FreeArc combines best 7-zip and RAR features: auto-selected LZMA/PPMD/Multimedia compression, 1gb dictionary, exe/dict/delta data filters, updatable solid archives, SFXes, recovery record, AES+Twofish+Serpent encryption, Linux support and much more...
Outdated and lacks a lot of features, also the newly released RAR5 codec from WinRar is better then FreeArc in almost every area. Interface has this clumsy GUI, very inconvenient to use. Not recommended.
User interface based on GTK, which means it is unresponsive and ugly, especially under Windows classic theme. Much larger, *bloated* binaries than competing products. The GUI does not clearly expose all possible compression options. I did not find a way, through the GUI, to set a reasonable dictionary size between very extreme values. It is easy to create archives that require too much memory even when this is not warranted because the data set does not contain too much similarity. The unpopular format, with a generic name "arc", which has nothing in common with older DOS-era compressors of the same name, means that archives created with this tool may be difficult to extract on obsolete OS, by other people, or in the future. Compact self-extractor modules are provided to avert this issue. It is probably safer to make all archives as EXE files for now. Large installers produced in Russia are sometimes in this "arc" format. FreeArc might prove useful in extracting them, should they fail to unpack themselves. One such download was the reason I found this tool. I have got an impression that this "arc" is a rather "loose" standard, similar to what ZIP has become. It is possible to install a number of "preprocessors" in FreeArc for recompressing different already compressed data formats. They may or may not be present in another installation of FreeArc, and what seems like a perfectly solid archive may suddenly fail to extract. This archiver's basic advantage over better known formats like RAR, ZIP or ACE is its support for extremely large dictionaries (with corresponding memory consumption). But it has come too late. 7-Zip and now also WinRAR (less effectively) already provide them.
I'm not impressed with FreeArc. I have tried on some computers and I noticed that there is no support of hyper-threading and no possibility of multiple CPU's. The speed isn't very improved as the latest versions of RAR and 7zip. The GUI of this program looks well, but some features cannot be saved as desired for default settings. Binary files are the most times bit bigger after compression, in size than RAR and 7zip.