This article is from the Mac communications FAQ, by Bruce L Grubb BruceG6069@aol.com with numerous contributions by others.
Best Compression: (Revised 01/2001)
The shareware program DropStuff with Extension Expander (and its
commercial sibling, StuffIt Deluxe) is generally regarded as providing
the best compression performance of the many Macintosh compression
utilities. StuffIt Deluxe has a fancy user-interface while DSEE has
a very simple interface.
StuffIt Expander (free) with DSEE ($30 shareware) seems to be the most
comprehensive shareware package currently available for decompressing
files. There is one special issue to be aware of though; StuffIt
Expander (and Deluxe) does not seem to look -within- formats for the
Macbinary format. As a result non-mac archive formats that have had
Macbinary added -internally- to support the two fork Mac format
([2.4b]) do not always decompress properly resulting in the resource
fork information being corrupted or loss. Fortunitly there are very
few Mac files archived in this manner but considering I ran into this
situation myself I though it best to alert people to the situation.
The closest rival to the Stuffit programs was Compact Pro but it has
two problems: 1) it has not been updated since April 1995 and 2) it
cannot decompress the Deluxe .sit formats. As a result StuffIt has
become the defacto king of Mac compression.
Posting Macintosh Programs: (Revised 01/2001)
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You should use either DropStuff or StuffIt Deluxe to compress
Macintosh files you send to anonymous FTP sites and Web sites.
While MacBinary internal versions of zip and LZH exist
it is better to stick with sit for Mac files. Zip and LZH
should at best be used for data fork only files intended for
Regardless of which archiver you use, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE AN ARCHIVE
YOU ARE POSTING SELF-EXTRACTING! The convenience of self-extracting
archives is not worth the space they waste at anonymous-FTP sites and
Web sites (where literally thousands of compressed files are stored) and
the problems they create on other platforms. Self-extracting archives
are useful in other contexts, but should be discouraged as a medium
for posting to archives.
Before you create your archive, set the Finder label of all
files you plan to include in the archive to 'None'.
Avoid using strange punctuation marks in filenames that you will
distribute. Characters such as exclamation points, spaces, dollar
signs, etc, are legal characters in Macintosh filenames but can be
difficult to work with on non-Macintosh systems (where most Macintosh
archives are stored). Since BinHex and MacBinary store your original
Macintosh filename, removing strange characters from a BinHex'd or
MacBinary'd file before distributing will not affect the original
filename. As an example, MyFile-215.sit is a perfectly acceptable
After you have created the archive and named it appropriately, BinHex
encode it (see [2.3]). Preface the resulting text file a short
description of the archive you want to distribute, including any
system requirements and problems. Do not bother with a signature.
Finally, upload the text file (if necessary) and e-mail it to
email@example.com. Your subject line should specify a suggested
name with a suggested location in the text file.
Mailing your archive to macgifts automatically submits it to the
InfoMac archive and its active mirrors.