Phil Katz in his own quiet way fomented a revolution back when "web" was spelled "BBS" by most folks.
The leading archival/compression utility at the time -- and compressing the hell out of data when 9600 - 1400 baud modems were the DSL/ISDN equivalents of the day, and really big sites had dedicated 56k leased lines -- was SEA's ARC software, which produced a file with the extension ".ARC" (good ole' DOS 8.3 filenames). When Phil released his first compression program, PKArc (Phil Katz's ARC), he borrowed both the name and extension from SEA. SEA retaliated with, IIRC, a trademark suit.
Undeterred, Phil renamed his utility first PKPack, then PKZIP, and changed the extension name to ".ZIP". Then something interesting happend.
Remember SEA? They continued asserting their trademarks. SYSOPS -- the guys who lived and died on compressability -- started converting their ARC files to ZIPs. One by one, individual initiative. No big organized ruckus. But in the space of about six months, ZIP had completely supplanted ARC. SEA sold its ARC product to a Japanese firm in 1992. A current search for SEA at its last known address, Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ, comes up empty.
Phil showed early how freer was better, though PKZIP was shareware, and was neither strictly free of charge nor open source. However, it was a more open, less restrictive standard, and it clobbered the (initally) much bigger competition.
Thank you, Phil, and God bless your family.
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
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