I've been a big fan of StuffIt ever since Raymond Lau released it way back when. Before that, PackIt was the standard, and it didn't take long before everyone noticed that StuffIt was faster and better. Since then, StuffIt development and marketing has been taken over by Aladdin Systems. The results: StuffIt Classic, the new shareware version, and StuffIt Deluxe, the commercial version. StuffIt Classic improves upon StuffIt 1.5.1 by offering better compression modes, the ability to navigate through folders, support for externals, and virus checking. StuffIt Deluxe goes beyond StuffIt Classic by offering extensive scripting, more compression methods, compression "optimizers," compression "externals," and my favorite feature, "Magic Menu." Magic Menu not only allows Finder-level compression, but also includes hooks for popular mail programs so you can stuff & send files. StuffIt Deluxe is my compressor of choice at work for the Magic Menu feature alone. On the downside, StuffIt Deluxe is beginning to suffer from feature-itis. It seems to me that five different compression methods is more than needed, especially since "Best Guess" and "Better" yield almost identical compression factors.
While StuffIt certainly wins the features wars, it isn't always the most efficient format, and one place where Compact Pro wins is in the size of the self-extracting archives. Depending on what mode you choose, StuffIt adds between 19K and 23K to the compressed file to make it self-extracting. In contrast, Compact Pro only adds about 13K, which can be a big difference when you send files at slow modem speeds. StuffIt Deluxe and StuffIt Classic also brought up the rear in terms of decompression speed, which is something of a strike against them.
Aladdin Systems -- 408-685-9175
Deer Park Center, Suite 23A-171
Aptos, CA 95003
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