There Is Another Attempt At Allowing Zstd-Compressed Firmware For The Linux Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 28 January 2021 at 03:27 AM EST. 23 Comments
With Facebook's Zstandard compression algorithm becoming quite popular and well supported across many different environments -- including support for Zstd compressing the Linux kernel, among other uses -- there is a renewed effort in allowing Linux firmware to be compressed via Zstd.

In August of last year was a prior attempt for allowing Linux firmware to be Zstd compressed thanks to its faster decompression speeds of Zstd and thus allowing quicker boot times. Zstd firmware decompression was found to be much quicker than the likes of XZ.

That prior work never ended up being followed through to mainline while now SUSE engineer and Linux sound subsystem maintainer Takashi Iwai has written a set of new patches for allowing Zstd-compressed firmware loader support and makes use of the kernel's existing Zstd interface.

For now though the patches have been sent out as an RFC patch series (Request For Comments) while waiting to see if upstream and distribution vendors have enough interest in Zstd-compressed firmware files for allowing faster boot times while at least providing some level of compression for the increasingly relied upon firmware files.

We'll see what happens with the Zstd firmware compression concept this go around.
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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