zcat/gzcat works in linux, not on osx. general linux/osx compatibility

user23398 asked:

First the specific problem:
In linux, I use zcat to list a .zip file. In osx, zcat seems to automatically append .Z to the file name. Various people suggest replacing zcat with gzcat; however, gzcat complains that the file is not in gzip format!

‘file ‘ shows this:
…Zip archive data, at least v2.0 to extract

So neither zcat or gzcat will work in osx, what can I do?

I have a medium sized script in in bash which uses, zcat/gzcat, sed awk and other basic utilities to process a number of files. I’d like to duplicate that environment on my osx laptop so I can work offline. Any general suggestions how I can avoid such pain? I expect this is a fairly routine workflow so must have been sorted out by others.

My answer:

The Mac OS X version of gzip(1) doesn’t support reading zip files. From the man page:

This version of gzip is also capable of decompressing files compressed using compress(1) or bzip2(1).

But the Linux (GNU) version does.

gunzip can currently decompress files created by gzip, zip, compress, compress -H or pack.

Third parties have packaged GNU gzip for Mac OS X; you can find these from a web search. That is probably the path of least resistance.

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