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Bzip2 mini-HOWTO: Introduction Next Previous Contents

1. Introduction

Bzip2 is a groovy new algorithm for compressing data. It generally makes files that are 60-70% of the size of their gzip'd counterparts.

This document will take you through a few common applications for bzip2.

Future versions of the document will have applications of libbzip2, the bzip2 C library which bzip2's author, Julian Seward has kindly written. The bzip2 manual, which includes low-level information about the library, can be found here.

Future versions of the document may also include a summary of the discussion over whether (and how) bzip2 should be used in the Linux kernel.

1.1 Revision History


Changed the Using bzip2 with less section so .tar.bzip2 files can actually be read. Thanks to Nicola Fabiano for the correction.

Updated buzzit utility.

Updated tar information.


Updated the Getting bzip2 binaries section, including adding S.u.S.E.'s.


Corrected a typo and clarified some shell idioms in the section on using bzip2 with tar. Thanks to Alessandro Rubini for these.

Updated the buzzit tool not to stomp on the original bzip2 archive.

Added bgrep, a zgrep-like tool.


Clarified the gcc 2.7.* problem. Thanks to Ulrik Dickow for pointing this out.

Added Leonard Jean-Marc's elegant way to work with tar.

Added Linus √kerlund's Swedish translation.

Fixed the wu-ftpd section per Arnaud Launay's suggestion.

Moved translations to their own section.


Put buzzit and tar.diff in the sgml where they belong. Fixed punctuation and formatting. Thanks to Arnaud Launay for his help correcting my copy. :-)

Dropped xv project for now due to lack of popular interest.

Added teasers for future versions of the document.


Added buzzit utility. Fixed the patch against gnu tar.


Added TenThumbs' Netscape enabler.

Also changed lesspipe.sh per his sugestion. It should work better now.


Added Arnaud Launay's French translation, and his wu-ftpd file.


Added Tetsu Isaji's Japanese translation.


Added Ulrik Dickow's .emacs for 19.30 and higher.

(Also corrected jka-compr.el patch for emacs per his suggestion. Oops! Bzip2's doesn't yet(?) have an "append" flag.)


Changed patch for emacs so it automagically recognizes .bz2 files.


Added patch for emacs.


Round 1.

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