New Compression Codecs Risk Making Zlib Obsolete
Written by Michael Larabel in Standards on 18 January 2016 at 07:44 AM EST. 31 Comments
Zlib is likely the most widely-used data compression library on open-source systems, but it's now at great risk of becoming obsoleted by more modern codecs for data compression.

Rich Geldreich, a losless data and texture compression specialist who formerly was working at Valve and involved with the Linux cabal while now is employed by Unity, wrote a blog post today entitled zlib in serious danger of becoming obsolete.

The reason for Geldreich's title is this: "in the lossless compression world we’re lucky to see a significant advancement every 5-10 years. Now, we have two independently implemented codecs that are giving zlib serious competition on multiple axes: throughput, ratio, and even code size." The two new lossless codecs he is talking about are Google's Brotli and RAD Game Tools' BitKnit.

The benchmark results he published show BitKnit and Brotli competing well with Zlib and he's also included results from LZ4 and his own LZHAM codec.

The Brotli compression format is already open-source via GitHub while RAD Game Tools will be releasing BitKnit with the next version of their software.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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