The Strange Roots

Zip 🤐

Zip, the file format in which multiple files can be compressed into a single archive file, was given it name because of its associations with speed.

The .zip file was invented by the late Phil Katz but it his friend Bob Mahoney, owner of online service provider ExecPC BBS online, who apparently suggested "ZIP" as a name. In an interview with computer historian Jason Scott of BBS, Mahoney said:

"I chose ZIP for Phil Katz when he asked me to come up with one, because it represented ‘fast’, like zipping around, and it was kind of sexy, like ‘zipper’, and I knew people would respond to it."

Katz would explicitly thank Mahoney for the name in the APPNOTE.TXT for the .zip specification, saying: "In addition to the above mentioned contributors to PKZIP and PKUNZIP, PKWARE would like to extend special thanks to Robert Mahoney for suggesting the extension .ZIP for this software."

Root: The word zip is an imitative or expressive formation, and was originally used to describe the sharp ripping sound produced by a bullet or another object passing rapidly through the air.

Sources: 'One. Million. Files' - Jason Scott's weblog