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How widespread is this format? What archivers support it? I would like to replace zip files I create with 7z. But I'm afraid some people will have problems opening them.

Edit: The main reason I want to switch is that zip has problems with encodings on file names. Until recently a lot of archivers did not support unicode zip extension. Many programing enviroments have problem with this.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Anyone can open 7z archives with 7zip itself, which is free. If your target user doesn't have something that works with it, they can simply install that. It's also supported by many third party archivers. If you're going to put things in an archive at all, 7z would not be a bad choice.

If you're using this for distribution though, keep in mind plain ZIP is supported in most operating systems out of the box even as far back as Windows XP, while 7z is always going to require some third party archiver to open. (At least for now)

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Something else to chew on: 7-Zip's GUI self-extraction module is < 150 KB. Chances are your 7z archive will be more than 150 KB smaller than a plain zip archive. –  afrazier Dec 9 '10 at 18:00

Some people will always have a problem with certain file formats, but 7z adoption is reasonably widespread. I know for instance that Google uses it for certain things (including Chrome).

Native support is missing in Windows, so you're going to need some way to open these files, but the compression ratio versus ZIP is superior.

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Then again native support for zip in windows works, but is pretty horrible. –  Kugel Dec 9 '10 at 18:01
    
Chrome is distributed using ClickOnce -- no user ever needs to extract any 7z archives with it. The user is never exposed to 7z, so it's really difficult to look at that as a reasonable comparison. –  Billy ONeal Dec 9 '10 at 18:02
    
I won't argue that point, Billy, but it goes to how widespread the format is. –  user3463 Dec 9 '10 at 18:20

to answer your question more directly:

http://www.google.de/trends?q=7zip

and

http://www.google.de/trends?q=.7z,+.rar,+.zip&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

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I think that's misleading. Zip is certainly more widespread and usable by Joe User than is Rar, yet Rar appears higher on the list... –  Billy ONeal Dec 10 '10 at 2:21

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