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osOpinion: Filetyping and the Art of Content Management

Feb 06, 2001, 22:44 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Luke A. Kanies)

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"At its most basic, filetyping is how an OS associates a file with the appropriate application, which allows the user to easily work with the file and which gives other applications information about the file. Without this basic functionality, the user has to personally associate all files with their appropriate applications. On a more sophisticated level, however, filetypes essentially dictate how the user interacts with data."

"Filetyping on Linux and Windows allows only the filetype to be stored with the file, and all other information, including preferred application, must be stored as an OS preference, whereas MacOS and BeOS provide extra room with the file for storing whatever information is desired."

"BeOS, has added two important pieces that no other OS appears to use. First, BeOS uses the MIME typing system. This defines super- and subtypes of files, as well as provides a mechanism for industry-wide definitions. ... Further, BeOS uses its attribute capabilities to actually store information about the contents of the file -- for instance storing the title, artist, and album of an MP3."

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