Using zip format for help pages, examples, etc.

Douglas Bates
25 Mar 1999 14:06:45 -0600

At the Vienna meeting we discussed the problems encountered on some
operating systems when storing many small files in a directory.  In
particular the directories $RHOME/library/base/help/,
$RHOME/library/base/R-ex/, and $RHOME/library/base/data/ can take up
an enormous amount of storage on the Macintosh or on Windows systems
because the minimum amount of storage per distinct file is quite

Fritz Leisch and I suggested storing the contents of each of these
directories as a single .zip file.  This should result in considerable
savings in size with little penalty in access speed.

To implement this we would need code for accessing files within a .zip
archive and for decompressing the files.  I know of the files from
Info-Zip including the zlib sources (compression/decompression) and
the contrib/minizip directory in the zlib source tree.  The minizip
directory provides a prototype unzip.c and unzip.h.  These would be
used to modify the R internal function file.exists and so
they could look in the archive as well as in a directory.

Does anyone know of a reason why this would not be a good idea?  Does
anyone know of better|more_portable|whatever implementations of code
to access files within a .zip archive.  The info-zip sources are
available at
r-devel mailing list -- Read
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: