#2: Extracting text from strange files that used to be text

#2 question - How do I extract text from strange-looking files?

By strange I mean that the icon looks like Terminal or Console (see shot below) and the Kind is “Unix Executable.” No app that I have can figure out how to display anything other than garbage when opening this kind of file. I have a few dozen of them that I’d like to retrieve.

A second part of this question is that there are a number of files that are similar in that nothing will open them but they are simply identified by blank icons with a file type of “Document.” I can’t even get garbage to show up when I do get them opened.

Can someone suggest an app that will open either of these two types of files such that what’s displayed is intelligible enough to do a copy and paste into another text window?

Thanks to all!

Try TextWrangler.

CatOne: Thanks for the suggestion, however for both types of files I still get garbage like this:

Twicks, thanks for your message. Perhaps one of our experts here could correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that you’re looking at the translated machine language inside application files (executables) that have already been compiled. Unless one decompiles or otherwise reverse-engineers these files somehow, it’s not going to be possible to look at the code.

I think this is why open-source developers who are OK about modifications to their work have to provide separate files containing the source code in addition to their compiled applications. The source files should display the code when opened by a text editor.

I’m not aware of any way that a non-expert can decompile the kinds of files you’re referencing, and even if that were possible, it would break the license agreement if the file is a component of a commercial product.