Canonical Working On Zstd-Compressed Debian Packages For Ubuntu

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 12 March 2018 at 06:23 AM EDT. 28 Comments
Support for Zstd-compressed Debian packages was worked on last week by some Canonical/Ubuntu developers and already by the end of the year they are looking at potentially using it by default.

Zstd is the compression algorithm out of Facebook that has been attracting a fair amount of interest in the Linux/open-source space due to its higher decompression speeds that can trump XZ or Gzip.

Developers working on Zstd-compressed Debian package support within Dpkg and Apt found that the package size is larger but that the installation process is measurably sped up. "In our configuration, we run zstd at level 19. For bionic main amd64, this causes a size increase of about 6%, from roughly 5.6 to 5.9 GB. Installs speed up by about 10%, or, if eatmydata is involved, by up to 40% - user time generally by about 50%."

The developers at Canonical are considering a feature freeze exception to get this newly-developed Zstd Apt/Dpkg support in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. In doing so, they mention they would be looking at enabling Zstd compression for packages by default in Ubuntu 18.10.

More details on their Zstd-compressed package plans via this mailing list post.
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