Compressing packages with bzip2 instead gzip?

Scott James Remnant scott at
Wed Dec 7 16:36:31 GMT 2005

On Wed, 2005-12-07 at 15:03 +0100, Stefan Glasenhardt wrote:

> Is it possible to compress all packages with bzip2 instead gzip? Bzip2 
> compresses about ~30% more efficient than gzip and this would mean, 
> there could be more software on the Install-CD than now.
Actually, the gains for bzip2 over gzip only tend to apply to large text
files -- such as documentation, XML, etc.  Binary files, such as
programs and graphics, don't tend to compress any better and in fact
take more resources to do so.

If you actually take a look, we've done exactly that:

descent scott% aptitude download language-pack-en
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading extended state information
Initializing package states... Done
Get:1 breezy/main language-pack-en 20051011
Fetched 3828B in 0s (27.1kB/s)

descent scott% ar tf language-pack-en_20051011_all.deb

Select packages that benefit from it have their data members compressed
with bzip2, instead of gzip.

There's also a proposal to use 7zip, but we haven't evaluated the
strengths and weaknesses of that tool yet.

Scott James Remnant
scott at
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