Packers, Crunchers, Linkers and all the rest

menace - 05:26 27 June 2017 #

I recently stumbled across a collection of compression tools for the c64 that I had detailed about 15 years ago. There are far more of these wayward directories sitting in my Dropbox than I am comfortable with, but that's a discussion for another time. I discovered I had tried to sort them into the two main types of compressors that were popular for the c64 in the past - equal char packers, and sequence packers. I figured, hey, that's a perfect bit of information for our tagging system, and so I've recently been slowly feeding that stuff into Demozoo. In addition to the two categories mentioned above, I also add a general 'packer' tag, which puts them into a pool of packers from all platforms.

So, here's the thing - I'd like some help in detailing packers (and related tools) from every platform. There's a fair few tools in there already, but more is always welcome. On the c64 the tools are rarely dated, if at all, but the more we get in there the more we learn from context etc. I know there are some rough guesses on csdb, but I don't like to automatically assume anything, and do my own research if at all possible. If I come to an assumed conclusion on something, I like to make a note of that, rather than stamping it in as bona fide fact when it is not necessarily that. So, with that - here are some handy dandy links to get you going. Let's become the foremost archival authority on scene-related compression tools, yeah? :)


tomaes - 13:43 27 June 2017 #

Well, UPX (DOS, Windows) and PKlite (DOS) were probably the most popular executable packers on the PC until kkrunchy came along. And both are not really suitable for Demozoo. ;)

Anyway, some notes:

- The link to 'sequence-packer' is wrong here: https://demozoo.org/productions/tagged/equal-chars-packer/

- 'equal-chars packer' is just RLE, right? And 'sequence packer' is LZ*/Huffmann symbol chains / dictionary stuff? I never heard those terms before and they're quite weird and obviously made-up terms by kids in the 1980s, before they had CS degrees. :)

- Here's a list of PC related compression tools. Some, like 20to4 (made by muhmac/freestyle) should be relevant to this site:

- some C64 packers/linkers:

menace - 06:18 28 June 2017 #

Tomaes: Thanks for spotting my error with the link!

I'm sure we can post-apply new terms to the different categories, but for scene-related clarity I went with the terms as they appeared in demoscene lingo in the late 80s.

thanks for the links, will dive into those once I am done with a couple of current projects. :)

Saga_Musix - 14:11 28 June 2017 #

I don't think anyone in the scene would call it "equal-chars packer" these days but rather RLE as tomaes said, so it might be appropriate to call the tag "RLE" and add a note that this kind of packer was called "equal-char packer" by some people.

menace - 05:36 2 July 2017 #

I do think context is quite important here, and I want Demozoo to be the place where you come to look up something based on something the demoscene - where these terms were prevalent, as mentioned. I did add a note that the modern way of naming such compression was RLE.

Saga_Musix - 15:58 2 July 2017 #

> where these terms were prevalent, as mentioned

In the C64 scene maybe. I have never heard of that term being used in the PC scene. ;) Hence I'd say naming the tag like that is very early-C64-scene-centric.

ltk_tscc - 18:55 2 July 2017 #

Me either... I didn't know the terms from the Atari-scene... well we mostly only divide into data-packer and executable-packer... then there are archivers like ZIP aswell.

Asle - 21:39 2 July 2017 #


Asle - 21:42 2 July 2017 #

and Amiga music packers

tomaes - 16:15 6 July 2017 #

tons of DOS packers/unpackers:


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