Decompress .rar Files on OS X “for Free”

Update (Nov. 2, 2007):
There is now a UI GPL utility for OS X that not only opens .rar files but also those pesky Stuffit files for which you thought you
had to go through an intense sign-up (to download Stuffit). It’s called Unarchiver and it’s apparently “completely” Libre, unlike some of the questionably licensed apps mentioned below. Unarchiver will also save you from installing MacPorts or Fink, a little tedious if you’re just installing it for the one app..

I was asked to translate some movie subtitles from English to Spanish. The files came in .rar format contained within emails. I scoured the net for Libre (GPL or the like) .rar decompresser applications, and I didn’t see much.

I messed around with a few applications, but nothing worked. Some back-end command line programs exist, but I can’t –from their web-pages– make out their licenses, as with WinRAR OS X’s version. Other apps with front and back-ends do exist but for the life of me, I can’t make out their licenses either (UnRarX, and MacPAR deLuxe come to mind). I tried both the back-end named p7zip [dead link], made to work with the front-end called ez 7z [dead link] –to no avail on my Intel Tiger (OS X) install.

[You can now get both p7zip and ez 7 at <> or at <> and <> consecutively.]

Looking around I found out that MacPorts has unrar. So I installed unrar with,

sudo port install unrar

The above supposes that you already have MacPorts installed.

Post Install
No Man
Oddly, “man unrar” doesn’t invoke a manual, but a syntax error in the expand command brings up documentation.

On Use
You can decompress a .rar file with the following syntax from terminal.

unrar x filename

This extracts files with full paths.

You could download the .rar file to a directory where you want to decompress, then use the “cd” command from terminal to go there. Or just download to your home folder, open terminal, type in the above command and don’t worry about moving directories.

Since then, I’ve found MacPAR OS X which is BSD licensed, but it’s deprecated. And its successor doesn’t specify the license on the web-page. I’ve also found a Free implementation from Gna!, but haven’t experimented with it.

As per my recent readings, MacPorts provides the proprietary version of unrar (confirmation needed) as the GPL version’s syntax differs slightly adding the hyphen.

unrar -x filename

Maurice Cepeda

For further reading see,

Apparently, MacPAR deLuxe uses GPL software and doesn’t give credit where it’s due (par2cmdline); It doesn’t use an up to date version of par2cmdline, either.

On getting unRAR to compile on OS X (if you should so choose), “you need to go into the Makefile and change “CC = gcc” to “CC = cc”, also remove “- Wall” and “-s” options so it will compile/link smoothly.

This is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License. All brands mentioned are properties of their respective owners. By reading this article, the reader forgoes any accountability of the writer. The reading of this article implies acceptance of the above stipulations. The author requires attribution –by full name and URL– and notification of republications.


5 thoughts on “Decompress .rar Files on OS X “for Free”

  1. Pingback: Manually Open Compressed Files « Le Blog de Maurice

  2. First, my article’s only concern is decompressing .rar files, not compressing them. Unless things have changed or unless memory fails, Libre .rar decompressing programs only decompress.

    I’m not sure, we really need the to concern ourselves with compressing files up to 30%, at least not for normal everyday use. I mean, hard drive space is ultra cheap these days.

    As for hosting WinRAR, I just write articles. I don’t host WinRAR or other third party apps or builds.

    To be frank, I didn’t care to __list__ (and I mean “list”, not “host”) a link for WinRAR (for OS X) because of philosophical differences. As far as software is concerned, I almost exclusively write about Libre Software or at least Open Source Software; Plus I’m under no obligation to write, mention, or provide links to software with philosophies with which I happen to disagree.

    I’m sure you can get WinRAR (the OS X port) from WinRAR’s site. But for some reason I think you already know that. I mean, if you know that 8 to 30% stat, you probably know where to download WinRAR.

    If not, google it.

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