[lug] Star Office 5.2...

Peter Hutnick peter-lists at hutnick.com
Mon Apr 22 16:16:12 MDT 2002

Hash: SHA1

On Monday 22 April 2002 03:16 pm, hirsch at zapmedia.com wrote:
> LittleViggy at alum.manhattan.edu writes:
>  > > Exe's?  If you mean "executable" they are generally called "binaries"
>  > > or "bins" by cool UNIX guys.
>  > >
>  > > If you really mean [someprogram].exe one of us is confused.
>  >
>  > Sorry!  After working in Windows for sooooo loooonnnnggg, I just tend to
>  > think of any "program" as an "exe" or "executable."  I should have said
>  > "binary".
> I thought a binary was a file that wasn't just ASCII characters...
> I think "executable" is the right word.  "exe" is a Windows thing.

Hopefully this won't become a a holy war.

Sure, binary really just means a file or stream where any number is a valid 
value.  (This has a side effect of making the boundary between data elements 
subject to the interpretation of software.)

In my experience machine code with a header that allows it to be loaded by a 
UNIX is generally referred to as a "binary" or a "bin."  In the Linux world 
this is generally prefixed with the loader type if there is concern that this 
will be easily confused with binary data (e.g "ELF binary").  I don't have 
the experience to judge if this is common among users of other systems.

I think that the social difference in question is that binary data is 
culturally frowned upon under the UNIX philosophy.  Ever noticed that high 
level internet protocols all use ASCII?  This is why the windows registry is 
such an abomination from the UNIX point of view.

In the windows world obfuscation is a way of life and small fleet-footed tools 
are not the norm, so binary data is common.

In a place where it is culturally unacceptable to marry your cousin you 
needn't introduce your wife as "my wife, who isn't my cousin."

- -Peter

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