Request for Comment: Creating a binary format output for rtl_power

Greg Troxel gdt at
Thu Dec 26 20:11:05 UTC 2019

Bill Gaylord <chibill110 at> writes:

> Hello,
>     I am working on making a binary format for rtl_power to save space on
> my server for observing the spectrum. I am wondering if anyone else would
> be interested in this idea.
> I am hoping keep the same format in terms of how the data is organized in
> the file but instead of using text use some form of binary format. For
> example for the date and time I think using a unix epoch timestamp would
> work.
> I am hoping to receive any comments or criticism.

My suggestions are:

  Think about whether you want the binary format to be portable.  This
  means being more careful about types and also endianness.

  Post a draft file format for comments.

  With a binary format for an existing text format, it would be nice to
  have programs (pipes ideally) that convert text->binary and

For portability, I think the obvious answer is that the file format
should be independent of CPU type, compiler, and specifically
endiannesss.   Thus you are writing a  format that could be used over
the network (even if it's only intended to be stored).   This means you
have to choose fixed-width types, and you have to store in a particular
endianness.  I am 99% sure that the network protocol standard is big
endian, and I think you should follow that.  I think there is precedent
in things like sqlite.  For pgsql I think so, but there is a culture of
having to use pg_dump to change versions (and as a result pg_dump is
100% satisfactory; see my comment above about converters).  I don't know
about mysql.

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