"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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