Compressing distribution tarballs for release with xz

Joshua Saddler nightmorph at
Mon Aug 9 15:49:25 CEST 2010

On Mon, 09 Aug 2010 15:16:43 +0200
Yves-Alexis Perez <corsac at> wrote:

> On lun., 2010-08-09 at 14:09 +0200, Nick Schermer wrote:
> > That doesn't really matter I think, my whole point is: are our
> > packages large enough to get a *real* benefit from xz, because not
> > much is downloaded from the Xfce servers (ie. compared to
> > distributions, who really benefit from xz compression). 
> TBH, when Xfce only provided .bz2 files and Debian didn't accept them,
> we retarballized everything in .tar.gz. Now that dpkg/dak and the whole
> Debian infrastructure accepts .bz2, we're fine with that, but it won't
> accept .orig.tar.xz right now, so we'll have to repackage that.
> Ubuntu had the same problem with Launchpad, I think it accepts bz2 now,
> not sure about xz. Not sure either for Red Hat/Fedora, Suse etc.
> Basically I think it's still a bit soon for distros, so they shouldn't
> be the main argument for changing, at least.

We don't have a problem with xz archives in Gentoo. We mirror most things on our infrastructure anyway, license permitting, and space is not really a problem for our distfiles, though smaller is always nicer from a bandwidth and storage point of view.

What about decompression times for end users? Are the differences between xz and bz2 negligable? Source-based distros do think about which formats are more computationally intensive when decompressing tarballs. When a user installs Xfce from scratch, downloading and unpacking times add up.
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