the successes are a bit more dramatic than average, as are the failures.

    PKZip had a moderately dramatic story; I'm not certain it truly involved genius, as opposed to the factors of:

    • Being in the right place at the right time, and
    • Having intent to do something useful about the SEA situation, and sufficient ability to build an alternative compression package.

    Don't read that wrong; I'm not proposing that he was a "dumb idiot," just that it wasn't necessarily genius behind it.

  • Hmm...just out of curiousity, ever watch any nascar races, boxing, football, those wildest shows on fox, or wrestling? If you do, its probabaly the same reason most other people watch; they are waiting to see someone get hurt/killed. Of course no one would admit it, but do you really think racing would be as popular if they never crashed?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Only moderators have that power :-)

  • The quoted Info-ZIP web page has been dead for a full year (and the oft-quoted artpacks.acid.org site is just an alias for cdrom.com). The actual one is at ftp://ftp.info-zip.org/pub/info zip/Info-ZIP.html [info-zip.org] and is actively maintained. (And if Walnut Creek's webmaster ever gets off his butt, perhaps someday we'll have an http link again, too.)

    And despite the implication of yerricde and others, Info-ZIP/zlib/etc. do not infringe on Katz's patent. Jean-loup spent a considerable amount of time and effort writing an algorithm that avoided all known patents, which is why everyone now uses zlib for so many things. (That's also why the patents section of the comp.compression FAQ list is so complete. But then, who bothers to read FAQs anymore?)

  • by SurfsUp (11523) on Sunday April 23, 2000 @04:20AM (#1116169)
    Tragedy is an important component of being genious.

    It may be common for tragedy and genius to be linked, but it sure isn't an absolute requirement. I give as a counterexample J.S. Bach, who according to all the information we have, was a very happy man with a good family life (and what a family!) More unhappy geniuses to look to this man as an example.

    Also, consider that misery is hardly limited to the intellectually endowed. It's just that, with genius, it hurts you more and you are more able to communicate your hurt to others.
    --
  • I still use pkzip/unzip constantly, mostly for backup under Dos/Windows (my day job :P). It's nice to work with a compression program so reliable you can use it for backup.

    PKzip is, by the way, enormously faster than winzip in my experience.
    --
  • Almost everyone has one or more of the above things happen in their lives. Those are among the things that generate suffering in life, and most everyone experiences suffering. Not everyone becomes an alcoholic.

    Alcoholics may use their pain as a pretext for drinking, but it isn't the reason they drink. They drink because they are alcoholics. Alcoholism creates a drive to drink, and drives are pre-rational. To describe alcoholism as 'stupid' is like describing the drive for sex as 'stupid.'

    There is a strong genetic component to alcoholism and addiction, and a relationship with depression. Separated twin studies confirm this, as do the demographics in the distribution of alcoholism and addiction.

  • by Roblimo (357) on Sunday April 23, 2000 @05:23AM (#1116184) Homepage Journal
    This item got submitted at least 100 times. I selected a submission at random after eliminating the ones with obvious bad links or major spelling/grammatical errors.

    "Danborg" is not a friend -- or an enemy. I don't know him/her/it at all. He/she/it simply had one of the earlier, more coherent submissions.

    When an item is submitted to Slashdot more than 100 times, by definition at least 99% of the submissions will be rejected, many of which are probably just as good as the selected one.

    - Robin

  • Damn. I remember first using SEA's ARC program, and then PKARC/PKXARC for *everything*. And then one day I got PKZIP 0.93 Beta...(back when betas were not widely distributed except through the underground :) the files were much smaller, PKZIP was much faster than anything I'd seen.

    I remember converting all those .ARC files on my BBS to .ZIP format. I remember when that was considered "controversial" because you were somehow "modifying" the shareware author's original distribution.

    And then PKZIP exploded (no pun intended.) It's technology was used by many commercial installation programs (well, CorelDraw was shipped in .LZH format, but that's a different story. :)

    I actually in some way feel *guilty* that I never ever registered my copy of PKZIP/PKUNZIP even though I had used it for years. And then I stopped using PKZIP/PKUNZIP altogether in favor of the freeware alternative Info-ZIP packages. And somehow I felt that Katz was getting ripped off when most Windows people started downloading WinZip in droves. He developed this technology, and he never really got the recognition he really deserved for it, IMHO. Many people today think that Niko Mak Computing invented the idea of the .ZIP file. (Which is humorous considering that WinZip used to be a shell for PKZIP and is now based entirely on InfoZIP)

    *sigh*

    And the guy was thirty-seven How many of us could be next? How many of us haven't contributed as HALF as much as he did to the computing and internet communities?

  • by Amphigory (2375) on Sunday April 23, 2000 @06:07AM (#1116191) Homepage
    Well, I don't think I'm a troll, but anyway.

    I have to tell you that your friend will most likely return to alcohol.

    I base this on two things: one your use of the word "recovered" and two the fact that he still drinks "socially". In my experience (I actually have a fair amount) anyone who thinks he's finally kicked an addiction is kidding himself. For my addictions, I live with the knowledge, each day, that I am still an addict (in my case smoking, but I've helped people with much more serious addictions), and could return at any point.

    The second sad fact is that most addicts, if they partake of the substance they are addicted to even once will eventually return. There has to be a hard line between on the wagon and off the wagon. If your friend continues to drink socially, they will most likely fall off the wagon -- it's only a matter of time.

    The statistics are frightening: something like 95% of all addicts return to disfunctional patterns on partaking of the substance just once.

    My advice would be to try to get your friend to participate in a 12 step program of some kind. AA is very good, and very successful. Remember: the research indicates that there is simply no such thing as a "recovered alcoholic".

    I hope that wasn't a troll.

    --

  • by sansbury (97480) on Sunday April 23, 2000 @07:09AM (#1116196)
    I think society today shoves all people with drinking problems into one group, and labels them all alcoholics.

    My first year and a half in college, I fit the description of an alcoholic as used today. Couple bottles of Beam a week, plus whatever else, I was a mess. Still got decent grades, though...

    Then I realized that I was pushing the envelope way too hard, and backed off. That was all it took for me. I continued to drink, but it doesn't cause me the problems it used to.

    I think it comes down to where the addiction gets you- in the head, or in the body. I slowed down a lot and didn't miss being "Drinky the Drunk Guy" one bit, and haven't ever since then. But I don't doubt that there are many people physically addicted, and for them cold turkey may really be the only viable choice.

    -cwk.

  • Well, I know he used to work at Allen-Bradley (now called Rockwell Automation) before he left to start PKWare. I also used to work at Allen-Bradley, and though I never met him, I used to hear his name mentioned. Interestingly, I also left to start my own software company... and I wrote a LZW based compression program as my senior project in college. Weird. I'll turn 37 in less than 5 years. Hopefully I will not continue in his footsteps by falling over dead.

    I am sorry to hear that Phil is dead. I never met him, but I've talked to several people who knew him, and they all said he was likeable guy.

    Thad

  • As I recall, SEA sued over using the .arc extension of all things, and somehow won in spite of .arc as an archive predating SEA! It was a hollow victory for SEA however when most BBSes decided to remove all SEAware from their downloads sections. I never saw any SEAware again.

    That was a fine example of grass roots actions serving justice when the courts wouldn't.

  • Nope, no specific method. I helped a little, I did the neccessary cruelties... throwing out his liquor and wine (a move he took me down hard for that night, and thanked me for about two days later) and if we went out to shoot pool or somethin', i let him drink, but only the same as what i was drinking (which is to say, not much. generally just a guinness or two)

    Once he had stopped drinking for a week, well.. he had all sorts of nasty sickness in the middle, but then he started to feel better, and after another week or two, he didn't want to drink, because to quote him 'i don't remember ever feeling this good.' of course it certainly didn't hurt that he found himself a lovely little ladyfriend right after quitting drinking, and she was also very supportive :-)
    ----------------------------
  • I've had a certain soft spot for LZX for some time. Came out on the Amiga quite a while back, when LHA was pretty much it. It was fast, it compressed well. Better than PKZIP, even, as it apparently used a rather large search window.

    But that seemed to be the end of it. I remember hearing that it was rather difficult to code for a DOS PC - why I don't think was explained - and Aminet was never happy to move over as they couldn't get a UNIX decompresser for it.

    It strikes me as hugely unlikely that it's simply impossible to get it running under anything other than AmigaOS, but does anyone know what came of it? Seemed like a real breakthrough at the time.

  • Okay Ive seen quite a few posts which are humurous. Let me say this. Death is REALLY hard to deal with for us all

    When I die I want people to laugh at the memory of me because thats just how I wanta be remembered, lifes to short to be serious all the time. Yeah its a bit macarbe and I bet it really offend any family members, but If I was this guy, Id appreciate the humor in what ever afterlife my religion offers me.

    ITS HARD to deal with and it may be real tasteless. But come on.. Some of the time it is the only way.. Its kept me going before. So dont just be all thoughtless yourself and post about how rude it is.

    Jeremy
  • I have read almost all of the comments, the articles, browsed the pkware.com site, and all the time I had this feeling of loss. I am one of those who actually used pkzip and pkunzip quite a lot back at the beginning of the 90es.

    Rest in peace, Phil Katz.

  • No, tragedy is just no respecter of genius.

    Non-geniuses die of alcoholism all the time; they just don't get Slashdot articles.

  • Yeah maybe that's what was going on... And maybe it was just a bunch of overdramatic people getting bent out of shape over something that really wasn't that significant. Like everything else on Slashdot, this got blown totally out of proportion. A guy died: that's too bad, but he just joined 50,000 other people who did the same thing that day. And he was known for what? Writing a scrap of code that we all made use out of? Well thanks Mr. PK, but you don't really qualify for sainthood.

    It's not that I'm not sympathetic to what happened to this poor guy. He just doesn't deserve some of the romantic epic-poems that /.ers are spewing forth about him.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • There are two schools of thought on this, and research can be found to support either point. IMHO, it is better to take everything in moderation. An alcoholic and a teetotaller are the same in my book: extremists. Far far better to drink a glass of wine with dinner, or have a beer with a friend, than to drink oneself into oblivion or to sit around drinking lemonade--a far worse oblivion.

    Extremism in all forms is to be avoided.

  • It's all a matter of taste. Many of us happen to find the taste of alcohol quite pleasurable in addition to the sensations it can cause (in moderation, of course; I don't think anyone enjoys being queasy and puking). Interestingly, the ill side effects of over-drinking are much like over-eating: stomach ache, queasiness, vomiting, utter misery &c. Yet very few people call for the abolition of food and the instatement of IVs for nutrition (they actually exist, but they're rather a minority).

    Tobacco is the same. I happen to enjoy the way a pipe tastes and smells. Cigars are quite pleasant every once in awhile. I don't care for American cigarettes, but European can be pleasant.

    Of course, others disagree. That is, in a way, my point: it is a matter on which rational men may disagree; it is a matter of taste.

    As far as either habit necessarily being self-destructive, I take issue with that, but that is for another day.

    Mr. Katz took alcohol too far. He probably used it to assuage the misery of his daily life. On the one hand this is a terrible thing to do, but on the other if one's life is that bad, who are we to deny one the sole recourse left? I feel genuinely sorry for him. In this world of Internet start-ups and 23 year old billionaires, Mr. Katz somehow missed the boat. He made a great contribution and society never rewarded him for it.

  • I think it is remarkable that Phillip W. Katz was that he had never tried to enforce his patent(s) on the compression algorithm behide zip file formats.

    Whoa, whoa. The ZIP file format and compression algorithms were very deliberately open. There were no patents covering them, and if you ever read the documentation that came with PKZIP, it was clear that he welcomed competition, as he clearly felt that what SEA did was wrong.

    Now, yes, there is a patent in PKZIP covering implementation details, but you can make compatable streams without violating the patent, which is exactly what the Info-Zip project did. PKZIP competed on merit by being a damn fast implementation, instead of competing by using legal barriers.

    His patent was never violated. The cool thing that PK did wasn't that he let a patent violation slide. It was that he recognized that an interchange format must not be "owned" by anyone (through patents or any other means). It is largely because of this attitude, that the ZIP "filesystem inside a file" and the deflation algorithm have become so widely adopted standards. Absolutely brilliant. His work will outlive him, whereas regardless of SEA's developers' health, ARC is long dead.


    ---
  • Far far better to drink a glass of wine with dinner, or have a beer with a friend, than to drink oneself into oblivion or to sit around drinking lemonade--a far worse oblivion.

    Huh?? I drink lemonade and various other non-alcoholic drinks, and basically never drink alcohol. Exactly how am I living in a "far worse oblivion"?

    Not that I haven't had someone "push" alcohol on me on rare occasion; I have, and as a teenager I actually sipped some "sangria" (sp?) as a result. And a couple of times I've had a drink by accident -- i.e. thinking it was non-alcoholic.

    But how does my not drinking something which I find literally distasteful make my life so miserable in your view?

    BTW I also have never killed anyone, nor cheated on my taxes, nor had sex with someone who's under the age of consent. Guess I'm just one of those horrible "extremists" through and through...!

  • Tom Henderson got a lot of flak over the pkarc affair, much of it undeserved. In those days I was involved porting the .ARC format to another OS. The sources of SEA arc were available for non commericial use and they were what made porting arc effectively possible.

    Porting arc was very important for anyone running something other than MSDOS; almost all bbs downloads came as .arc files. If you couldn't decompress those files you were locked out of that world.

    Luckily SEA's source code was well organized and well documented. This meant it was easily ported to other environments. It also made it relatively easy to reimplement some of the key (de)compression routines in other programs. Well documented source code helps a lot when trying to understand a compression algorithm.

    It would also have been easy to create a version of SEA arc with some of the compression code replaced by faster routines. The compression routines were a relatively small part of the code. Also, while there were several compression algorithms in arc only one of them (LZW compression) was actually used 99% of the time. The others were historical and mainly there so you could still read old .arc files. LZW compression was only a very small part of arc.

    Making that algorithm faster wasn't too difficult either. It was written in C, and in those days hand tuned assembler beat code generated by microcomputer compilers by a factor 5 to 10. Also, arc processed it's data byte for byte; switching to a block based strategy for passing data through various stages typically would gain you another factor of 5 to 10.

    SEA's suspicion that pkarc might be reusing large parts of arc's source were widely dismissed as nonsense because pkarc was so much faster. But knowing the source code, and given the very similar interface of the two programs it wasn't all that unlikely.

    Pkware also added a new compression method that worked better than SEA's LZW compression. This must have been a major blow for SEA commercially - suddenly the latest ARC couldn't read the latest .arc files anymore! Pkware accidentally had invented the 'embrace and extent' strategy that would be made famous by MS many years later.

    The new compression method also made porting much more problematic. Pkarc's source was not available. The format was not documented in it's documentation; if it was available it was not widely known. In the it turned out that pkarc's new algorithm was a minor variation the arc LZW format. (It used 13 rather than 12 bit tokens, and the run length encoding preprocessing was removed.)

    The final result was that pkarc took the .arc format from sort of open source to closed source, made it much more MS-DOS specific and doing so helped make the BBS world much more IBM PC centric. It also served as a dire warning against small companies ever releasing any important source under any kind of licence.

    But PKWare learned it's lesson and went on to produce a steady stream of faster and better compression algorithms. SEA failed to do what it should have done in the first place: solve arc's terrible performance problems. Unisys started behaving like a bunch of jerks.

    As an aside:
    Around that time free code was usually put in public domain. An endless stream of commercial ripoffs of PD programs with one or two sexy features improved or added was what caused RMS to invent this GPL thing.
  • informative bullshit.

    that's some criminal record -- a alchoholic who gets caught driving drunk (no one hurt) and then skips a couple hearings. ooooh. how scary.

    remember, the current ferver over alcohol and drugs is strictly a twentieth century phenonenon.

    the state of california, where i live, pulls in about $3500 cash for every drunk driver they catch -- and that's based on blood alcohol level, not your ability to control a vehicle. the state has a strong financial incentive to continue lowering the legal BA level to "catch" more depressed individuals.

    drugs? same issue. you get a certain set of genes, you're fucked for life. if the condition is such that you are one of the people out on the bell curve, that medication can't help, you go through a life of terror as you are ostricized and held up as "an evil of society". many end up homeless, tortured souls that the "normals" laugh at and ridicule.

    the police, politicians and "moms against drunk drivers" hold you up as evil, politicians pass harsh laws to get votes, the alcoholic is a fundraiser for the state, never gets the treatment to actually fix the problem, their job is lost, money taken into the state's coffers, all so the police can justify more police, more pay, more laws.

    my opinion: all the laws should be rolled back to "suspicion" -- the vehicle must be weaving or driving erratically before pullover. furthermore, no sobriety checkpoints. all drugs should be legalized now.

    once someone violates the above, it must not be a way for the state to earn money. i would favor very harsh laws against people driving under the influence -- for example, 6 mos. suspension of license on the first offense, and mandatory psych evaluation.

    naturally, they would also be responsible for any damage or pain inflicted. but $3500 to the state for a random sobriety checkpoint, on a person who can control their vehicle is not justice.

    one of the major reasons people bring up for the legalization of drugs is the elimination of the organized crime and violence that comes with it. what few people realize is that the crime/enforcement/imprisionment industry is one of the fastest growing enterprises in the USA.

    the police are no longer your neighbor, looking to keep you safe. this is not mayberry rfd, and the sheriff's son isn't played by ron howard. they are a business enterprise, one that depends on pullovers, tickets, convictions, fines and statistics for their funding and increased presence and livelihood.

    the usa's prisons have a large percentage of population that are totally non-violent. they are a cash cow for the massive police enforcement agencies and contracted prison operators. this is a pathetic joke, and the shame of a nation. many of the violent criminals would not be there but for the black market nature of drugs, perpetuated by the state.

    one day, this post will be justified by someone who will speak out about the subject, in such a way that america will see through the lie. so far, only a couple of politicians or judges have spoken, since to do so means the instant loss of the police unions during the next election cycle, and the funding of your opponent by the commercial prison lobby.

    this is not america.

  • That command line version is what I use, but I was pretty unhappy when I discovered all the command line options were radically different from the old one.

    I was still grateful for having it, though - I hate hate hate all those Windows-based GUI programs with the clunky interface. Give me

    pkzip25 -add foo.zip *

    any day over going through menus and what-not.

    D

    ----

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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