Linux: Compression How-to: tar gzip bzip2 xz 7zip rar zip

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page shows you how to decompress or compress file or directory in Linux.

tar archive (.tar)

“tar” is unix standard for archiving a folder. Tar makes a directory into a single file. Tar does not compress.

Here's what the option means:

“tar” can untar and decompress in one step:

gzip compression (.gz)

gzip is unix standard for compressing a single file. gzip is often used together with tar.

bzip2 compression (.bz2)

Alternative to gzip, for compressing a single file. File size smaller than gzip.

xz compression (.xz)

Alternative to gzip, for compressing a single file. File size smaller than bzip2. xz is derived from 7-zip.

zip archive (.zip)

ZIP (file format) is for archiving and compressing a folder or single file. Originally from Microsoft Windows world.

7-zip archive (.7z)

7-zip is for archiving and compressing a folder (similar to zip). Originally from Microsoft Windows world. Compresses the best.

The 7z util can decompress many formats.

rar archive (.rar .rev .r00 .r01 .r02 …)

RAR (file format) is proprietary, from Windows world. Often used for pirated videos. File extension: {.rar .rev .r00 .r01 .r02 …}.

Compression File Size Comparison

Linux Shell Basics

  1. Get System Info
  2. Shell Basics
  3. grep, cat, awk, uniq
  4. sort
  5. find, xargs
  6. diff Files/Dir
  7. dir size: du
  8. dir tree
  9. tar gzip bzip2 xz 7zip rar zip
  10. wget, curl, GET, HEAD
  11. rsync
  12. Install Packages

Sys Admin

  1. Job Control
  2. ps
  3. top
  4. htop
  5. RAM stat
  6. Users and Groups
  7. File Permission
  8. Opened Files: lsof
  9. shutdown, sleep

Bash/Terminal

  1. Bash Keys, Terminal Keys, Man Page Keys
  2. Bash Prompt Setup
  3. Bash Color Prompt
  4. .bashrc, .profile, .bash_profile
  5. Virtual Console
  6. Terminal Control Sequence Keys
  7. Reset Terminal
  8. tmux
  9. man page
  10. Bash Manual in Chapters
  11. BASH Shell Misc Tips
  12. Log Terminal Session

Linux Desktop

  1. Most Useful GUI Apps
  2. Set Default App
  3. Shell Commands for GUI Apps
  4. Image Viewers
  5. Music Players
  6. Move File to Trash by Command
  7. X11 Selection and Clipboard
  8. How to Switch to LXDE, Xfce
  9. LXDE Keyboard Shortcuts
  10. LXDE/Openbox, Change Keyboard Shortcuts
  11. LXDE Set Key Repeat Rate
  12. LXDE/OpenBox, Disable Mouse Scroll Wheel Hide Window
  13. Xfce Keyboard Shortcuts
  14. Xfce Good Themes
  15. xmonad Keybinding
  16. How to Restart X11
  17. Why Tiling Window Manager Sucks
  18. Standard Fonts
  19. How to Install Font

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