What the "Gzip archive" is?

gzip is short for GNU zip, a GNU free software file compression program. It was created by Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler. Version 0.1 was first publicly released on October 31, 1992. Version 1.0 followed in February 1993.

gzip is based on the deflate algorithm, which is a combination of LZ77 and Huffman coding. DEFLATE was intended as a replacement for LZW and other patent-encumbered data compression algorithms which, at the time, limited the usability of compress and other popular archivers.

The gzip file format holds a single compressed file. On Unix systems, compressed archives are typically created by rolling collections of files into a tar archive, and then compressing that archive with gzip. The final .tar.gz or .tgz file is usually called a compressed tarball.

gzip is not to be confused with the ZIP archive format. ZIP also uses DEFLATE, but can itself store collections of files without resorting to an external archiver. Compressed tarballs are usually more compact than ZIP archives for the same data because they can take advantage of redundancy between files (solid compression), whereas ZIP must compress files individually. ZIP, however, is a more portable archive format.

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