I’ve just switched my main file compression/decompression application to 7-Zip. I’ve used WinZip and PowerArchiver over the years, but they’re both commercial and you need to either pay for them or be prepared to be nagged every time you open a zip file.

So far, 7-Zip has done everything I’ve needed it to. It’s interface is… what’s a good word… minimalistic, but hey… it’s free. I’m not sure why, but the version I installed (4.12 beta) doesn’t associate itself with compressed files automatically when you install it. That’s easy enough to remedy though — just open up the 7-Zip File Manager from your Start menu, then go to Tools->Options. You’ll be given a list of file types with check boxes so that you can easily associate your files with 7-Zip.

I think this project (7-Zip is open source) is going to really take off, and we’ll see a very beautiful, polished, piece of software after not too long. Just as a recap, here’s a list of the free and open source desktop software that I use quite frequently: 7-Zip, CDex, Ethereal, Gaim, Filezilla, Firefox, Nvu, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, TurboPad, and PuTTY. Not too shabby. Now, I’d be set if I only had a good replacement for Norton Anti Virus and WinAmp (AOL is taking over, and I’m worried that it’s going to fill up with ads like AIM and ICQ).