Using other compression algos with GnuPG

Ryan Malayter ryan at
Fri Jan 20 23:49:11 CET 2006

On 1/20/06, David Shaw <dshaw at> wrote:
> It's always possible for someone to add a nonstandard algorithm, but
> if you really want a particular algorithm, it's healthier to get the
> OpenPGP working group to add it officially.

The RAR compression algorithm proprietary and closed source, so it is
not likely to make it into any standards. RARlabs has refused for
years to allow anyone else to make RAR encoders (although they exist
in violation of the RARlabs license).


A much better choice would be the LZMA algorithm from 7zip, which is
open-source and unpatented. It compresses with similar efficiency and
speed to RAR.

In any case, though, such slow-but-compact algorithms are really only
useful for archival purposes. While I have used PGP for some
archiving, this is not the most common usage of PGP, and probably not
an OpenPGP design goal.

There are much faster file encryption tools than PGP out there. We
actually use 7zip to compress and encrypt backups for offsite storage,
as its AES implementation is so much more efficient than GnuPG's.

All problems can be solved by diplomacy, but violence and treachery
are equally effective, and more fun.

More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list