CNET | Digital Dispatch
DNA Computing, Guide to Start Pages, ICQ 2000a Arrives
April 27, 2000
Vol. 6, No. 17
News of Phil Katz's death was just made public earlier this week. You may never have heard of Phil Katz, but chances are, you've used the product he's known for. Back in 1986, Katz developed a file format--which he called "ZIP"--that allowed files to be compressed to a fraction of their original size and later restored, unscathed, to their previous state. He designed a simple but effective program to do this and named it PKZip, using his own initials (and ensuring for himself some degree of immortality in the process). The program was a massive shareware hit, and ZIP quickly became the industry standard compression format. More dreamy innovator than businessman, Katz was never able to fully capitalize on his ubiquitous creation, and when he died on April 14 of complications from alcoholism at the age of 37, his passing was largely ignored. But his legacy lives on.
Nowadays, most files downloaded from the Internet bear the suffix .zip. In fact, this week we're featuring a showdown between the latest versions of WinZip and Netzip, the best known of today's ZIP utilities. Phil, this one's for you.
--Steve Fox, Editor, CNET Online