File compression is an integral part of system administration. Finding the best compression method requires significant determination. Luckily, there are many robust compression tools for Linux that make backing up system data easier. Here, we present ten of the best Linux compression tools that can be useful to enterprises and users in this regard.
LZ4 is the compression tool of choice for admins who need lightning-fast compression and decompression speed. It utilizes the LZ4 lossless algorithm, which belongs to the family of LZ77 byte-oriented compression algorithms. Moreover, LZ4 comes coupled with a high-speed decoder, making it one of the best Linux compression tools for enterprises.
Zstandard is another fast compression tool for Linux that can be used for personal and enterprise projects. It’s backed by Facebook and offers excellent compression ratios. Some of its most compelling features include the adaptive mode, which can control compression ratios based on I/O, the ability to trade speed for better compression, and the dictionary compression scheme. Zstandard also has a rich API with keybindings for all major programming languages.
lzop is a robust compression tool that utilizes the Lempel-Ziv-Oberhumer(LZO) compression algorithm. It provides breakneck compression speed by trading compression ratios. For example, it produces slightly larger files compared to gzip but requires only 10 percenr CPU runtime. Moreover, lzop can deal with system backups in multiple ways, including backup mode, single file mode, archive mode, and pipe mode.
Gzip is certainly one of the most widely used compression tools for Linux admins. It is compatible with every GNU software, making it the perfect compression tool for remote engineers. Gzip leverages the Lempel-Ziv coding in deflate mode for file compression. It can reduce the size of source codes by up to 90 percent. Overall, this is an excellent choice for seasoned Linux users as well as software developers.
bzip2, a free compression tool for Linux, compresses files using the Burrows-Wheeler block-sorting compression algorithm and Huffman coding. It also supports several additional compression methods, such as run-length encoding, delta encoding, sparse bit array, and Huffman tables. It can also recover data from media drives in some cases. Overall, bzip2 is a suitable compression tool for everyday usage due to its robust compression abilities and fast decompression speed.
p7zip is the port of 7-zip’s command-line utility. It is a high-performance archiving tool with solid compression ratios and support for many popular formats, including tar, xz, gzip, bzip2, and zip. It uses the 7z format by default, which provides 30 to 50 percent better compression than standard zip compression. Moreover, you can use this tool for creating self-extracting and dynamically-sized volume archives.
pigz or parallel implementation of gzip is a reliable replacement for the gzip compression tool. It leverages multiple CPU cores to increase the compression speed dramatically. It utilizes the zlib and pthread libraries for implementing the multi-threading compression process. However, pigz can’t decompress archives in parallel. Hence, you will not be able to get similar speeds during compression and decompression.
pixz is a parallel implementation of the XZ compressor with support for data indexing. Instead of producing one big block of compressed data like xz, it creates a set of smaller blocks. This makes randomly accessing the original data straightforward. Moreover, pixz also makes sure that the file permissions are preserved the way they were during compression and decompression.
plzip is a lossless data compressor tool that makes creative use of the multi-threading capabilities supported by modern CPUs. It is built on top of the lzlib library and provides a command-line interface similar to gzip and bzip2. One key benefit of plzip is its ability to fully leverage multiprocessor machines. plzip definitely warrants a try for admins who need a high-performance Linux compression tool to support parallel compression.
10. XZ Utils
XZ Utils is a suite of compression tools for Linux that can compress and decompress .xz and .lzma files. It primarily uses the LZMA2 algorithm for compression and can perform integrity checks of compressed data at ease. Since this tool is available to popular Linux distributions by default, it can be a viable choice for compression in many situations.
A plethora of reliable Linux compression tools makes it easy to archive and back up essential data. You can choose from many lossless compressors with high compression ratios such as LZ4, lzop, and bzip2. On the other hand, tools like Zstandard and plzip allow for more advanced compression workflows.