What Is a .gz File? And a .tgz? And .bz2? And.. gz (and .z) files are compressed using GNU gzip. You need to use
gunzip (which is a symlink to the gzip command that comes with most
Linux installations) to unpack the file.
taz, .tar.Z, and .tz are tar files (made with tar) and compressed
using compress. The standard *nix compress is proprietary software,
but free equivalents like ncompress exist.
tgz (or .tpz) is a tar file compressed with gzip.
bz2 is a file compressed by the more recently introduced (and
lsm is a Linux Software Map entry, in the form of a short text file.
Details about the LSM project and the LSM itself are available in the
subdirectory on ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/.
deb is a Debian Binary Package--the binary package format used by the
Debian GNU/Linux distribution. It is manipulated using dpkg and
dpkg-deb (available on Debian systems and from
rpm is a Red Hat RPM package, which is used in the Red Hat and
sit is a compressed Macintosh archive made with StuffIt, a commercial
program. Aladdin Systems Inc., the manufacturer of StuffIt, has a free
expander utility that will uncompress these archives. You can download
it at http://www.aladdinsys.com/expander/.
The file command can often tell you what a file is.
If you find that gzip complains when you try to uncompress a file, you
probably downloaded it in ASCII mode by mistake. You must download
most things in binary mode: "get," to download the file.