Canonical's Snap Packaging Switching To LZO Compression For Faster Startup Times

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 27 October 2020 at 03:22 PM EDT. 43 Comments
The Snap packaging / software deployment effort led by Canonical for Ubuntu and other distributions currently relies on XZ compression of the SquashFS-based archives while moving forward they are planning to make use of LZO compression. Snap'ing with LZO will result in faster startup-times at the cost of larger packages.

LZO offers less compression abilities than XZ but has the benefit of being less taxing during decompression and thus faster. The Chromium browser Snap package, for example, is ~150MB with XZ compression but increases to ~250MB with the LZO packaged version.

Testing on various systems they found using LZO could lead to 40~74% faster cold start-ups for Snaps over XZ, the LZO-compressed Snap of Chromium started up in nearly the same time as a Kubuntu 18.04 system with the Chromium DEB package, and LZO-compressed start-ups on Fedora could be faster than a comparable RPM package.

More details via the Ubuntu blog on their Snap plans around LZO. Slow initial start-up times of Snap applications have been one of the common complaints about Snaps so at least this should address that albeit with greater storage requirements.
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