From bytes to bits

Hear Me RAR

Article from Issue 278/2024

The non-free RAR compression tool offers some benefits you won't find with zip and tar.

Archiving files is like preserving your digital legacy in a time capsule. It gives you a safety net against unexpected computer crashes or data loss, ensuring you can always recover important files. That's why file compression tools are essential in the realm of Unix-based operating systems such as Linux.

As a Linux user, you're probably familiar with file compression formats such as zip and tar. However, you might also come across RAR files from time to time. Unlike zip and tar, RAR is commercial software [1]. You can use RAR for free for up to 40 days; then you'll need to buy a license, which currently costs around $29. You might be wondering why a Linux user would pay money for a non-free compression tool when zip and tar are available for free. The answer is that RAR offers some benefits when compared to the alternatives, including:

  • Higher compression ratio: RAR often provides better compression ratios, resulting in smaller file sizes.
  • Password protection: RAR allows for strong password protection, ensuring your sensitive data remains secure.
  • File splitting: RAR's ability to split archives into smaller parts is handy for sharing or storing large files.


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