Patch Proposed For Removing BZIP2 Support From The Linux Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 22 December 2020 at 03:52 AM EST. 29 Comments
For at least a second time, a patch sent out under "request for comments" would strip out the existing BZIP2 code within the Linux kernel.

Back when Zstd was added to the kernel there was a proposal as part of that to eliminate the BZIP2 usage given its inefficiencies compared to other modern compression algorithms. That change wasn't pulled at that time while now a developer has proposed a new patch stripping out BZIP2 from the possible kernel use-cases.

Alex Xu wrote in the RFC, "bzip2 is either slower or larger than every other supported algorithm, according to benchmarks. It is far slower to decompress than any other algorithm, and still larger than lzma, xz, and zstd."

Thus the patch would eliminate BZIP2 compression for kernel ramdisk, initramfs, and related bits. Zstd and other alternatives are superior so we'll see in 2021 if this Linux kernel change gets picked up or whether BZIP2 support will stick around a bit longer for legacy reasons.
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