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Compression algorithms for the Linux kernel source tree

posted Dec 18, 2013, 5:42 AM by Justin Piszcz   [ updated Dec 18, 2013, 5:48 AM ]
Have you ever wondered which compression algorithm provides the best compression for the Linux kernel source tree?  For the Linux Kernel I had pondered this awhile back (yes, in the 2.6.x days) before the xz format had been on the kernel FTP mirrors.  Unless otherwise noted, I used the maximum compression options as noted from the manpage.  Clearly xz [1] and 7z [2] come out on top.  I've only done brief testing with xz; however, with 7zip using the lzma2 compression algorithm it can scale to the number of cores in your system, which is a plus if you need to compress files quickly.

Click the image for the full size graph:

compression algorithms for Linux kernel source


The data in table format:

 Size(KB) Filename Compression Ratio Options    
 32160 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.xz (7.10846:1) (-9e)
 32392 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.7z (7.05755:1) 
 32404 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.xz (7.05493:1) (-9)
 33520 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.lzma (6.82005:1) 
 33760 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.rar (6.77156:1) 
 38064 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.rz (6.00588:1) 
 39472 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.szip (5.79165:1) 
 39520 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.bz (5.78462:1) 
 39936 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.bz2 (5.72436:1) 
 40000 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.bicom (5.7152:1) 
 40656 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.sit (5.62298:1) 
 47664 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.lha (4.79624:1) 
 49940 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.zip (4.57765:1) 
 49968 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.dzip (4.57509:1) 
 50000 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.gz (4.57216:1) 
 51344 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.arj (4.45248:1) 
 57552 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.lzo (3.9722:1) 
 57984 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.F (3.9426:1) 
 81136 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.Z (2.81759:1) 
 94544 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.zoo (2.41801:1) 
 101216 linux-2.6.16.17.tar.arc (2.25862:1) 
 228608 linux-2.6.16.17.tar (1:1) 

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