atool: A tool for archives

There are some applications that I’m a little squeamish about mentioning, because there is a huge slew of similar software available.

Mentioning one obligates me, in an odd sense, to sort through them all.

Decompression utilities are like that. I know of three or four; today’s post is about one of those: atool.


atool comes with a cluster of pseudonyms, usually arranged around actions you want to take, in terms of archiving.

Maybe that doesn’t make sense. For example, there is an acat command, an aunpack command, an apack and an arepack. There are a few more, but I think the point is made.

Regardless, atool will divine the type of archive file, and list its contents, unpack it, or manhandle it in some other way, depending on your instructions.

At this point I should mention that without the corresponding decompression program for an archive, there isn’t much atool can do.

So if you have ace archives, you’ll need to install unace too. And so forth. That should be obvious, I think. …

I usually don’t work with enough varieties of archives to worry about decompressing several types. But of course, this might be useful if you do.