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Why doesn’t MAME support xxxx compression in addition to ZIP?

This is a pretty common question, and one that always baffles me. ZIP is extremely well-supported through a free, cross-platform library, and has been a standard for at least a decade. Yes, there are many new up-and-coming compression algorithms that squeeze an extra few percent out of things, but they are generally (a) strictly coded for a particular platform, like 7zip (though I understand this is changing), or (b) proprietary, like RAR.

Furthermore, what most people really fail to realize is that there is absolutely no incentive for the MAME developers to add support for another compression format. For one thing, it only makes the MAME core more complicated, dependent on more external libraries, and prone to bugs.

But even beyond that, what is the real benefit of getting that extra few percentage points of compression? While I realize there are plenty of people out there who feel that life is not worthwhile unless they have an absolutely perfect, audited collection of ROMs on their machines, I honestly don't see why MAME should bend over backwards to ensure that they can accomplish this in a few less MB. I mean, if you're really so cheap that you have to pirate all your software, you can at least cough up a few extra dollars to buy a bigger hard disk.

In short, ZIP is good enough, and has a ton of benefits to it. Adding support for anything else merely says, "Hey, we're in it for the ROMz." And quite frankly, I don't think that benefits MAME in any way.