Thursday, October 21, 2004

StuffIt 9 “Choose Method by Analysis”

Beware of using this setting in DropStuff (a.k.a. --compression_method=6 with the stuff command). I found several folders that this would compress very tightly, but that couldn’t be unstuffed because StuffIt aborted with error 17999. Allume support confirmed that this compression method is “not working” and will be fixed in an upcoming maintenance update.

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Jan Erik Moström

What are your comments about v9?

I looked at the release notes but couldn't see anything that made me say "Ohhh, I need that update" (I got v8). Have I missed some good reason for updating?

Ugh, stuffing things. I just .zip now, or .dmg, or .tgz. I'm glad to avoid .sit entirely (except for some people that still offer software downloads as .sit).

I haven't seen any good reasons to update.

However...Andrew's writing the ATPM review, and he thinks it's worth the upgrade.

Compressed disk images seem like the ideal way to distribute Mac software. They're read only and don't involve any intermediary files that litter the user's machine. .sit should .die.

>Compressed disk images seem like the ideal way to distribute Mac software.

Except that they're confusing to new users. "Okay, now double-click the file you've downloaded. Now you the image mounts."
"What? Mounts? Why do I suddenly have a new disk?"
"It's not a disk, it's just a, uhm, virtual... disk. Now drag the application from the... disk. Now you can eject it with the little eject button."
"Eject? I haven't put anything in my drive!"
"Yeah, it's just a virtual disk. Now you can delete the file you've downloaded."

Of course, the "other kind" of images which do this automatically aren't better, because now you have things that look the same but behave differently ("Why didn't it mount? Where did it go?").

SIT files are better than images because they behave better. Mac OS X ZIP files are okay, too, but SIT files often compress better, and that's why people use them.

"Except that they’re confusing to new users."

I switched this summer and I didn't find it confusing at all. In fact, I couldn't believe how easy software installation on a Mac is, thanks to the ubiquitous disk image and icon-drag installation.

>I switched this summer and I didn’t find it confusing at all.

You're also reading a blog that is in large parts about programming, so I have to assume that you're not part of the 99% of computer users who do get confused by things like this.

The error 17999 bug seems to be fixed in 9.0.1.

I am using 9.0.1 and the 17999 bug still happens (perhaps for different reasons).

Also, the problem is not limited to "Choose Method by Analysis."

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