Zstd Compressed Linux Kernel Images Proposed Once More

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 16 March 2020 at 09:06 PM EDT. 27 Comments
Going back to at least late 2017 have been proposals for Zstd-compressing the Linux kernel images for the Facebook-developed Zstandard compression algorithm. In 2020 perhaps we will finally see the support mainlined.

The 2017 effort didn't gain traction and in 2018 and 2019 it was re-proposed again for supporting Zstd compression for the kernel image and initramfs.

With Zstd continuing to see widespread adoption in the open-source community and continued investment by Facebook, the kernel support has once again been proposed.

The latest are the patches for supporting Zstd-compressed kernel images and initramfs setups.

"ZSTD compression ratio is roughly 10% worst than xz, but the decompression is 10x faster. Currently, this is one of the optimal algorithms available in the kernel, as there isn't an algorithm, which would provide a better compression ratio and a shorter decompression time," the patch reads.

We'll see if 2020 is the lucky year for a Zstd-compressed Linux kernel. Considering the kernel continues supporting XZ, LZO, and LZ4 compression options, hopefully Zstd will finally land soon.
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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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