Free and open source support for RAR archives in Fedora

RAR is somewhat of a legacy format in terms of compression ability but RAR remains popular in many places especially for its split archive feature.  Current Fedora users are used to installing unrar command line utility from RPM Fusion to get the ability to extract RAR files and unrar is supported by the GNOME (File Roller) and Ark (KDE) archive managers however it is a proprietary utility and unavailable for other architectures like ARM which are getting popular in Fedora as well.

Free software support for RAR files was considered a high priority FSF project which announced that it has been completed a while back.  It took sometime for the support to become more solid and I have built a package for Fedora. In Fedora 19 or newer,  users can use unar from the Fedora repository. unar is the free and open source command line utility for RAR archive extraction from the Unarchiver project.  All the RAR features including encrypted archives are fully supported by this utility.  unar is supported as an alternative to unrar by File Roller however Ark support is still under review.  I pushed a update of File Roller that automatically pulled in unar but this was reverted due to lack of space in the live image however if you do install it, File Roller will use it.   I have filed a bug report against unrar in RPM Fusion to consider automatically replacing it with unar and we will have to figure out when it is suitable to do so.   I highly recommend users try unar if you need to extract RAR files and use the open XZ format with better compression for creating new archives.

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About mether

I am Rahul Sundaram, a Fedora contributor from India and a tech enthusiast. I am mether on irc.freenode.net. Email: sundaram AT fedoraproject.org if you want to get in touch with me.
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10 Responses to Free and open source support for RAR archives in Fedora

  1. Kamil Páral says:

    Great work! It’s a shame it isn’t available on Live (and thus installed by default), but maybe PackageKit will save us here? Can file-roller automatically download and install extractors for known file types?

    • mether says:

      That’s a good idea but it probably requires a few tweaks. I will try and figure out what needs to be done to make that happen.

  2. macemoneta says:

    Does the package create an unrar symlink for existing software, assuming the CLI is compatible?

  3. JiE says:

    Kamil: Yes, file-roller can install extractors. If you try to extract a RAR file and don’t have unar/unrar installed, a prompt will come up saying, “Search command,” and then it’ll download it. I think it searches the RPMFusion repos.

    • mether says:

      It doesn’t search RPM Fusion repository specifically. It searches for a capability. Its upto to the packages to advertise that capability. That’s what I need to tweak

  4. Osama Khalid says:

    Finally. Thank you very much, Rahul.

  5. Kevin Kofler says:

    I hope this is truly clean-room and not derived from the non-Free unrar code! All the other “Free” unrar v3 codes I’ve seen so far have turned out to be tainted. 😦

    • mether says:

      To the best of our knowledge, yes, this is a clean room implementation but do take a look if you have time.

  6. Pingback: Links 23/5/2013: Threat to Civil Rights in UK, KDE 4.11 LTS | Techrights

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