I'm working with an external company who is using AIX (version unknown) as their platform. They are required to FTP me a ZIP file containing multiple files.

Does the UNIX utility zip exist on a standard AIX install?

I ask this question because they are telling me it does not, but I find this hard to believe, as my UNIX in a nutshell book tells me that zip is a common UNIX utility.

I found this page that alludes to a toolbox that can be installed to allow a developer to use zip: aix linux toolbox, which implies it may not come as standard.

If zip turns out to not actually available, what utilities could be used in its place to create a zip of files? I actually need ZIP format, so tarballs etc. are not an option.


To summarise:

  1. Does AIX come with zip by default?
  2. If not, can zip be installed on AIX? Is the aix toolbox an option?
  3. If zip is unavailable, and can't be installed, are the any other options for creating a zip archive?

I'm aware that one of the systems has to change, and that it would have been better to take what AIX can easily produce; I'm just trying to "get things done", and it doesn't seem a big deal to me to get zip installed on AIX, but maybe I'm missing something. Licensing perhaps?

  • 4
    Could you explain why you require ZIP? By far the easiest would be to have them send you whatever they can and you convert it locally where you have the freedom to install/use whatever you like.
    – terdon
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 18:10
  • 2
    AIX does not come with zip. You may find it hard to believe, but that does not change the issue.
    – Mat
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:37
  • 1
    Zip is preinstalled or very easily installable on any non-embedded (and many embedded) Linux, *BSD, OSX. This covers about 99.99% of the unix installations out there, so calling zip a “common unix utility” is perfectly justified. AIX happens to be in the other .01%. Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 23:41
  • There are various internet zip tools. This one runs in a browser (it's Java), so no files are uploaded anywhere. Would that help? Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 23:54
  • @terdon Technically, we don't require zip, we just need the data, however they signed a contract to say they could deliver ZIP to us. I was looking for a way to help them out, as I genuinely couldn't believe ZIP is not available on AIX, and I didn't have an AIX machine available to check. If not, we have to change our system, and it will cost them $$$.
    – Clarkey
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 9:42

2 Answers 2


AIX does not come with zip. I don't know what sort of "proof" you want for this, but that's a fact. Some "evidence" is that docs even from IBM tell you where to get your zip if you don't have it installed (e.g. this doc for ILMT), and they don't tell you to grab your AIX DVD, or use smit or nim which would be what you would use for installing a package from the AIX release. They point you at the AIX toolbox you've located already.

Since that information and that set of tool packages comes directly from IBM, documented by IBM in their own installation documentation, it's a real option.
If your partners don't want that, there are alternatives, namely Bull has a "Freeware" site, and the AIX Open Source Packages site is also a great repository (in my experience). There are a others.

Other than that, quite a few languages have facilities to handle zip files (Java has some in its standard class library, and IBM distributes JDKs and SDKs for AIX, Perl has some in CPAN, I'm pretty sure a lot of others). If they have a dev on board, they could look for the appropriate library for whatever their favorite language is.

(Obviously they could compile zip and dependencies from C sources, but that's a non-trivial task if they don't do C dev work on their systems.)


The AIX Toolbox, now named the AIX Toolbox for Linux Applications, now contains RPM files for both zip and unzip.

  • version 5.51-2 of unzip was added on 19-Apr-2016 and
  • version 6.0-3 of unzip was added on 30-Jun-2017.

  • version 3.0-2 of zip was added on 22-Jul-2016 and

  • version 3.0-3 of zip was added on 29-Jun-2018.

To install them, you'll need the rpm.rte fileset along with any other dependencies of the RPMs, which should be available in the Toolbox.

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