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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- The world simply does not need another proprietary archive format, so I will my part by not supporting the creation or distribution thereof.