NETPIC (Jim Tucker)
NETPIC is a DOS utility developed by Jim Tucker. Its main feature is to convert a GIF image file to a COM file that, when executed, displays the image.
The generated COM file can optionally use an ASCII-only encoding suitable for inclusion in an email. See Executable envelopes#Transfer-encoded executables for other executable formats of this sort.
Early versions (pre-v1.3) have a
-w option to encode an arbitrary COM file in an ASCII-only format. There is also a
-e option, to recover the original binary COM file. Later, this feature was moved to a separate NETRUN utility.
ASCII-encoded files are normally wrapped in some plain text instructions, telling you to use a text editor to save the payload data to a .COM file. Most versions have a
-z option to omit the wrapper, producing a file that can be executed directly (though you may have to rename it to end in ".COM").
Versions 2.00 through 3.02 support two different encodings: the default "4→5" encoding, and a "3→4" encoding that can be selected with the
Versions 2.00+ include an NPX2GIF utility that converts an executable image file back to a GIF file.
Note that some versions, notably 2.00 and 3.10, have not been located for evaluation. We'll assume the text wrapper has been deleted or suppressed, though robust identification would have to account for it.
Binary-encoded GIF→COM files for all versions apparently start with bytes
f6 06 2f 01 ff 74 ?? ba 15 01 b4 09 cd 21 b4 07.
Version 1.x ASCII-encoded GIF→COM (NPX) files, without the wrapper, start with "
NETPIC.COM" (which apparently is valid x86 machine code).
Version 3.02 ASCII-encoded GIF→COM (NPX) files, without the wrapper, start with "
ZRX-sm-sm-Z". The string "
NETPIC_COPYRIGHT_1995_BY_JIM_TUCKER" appears in the file, at offset 462 by default, or offset 396 for 3→4 encoding (
Version 3.20-4.20 ASCII-encoded GIF→COM (NPX) files, without the wrapper, start with "
XPPPYZIQD". This does not distinguish them from NETSEND and some NETRUN files. Files made by NETPIC apparently have "
NETPIC" at offset 47.
The ASCII-encoded arbitrary COM files from v1.0's
-w option, without the wrapper, start with "
COM-PRG.COM". This does not distinguish them from older NETRUN files. Files made by NETPIC have "
NETPIC" at offset 520.
- NETPIC v1.0d (Also uses version number "1.0e", via the NETPIC-S.COM file created with the
- NETPIC v1.4A (1995-04-07): DP TOOL CLUB CD ASCQ → CD_ASCQ_22_0695.iso → VRAC/NETPIC14.ZIP
- NETPIC v1.41 (1995-04-29): Joystick_Magazine_-_Hors-Serie_Numero_08_CD_-_Avril_1996 → cd3.iso → GRAPHISM/DOS/NETPIC14.ZIP
- NETPIC v3.02: Hot Shareware 1 → AREA103/NETPIC30.ZIP
- NETPIC v3.20 - Includes a partial change log in the NETPIC.TXT file.
- NETPIC v4.20