Zstd'ing The Kernel Might See Mainline With Linux 5.9 For Faster Boot Times
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 7 July 2020 at 07:15 AM EDT. 21 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
It looks like the long ongoing work for compressing the Linux kernel image with Zstd might finally soon be mainlined, potentially for next month's Linux 5.9 cycle kicking off as the "v6" patches sent out this week were done as a Git pull request.

Nick Terrell of Facebook has been the one herding these Zstd patches for the Linux kernel and trying to get them upstream. Facebook is already using them in production on their many web servers.

Facebook found that using a Zstd compressed kernel image shrunk their x86_64 decompression time from 12 seconds to 3 seconds with formerly using XZ compression. The actual boot time dropped by about two seconds using Zstd over XZ. When testing the Zstd-compressed kernel on their AArch64 servers, Facebook found the decompression time shrunk from 27 seconds to 8 seconds.

As for the compression ratio, the Zstd compressed Linux kernel was smaller than a Gzip'ed kernel but larger than XZ or LZMA. The decompression time with Zstd was faster than anything except for LZ4.

Hopefully these patches will indeed get pulled for the upcoming Linux 5.9 kernel.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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