Last Sunday, the software called winrar 3.51 was made freely available on the official site http://www.win-rar.com/. Of course, the next to be released version will be a shareware as usual.
Well, this so-called donation was indeed a great marketing campaign as many people talked about winrar on forums, making free advertising. Thus, the servers were over requested on Sunday. Moreover, while winrar is facing its new rivals, such as 7zip which is an open-source project, this annoucement just made winrar more present to the public. Finally, this is a great way to fight piracy as everybody shall update to this free version from now on.
The first paradox lies in the fact people had to fill up a form to get two emails, just in order to download a small rarreg.key file (473 bytes). And the file was the same for everyone. If only the file had been made public in a simpler way, there wouldn't have been such disorders. Actually, this "traffic jam" incident was obviously totally overseen, making people feel as if winrar was a scarce resource, and making them talk together to find a way to get through the website and to get their free software. This is all about smart advertising.
The second paradox is just a funny remark. If you try to compress the two following files, you will get a compressed .rar file of nearly 2 Mo (1,85 Mo) with winrar and a compressed .7z file of less than 1 Mo (958 Ko) with 7zip.
- wrar351.exe 990 Ko The official software
- wrar351_bis.exe 990 Ko The same file as above
So winrar seems not to be able to compress something by taking into account this is just one file and its copy while 7zip is. Quite funny, when you think you are dealing with wrar351.exe. Furtermore, winrar is expected to be more experienced than 7zip.
Actually, I believe winrar and 7zip complement each other quite well. 7zip is for efficiency and winrar is comprehensive.
August, 3rd 2006