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GZIP file format specification version 4.3
RFC 1952

Document type: RFC - Informational (May 1996; No errata)
Was draft-deutsch-gzip-spec (individual)
Document stream: Legacy
Last updated: 2013-03-02
Other versions: plain text, pdf, ps, html

Legacy State: (None)
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IESG State: RFC 1952 (Informational)
Responsible AD: (None)
Send notices to: No addresses provided

Network Working Group                                         P. Deutsch
Request for Comments: 1952                           Aladdin Enterprises
Category: Informational                                         May 1996

               GZIP file format specification version 4.3

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
   does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
   this memo is unlimited.

IESG Note:

   The IESG takes no position on the validity of any Intellectual
   Property Rights statements contained in this document.

Notices

   Copyright (c) 1996 L. Peter Deutsch

   Permission is granted to copy and distribute this document for any
   purpose and without charge, including translations into other
   languages and incorporation into compilations, provided that the
   copyright notice and this notice are preserved, and that any
   substantive changes or deletions from the original are clearly
   marked.

   A pointer to the latest version of this and related documentation in
   HTML format can be found at the URL
   <ftp://ftp.uu.net/graphics/png/documents/zlib/zdoc-index.html>.

Abstract

   This specification defines a lossless compressed data format that is
   compatible with the widely used GZIP utility.  The format includes a
   cyclic redundancy check value for detecting data corruption.  The
   format presently uses the DEFLATE method of compression but can be
   easily extended to use other compression methods.  The format can be
   implemented readily in a manner not covered by patents.

Deutsch                      Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 1952             GZIP File Format Specification             May 1996

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ................................................... 2
      1.1. Purpose ................................................... 2
      1.2. Intended audience ......................................... 3
      1.3. Scope ..................................................... 3
      1.4. Compliance ................................................ 3
      1.5. Definitions of terms and conventions used ................. 3
      1.6. Changes from previous versions ............................ 3
   2. Detailed specification ......................................... 4
      2.1. Overall conventions ....................................... 4
      2.2. File format ............................................... 5
      2.3. Member format ............................................. 5
          2.3.1. Member header and trailer ........................... 6
              2.3.1.1. Extra field ................................... 8
              2.3.1.2. Compliance .................................... 9
      3. References .................................................. 9
      4. Security Considerations .................................... 10
      5. Acknowledgements ........................................... 10
      6. Author's Address ........................................... 10
      7. Appendix: Jean-Loup Gailly's gzip utility .................. 11
      8. Appendix: Sample CRC Code .................................. 11

1. Introduction

   1.1. Purpose

      The purpose of this specification is to define a lossless
      compressed data format that:

          * Is independent of CPU type, operating system, file system,
            and character set, and hence can be used for interchange;
          * Can compress or decompress a data stream (as opposed to a
            randomly accessible file) to produce another data stream,
            using only an a priori bounded amount of intermediate
            storage, and hence can be used in data communications or
            similar structures such as Unix filters;
          * Compresses data with efficiency comparable to the best
            currently available general-purpose compression methods,
            and in particular considerably better than the "compress"
            program;
          * Can be implemented readily in a manner not covered by
            patents, and hence can be practiced freely;
          * Is compatible with the file format produced by the current
            widely used gzip utility, in that conforming decompressors
            will be able to read data produced by the existing gzip
            compressor.

Deutsch                      Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 1952             GZIP File Format Specification             May 1996

      The data format defined by this specification does not attempt to:

          * Provide random access to compressed data;
          * Compress specialized data (e.g., raster graphics) as well as

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