SUMMARY: unpack of GNATS

From: Brad Walker (
Date: Tue May 04 1993 - 20:04:49 CDT

Many thanks to every one that responded the the problem with unpacking GNATS.
It seems as thought GNATS is packed with the new GNU "gzip". IMHO, I find it
very confusing that the FSF/GNU folks choose to use an extension of ".z" instead
of something like ".gzip". I had to spend an hour working with this before I
realized that maybe once again the computer industry has created an
incompatibility. The thing that confused me was that pack(1) uses a ".z" ext.
Anyways here is the original request:

>Maybe this is the wrong alias but I couldn't find anyone better to send
>mail to. I'm trying to unpack gnats and unpack says that it isn't in
>a packed format.
>Could someone tell me what I need to do get gnats to unpack.
>By the way I pulled this from

I have enclosed the most comprehensive summary about what is going on at
the end of this e-mail.

And a hardy thank-you to the people that responded! Kudos to FSF/GNU for
making all this possible.

Brad Walker

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>From uunet!!justice Tue May 4 10:38:32 1993
From: uunet!!justice
Date: Tue, 4 May 93 09:50:57 edt
To: (Brad Walker),
Subject: unpack of GNATS
Content-Length: 2028
X-Lines: 43

[Noah, the following is a response to an article in ailab.sun-managers
on (or whatever their NNTP server is called). Is
there anything I failed to say, or got wrong? Joseph]

   Maybe this is the wrong alias but I couldn't find anyone better to
   send mail to. I'm trying to unpack gnats and unpack says that it
   isn't in a packed format. Could someone tell me what I need to do
   get gnats to unpack. By the way I pulled this from

If you snagged an FSF/GNU program recently, and it had an extension of
".z" (*NOT* ".Z"), it may be in a new compression format called "gzip"
(GNU Zip). This format is INCOMPATIBLE with the compress/uncompress
and pack/unpack formats. However, the programs that implement this
format, gzip/ungzip (and others), understand both the compress format
and pack format for uncompression (uncompression *only*).

The needed programs can be obtained from in /pub/gnu/
(and elsewhere). They are kept (in both source and certain executable
forms) in varions formats, none of which require the prior acquisition
of gzip/ungzip. (Therefore, the chicken and the egg problem doesn't
come up.)

This new format is being used as of a few weeks ago (from this date)
to keep ALL files (which require compression) in the FSF/GNU archives
on I assume that these files will eventually
supercede files in mirrors of everywhere.

This new change in the way the FSF/GNU archives are kept is documented
in the January, 1993 _GNU'S Bulletin_, in the article "GNU Zip to
Replace Compress" (p. 8). I believe there's also a README in the prep

Hope this answers all your questions.


Joseph R. Justice            IRC: Justice           Internaut at large
Internet:       "that damned Justice fellow..."
ALSO:  PAX, penet, RIP
Member, League for Programming Freedom        E-mail:

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