Zip Standard Forks

By Deane Barker on August 12, 2003

Is Zip coming undone?: We wrote about this before, but the dispute between WinZip and PKZip seems to have boiled over into a standards war. The protocol has been forked and we’re all worse off because of it.

“Both programs use the basic .zip file extension to designate both secure and standard files. The upshot? People who receive a file with .zip now won’t know until they try to open it whether it’s one of three types: a secure file accessible only through PKWare’s software; a secure file accessible only through WinZip; or a standard Zip file that can be accessed by any compression utility.”



  1. Moral of the story? The ZIP protocol no longer has a reliable encryption mechanism. If you want to send encrypted zip, zip the file as normal and PGP-encode it.

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