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I am used to raring files -- but I am looking for something faster. I see that there is a "split" command. How does this command compare to rar? What is are the differences between split and rar?

  • 1
    What makes you think they are even similar? Just run man split and man rar. One splits a file into pieces, the other compresses it. They have nothing to do with each other. This is like asking what's the difference between a cow and a mouse. They're both mammals but apart from that... – terdon Nov 26 '13 at 17:05
  • @terdon So, that is the answer, right? – Bernhard Nov 26 '13 at 18:31
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    @terdon: Well, for you that is clear, but there is a reason this question is asked. You may not find it interesting, but it is a clear stated question. You can downvote it, but it should not be closed. – Bernhard Nov 26 '13 at 18:42
  • @Bernhard no offense is meant to the OP but this is a question that will not help future readers: i) the programs are not at all similar, what's the connection between splitting and compressing? ii) 5 minutes of web searching would have shown the OP what the programs do iii) simply reading the first 4 lines of man split and man rar would have done the same. The OP now has an answer so there is no reason to keep this Q since it is so unlikely to ever help anyone else. Whatever combination of misunderstandings led to this question are not likely to occur again. – terdon Nov 26 '13 at 19:20
  • @terdon Why did you not downvote the question then? The hover button says "No research effort" and "not useful", which is a reason to downvote, not to close, imo. – Bernhard Nov 26 '13 at 22:24
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split is a traditional UNIX tool, that does one job only—splitting files. If you had a bunch of files to archive to individual disks, you might do it like this:

 ____________________
|     FILESYSTEM     |                 _________               ____________
| dir1/      dir2/   |      tar       |         |    gzip     |            |
|   file1      file3 | -------------->| ARCHIVE |------------>| COMPRESSED |
|   file2      file4 |                |_________|             |   ARCHIVE  |
|____________________|                                        |            |
                                                              |____________|
                                                                    |
                                                                    | s
                                                                    | p
                                                                    | l
                                                                    | i
                                                                    | t
                                                                    |
               +----------------+----------------+------------------+
               |                |                |
              \|/              \|/              \|/
          ____________     ____________     ____________
         |            |   |            |   |            |
         | COMPRESSED |   | COMPRESSED |   | COMPRESSED |
         | ARCHIVE    |   | ARCHIVE    |   | ARCHIVE    |   . . .
         | DISK 1     |   | DISK 2     |   | DISK 3     |
         |____________|   |____________|   |____________|

You use tar to combine a bunch of files into one archive; you use gzip to make that archive smaller by compressing it; and you finally use split to cut that compressed archive into chunks that fit on your disks. The advantage here is that you can easily switch out parts—say, you could use bzip2 or xz to compress your archive. Or cpio to make your archive.

rar (and also zip) come from the DOS/Windows world, where you don't normally chain together tools. So, they actually combine an archiver (like tar), a compressor (like gzip), and a file splitter (like split) into one tool. The advantage is that they can three parts have more knowledge of the other—say, you could avoid splitting a single file across disks (which is near impossible with the distinct programs).

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split splits files, the size remains the same. rar reduces the size.

  • Well, it reduces the size, unless the file is already compressed like in a mp3 or movie. - In this case it is perfectly valid to use split, as it will be faster and produce (slighly) smaller files. – michas Nov 26 '13 at 17:36
  • Rar is a compressions tool similar to zip and 7z. – slm Nov 26 '13 at 18:07

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