Introducing LZMA and XZ Compression Algorithms

ZMA and XZ. Why? Simply because, you will definitely encounter in the near feature more and more tar.lzma or tar.xz archives, and you will either have no idea what they are and what to do with them, or you will not have the required packages to extract such archives.

Developed since 1998, LZMA (Lempel-Ziv-Markov chain-Algorithm) is a data archiving utility with a high-compression ratio. Yes, that means smaller archives! How small? Well, even if we can’t provide a real benchmark for it, from our experience the outputted archives are two times smaller in some cases, compared with an old tar.gz archive. On the other hand, the XZ compression algorithm is much newer, is based on the Lempel-Ziv/Markov-chain compression method and it is designed to replace the LZMA package. That means, XZ is faster and it produces even smaller archives. But the best part is that it can also read the tar.lzma archives!

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tar.xz archiving in Ubuntu 9.10


It’s a known fact that upcoming Linux operating systems, such as Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) or Fedora 12 (Constantine), will provide the LZMA and XZ compression utilities. However, installing one of them, it will automatically uninstall the other one. Archives such as tar.lzma and tar.xz are making their way onto our Linux section and we strongly suggest to use the newer XZ (xz-utils package in Ubuntu) compression software for your daily archiving tasks.

LZMA and XZ can also be downloaded as source archives from Softpedia, see below for download links. To learn more about the .xz file formats, check out this website.

Download LZMA Utils from Softpedia.

Download XZ Utils from Softpedia.