Is there any way to mount a zip (or tar, or any compressed file archive) as a volume on OSX?
If this is a stupid question for some reason (the structure of zip archives), that would be good to know too.
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Yep, if you install FUSE (Filesystem in User Space) and the fuse-zip extension. There is a GUI of sorts for FUSE called MacFuse that I'd recommend using.
You can use FUSE to mount all sorts of things including files over ssh or flickr (yes really!)
If you prefer simple drag-and-drop then you can use this app with MacFUSE too:
https://www.etresoft.com/#products (scroll down to eTreZip)
Archive Mounter does the job.
An app to mount archives like disk images in macOS. It currently supports ZIP and RAR archives.
You can run app directly and choose an archive to mount or use it from Finder's Open With context menu.