A ZSTD-Compressed Linux Kernel Could Be Up Next

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 11 October 2017 at 09:54 AM EDT. 45 Comments
The Facebook-developed Zstd compression algorithm was added to the Linux 4.14 kernel and hooked up for Btrfs/Squashfs file-system compression. Support is now being worked on so Zstandard can be used for compressing/decompressing the Linux kernel image.

Nick Terrell of Facebook is proposing support for ZSTD-compressed kernel and ramdisk images. This would add to the list of other algorithms already available like Gzip, XZ, LZ4, and others for dealing with kernel images at boot time.

Terrell found that using ZSTD within the Linux kernel for compression is slightly higher memory use on x86 (192 vs. 64KB) but his results so far have been favorable in performance. Of Zstd/Gzip/XZ/LZ4/LZO/Bzip2, he found Zstd to compress the second best while the decompression speed is the second fastest, but he's still figuring out a better way to test kernel decompression performance itself.

The proposed patches for now can be found on the kernel mailing list. Those wishing to learn more about Zstd itself can visit their project page.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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