Bzip2 To See Revival Under New Maintainership, Experimental Porting To Rust
Written by Michael Larabel in Programming on 5 June 2019 at 09:37 AM EDT. 63 Comments
While Bzip2 compression is still widely used by Linux systems, it hasn't seen an official update since 2010 and has rather stagnated as different Linux distributions have resorted to carrying their own patches and other maintenance work on this long used data compression tool. But now there is a new maintainer looking to take Bzip2 into the next decade.

Bzip2 maintainership has been passed on from original founder Julian Seward to now being maintained by open-source developer Federico Mena-Quintero.

Federico Mena-Quintero is working on cleaning up Bzip2 and establishing a Git repository for it as it hadn't even been under a formal source control repository until now and also no bug tracker. Most Linux distributions are carrying different security patches and other updates that he'll be working to gradually mainline.

Also on the horizon is cleaning up the Autotools build system and establishing a continuous integration (CI) pipeline for building the code and basic testing.

Federico had already been experimenting in implementing Bzip2 in the Rust programming language bit-by-bit, similar to the gradual transition of GNOME's librsvg library into Rust. The Bzip2 Rust port will be gradual while maintaining the public API/ABI at all costs. For now that "Rust-ification" of Bzip2 is being done in a separate branch until the Autotools updates have settled.

A bzip2 1.0.7 release is expected soon. More details on Federico's blog.
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