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Monday, 7 March 2005

Epson Puzzle Box

I downloaded an Epson printer driver the other day. It was a HQX file. HQX is an old mac format used for file transfers. It's called "hex" for some reason. I don't remember of it is compressed or just provides some sort of protection against corruption on mixed networks. It's antique.

I opened the HQX file and found a SEA file. SEA stands for Self-Extracting Archive. It's a file format that provides both compression and an application to decompress. Wow, you don't see many of those anymore. Also antique, but apparently still kicking as it was an OS X application.

Inside the SEA, there was a folder and inside the folder was a DMG. A DMG is a disk image. These are very popular now and are the usual way that something like a printer driver would be distributed. DMG is a compressed format. I wonder why they felt like they had to compress a compressed format. Normally a DMG is the final layer, but no . . .

I mounted the DMG and within there was an install program, a Vise installer. As far as I know, the Vise installer also provides compression. This vintage of installing software is somewhat older than the DMG and somewhat newer than HQX. So they compressed a compresssed, compressed file, put two applications in there and added a funny format as the very top layer.

Fortunately, when I double-clicked the installer, my drivers actually installed. I can only imagine that they were much smaller than the file I downloaded from Epson, who has a rather slow server. The drivers are fine, but the release engineer is an idiot. This process took more than half an hour.

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2 comments:

cxjo said...

pretty typical.. the drivers probably come from japan in some zipped package, then someone in the US (btw, most j companies don't have engineers in the US, and especially not release engineers.. at most they are web programmers) decides since it's for mac it needs to be packed into some other format.. the next "engineer" says, wait, do we support that on all mac platforms? quick lets add another layer to make sure it gets accross! then at some point there's a website review/redesign and it's decided that all files offered for mac be zipped in a particular way to avoid confusion.. ... of course if u use a pc u will never see any problems like this, for many many reasons..

Les said...

What's ironic about this is that when i saw the .sea.hqx, I thought, "wait. where's the OS X version"?