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Re: [bug-ed] Suggestions

From: Antonio Diaz Diaz
Subject: Re: [bug-ed] Suggestions
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2020 02:06:46 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i586; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110420 SeaMonkey/2.0.14

Dear Issam,

Issam E. Maghni wrote:
I am not asking about replacing lzip, but simply to add gzip. In
practice, people tend to use their format of choice (xz, bzip2 or lzip)
in addition to gzip for tarball distribution. Gzip is universally
accepted and widely used. You can use pigz and libzopfli to improve
compression and decompression like I do. You can also print a message in
the website for people to choose lzip over gzip if possible. I'm
currently trying to bootstrap a Linux distro, and I don't want to add a
dependency (lzip) just to extract GNU ed. I will soon ask findutils and
diffutils maintainers to add gzip to their next releases since they are
the last two packages in my bootstrapping process of unix tools that does
not offer gzip (beyond GNU ed).

I'm having difficulties to understand why you are trying to draw several GNU packages towards the past. Gzip is obsolete. In its time it was a big advance, but nowadays the limitations of both the deflate algorithm and the gzip format are evident. The fact that it is widely used is no more relevant that the fact that horse-drawn carriages were widely used in 1900. They were being replaced by more convenient means of transport, much like gzip is being replaced by formats capable of higher compression ratios and better adapted to large files and multiprocessor machines. If a GNU package has stopped distributing gzipped tarballs, I see no reason to ask its maintainer to distribute them again unless that specific package should keep backward compatibility with some existing use.

About using pigz, gzip files can't be decompressed in parallel[1]. Compressed tar archives created with tar+compressor can't be decoded in parallel[2]. I would not use those formats except for backward compatibility. I abandoned bzip2 for source tarballs years ago. The only packages for which I distribute gzipped tarballs are the lzip (de)compressors, and just to ease their first installation in machines lacking lzip support. If you want to bootstrap a GNU/Linux distro so tiny that it lacks lzip support, I think it is your responsibility to provide the legacy tar.gz tarballs (or any other format you wish) required by your project.

[1] http://zlib.net/pigz/
"exploits multiple processors and multiple cores to the hilt when compressing data".

[2] http://www.nongnu.org/lzip/manual/tarlz_manual.html#Multi_002dthreaded-decoding

Best regards,

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