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RAR (and UNRAR) is the Linux port of the commandline-only version of [WinRAR] available in both the i686 and x86_64 flavors.

Key Features

  • Variable amounts of redundancy ("recovery record" or "recovery volumes" both of which are demonstrated below) can be added to an archive, making it more resistant to corruption. Even if parts of an archive are damaged, it is possible to fully recover the stored data if a large enough recovery record exists. To my knowledge, tar does not have this ability.
  • RAR is able to efficiently handle split volumes. Built-in support for multi-volume files enables the unpacking program to simply prompt the user for the next .partXXX RAR file, without the need to manually copy and then rejoin the pieces, or for extracting a file from a single piece without needing all pieces. RAR does not support tapes, as it uses seek and rename operations on its files.
  • RAR archives can be of a solid format, in which all of the compressed files are treated as a single data block. Most currently used compression formats (with the exception of the older ZIP) allow solid structuring.
  • Strong encryption capabilities. Older versions of the file format used a proprietary algorithm; newer versions use the AES encryption algorithm, a block cipher adopted as an encryption standard by the U.S. government. The only known ways to recover an encrypted file are via dictionary or brute force attacks. In newer versions, password protection can optionally protect filenames too, so that the filenames contained within the archive will not be displayed without the right password.

Installation of RAR


Two versions of RAR (full package minus UNRAR) are available in the AUR, both of which maintained by tuxspirit.

  • [rar-beta] version 3.90 beta 3 released on 10-Jun-2009
  • [rar] version 3.80 released on 30-Sep-2008

Although the latest version is technically considered a beta, it is recommend over the older 'stable' version. See the [changelog] for a complete list of features/bugfixes over v3.80.

Example installation (my Arch is x86-64 so this example uses the x86_64 filename but you get the idea):

$ wget http://aur.archlinux.org/packages/rar-beta/rar-beta.tar.gz
$ tar zxvf rar-beta.tar.gz
$ cd rar-beta
$ makepkg -s
# pacman -U rar-beta-3.9.b3-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.gz


UNRAR is provided separately and resides in the official extra repo. Install it via pacman as usual:

# pacman -Sy unrar


PLACEHOLDER - I will add content later today