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Linux Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition by Daniel J. Barrett

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File Compression and Packaging

tar

Package multiple files into a single file.

gzip

Compress files with GNU Zip.

gunzip

Uncompress GNU Zip files.

bzip2

Compress files in BZip format.

bunzip2

Uncompress BZip files.

bzcat

Compress/uncompress BZip files via standard input/output.

compress

Compress files with traditional Unix compression.

uncompress

Uncompress files with traditional Unix compression.

zcat

Compress/uncompress file via standard input/output (gzip or compress).

zip

Compress files in Windows Zip format.

unzip

Uncompress Windows Zip files.

metamail

Extract MIME data to files.

Linux can compress files into a variety of formats and uncompress them. The most popular formats are GNU Zip (gzip), whose compressed files are named with the .gz suffix, and BZip, which uses the .bz2 suffix. Other common formats include Zip files from Windows systems (.zip suffix) and occasionally, classic Unix compression (.Z suffix).

A related technology involves converting binary files into textual formats, so they can (say) be transmitted within an email message. Nowadays this is done automatically with attachments and MIME tools, but we’ll cover the metamail program, which can do this from the command line.

If you come across a format we don’t cover, such as Macintosh sit files, Arc, Zoo, rar, and others, learn more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_archive_formats.

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