Even though it's extremly old, the .ar archive format is still in use in multiple places, like Debian .deb packages. But I have not been able to find any graphical unarchiving tools for a Mac. Does anyone know of a good GUI .ar archive unarchiving tool for the Mac?

  • 2
    I assume you are on linux. My desktop is a Debian/Testing and a simple right click and "Open with Archive Manager" let's me extract the data thru the GUI from a deb archive. I don't quite see what you are missing could you elaborate?
    – Martin M.
    Jun 10, 2009 at 5:44

6 Answers 6


I don't know of any and a double check with a search didn't bring up anything either.

You can however create a shell script (see below) and then use Platypus to create a droplet application that will unarchive the whole archive if you'd like.

 #! /bin/sh
 /usr/bin/ar -x $1

Note: 4.2 has an issue that a droppable application won't pass on the argument if the application had not been launched so you'll have to create the application using 4.1 or 4.3 when it comes out.


I didn't try, but The Unarchiver might be able to do the job. It extracts every format I was able to throw at it so far.

  • FWIW, The Unarchvier and libxad by extension can not extract .ar files
    – Chealion
    Jun 16, 2009 at 16:23
  • I love the Unarchiver but it does not do .ar files, unfortunately. Jun 18, 2009 at 15:04

I have just developed an application called UnARchive. So far it only supports unarchiveing DEBs but I am still working on support for ARs. If you do unarchive an AR the contents will appear in root disk (Macintosh HD) unless named control.tar.gz, data.tar.gz or debian-binary.




In Windows it seems Winrar should be able to open this. In Linux, pretty much any graphical archive program will work. I generally use Ark.

Please elaborate on what desktop you are using, what distribution you are using (if Linux, otherwise version of Windows), and what version. That way we may better help you.

On second thought, you may need to add the "unrar" package to whatever Linux distro you have. In (K)Ubuntu in a console window enter "sudo apt-get install urar" without the quotes, and it will install the needed files.

  • he said "ar", not "rar"
    – Sparr
    Jun 12, 2009 at 3:55
  • Search says "ar" opens in WinRAR, which is why I put "should be able". Jun 12, 2009 at 19:45

If you want to unarchive deb archives specifically, xarchive says it supports them--but it's just a front-end, so if you're on a non-Debian(ish) system, you'll need to install the Debian tools.


unrarx maybe.

ar is available on the command line, if you can manage it. I know you want a GUI, but that might entail installing Fink to get something running in X, which would probably be worse in the long-run.

  • FWIW, UnRARX does not work.
    – Chealion
    Jun 16, 2009 at 16:24

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