@Tursi, regarding ZIP and RPK.
In short, RPKs have not been adopted by MAME, and partly because there was a parallel development which led to this different kind of media handling. As a result, only the emulated TI systems in MESS support RPKs now (I moved all the support into the gromport.c file so that it is safe from being killed (un)intentionally some day). In the next MESS release, the TI systems will also offer these software lists, so I hope everybody of them is happy now. But I admit that there are some advantages of the zip handling compared to the RPKs, so it could make sense for you to consider the zip instead of the RPK. But as I said, the RPK support will continue to be there.
The zip files only contain the bin files, no XML description. This is moved into the MAME/MESS system, and it does have some advantages:
- Although we may not distribute the ROMs of the cartridges, we can at least define which ROMs are the correct ones by specifying the SHA1 hash. There are always bad dumps appearing here and there, which is a lesser problem for our systems, but I remember those broken TI-99/8 ROMs.
- The other developers agree that the RPKs is a good way to include cartridges that are homebrew and for which there are no authoritative versions.
- As the layout is fixed inside MAME/MESS there is less chance that there are errors when creating an RPK from bin files.
- People who have the bin files need not learn the XML format of RPK.
I'll put all that stuff on ninerpedia so it won't get lost.
Here's a link to this information on Ninerpedia. I was just looking for this info on the new RPK/XML format and couldn't find it easily. Hopefully this will help cut to the chase.