Compressing packages with bzip2 instead gzip?

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at
Mon Jan 23 20:57:49 GMT 2006

I've been following this thread, mostly 'lurking', from some time now. I
fear that what started as a simple discussion has grown in a big & complex
proposal involving zsync, delta debs, etc. Maybe I'm missing something here,
but I would like to keep it simple:

What is 'cheap' today: HD space (and I assume that it tends to remain
relatively 'cheap' for the foreseeable future).

What is 'expensive' today: bandwidth (getting cheaper, but the increasing
amount of data cancels most gains); CD/DVD space (fixed for the foreseeable
future; respectively ~700 MB, ~4 GB).

Instead of trying to solve it all at once, let's try to make better use of
those more 'constrained' resources. Why not do it simply as follows:

-- Implement simple delta debs, based on a diff of the entire (uncompressed)
deb file.
-- Keep the original debs stored in the PC (at least for a longer time).

The main problem is **the space that is required to keep all debs on the
PC**. Today the packages on /var/cache/apt/archives expire relatively
quickly (to avoid using too much disk space); but with today's HDs the space
is not as big an issue as it was. The idea is to keep the original deb files
there as long as possible, and only delete them if really needed.

The idea is to treat the space used by the debs files in a similar way to
the 'trashcan' -- as space that is in use but can, and should only, be
reclaimed when the disk runs out of space.

In the end, we may be simply trading one can of worms for the other.
Fortunately, auto cleaning the /var/cache/apt/archives area is indeed
simpler than implementing a full-fledged 'autocleaner' for the trashcan, as
the original data can always be recovered (at the cost of some downloading
time). And solving this part of the problem may even help to solve the more
general 'auto-cleaning' problem in the future.

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
mail: carribeiro at
mail: carribeiro at
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