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Comments September 17, 2007

Winzip Surprise

Filed under: tech stuff — Dave Rathbun @ 9:05 pm CommentsComments (2) 

When Did This Happen?

I’ve been a loyal winzip user for years. Frankly, why wouldn’t I be? I paid my shareware registration years ago, and their agreement lets me use the program on as many computers as I have. I don’t remember which version I started with, but it could very well have been 1.0. The original author allowed free upgrades for life, meaning each time a new upgrade was available I was able to download it, install it, and enter my registration code.

Not any more.

It seems that all my favorite shareware programs are going commercial. Paintshop Pro (formerly of JASC) is now a Corel product. I think they took over with version 10, which explains why I’m still using version 9. And today I saw an announcement that WinZip “New! Now with RAR Support!” was available so I hopped on over to their website to download it.

Guess what… Corel bought them out too. And no more “Free upgrades for life” either, it seems. Starting with version 10 (hmm, coincidence?) upgrades were no longer free. My registration code that has worked for all these many years has stopped working.

After a few quick searches I found out that this happened last year. So I guess since I was happy with version 9, I will continue to use it. Afterall, I’ve paid for it. I certainly didn’t seem to be missing anything when they released version 10 and now 11 and I didn’t even notice…

What Goes Around…

Does anyone reading this remember the “ARC” format? Back in the early days of BBS / modem communication every bit you had to push down the line was precious. A company named SEA put out a program that allowed you compress a batch of files into an ARC or archive file. They also released the code under what an open-source type of agreement. Phil Katz took the code and rewrote it in assembly, or at least bits and pieces of it. He released a program called PKARC that was fully compatible with the ARC file format but tons faster as far as the compression / decompression steps.

For some reason, SEA got upset by this, and sued. I don’t pretend to be a legal expert, so I don’t know what the basis for their suit was. Long story short, Phil rewrote PKARC and PKZIP, and BBS owners everywhere took it upon themselves to switch standards from ARC to ZIP because it was faster and compressed better. Remember, every “bit” helped. I was working for a software company that maintained a BBS at the time, and I actually helped with that process.

The point of this diversion is this: I wonder how much longer the “zip” format as supported by WinZip will remain a defacto standard? On the one hand you have zip support built in to various operating systems. On the other hand you have the RAR format and others that are competing for attention. I guess we can check back in a few years and see what has happened to Winzip.

But it does feel a bit like the passing of an old friend to find out they’ve been bought out.

Related Links

  • Wiki on SEA versus Phil Katz


    1. z-zip :)

      Comment by eviL3 — September 18, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

    2. 7-zip*. I’m tired…

      Comment by eviL3 — September 18, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

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