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LinuxPapers.org: Compressing Files in GNU/Linux

Apr 29, 2000, 14:59 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Oreste Dimaggio)


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"This article will show how to compress, decompress and archive files in GNU/Linux using different programs."

"Gzip... is a very common compression program that is developed by the members of the GNU project. The main function of gzip is to read a file and compress it. The new compressed file is given the extension .gz and if the compression is successful, the original file is deleted."

"...gzip has a serious limitation: it cannot archive files. ... Here the tar command... comes to the rescue. Tar has been around since the beginning of Unix, when files needed to be backed up on tapes. In fact, the name tar comes from Tape Archiver, even though it can do a lot more than archive files onto a tape."

"Zip and Unzip (Figure 3) will be familiar to DOS users: they are the most commonly used compression programs for DOS and Windows. Unix has its own zip program that is compatible with the DOS one. This means that an archive created on DOS can be decompressed on GNU/Linux, and vice versa. Unlike gzip, zip compresses and archives. With one command, you can save and compress many files and directories in a single file."

"Bzip2 (Figure 4) is a fairly new program that compresses files at a much quicker rate than other similar programs."

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