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+XZ data compression in Linux
+ XZ is a general purpose data compression format with high compression
+ ratio and relatively fast decompression. The primary compression
+ algorithm (filter) is LZMA2. Additional filters can be used to improve
+ compression ratio even further. E.g. Branch/Call/Jump (BCJ) filters
+ improve compression ratio of executable data.
+ The XZ decompressor in Linux is called XZ Embedded. It supports
+ the LZMA2 filter and optionally also BCJ filters. CRC32 is supported
+ for integrity checking. The home page of XZ Embedded is at
+ <>, where you can find the
+ latest version and also information about using the code outside
+ the Linux kernel.
+ For userspace, XZ Utils provide a zlib-like compression library
+ and a gzip-like command line tool. XZ Utils can be downloaded from
+ <>.
+XZ related components in the kernel
+ The xz_dec module provides XZ decompressor with single-call (buffer
+ to buffer) and multi-call (stateful) APIs. The usage of the xz_dec
+ module is documented in include/linux/xz.h.
+ The xz_dec_test module is for testing xz_dec. xz_dec_test is not
+ useful unless you are hacking the XZ decompressor. xz_dec_test
+ allocates a char device major dynamically to which one can write
+ .xz files from userspace. The decompressed output is thrown away.
+ Keep an eye on dmesg to see diagnostics printed by xz_dec_test.
+ See the xz_dec_test source code for the details.
+ For decompressing the kernel image, initramfs, and initrd, there
+ is a wrapper function in lib/decompress_unxz.c. Its API is the
+ same as in other decompress_*.c files, which is defined in
+ include/linux/decompress/generic.h.
+ scripts/ is a wrapper for the xz command line tool found
+ from XZ Utils. The wrapper sets compression options to values suitable
+ for compressing the kernel image.
+ For kernel makefiles, two commands are provided for use with
+ $(call if_needed). The kernel image should be compressed with
+ $(call if_needed,xzkern) which will use a BCJ filter and a big LZMA2
+ dictionary. It will also append a four-byte trailer containing the
+ uncompressed size of the file, which is needed by the boot code.
+ Other things should be compressed with $(call if_needed,xzmisc)
+ which will use no BCJ filter and 1 MiB LZMA2 dictionary.
+Notes on compression options
+ Since the XZ Embedded supports only streams with no integrity check or
+ CRC32, make sure that you don't use some other integrity check type
+ when encoding files that are supposed to be decoded by the kernel. With
+ liblzma, you need to use either LZMA_CHECK_NONE or LZMA_CHECK_CRC32
+ when encoding. With the xz command line tool, use --check=none or
+ --check=crc32.
+ Using CRC32 is strongly recommended unless there is some other layer
+ which will verify the integrity of the uncompressed data anyway.
+ Double checking the integrity would probably be waste of CPU cycles.
+ Note that the headers will always have a CRC32 which will be validated
+ by the decoder; you can only change the integrity check type (or
+ disable it) for the actual uncompressed data.
+ In userspace, LZMA2 is typically used with dictionary sizes of several
+ megabytes. The decoder needs to have the dictionary in RAM, thus big
+ dictionaries cannot be used for files that are intended to be decoded
+ by the kernel. 1 MiB is probably the maximum reasonable dictionary
+ size for in-kernel use (maybe more is OK for initramfs). The presets
+ in XZ Utils may not be optimal when creating files for the kernel,
+ so don't hesitate to use custom settings. Example:
+ xz --check=crc32 --lzma2=dict=512KiB inputfile
+ An exception to above dictionary size limitation is when the decoder
+ is used in single-call mode. Decompressing the kernel itself is an
+ example of this situation. In single-call mode, the memory usage
+ doesn't depend on the dictionary size, and it is perfectly fine to
+ use a big dictionary: for maximum compression, the dictionary should
+ be at least as big as the uncompressed data itself.
+Future plans
+ Creating a limited XZ encoder may be considered if people think it is
+ useful. LZMA2 is slower to compress than e.g. Deflate or LZO even at
+ the fastest settings, so it isn't clear if LZMA2 encoder is wanted
+ into the kernel.
+ Support for limited random-access reading is planned for the
+ decompression code. I don't know if it could have any use in the
+ kernel, but I know that it would be useful in some embedded projects
+ outside the Linux kernel.
+Conformance to the .xz file format specification
+ There are a couple of corner cases where things have been simplified
+ at expense of detecting errors as early as possible. These should not
+ matter in practice all, since they don't cause security issues. But
+ it is good to know this if testing the code e.g. with the test files
+ from XZ Utils.
+Reporting bugs
+ Before reporting a bug, please check that it's not fixed already
+ at upstream. See <> to get the
+ latest code.
+ Report bugs to <> or visit #tukaani on
+ Freenode and talk to Larhzu. I don't actively read LKML or other
+ kernel-related mailing lists, so if there's something I should know,
+ you should email to me personally or use IRC.
+ Don't bother Igor Pavlov with questions about the XZ implementation
+ in the kernel or about XZ Utils. While these two implementations
+ include essential code that is directly based on Igor Pavlov's code,
+ these implementations aren't maintained nor supported by him.