ARC vs ZIP, the myth, the legend


I doubt many people know this story but back in the mid to late 80s there was compression program called ARC. It functioned similar to WinZip or WinRAR by taking a bunch of files, compressing them and bundling them up into a single file which made it easier to send across a modem and also take less time and therefore less money. It was THE standard. Everywhere you'd go there would be .ARC files.

At some point a new program came out called PKARC. It was faster than ARC, much faster and it became very popular for dealing with .ARC files. The company that made ARC, called SEA (System Enhancement Associates) sued the PKARC guys. They claimed that the file format for .ARC files was copyright them and that the PKARC guy was not allowed to copy it. SEA sued the PKARC guy and won. So, the PKARC guy made a new format called .ZIP, it compressed better then .ARC and within a few months .ARC files were a thing of the past, .ZIP files became the standard and SEA pretty much disappeared. Everyone was happy because some little guy, Phil Katz of PKZIP, showed some evil corporation SEA what for.

At least that's what I thought the truth was. I believe that's what most people believe. Today I saw this 20min documentary about it. Wow, was I wrong.

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