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LinuxWorld: Linux file compression tool guide - A review of free and useful tools

Nov 03, 2000, 01:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jacek Artymiak)

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"The compression and decompression of files is one the most useful inventions in the history of computing, but the lack of portable and open tools poses a major obstacle to making the process as useful as it could be. As long as we exchange files with other users of Unix-like operating systems, we can use portable tools like compress, gzip, and bzip2. But the rest of the world uses a lot of proprietary software -- and even proprietary compression algorithms -- that the owners may never release to the public."

"Such a state of affairs could prove dangerous. Imagine a future in which we can't decipher a substantial portion of our archives because we created them using proprietary tools and algorithms, and the operating systems and hardware those tools ran on became obsolete and disappeared. That is why we should use open source compression tools, or at least commercial compression tools that use free and well-documented algorithms. (Just remember to turn any special enhancements off.)"

"This article is a guide to working with .arc, .arj, .lzh (.lha), .rar, .sit, .zip, and .zoo files on the Linux operating system. I chose to discuss those particular formats because users of the three most popular operating systems (MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS) use them most often. I wrote this guide to quickly point out the right tools, rather than to act as a detailed and technical discussion of file compression techniques."

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