Compression is compression is compression. Right? Wrong. There are some compression utilities that eek out every drop of space possible. On the Linux operating system the standard is gzip or bunzip2.
But if you're looking for one of the highest compression ratios to be found you might want to turn your sites to 7-Zip. 7-Zip is a free (even for commercial usage) compression/archiving utility that has its own compression algorithm (LZMA - Lemple-Ziv-Markov chain algorithm).
Although 7-Zip is available for both Windows and Linux, only the Windows port has a GUI front end.
This means, by default, using 7-Zip in Linux requires the use of commands. Normally this is fine, but the 7-Zip commands can be fairly confusing (even to the experienced user). Fortunately 7-Zip does integrate well with the GNOME and KDE desktops. And it has a front end available. This front end is Q7z and was not created nor is maintained by the makers of 7-Zip.
In this article I will show you how to install and use the Q7Z front end for 7-zip on Linux.
Update: The program is called J7Z now. It has been updated in 2012 for the last time. We suggest you give P7zip a try, a third-party port of 7Zip to Linux which gives you a frontend. Note that it has been updated in 2016 the last time at the time of writing this update.
Although you will find various packages on the Q7Z download page, you should avoid the pre-packaged binaries. Instead you will want to download the Autopackage File, which should work on just about any Linux distribution. Once you have downloaded that file you will need to open up a terminal and follow these steps;
The installer will begin and walk you through the process. The only interaction necessary is for you to enter your sudo password twice. The Autopackage installer will automatically download all of the dependencies for you and run the full install process. When the installer closes you can then run Q7Z with the command Q7Z.pyw.
When you fire up the Q7Z tool, the main window should be fairly obvious to figure out. But just in case, let's take a look at the process of compressing a folder.
Step 1: Click on the Locations tab.
Step 2: Click on the "Dir" button.
Step 3: Navigate to the folder you want to compress and click Open.
Step 4: If you want the compressed archive to be saved in a different location click the check box for "Destination" and then supply an alternate destination for your archive.
Step 5: Go back to the Specifications tab and specify the type of compression you want and any other options you might want to use. From this tab you can also create a self extracting archive (.exe file) as well as password protect your compressed files.
Step 6: Click the Create button.
Depending upon the size of the archive, the process could take some time.
You can also extract archives with this same tool. The process is very similar to the creation of archive, only you work in reverse and you are using the Extract tab. The extraction process can extract the same file types that are supported with the compression (zip, 7z, bunzip2, tar, gzip, XZ).
If you aren't happy with your compression tool, you might want to give Q7Z and 7-zip a go. It offers solid compression, password protection, varied compression levels. and much more - all in an easy to use GUI interface. And if you're not terribly happy with G7Z, 7-zip does integrate with Nautilus, so you can use that instead.Advertisement
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