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Kilometre (aka Kilometre Browser)

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Year released:
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de
kilometre_1.1.0.sit (119.62 KB)
MD5: 517c3cd9397f972f5a30f81f4a854ece
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de (305.59 KB)
MD5: 5d32dbe54acbd653a84517fd3f80bc3a
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de
kilometre.dmg (359.04 KB)
MD5: e8e340cccf6c4465caeb9bc854e0cf52
For Mac OS 9 - Mac OS X
This software is still available for purchase
Guides on emulating older applications

A file browser for Mac OS to perform many operations on the files it finds for you. But its niche feature is it can convert its displays between longer filenames and names that have been or will be shown compressed down to 31 characters, a behavior which classic OS performs and OS X wasn't meant to.

You can see in OS 9 what words your abbreviated filenames truly contain, before you operate on them with other software as you normally would. You can preview in OS X how a long filename will look when in OS 9, and you can quickly look over groups of names in OS X for the existence of any too-long ones that might appear mangled if viewed from OS 9.

Download #1 is 2011's v1.1.0, the final version compatible with classic Mac OS, and usable in OS X up until 10.3 Panther.

Download #2 is 2012's v1.2.1 for OS X 10.4.0 thru 10.4.10.

Download #3 is 2015's v1.3.2. It requires at least Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger.

Architecture: PPC

Different versions of Mac OS and Mac OS X not tested. Not sure if Carbon is required.


SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2020, January 10 - 7:41am

Ran tests. The compressed name gets the full path factored into the coded checksum. Putting the same long name and contents on separate devices or partitions or folders is causing each of them to have their own unique short names. Strange thing is the code size varies a lot. It can be 27chr#3chr and 26chr#4chr and 25chr#5chr. Most checksums are fixed size independent of their data size, so I wonder what's up.

In this screenshot #2 I show the Kilometre info window that reveals a long name and its compressed name rubbing shoulders. And this time it is 28chr#2chr.

SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2020, January 10 - 6:30am

My head's spinning, time to take a break. Here's another example: I use BBEdit Lite 6.1.2 carbon in both 9 & X. When saving a new document, in X, and you supply a long name, it physically writes the short name thereby destroying the words that had been typed. But if you opened an existing long name and you save directly without a dialog box, it keeps the long name. Lots of apps can behave good or bad in lots of ways.

"acts as an interpreter..." I meant acts thru the user's senses, not acts thru software as in a "driver'. Kilometre isn't a driver.

Jatoba's picture
by Jatoba - 2020, January 10 - 6:05am

Kilometre's primary "trick" is that it knows the specific algorithm in use for converting long to short and it acts as an interpreter in both directions across both OS9 & OSX.

I don't think so. If you name something the exact same way Mac OS would have shortened it, that will be its real name, and Kilometre will display it as such. I know this because I have had some files whose names Mac OS 9 & earlier "corrupted" by actually saving the shortened name that was generated as the real name.

The real, full-length name is, to my knowledge, actually saved in, and accessible from, HFS+ (the file system itself).

Edit: Wait, I take that back. It seems there's another issue at play. For some reason I don't know, Kilometre is actually displaying some file names in their shortened form, even though those exact same files, from the same shared folder (rather, AFP directory), are displaying correctly with their full names under Mac OS X. Odd. I will have to look more into this, especially into why Kilometre isn't showing them correctly.

Edit 2: Well, I could verify my original statements to be indeed correct. However, the issue that I came across that I mentioned in my previous edit, which is Kilometre not showing the full name of certain files that are guaranteed to have those full names, is still a mystery. Still no idea why Kilometre isn't doing the trick for those.

SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2020, January 10 - 5:32am

Ok, I'll assemble a v1.2.1 archive.
That discussion wasn't gospel. The phenomenon isn't unique to Abode how in the quote. It's handled by the OS and everything relying on the OS to do Open/Save dialog etc will have shortened (31 characters max) filenames in classic OS but longer names in OS X. Sometimes old versions of apps unnecessarily write the compressed filename to disk in OSX when you typed in a longer name.

Technically the "#blah" tag at the end of a compressed name is like a checksum upon the characters not shown. This way, two or more files having the same first 31 characters but different trailing characters all end up unique.

Kilometre's primary "trick" is that it knows the specific algorithm in use for converting long to short and it acts as an interpreter in both directions across both OS9 & OSX.

Jatoba's picture
by Jatoba - 2020, January 10 - 3:24am

Can you update this or should I?

Yes, please, go ahead. If there's anything that can be improved, added, and/or to be corrected, anyone is welcome to.

About the note, I do think it can be better-worded, but I was trying to address something said in this thread:

You may be able to have a filename with more than 32 characters, but the issue is that most software doesn't expect or understand it. Even under early versions of OS X there are issues.

Adobe apps, for example, will internally rename files to a shorter version with strange "#" numbers on the end. It works fine as long as you are only using "Save" and the file keeps the old name, but when you use "Save As" you're given the internal name instead (in some case if you change that back to the original longer name to overwrite the old file, the app will simply crash when trying to save - you have to use a shorter name, then rename it in the Finder back to the longer version).

I don't mind even erasing the note, to be honest, because there isn't any "real" issue in having big file names. But I thought of somehow making mention of what was said in that thread in some way.

SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2020, January 10 - 2:27am

You skipped an important version in between the two here now. v1.2.1 is needed for Tiger 10.4.8 and older early OSX. Can you update this or should I?

The "note:" in page description is off base. This program does nothing to interfere with how other programs nor the OS go about interacting with filenames long or short. This program only temporarily (for the time you use this app) displays full names.

SkyCapt's picture
by SkyCapt - 2020, January 10 - 2:17am

This applet also functions in reverse, in that in OSX you can see at a glance if any your filenames are already too long for classic OS to handle fully, and you can test-out what the condensed version of any too-long names would end up looking like.

Jatoba's picture
by Jatoba - 2020, January 10 - 1:51am

I think I heard somewhere that the ability to surpass the 31-character limit with this is exclusive to Mac OS 9, but that the file browser itself should run fine at least under 8.6. Not that I have confirmed that personally.