[Feature Request] Apple Archive support?

Any wishes
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:31 pm

[Feature Request] Apple Archive support?

Post by CNN » Sun Apr 09, 2023 8:17 pm

Hi again!

I have somewhat recently switched over to using Apple Archive [AA] LZFSE compression on Apple Silicon Macs for most of my compression needs, after reading a nice overview and something of a recommendation on the Eclectic Light blog. Especially since it's natively supported and presumably has a lot of optimisations for Mx Macs and APFS features.

Just for comparison, I tried compressing a roughly 10 GB folder with 80,000 files – a mix of text, graphics and code with Archive Utility on an almost basic M1 Mac Mini:

1. Zip through Archive Utility, ~5 minutes (12 mins estimate at first)
2. AA through Archive Utility, ~30 seconds
3. AA, maximum CPU priority (QoS 33) through Cormorant*, ~20 seconds
4. AA, lowest CPU priority (QoS 9) through Cormorant, ~120 seconds

That's an actual order of magnitude speed increase in both compression and decompression (the ratios were similar there). I don't really know what's going on in there – it was just a quick user test on my part, but it was pretty impressive.

The same holds for Nimble Commander, which showed an estimated time to compress the folder using Zip as 12 minutes (I didn't bother to wait if it dropped to Archive Utility's ~5 minutes later, but I presume you use the same compression backend and settings, so it might have had if I let if finish).

All the resulting archives were around 3GB in size, with the AA giving slightly smaller file (100s MB) over Zip, but nothing really significant, which suggest a similar compression efficiency, but much better optimisation.

Could we perhaps have Nimble be able to browse AA files the same way it works with other archive formats? Best option would be full support of course including compression to them (using Apple's backend tools), but at least reading them would be pretty great.

The docs are here: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/applearchive


*: Just a simple GUI for AA that lets you adjust the number of cores and priority allocated to the compression task, which was nice for compressing really big archives in the background without gobbling up much CPU usage for other tasks

User avatar
Posts: 1060
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:35 am
Location: Exeter, UK

Re: [Feature Request] Apple Archive support?

Post by mike » Mon Apr 10, 2023 1:36 pm

That sounds very interesting, I wasn't aware that they are now providing an official API to deal with this archive format.
Unfortunately it's available only starting with MacOS11, while NC still supports MacOS10.15.