2007.07.03 18:37 "[Tiff] BigTIFF extension?", by Phil Harvey

2007.07.09 16:35 "Re: [Tiff] BigTIFF extension", by Toby Thain

On 9-Jul-07, at 1:25 PM, Gary McGath wrote:

Probably most of the arguments for and against using a different extension have now been stated and re-stated.*

So maybe it would be enlightening to inject a possible compromise position into the discussion. I don't love it, but I don't totally hate it, either.

Most of use can use filenames longer than 8.3 these days. So how about agreeing on a convention to use a 2-part file extension for BigTIFF files: ".x.tif" or some such thing. That way users (and tech support people, and developers) have some immediate clue that this is a BigTIFF file -- which could save significant tech support costs and headaches over the next N years of transition.

There's no precedent for this in file format extensions, and I think it's overloading the concept to start devising compound extensions. Most existing software would simply look at the ".tif" ending and ignore anything else.

* (My own first preference is still to consider these to be 2nd Generation TIFF files -- TIFF for a new millenium, if you will -- and use a new extension such as ".tf2".)

I would also prefer a different extension, whatever it might be. But extensions don't provide a lot of granularity, and can't really be considered reliable type identifiers. I'd settle for having a separate MIME type for BigTIFF. There's already one for TIFF-FX (image/tiff-fx), and BigTIFF arguably deserves it even more.

A new MIME-type without a new extension is not very useful?


Gary McGath
Digital Library Software Engineer
Harvard University Library Office for Information Systems

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