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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:49 am 
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When Phil Katz designed the Zip file format for PKZIP, he published the Zip specification as "APPNOTE". This led to interoperable implementations by third parties, such as Info-ZIP, WinZip, and 7-Zip. But because the RAR file format is deliberately not publicly specified, there is only one implementation. With this sort of monoculture, implementation errors like this one are more likely to lead to widespread exploits.

So why do people even use RAR anymore instead of something more modern, like 7-Zip? RAR's technical advantage over Zip is solid archiving, and its advantage over Zip and Tar is a larger window size to make solid archiving actually meaningful. But 7-Zip has both of these features plus public source code under a free software license.

Is it just inertia in the warez and SPC scenes?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:49 am 
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I think the answer is simply this: habit. But since zip is built into windows (since when? Vista?), i would've thunk noone is really using it anymore since zip is more accessible, right out of the box. Most .rars i encounter are on really old sites.

And using tar is about as simple from console, and linux users are generally more active in their software choices.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:53 am 
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Yes I think so to. It's just that people haven't switched yet. When I noticed all the earlier problems with 7-Zip was gone I switched to it so I don't have to deal with Winrar. It's just a matter of time before more people realize it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:15 pm 
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I still use WinRAR as my usual de/compressor program (I registered it many years ago, and it works nicely enough), but will use ZIP format by default for compression since it seems to have the widest support. (...and .tar.gz if it's a linux thing, I guess.) I'd just use 7-Zip in cases I didn't already have WinRAR installed.

The place I would see RAR most often was for large archives that needed to be split into multiple files. With RAR that was a built-in part of the format, at least. Though, it was common for people to split ZIP files with a separate program (e.g. HJSplit) for a while-- but I think that era is more than 10 years gone.

I couldn't say why anyone would end up choosing RAR by default (I certainly would not), but I will say that most people don't notice/understand/care that it's a "proprietary" format, especially since there's like a zillion free utilities that can unpack it. So... the main reason you think it's obsolete is actually irrelevant to most.

TBH I almost never see .RAR files, though. Where are you even noticing this, tepples?


(Also funny to me: a set of NES ROMs torrent I recently found had individual ROMs compressed as 7z, completely trashing any solid archive advantage it maybe could have used with all these variant dumps.)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:52 pm 
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Main reason I don't use 7zip over RAR is that RAR has much superior file handling and generally way better UI. Size difference between the two is very small and RAR generally provides better performance on my hardware. I still have 7zip installed for the few archives that RAR cannot handle for whatever reason.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:13 pm 
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I've been using 7-zip for ages, using the .7z format for myself or people I think will know how to handle it and .zip for everyone else.

I rarely see RAR being used these days... Only for stuff that was archived years ago or from people who are just clueless about file formats in general and still use WinRAR out of habit.

rainwarrior wrote:
(Also funny to me: a set of NES ROMs torrent I recently found had individual ROMs compressed as 7z, completely trashing any solid archive advantage it maybe could have used with all these variant dumps.)

While I do appreciate the advantages of using solid archives for ROMs, there's the problem of how to name the archives when the variants have different names. There were times when I was looking for games in ROM collections but couldn't find what I wanted because they used names of versions I wasn't familiar with.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:35 pm 
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Oooh... I'm using ZIP now thanks to tepples' advice. ^_^;; Really.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:15 pm 
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rainwarrior wrote:
TBH I almost never see .RAR files, though. Where are you even noticing this, tepples?

snesmusic.org, per my mention of the SPC ripping scene. What rhymes with poop?

Also here on forums.nesdev.com. I'm sort of disappointed that phpBB has no obvious way to search for attachments, but I dug up these:

RAR
RAR
RAR
RAR
RAR
RAR
RAR
RAR
RAR

And here's the Fedora Project's anti-RAR propaganda, though a free decompressor for RAR version 3 appears to exist.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:01 pm 
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tepples wrote:
though a free decompressor for RAR version 3 appears to exist.

That actually seems to be the same implementation as reported by the FSF back in 2011, and AFAIK I haven't heard about any patent restriction. Also in the current version of the mentioned "File Roller", as I'm using it on arch linux, libarchive also handles RAR files. So problem solved?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:40 pm 
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For a long time, 7-zip file manager was drastically worse than WinRAR. For example, you couldn't extract to a directory that did not yet exist, it wouldn't create it. This issue was since fixed a long time ago.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:24 pm 
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tepples wrote:
snesmusic.org

What do the administrators of that site have to say about RAR?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:35 pm 
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SNESAmp's support for RAR archives predates the existence of snesmusic.org.

I believe the reason RAR was chosen is because ZIP archives do not support solid compression, and collections of SPC dumps tend to contain a lot of redundant data.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:45 pm 
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And there hasn't really been a push to replace the RSN container (solid RAR of SPC files) with 7SN (solid 7z of SPC files).

So are most RAR files on the Internet still RARv3, or are many of them newer versions not compatible with The Unarchiver?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:42 pm 
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7-Zip is still seem to be compression better than RAR anyways (I have once decompressed a RAR (actually a .cbr) and recompressed it as 7-Zip (.cb7) and it resulted a smaller file; but this is just one test so not very meaningful).

I have never used the 7-Zip GUI but only the command-line tools, and it seem to work OK. (You can open some other formats too, including ISO, ARJ, CAB, Apple disk images, DocFile, etc. (but not Hamster archive). I have sometimes found files in less common formats and I was able to open them with 7-Zip, so it is useful.)

7-Zip supports solid compression and will even group files by extension by default in order to improve compression. However, even with stuff such as .tar.xz you can support solid compression, although you should then to put file in the order you need by yourself.

I don't know what RAR versions are in use, although it may be of the point to add a message for attackment in this forum to specify that you shouldn't upload RAR files that don't have a Free implementation (not as a strict rule, but just as a recommendation).

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:55 am 
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Zips are kind of akward now. They have a special its just a folder relationship but don't actually fully sub for a folder. Which if you want to just store stuff is fine, but when you need to extract something to execute it, then they become a pain. As you have the Zip folder and a Folder version. With RAR windows sees it as a file.
Also WinRAR has a solid UI, that we all know how to use, it has solid explorer integration and features.
A lot of people in the Retro Scene tend to cling to the past, and love Windows XP and still only use XP :roll: so they also tend to use RAR for the explorer menu and support of XP still.

7zip might be just as good, might even be better, but WinRAR is Good Enough, and there is not really much from a user experience point of view to warrant the energy required to migrate, unless you are targeting an Amiga platform to which LHA is the go to.


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