javaunix

Reading Unix executable file


I have "Unix Executable file" with no file extension. In Mac, I am able to see the content in preview mode but not sure about any other way to see the content.

Looking for a way to read the content and store in some other file location as JPG file or PNG file format.

Not sure how to read this thru Java.

In Mac terminal, I tried "file filename" and got the following output.

PNG image data, 110 x 103, 8-bit/color RGB, non-interlaced


Solution

    1. Whatever is reporting 'unix executable file' is oversimplifying things. It's simply 'a file' (unix has sod all to do with it), and the file system has the concept of an 'executable' flag, which you can set or clear on any file and is utterly unrelated to whether the file's contents are executable. You can set any file executable, or not, and especially considering that e.g. macs and linux can mount DOS file systems (Which most USB sticks use because every OS can deal with these file systems), which do not have this flag, and 'for convenience' that means the OS acts as if ALL files have that flag and you can't remove it. In other words, it's a lie, forget about that part.

    2. file is just guessing. This is no blame on file and the authors of that tool are by no means lazy. It's mathematically impossible - the disk system doesn't know what kind of data a file contains, it just knows: This file has these bytes, and it ends there. file just looks at the contents and takes a wild stab in the dark. Its wild stabs are decent, but no guarantee. I can make you a file that is BOTH a legal zip file (will unzip and everything just fine), AND is a PNG image equally well (renders in browsers, preview, etc). What could file possibly tell you here? Literally completely random garbage is ALSO a valid ISO-8859-1 formatted text file. The only way to know that this is clearly not the intended purpose of the file is to use Artificial Intelligence algorithms to realize that the contents in no way form legible words in any language on the planet. That's a very hard problem and file doesn't try to solve it.

    3. Thus, there's no real way to know if it is a PNG file, if all you have is a file on disk. The file extension is a good hint, but if it's missing, you're just guessing. You can toss it through a PNG reader, and if it doesn't crash, it probably is, but it could just be a picture with random static because it isn't really a PNG file.

    4. If you want to convert PNG files, ImageIO can do that.

    5. Generally, the process that got you that file usually DOES know the format. For example, if you download it over the web, the web server didn't JUST send those bytes over. It also sent this header: Content-Type: image/png. THAT (and not the file extension) is what is the webserver's canonical truth. If the process that saves this file to disk elected to take that information and toss it in the garbage, well, now you're stuck guessing. If possible, go back to that part of the process and fix it so this info is no longer tossed in the bin. For example, if you have a shell script that uses wget to download a resource and then later on you have no idea if it's a PNG, or a JPG, or the output of a 'file not found' explanatory page in HTML, then fix wget to save that header and react accordingly.