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Chapter 13. Common Unix Shell Commands: ... > File Compression and Archiving

File Compression and Archiving

As with the Macintosh world, a number of standards have arisen in the Unix world for compressing and archiving files. Unlike the Mac world, however, these programs don't tend to be do-all programs such as StuffIt that can archive, compress, password protect, and perform a wealth of other useful file archive functions. Following the Unix tradition, software that compresses files, mostly just compresses files. Software that collects lots of files together into a single-file archive, mostly just collects lots of files together into a single-file archive. These functions are used together to collect files into an archive (uncompressed), and then subsequently used to compress the files into a compressed archive. Likewise, the analogous procedure to “UnStuffiting” a file requires two steps in Unix because decompression of the archive and unpacking of its contents are two separate steps.

Tip

For those looking for a more seamless solution than the Unix way, take heart. The newer versions of GNU's tar program also include compression/decompression facilities. (GNU stands for GNU's Not Unix, and is the operating moniker for software developed or supported by the Free Software Foundation—the pioneers of the Open Source movement.) It's not too awfully Unix-like a way to do things, but if you insist on using the convenience, we won't hold it against you.



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