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Transparent Decompression Support For EXT4

Mozilla

Published on 24 July 2013 07:26 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Mozilla
9 Comments

A Mozilla engineer has been developing transparent decompression support for the EXT4 file-system to benefit Firefox on Android, among other use-cases.

Firefox for Android right now has its libxul.so component compressed and loaded into memory via a custom linker. However, to avoid having to use a custom linker for this compressed library, Mozilla is wanting to bring transparent decompression support to Linux file-systems.

In order to do this, Dhaval Giani of Mozilla has brought a seekable zip format into the Linux kernel. His second kernel patch provides transparent decompression support into EXT4. The patch right now is "really ugly" and the decompression support hasn't been added to any other file-systems at the moment.

Some shortcomings with the current patch includes the decompression happening at a very late stage, no seek support, no mmap support, etc. To use the support, on a patched kernel the special szip user-space utility is needed to compress the fileand will then be transparently decompressed when reading the file by the kernel.

The current work on EXT4 transparent decompression can be found on the Linux kernel mailing list.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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