About this misguided call to boycott 7-Zip • The Register

analysis A blog post calling for a boycott of the well-known 7-Zip compression app sparked discussion on Reddit.

However, criticism of Igor Pavlov and his FOSS compression app 7-Zip seems to be somewhat exaggerated and may reflect the anti-Russian sentiment of the time.

7-Zip has been around since 1999, and during those two decades there have been more widely used Windows compression tools (notably WinZip and WinRAR). They’re shareware, so try before you buy, or for free.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the shareware model. It’s been around longer than the modern FOSS ecosystem, and there are some excellent shareware tools out there. However, many people don’t actually try before making a potential purchase: they never intend to pay. And if that’s the case, then you might as well use free software and avoid nag screens.

Let’s analyze the critical points surrounding 7-Zip. The blogger, identified only as Paul, claims that 7-Zip isn’t really open source because the code isn’t activated “Github, Gitlab, or any public code hosting”. This is not a requirement of the open source definition. The source code of 7-Zip is available on Sourceforge and is licensed under the GNU Lesser GPL.

There’s no need to use Git source control if you don’t need it. Git is a complicated tool, which is why Linus Torvalds gave it its name: it’s British English for a hostile or uncooperative person. 7-Zip has a single author, Igor Pavlov, and if he doesn’t want to use Git, the reg FOSS Desk doesn’t blame him. The author has been using Git professionally for many years, thoroughly loathes it, and strongly suspects he’s not alone.

As proof of the difficulty of building 7-Zip from source, “Paul” links to a discussion from 2010. The counter-evidence that it’s possible is that there’s at least one fork of 7-Zip out there : NanaZip, which claims better Windows 10/11 integration.

We suspect that Pavlov’s choice of LGPL over full GPL could be due to 7-Zip including the unRAR library so it can unpack files in the proprietary RAR format.

“Paul” also points out security gaps in the app. That’s right, occasionally there have been some like that Registration number discussed in the past. The latest is described primarily in Turkish, but the discussion on HackerNews suggests it’s somewhat mysterious, and whether it allows escalation of rights is a matter of debate.

To its credit, the blog also points out a few alternatives to 7-Zip, including its Nanazip fork and the FreePascal-based PeaZip.

PeaZip has a significant bonus for Linux users: it has a full GUI, while 7-Zip only provides command-line tools for Linux. We installed the Flatpak package to take a look, and while it works well, it pulls in a whopping two-thirds of a gigabyte of KDE dependencies, so we’ll stick with Engrampa for now.

Nix Sanctuary also condemns 7-Zip simply because it’s Russian due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. We definitely have sympathy for that: the Registration number FOSS Desk is relatively close geographically. Russian developers with professional GitHub accounts are already facing sanctions, and of course there have been other anti-war actions on the site. Without evidence of Gospodin Pavlov’s personal complicity, that seems a step too far.

We suspect that Nix Sanctuary could create the Streisand Effect on 7-Zip, which will remain so for now Registration number Zip management tool of choice on Windows. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/06/27/7zip_compression_tool/ About this misguided call to boycott 7-Zip • The Register

Chrissy Callahan

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