See also: Compression
A File Format for compression, claiming to be the successor to ZIP, RAR is a tool that provides the best possible compression, from 3-40% better than ZIP files. Creating RAR files takes longer than ZIP files and, sometimes, files are distributed on the Internet that are in RAR format and then ZIP'd for even more saved space, although this improvement is marginal. Its only real competitor at the time of this writing is 7ZIP.
When to use RAR and when to use ZIP: (regarding Windows)
- When you're sending your boss a file. Most people don't have RAR and do not understand it. ZIP is the easiest, especially now that Windows XP supports it by default.
- You have a friend who understands compression or who is not afraid to download new software.
- When you have 10 megabytes of old e-mail or log files.
- You are backing up a variety of files to compact disk or tape drive.
- When sending any very large archive over a slow connection (any case that involves smaller size saving lots of time).
*nix and RAR
Use "unrar" for *.RAR files, generally included in most Linux Distributions. There is a binary only rar available for some architecture but no free or even simply with source available to this day.