*** ARK (ARKive containers)
*** SRK (compressed ARKive archives, very rare)
*** Document revision: 1.3
*** Last updated: March 11, 2004
*** Contributors/sources: unknown

  Written  by  Edward  Rohr,  the  ARKive  program  went  through   several
revisions, with the last known being version 3.0.  It  was  intended  as  a
replacement for LNX as the author explained he had too many bad experiences
with LyNX destroying his data. Version 3 was also the only one  to  support
creation and extraction of the compressed SRK archives.

  The ARK format bears a strong resemblance to LNX files in  that  all  the
files are simply stored one after the other, and are block aligned to  take
up multiples of 254 bytes (256 on a real 1541). However, there is no  BASIC
program at the beginning telling you to "Use XXX to  dissolve  this  file",
and therefore there is no reconizeable signature to determine if  the  file
is actually an ARK. ARK's can contain up to 255 files, but this  number  is
restricted by the limitations of the drive  being  used  for  addition  and

  SRK is the compressed version of ARK. The layout of the directory is  the
same as below,  only  the  files  themselves  (except  for  REL)  might  be
compressed. As I only seen one file (which was damaged), and my attempts to
create one with ARKive 3.0 failed badly, I can't comment on the compression
used. The biggest difference is the files contained inside the SRK are  not
block-aligned since they are compressed, and therefore must be decompressed
to create the destination file, rather than just "unlinked".

  The structure of the directory is very simple, where all entries take  up
29 bytes (unlike LNX's variable size). Below is a sample of  an  ARK  file,
with a few of its directory entries...

      00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F        ASCII
      -----------------------------------------------   ----------------
0000: 1F 82 9F 42 4F 4F 54 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0   .??BOOT?????????
0010: A0 A0 A0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 82 F1   ????????????.???
0020: 53 55 50 45 52 20 4B 4F 4E 47 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0   SUPER?KONG??????
0030: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 79 00 82 FB 41 54 4F   ?????????y???ATO
0040: 4D 49 43 20 48 41 4E 44 42 41 4C 4C A0 00 00 00   MIC?HANDBALL????
0050: 00 00 00 00 00 00 0F 00 82 FE 58 45 52 4F 4E 53   ??????.???XERONS
0060: A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 00 00 00 00 00 00   ????????????????
0070: 00 00 00 2A 00 82 FF 57 45 54 20 50 41 49 4E 54   ???*???WET?PAINT
0080: A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 A0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00   ????????????????
0090: 12 00 82 5A 47 52 4F 55 4E 44 20 53 4E 49 50 45   .??ZGROUND?SNIPE

  Byte:   $00: Number of files in the ARKive ($1F = 31 files)
        01-1D: First directory entry (29 bytes per entry)
           01: File Attribute (same as a D64 attribute)
               Typical values for this location are:
                 $80 - DEL
                  81 - SEQ
                  82 - PRG
                  83 - USR
                  84 - REL
               Bit 0-2: The actual filetype
                         000 (0) - DEL
                         001 (1) - SEQ
                         010 (2) - PRG
                         011 (3) - USR
                         100 (4) - REL
                        Values 5-15 are illegal types.
                 Bit 3: Not used
                 Bit 4: Compressed flag (only for SRK).  If  set,  file  is
                        compressed. Not used in ARK files.
                 Bit 5: Not used
                 Bit 6: Locked flag (Set produces ">" locked files)
                 Bit 7: Closed flag  (not  set  produces  "*",  or  "splat"
           02: LSU byte (see "INTRO.TXT" document for description of "LSU")
        03-12: 16-byte filename (in PETASCII, padded with $A0)
           13: REL file RECORD size
        14-19: Unused (can contain the unused locations from the D64 entry)
           1A: REL file side sector block count (side sector info contained
               at end of file)
           1B: Number of bytes+1 used in the last side sector entry
        1C-1D: Length of file, in sectors (low/high byte order)
        1E-3A: Second directory entry
        3B-57: Third directory entry
        58-74: Fourth directory entry
        75-91: Fifth directory entry

  The starting  location  of  the  file  information  takes  only  a  small
calculation to find out. As we have 31 entries, the total byte size of  the
directory is 31 * 29 + 1 = 900 bytes (the 1 comes from the  first  byte  of
the file, which represents the # of entries). Now,  we  take  the  900  and
divide it by 254 to see the number of blocks, 900/254 = 3.543. If there  is
any remainder, we always round up to the nearest  integer,  which  in  this
case makes it 4 blocks. So now we know that the file information starts  at
4*254 = 1016 ($03F8 offset)

  REL files are stored like a normal  file  except  the  side  sectors  are
stored directly following the normal file data.  It  would  seem  that  the
actual contents of the side sectors are unimportant (except for the  RECORD
length), just that the correct number of blocks exist.

  Seeing as no emulator that I know of supports ARK format, I can't see any
usefulness in using it. It does have a better directory structure than  LNX
as each entry has a consistent byte size (versus LNX's variable size).

  There are also a few utilities for UnARK'ing on the  PC.  It  would  seem
that LNX is the better supported format (although I think it shouldn't be),
on both the C64 and  the  emulators.  64COPY  supports  these  files  on  a
read-only basis, allowing you  to  convert  them  to  another  format,  but
nothing else. Star Commander also contains a  utility  called  Star  Arkive
which will un-Arkive these files into a D64 image.


What it takes to support ARK:

  ARK shares many features with LNX. It has a directory size that is always
a multiple of 254 bytes, and the files contained are also block aligned  to
254 byte boundaries. The directory entries also have room  for  the  unused
part of the D64 entry, used for  time/date  stamps,  and  it  supports  REL
files. Unlike LNX, this format uses a consistent 29-byte  directory  entry,
which is a very great advantage.

  However, it has a few drawbacks as well.  It  contains  no  recognizeable
signature, and can only hold up to 255 files. The most  annoying  thing  is
there is no provision for having a multi-block directory, with only  a  few
entries (which by the way LNX allows for).  This  means  I  cannot  have  a
directory with only 2 entries, yet have the directory take up 2 blocks.

  For the 1541, this limitation makes no difference, but on a PC it makes a
world of difference. If I wanted to add files to an existing ARK file on  a
PC, I might have to increase the directory by several blocks, and on  a  PC
that takes some work.

  This also means that I cannot cancel a "copy"  operation  in  the  middle
because I may end with a directory with too many blocks for the  number  of
entries it contains.