lzma (used by 7-zip) is a compression method that provides a high compression ratio and very fast decompression. By switching from gzip to lzma mirrors can save ~25-30% of their bandwidth costs and we could fit ~40-50% more software on CDs and DVDs


lzma is faster and smaller than bzip2 and gives much better compression ratios than gzip.

debian-500-i386-CD-1.iso (gzip) : 677857280

ar x and lzma -9 : 471043278

%30.5 savings

With lzma we could fit %44 more software on a CD

Some benchmarks:

Ubuntu has a page on switching over:

SUSE uses lzma:

Something all these pages miss is that lzma has many options. The higher memory requirements and slower compression times can be rectified with small drops in compression efficiency. The lzma package seems a little old however and is missing dictionary sizing.

Use Cases


This covers the debs produced for official mirrors in future packages. Old packages and supplementary mirrors can keep using gzip. gzip will continue to be supported into the foreseeable future.


Please give some feedback on this:

lzma home page:


Compress all debs with lzma


Make packages smaller and quicker to download

Scope and Use Cases

gzip can/should remain default for debs that are not to be mass-distributed as gzip has much quicker compression speeds.

Implementation Plan


Outstanding Issues

Not really an outstanding issue but 7zip has special filters for many binary ISAs that can reportedly increase compression by another 5-10% without a speed hit. There is no current support for this outside of p7zip so it is unlikely to get implemented in the foreseeable future.

BoF agenda and discussion