InfoWorld's Test Center picks the best open source productivity software and mobile tools of 2011
7-Zip is like the ultimate digital can opener. There is almost no archive format it can't open: plain old Zip files, the proprietary but widely used .rar format, and .tar and .gz files.
7-Zip also unpacks and extracts everything from .iso files to virtual hard disk files, formats that turn up with increasing regularity, often requiring special tools to deal with. You can't use 7-Zip to write files to many of those formats, but just being able to open them can be a godsend. The program has some other handy built-in functions, like the checksum calculator and a favorite-folders list for quick access to places where you often want to compress items.
7-Zip's only shortcoming is with reconstructing damaged archives; WinRAR seems to do a better job of that on the whole. 7-Zip also allows you to use its own .7z compression format for archives, although it lacks a few useful features like storage for file permissions.
The Bossies 2011 index:
This slideshow, "Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source desktop and mobile software," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications, mobile technology, and open source at InfoWorld.com.