GZIP - Gnu Zipped File

What is a GZIP file

The file extension GZIP (also known as GNU ZIP) is one of the more popular types of compressed files available today. It is especially popular on Unix and Linux computer systems. Windows computers don’t typically use the GZIP extension. GZIP is a pretty old file format and was originally developed back in the early 1990’s. While similar in nature to a typical ZIP file, the GZIP format does not support archiving. A regular ZIP file does have the ability to hold multiple files, but a GZIP file does not.

The GZIP file extension was created by Mark Adler and Jean-Loup Gailly specifically as part of the GNU Project. They based the format of the GZIP file extension on Huffman and LZ77 coding and used the Deflate compression algorithm. Their purpose was to create a usable compression function that wasn’t limited by patent issues. Since the GZIP file does not support archiving, you can typically assemble the multiple files into a TAR archive. Then you have the ability to turn the entire collection into a GZIP file for compression. When this is done, the file extension will change to either TGZ or TAR.GZ.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open GZIP documents:

  • Smith Micro Stufflt Deluxe 2010 (Windows)
  • Corel WinZip 18.5 (Windows)
  • 7-Zip (Windows)
  • Smith Micro Stufflt Deluxe 16 (Mac)
  • Apple archive Utility (Mac)
  • Gzip (Linux)
  • Xarchive (Linux)
Extension GZIP
MIME type application/x-gzip
Useful links