Other more "rigid" distributions such as Fedora Core (no judgments passed though :D, I love FC) for instance, makes it really difficult. Anyhow, for sometime according to Free Software Foundation themselves, the support for the proprietary archive format (widely used) RARv3 has been missing in true GNU archive utilities. But that seems to be coming to an end with the introduction of "The Unarchiver" ... slowly I might add.
The reason I added "slowly" is because other than for Mac OSX, at the moment this is still a command-line tool. So GUI support is there, yet. But according to FSF... other major archive utilities such as File Roller, etc can easily integrate the RARv3 support via the "The Unarchiever" nonetheless. So let's hope that they'll be doing it pretty soon.
|A GUI is available for Mac OSX only... at this time.|
But until then, you can still use it in command line to read and extract RARv3 files. If you use Ubuntu 11.04 or below... then you can install The Unarchiever by entering the below command in your Terminal.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unarchiver
Once installed use the following commands in your Terminal to see a list of available options (usage instructions).
Since this is for Ubuntu users, other GNU/Linux users can compile it (if it cannot be found in your repositories) by using the below commands.
sudo apt-get install build-essential libgnustep-base-dev libz-dev libbz2-dev libssl-dev libicu-dev
cd The Unarchiver/XADMaster
make -f Makefile.linux
Although it's certainly not confined to reading/extracting RARv3 ... thus it can be used with a lot of other archive formats such as Zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, 7-Zip, Rar, LhA, etc as well.