Users and data compression

    I don’t want to start another holy war, but the comments on my last post about “squeezing” in the RAR inspired a number of thoughts and considerations that I want to convey to the community. But before that, I want to note that I work under Windows, so everything below will relate specifically to him. Plus, for the rest, I ask you to treat the topic as information for reflection, and not as a red rag for a bull. So, let's talk about data compression formats from a user perspective.

    What is going on in the market?

    First, let's recall what compression formats we know? Well, we list - ZIP, RAR, TAR, GZ, BZ2, 7ZIP, ACE, (L) HA, CAB, ZOO, LZH, ARJ ... Plus a few more “specific” image compression formats - IMG, ISO, MDF, NRG. Perhaps you will recall some more, but this is not about that. What is it that an ordinary ordinary user will remember?

    There are two answers to this question - the right one and, as you might guess, the wrong one. Let's start with the second - the average user will call zip, rar, ace and 7z. It is not difficult to check if you look at the number of downloads on, for example, to describe the situation on the Russian market and on to view the world market. What do we see?

    And we see literally the following - around the world 194 million downloads of WinZip, 85 million downloads of WinRAR, almost 4 million - WinACE and about 2 million 7Zip. As you can see, two-thirds of the market is controlled by WinZip (and this is when accounting for work out of the box in Windows XP +), almost a third of WinRAR. In addition, do not forget that WinAce is already an abandoned project that is losing its fans.

    Now back to the Russian market. Here the situation is completely different. Firstly, we do not have a centralized place to download files. Yes, try typing " software " in Yandex , and you will see a link to, and Soft.CNews, described above. There are no sensible ratings, but we will be content with what is. As we can see, there is no WinZip on both sites - they simply don’t use it in Russia, because WinRAR (33 thousand downloads, sic! ) And 7Zip (22 thousand) are preferred . The rest of the software almost does not appear, Yandex confirms the situation .

    This was the wrong answer to the question “what kind of archiver does the user use?” Now the correct answer is: “he does not know what a data archiver is.” Also, he doesn’t know which browser he is using. And the word processor for it is equivalent to the name “Word”, and the spreadsheet software is definitely “Excel”.

    Why is this the case?

    What is a computer for the user? This is, first of all, a way to do your job - preferably thinking less quickly about problems that do not concern him (the user). This, as I said above, the program in which he writes the report, this is the browser where he pokes on his favorite social network, this is the mailer, which is actually GMail or Exchange Express.

    The last thing the user remembers is the archiver, what is (and is) on his computer. Now imagine a spherical user in a vacuum to whom something .zip, .rar, .gz, .bz2, .7z comes in the mail. There are several options here - in the case of a ZIP archive, the user will not even understand what happened and open it using the system, because ZIP has been working out of the box on Windows for quite some time. Pokes a couple of buttons and calm down.

    The situation is much more interesting if it comes to RAR. Turn off your brain and think about what you would do if you didn’t know what it is? They would download Yandex correctly (google? Disable the brain even more!) And type something like " rar " or " how / how to open rar ". Where will you go? That's right, on and set yourself WinRAR. Well, of course, if you are an ordinary user, you generally know how to install software :)

    The situation becomes much worse if you (an ordinary user) download .gz or .bz2. A simple Yandex search on " bz2 " or " gz " will do nothing - the first lines lead to the "dense" Wikipedia. And here is the query " how to open gz"it’s completely nothing and will lead the user to, where the user will be sent for WinRAR. Or, possibly, for 7-Zip.

    Why is the Russian segment different from the world?

    There we figured out how users get WinRAR or 7-Zip. Now let's see where WinZip from the Russian market segment got to. The answer lies on the surface - users do not know and / or do not want to use a program that does not speak their native language. WinRAR is Russified, it has a Russian site. 7-zip tries to keep up - . You will say that WinZip also has a Russian-language page . Yes, it’s true, but the user zip will open out of the box, he will not download the “unnecessary” program.

    Why don't users archive in zip / gz?

    Suppose you (an ordinary user) finally understand why data compression is needed and stop bothering your friends with multimeter letters. Let's figure out what and how you will archive.

    If before that you only had a zip out of the box, then perhaps you will find the inconspicuous menu item "Send> Compressed Zip Folder" in the menu that pops up with the right mouse button. Did you know about this item? I specifically found him for this article. It may well be that you climb into Yandex again with the request “ how to archive a file ” or “ archiver ”. Where will these queries lead? Most likely to WinRAR or, less likely, to 7-Zip. Therefore, we turn to these archivers.

    If you have WinRAR, then by default, you will create the rar archive. If 7-Zip, then 7z. Both formats open both in WinZip, and in WinRAR, and in 7-Zip, therefore, in principle, the recipient will have no problems unpacking. Another thing is that in the Russian segment the user by default, attention, will not archive in zip.

    Why is WinRAR used more often than 7-Zip?

    Here the answers are also not very complicated: WinRAR is friendlier (compare the GUI of the programs), it archives by default faster, the name is well known.

    Why won't the user archive in bz2 / gz?

    Because he does not know what, he is afraid of the command line and files with double extension.

    How to live further?

    This article is written to ensure that we: programmers, IT specialists, administrators - are more lenient to a user who has a bugs full of problems and is much easier to download from a zip (or rar) site than to see a slightly more compressed tarball or 7- zip archive. Thanks for attention.

    PS I have a licensed WinRAR on my computer with maximum default zip archiving.
    PPS This is not a love post for WinRAR.

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