Best small program

Volker Diels-Grabsch

Judges' comments:

To use:


./prog < file > file.Z


dd bs=1024 count=2048 < /dev/zero | compress > ref.Z
dd bs=1024 count=2048 < /dev/zero | ./prog > dg1.Z
cmp ref.Z dg1.Z

compress < ../mills/Shakespeare.txt > ref.Z
./prog < ../mills/Shakespeare.txt > dg1.Z
cmp ref.Z dg1.Z # Oops, the files differ
zcat < dg1.Z | cmp - ../mills/Shakespeare.txt # Decompresses correctly. What is going on?

Selected Judges Remarks:

Finally, IOCCC now has its own text compression program, and it is short enough to qualify for the Best Short Program award! That said, can you compress it down to a one-liner, still producing files in the UNIX compress format, albeit sacrificing the compression ratio?

Can you explain why the zero file compresses identically by the entry and the standard compress tool, but the text file compresses differently? The judges know. :)

Author’s comments:

A tiny “compress” tool


./prog < guidelines.txt > guidelines.txt.Z

Check for correctness:

zcat guidelines.txt.Z > guidelines2.txt
diff -s guidelines.txt guidelines2.txt

Of course you can
also use 2015/mills2 instead of zcat to verify the output
file. The achieved compression ratio roughly matches that
of the classic Unix compress tool. And the source code is
very compressed, too: It has exactly the same size as the
paragraph you are reading right now. And exactly the same
shape. Nevertheless, it is portable C99 code that runs on
32-bit and 64-bit platforms. It compiles without warnings
on both GCC and Clang even with -Wextra and -Weverything.

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