special(спеціальне)

A Couple of Words about File Archiving Programs
(for example:ZIP, ARJ, ARC, LZH, ACE, HA, 7-Zip..)

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Українська версія цієї статті

We shall start with the list of file archiving programs. Here you can see the most complete list in the UA-net for today.

RAR, WinRAR(v.3.80)$-29 RAR, ZIP+,(2+12) Windows, DOS, LINUX-s, OS/2.MacOS X, Pocket PC, integration (2006) www.rarlab.com
  UnRAR Free
ZIP, WinZIP (v.12.x)$-55-35 ZIP+ Windows, integration (2006) www.winzip.com
7-zip (v.4.6x)Free 7z(5+18), Windows, interface 74 languages, integration, small(~850kB) (2008); v.4.4-Free 7z(5+10), 20 languages (2006) www.7-zip.org
UltimateZip (v.2.7.1)Free 9+15 formats, integration (2003)
FilZip (v.3.0)Free 6+14 formats, small, a built in mail client (2004)
QuickZip 2.22 Free 10+23 formats, small(2003)
PowerZip (v.6.5)$-20, 3+7 formats (2004)
EasyZip 2000 (v.3.5)Free ZIP, integration (2002)
ZipWave (v.1.3)$-18, 15 formats (2003)
ZipMagic (v.4.0)$-40, ZIP 1+16 formats, a built in plug-in for mail clients(2002)
CyD Archiver XP (v.1.1)$- ZIP Windows small (2004)
Stuffit Standart (v.8.5)$-25 5+13 formats, Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris(2006)
PowerArchiver 2006 (v.9.63)$-20 , 7+21 formats (2006)
ZipOffice 10 Classic (v.3.0) $-39, 8 formats
ZipGenius SR3 Suite (v.1.4)Free 15 formats, has FTP and mail clients built in(2002)
ARJ 2.81a (останній), WinARJ32 v.8.0.0.83 (2000), WinARJ 98(v.4.1.0.8)$-49+Free(personal) DOS(console), Windows (2003)
JAR 1.02 n is characterized by a compression of high level, crossplatforming (is being worked out) from ARJ-creators(2003)
ZipZag (v.1.8)$-20 130 formats (2009)(3700kB) www.zipzag.com
BioArc (v.1.3) Free-?, good compression, own multimedia MPEG files compression algorithm (2002)
UHA, WinUHA (v.2.0 RC1)Free (2006)
BitZipper (v.3.4.1)$-20, 8+17, 7 SFX formats (2004)
ACE, WinACE (v.2.65)$-29+Free-with an advertisement module, 6+10 formats (2006)
SBC Archiver 0.969 DOS, SBC Archiver 0.969 Win32 n console, “strong” algorithm encryption (2002)
IZArc (v.3.8.1550)Free Windows, multi 48 formats, integration (2008) www.izarc.org
pkZIP, pkUnZIP n
ZOO n

UPX 1.24, UPX 1.24 DOS n тільки для .EXE, .COM, .DLL (2003)

So, let's find out what an archiver is.
An archiver is a program which reduces data volume through mathematical calculations without or with the minimal data loss. On the other hand, archiver extracts files which have been compressed before. It should be pointed out that after compression data acquire some specific meaning available only to the archiver, especially if the compression mode is unique. Other programs are not able to use these data due to some technical reasons (see below)).
Mathematically the process of compression is possible in two variants: 1 - without initial data loss, 2 - with initial data loss (noise of the algorithm!). Not to get deep into mathematical explanations, we can compare compression process with the book being photographed at a microfilm. As a result, we insert a 200 pages book (A4 format) into a match box (a technical nuance - it is impossible to photograph and read such books without special equipment). One more example is an e-book on CD, DVD etc. One CD can easily contain a library of 20 000 books. Again, one can not record and read such info without specialized equipment. Now we'll have some statistical data:

Archive formats list: 26-01-2009
ZIP, RAR, 7z(7-ZIP), UHA, ACE, JAR, ARJ, ICE
LZH(LZH,Deflate LZ77-LZMA, LZB, LZC, LZO, LZG, LZJ, LZMW, LZW, LZR, LZSS, LZT, LZX), LHA(HA), RPM, GZIP(gzip, gz, gza, tgz), TAR, TGZ(TAR.GZ), TBZ(TAR.BZ2), GCA, BZ(BZIP), BZIP2-BZ2(bzip2, bz2, tbz2, tbz), PPMD-PPMdH, BZA, TZ, Z(z, taz), A, ARC, BIO, ZOO, 3ds, WAR, YZ1, ENC, LIB, PDI, SPLIT(001 002...), PAK, PK3, CAB, COMPOUND(msi, doc, xls, ppt), MSI,
ISO,C2D,NRG,IMG,CDI,BIN,PDI,MBF, MDF,
CBZ,CBR,JAM,WAD,SQX, HQX, SIT, SITX, UU, UUE, SPLIT, DEB, ISI, XXE, XEF, B64, BHX, BH(BinHex), PF, BCJ, BCJ2
CHM(chm, chw, hxs), CPIO, MIM, MIME, IMP, RB
WIM(wim, swm), SIS,NSIS(exe)

Pay attention that some of them may have similar names or abbreviation. This doesn’t mean that they are the same.

If we take a better look at the archive formats listed above, we can see that there are:

  • unique archivers with their own specific formats and methods, e.g. WinRAR, WinZIP, ARJ, WinACE, WinUHA, 7-ZIP, BioArc etc.;,
  • their derivatives and clones ( pkZIP, FilZIP, ZipWave etc.);
  • the so-called “racers”, those which pick up as many codes for different formats support as possible not to lag behind — ZipZag$- (130 — absolute record-holder), IZArc Free (~48), Quick Zip (~35), PowerArchiver (~30)( besides, there is some sense dictated by present file archiving programs market!).
    So, a simple question arises (I used to ask it myself): WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE?
    In practice it is possible to evaluate a file archiving program with regard to one or two parameters (rate of compression, degree of compression), and add it to the rate. But the objectiveness of this rate will be REALLY FAR FROM REALITY!
    So, the following parameters are considered:
  • the program cost;
  • the rate of compression of different file types and volumes;
  • the degree of compression;
  • the resource system requirements;
  • the program version, version compatibility (the ability of older program versions to extract files compressed by newer program versions of the same program);
  • cyrillic alphabet, longer names support, preserving the native spelling (co-occurrence of small and capital letters in one and the same word );
  • ability to be integrated into other programs;
  • cross-support (work with one and the same archive in different operational systems);
  • program volume;
  • interface, localizations;
  • additional facilities (“archiver noise” degree, restoration of the partially lost/spoilt data, data protection (password, encryption, code key dimensions), maximum file size, etc.).
  • Whatever is said about file archiving programs, in most cases everyone remembers two major leaders for WINDOWS systems: WinZIP(ZIP, BZ, LZH, GZ, TAR,..) and WinRAR(RAR, LZH, GZ, TAR,..). Besides, there exists a certain competition among derivatives of one and the same archiver. So, for example, some affiliated programs of ZIP-family show better results in compression than WinZIP itself!

    For the Fall, 2006:

  • WinZIP v.10 (12.2008 - v.12)
  • WinRAR v.3.60 (12.2008 - v.3.8)

  • Programs are paid. Free use period comprises 30 days. Not to insult the programmers and programs creators, it must be said that it would take 10-15 min. to prolong the lifetime of the program (sure not the latest version).

    WinZIP

    COMPLETE SUPPORT AND COMPATIBILITY WITH ZIP-format, 2 algoritms.
    The program volume with the folder comprises more than 8 Mb, including libraries which are cast to the system catalogues. ZIP could be integrated into any program environment (VC, VB, Delphi (Paskal), C, Assambler, Lisp, Perl, PHP, etc.). One can find ready program code fragments for the most popular languages at the WinZIP home-page.
    Most programs of windows-platform for e-texts reading recognize ZIP and its derivatives (BZ, etc.) without problems even if it is not installed on the given PC. Intraversion archive support of the last WinZIP versions suffers some difficulties lately; before WinZIP 8.1 all versions of the program worked in coordination with no regard to the version number. WinZIP 9.0 and older ones have some big difficulties with reading and compression of the data compressed by WinZIP 10.хх, 11.хх, 12.xx. As for the Ukrainian localization — I haven’t come across of such jet. Interface is rather friendly and easily comprehensible. WinZIP popularity, effectiveness and rate is beyond doubt. Crossplatform improvement might promote further spreading of this archiver. Due to the market situation, WinZIP supports the fallowing archiving formats (15-B64, BHX, CAB, HQX, MIM, LZH, GZ, TAR, TAZ, TGZ, TZ, Z, UU, UUE, XXE).

    WinRAR

    COMPLETE SUPPORT AND COMPATIBILITY WITH ZIP, RAR-formats.
    The program volume with the folder comprises 3 Mb, including libraries in a system catalogue (fewer if compared to WinZIP support).
    It has versions for operational systems: Windows, DOS, LINUX, FreeBSD, OS/2, MacOS X, and Pocket PC— free of charge. This program is supported by codes and libraries for integration with other programs and programming languages, though only for extraction. Anyway it is far not as easy and versatile as WinZIP. Compression rate could be better, though most competitors are much slower. But if compared to WinZIP, compression is twice slower. Speaking about compression degree, it’s at least 10% more effective than that of WinZIP. This distinction in some cases reaches even 50%. A considerable advantage of WinRAR is that compression is done either in RAR or in ZIP formats, what can not be said about WinZIP. Version support is single directed; archives can be read by any resent RAR-version. Data compressed into RAR format carry information about the owner of the archiver; some instructions of archive protection and restoration after damage; copying NTFS-systems files access rules. Within 3 months after the next version relies appears Ukrainian localization. Interface is rather friendly and easily comprehensible. Besides, WinRAR supports the fallowing archiving formats (CAB, 7z, LZH, GZ, BZ2, Z, TAR, ARJ, JAR, ISO, UUE, XXE).

    Another negative moment should be pointed out, e.g. in spite of integration capability, a great number of tiny problems occures during the WinRAR contact with command shells (Total Commander, Windows commander, Far, Navigator,..), moreover in every successive version. As far as it is known to the authors, these problems include: file copy disability from one archive to another (especially from ZIP to RAR); work in the file archive subderictories; file transition within the archive from one location to another. While WinZIP is devoid of such problems.

    Looking through archives tests in literature for the last five years, deferring to personal experience, it turns out that there are two constant Windows-platform figurants — WinZIP and WinRAR. Other “race members” lack consistency and stability on the archivers’ market. For example, ARJ product for DOS-platform tried to win the market offering free license for personal use, good compression rate, free codes, compressionless encoding, partitioning, etc. Though there was hardly any other free archiver with so user-friendly opportunities, but its console variant was growing outdated. RAR-creators worked out command framework a la "Norton commander". Approximately at that very moment appeared ACE which showed better compression than ARJ. But unfortunately the process took a great while and had numerous technical imperfections as well as new WinRAR framework. In the epoch of transition to the new WINDOWS-platform it was WinZIP who realized the benefits of it and worked out a number of versions for this platform. ARJ, ACE returned in a new environment. 7-ZIP appeared (is already loosing its stand), Power Archiver (is still in the top 10, but its leading position after the incredible breakthrough is in question).
    It is surely not the end of the story of the legendary archivers.


    Thus, it is quite difficult to decide which one is the best.

    If you have to save some space and you are not pressed for time, and archives are not to be changed in the nearest future, then WinRAR is exactly for you. If you often compress much info, use your archives in other programs, update program support — WinZIP is the perfect choice for you.

    As for me, I use WinZIP compressing all small files (50Kb.), file updating transference, since it’s quickly and easy to extract later. Excellent system and command frameworks integration makes these procedures quick and simple. As for the bigger files I’m sure to use WinRAR, though it takes more time.

    It is up to you to make the choice! There is always an alternative since the number of file archiving programs is great: WinACE, WinUHA, 7-Zip, LZH, HA, ARC, ARJ, JAR, etc. Some programs show considerable promise for future (e.g. JAR, etc.).
    As far as multimedia files are concerned, they can be compressed with the help of codecs or compressors, accommodated to work with a certain data type. We’ll talk about this next time.

    Good Luck ;) ! LanceloT (R) & TasiK ;) !
    located at BIBLOS.org.ua (C) (29.10.2006,2007,2008)
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