Wouldn’t it be cool if every digital file created could be identified with aÂ signature or ‘magic number’ of some kind? This would make preservation, and theÂ concept of knowing what you’ve got in order to be able to preserve it, thatÂ much easier.
By design or otherwise, for some file formats this is actually the case. TheÂ title of today’s blog post provides two such magic numbers used to identify JavaÂ class objects and Java pack200 files. These aren’t the first examples to use magic numbers but 0xCAFEBABE is the one I find the most striking as an introduction to the concept. You can read more on the origins of 0xCAFEBABE at Wikipedia. Continue reading »