Infima - The best executed compression fraud
On April 4th, Nir Halowani, CTO of Infima Technologies announced an Archiver called “Infima - Ultimate Compression” which claimed to achieve best lossless compression on *all* types of data. MP3: 56%, BMP: 96%, JPG: 32%, DOC: 96%, AVI: 65%, PDF: 50%
It created a lot of noise (threads at comp.compression, MaximumCompression Guestbook, HydrogenAudio Forums etc…) and it managed more than 7000 downloads within a few days. There were reports of minor bugs but everyone was amazed by their ‘achievements’. The CTO Nir Halowani was very responsive in the forums and it would have started giving sleepless nights to authors of other archivers.
But thatz just about as far as this fraud was going to go. And admitedly, this is the farthest any data compression fraud has been able to go. There have been many frauds which have captured interests and bagged huge investments from stupid investors, but none of them had come close to convincing anyone knowledgeable in this domain. Infima did managed to get attention and get kudos from everyone, but only for a few days.
The end of their party came on 7th April when Dwing and Johan De Bock figured out that Infima was nothing more than all the major command-line compression tools combined together under a buggy GUI, a massive copyright/gpl violation.
Infima was just command-line versions of a large number of great compression algorithms bundled together (packed and encrypted). Monkey’s Audio Console Front End (v 4.01), Lossless Audio Compressor 0.4b, SBC Archiver 0.970, BMF 1.1, J.Class Optimizer for Windows. Version 1.00, ImageMagick 6.2.4 09/10/05 Q16, UPX 1.93 beta, gzip 1.2.4 Win32 (02 Dec 97), library and tools for JPEG images, DURILCA v.0.4b, Monstrous PPMII compressor based on PPMd var.J, DURILCA v.0.4b, Fast PPMII compressor for textual data, variant J, Feb 16 2006, 7-Zip 4.31, LAME version 4.0 (alpha 14, Sep 25 2005 10:04:14), PAQ 8g, photo PGM(P5) < => BMF file convertor, v.2.0, flasm 1.52 build Sep 30 2004, Word Replacing Transformation, rebuild of WRT, pdftk 1.12, rebuild of Optipng, fCoder Batch Converters, FFmpeg version CVS
All their claims of ‘patent pending’ ‘innovative’ technology are obviously baseless. For compression of already compressed files (mp3, jpeg etc…) they tried a neat (and dangerous) trick of modifying the original files before adding them to archive (so that their lossy techniques wont get caught during bit-wise comparisons of decompressed files with original files).
The download count at their website is still climbing as more poeple are checking out this nicely executed fraud. But as expected, we haven’t heard from Nir Halowani since then.