Have you ever found yourself working with zip files a lot? The built in Windows version of zip works just fine. However, most compressed files you find on the internet are actually RAR. This is a different variation of a zip file. It does a better job of compression. I’ve been using winrar for years to open RAR and ZIP files. Well, I decided that I wanted to find an open source alternative to WinRAR.
I have to admit that I haven’t actually looked for an open source alternative before because I didn’t realize there was one out there. Well, I was wrong. It’s called 7-Zip. It’s open source and can be used freely by consumers and businesses. You can find more info about it at www.7-zip.org.
Straight from their website: Compression ratio results are very dependent upon the data used for the tests. Usually, 7-Zip compresses to 7z format 30-70% better than to zip format. And 7-Zip compresses to zip format 2-10% better than most of other zip compatible programs.
How can one go wrong with those numbers?
I have been doing a lot more research into open source projects. These would be all for replacements of Micrsoft products. While I am not a Microsoft basher, I am a cost conscious business owner. Microsoft products are not cheap. Especially the servers. It would cost me thousands of dollars to purchase an Exchange server for only a few people. This is on top of the Windows Server license.
Well, what does one do then? Here is where open source comes in handy. Free alternatives to Microsoft products. Are they as good as what Microsoft does? Yes and No. It all depends on what you need it for.
For example, if you needed to use Photoshop, you will not find a comparable version that works on Linux. You would have to use Windows and purchase the full version of photoshop.
I did a refresher on linux a few weeks ago by installing ubuntu and several virtualization software packages to test with. Is it as easy as Windows? No. Is it FREE? Yep.
I wanted to direct attention to this article that I found. Open Source Exchange Replacement. It seems to do a great job summerizing the alternatives to Exchange. I haven’t tried any of them out but I will be doing some testing on them.