ARCHIVED: What is MacBinary, and how can I decode it?

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Note: Because Mac OS X supports but no longer relies upon the forked file structure found in Mac OS 9 and earlier, the MacBinary format has been superseded by the disk image (.dmg) and GNU Zip (.zip) formats in OS X.

In Mac OS 9 and earlier, because of its forked file structure, transferring files to non-Macintosh computers was problematic. MacBinary was developed as a means of preserving this structure without sacrificing portability. It combined the data and resource forks and the Finder information of a file into a single document that was then suitable for transport via FTP, the web, and email. You could also store the document on computers running different operating systems, such as Unix or Windows. It was similar to BinHex, but MacBinary produced binary files as opposed to ASCII text. Thus, MacBinary files took up less disk space than BinHex files, but older applications and servers were more likely to corrupt them.

Files encoded with MacBinary, regardless of the version, usually have .bin appended to the ends of their filenames. Although some applications can extract and decode the files themselves, most pass off these tasks to the operating system or a helper utility, such as StuffIt Expander; see ARCHIVED: What is StuffIt, and how do I decode Stuffed archives?

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Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:08:49.

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