Why I do not use RAR

We recently adopted a policy (ooh, so official sounding…) at work that we do not use the RAR file format. Oasis Digital being a small firm, the “we” to make this particular decision was just me. Someone quite reasonably asked, why not?

Here is why I don’t use RAR:

  1. The RAR archiver GUI tool is Windows-only, though there are command line tools available for other platforms. The other major choices are fully multi-platform, with command line, GUI, etc. all available. Most of our work is on Windows, but I don’t see a reason to choose a Windows-only tool when others are available.
  2. I get the impression that the vast majority of people who use RAR use the archiver “trialware” permanently without ever paying for it. I earn a living by writing software, so I don’t want to support the notion of using commercial software without paying for it. The same could be said of WinZIP – but I don’t use WinZIP and there are plenty of other ZIP tools.
  3. RAR is a proprietary format, while the other choices (like plain old ZIP) are open and supported out of the box by countless tools, built in to OSs, etc.
  4. RAR’s compression is sometimes a lot better than ZIP; but for the cases where the extra compression matters, something like 7zip’s 7z format offers similar compression but with an open format and free (not trialware) tool. (7zip can also unarchive RAR files, for those cases when a RAR comes in with something I need.)
  5. The world simply does not need another proprietary archive format, so I will my part by not supporting the creation or distribution thereof.

4 thoughts on “Why I do not use RAR”

  1. Main reason people nowdays use RAR is to bypass filters in Exchange, etc.

    This works equally well with 7-zip of course, but many people know to unrar while files with a .7z usually provokes a question what this is.

  2. despite explicitly stating it yourself, you seem to be missing an important point : RAR is NOT merely a packer, it’s an ARCHIVER. you’ve no idea how many times RAR saved me from data loss in the past. recovery record + multi-volume support + recovery volumes mechanisms all built into the packer just can’t be beat. badly scratched cds/dvds, bad clusters on hdd, partition magic (et al) getting its knickers in a twist during partition resize and losing some sectors’ contents in the process – you name it, RAR was always there for me.

    in case you haven’t noticed, windoze has the annoying tendency to not let you copy/move files unless it can read the ENTIRE file. there are tools to overcome this issue, but they’re payware and don’t always have them on you. so, all my backups are multi-volume RARs with recovery record and several recovery volumes, usually residing on dcs/dvds. unless the media gets REALLY-REALLY fubar, i’ve near perfect chance of recovering my data. until zip/7z/bzip2/whatever can provide my with an equivalent set of BUILT IN recovery features, RAR’s the only thing i count on. and, lets face it, it’s dirt cheap at that.

  3. It’s propiertary, yeah, but there are RAR extractors available for pretty much any OS, and they’re not all command-line tools.

    7z is good, but it’s interface isn’t as well-designed (this is of course entirely IMHO). I still use RAR for most of my archiving tasks.

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