1. Technology
Linux / Unix Command: bzip2
Command Library

NAME

bzip2, bunzip2 - a block-sorting file compressor, v1.0.2
bzcat - decompresses files to stdout
bzip2recover - recovers data from damaged bzip2 files

EXAMPLES

SYNOPSIS

bzip2 [ -cdfkqstvzVL123456789 ] [ filenames ... ]
bunzip2 [ -fkvsVL ] [ filenames ... ]
bzcat [ -s ] [ filenames ... ]
bzip2recover filename

 

DESCRIPTION

bzip2 compresses files using the Burrows-Wheeler block sorting text compression algorithm, and Huffman coding. Compression is generally considerably better than that achieved by more conventional LZ77/LZ78-based compressors, and approaches the performance of the PPM family of statistical compressors.

The command-line options are deliberately very similar to those of GNU gzip, but they are not identical.

bzip2 expects a list of file names to accompany the command-line flags. Each file is replaced by a compressed version of itself, with the name "original_name.bz2". Each compressed file has the same modification date, permissions, and, when possible, ownership as the corresponding original, so that these properties can be correctly restored at decompression time. File name handling is naive in the sense that there is no mechanism for preserving original file names, permissions, ownerships or dates in filesystems which lack these concepts, or have serious file name length restrictions, such as MS-DOS.

bzip2 and bunzip2 will by default not overwrite existing files. If you want this to happen, specify the -f flag.

If no file names are specified, bzip2 compresses from standard input to standard output. In this case, bzip2 will decline to write compressed output to a terminal, as this would be entirely incomprehensible and therefore pointless.

bunzip2 (or bzip2 -d) decompresses all specified files. Files which were not created by bzip2 will be detected and ignored, and a warning issued. bzip2 attempts to guess the filename for the decompressed file from that of the compressed file as follows:


       filename.bz2    becomes   filename
       filename.bz     becomes   filename
       filename.tbz2   becomes   filename.tar
       filename.tbz    becomes   filename.tar
       anyothername    becomes   anyothername.out

If the file does not end in one of the recognised endings, .bz2, .bz, .tbz2 or .tbz, bzip2 complains that it cannot guess the name of the original file, and uses the original name with .out appended.

As with compression, supplying no filenames causes decompression from standard input to standard output.

bunzip2 will correctly decompress a file which is the concatenation of two or more compressed files. The result is the concatenation of the corresponding uncompressed files. Integrity testing (-t) of concatenated compressed files is also supported.

You can also compress or decompress files to the standard output by giving the -c flag. Multiple files may be compressed and decompressed like this. The resulting outputs are fed sequentially to stdout. Compression of multiple files in this manner generates a stream containing multiple compressed file representations. Such a stream can be decompressed correctly only by bzip2 version 0.9.0 or later. Earlier versions of bzip2 will stop after decompressing the first file in the stream.

bzcat (or bzip2 -dc) decompresses all specified files to the standard output.

bzip2 will read arguments from the environment variables BZIP2 and BZIP, in that order, and will process them before any arguments read from the command line. This gives a convenient way to supply default arguments.

Compression is always performed, even if the compressed file is slightly larger than the original. Files of less than about one hundred bytes tend to get larger, since the compression mechanism has a constant overhead in the region of 50 bytes. Random data (including the output of most file compressors) is coded at about 8.05 bits per byte, giving an expansion of around 0.5%.

As a self-check for your protection, bzip2 uses 32-bit CRCs to make sure that the decompressed version of a file is identical to the original. This guards against corruption of the compressed data, and against undetected bugs in bzip2 (hopefully very unlikely). The chances of data corruption going undetected is microscopic, about one chance in four billion for each file processed. Be aware, though, that the check occurs upon decompression, so it can only tell you that something is wrong. It can't help you recover the original uncompressed data. You can use bzip2recover to try to recover data from damaged files.

Return values: 0 for a normal exit, 1 for environmental problems (file not found, invalid flags, I/O errors, &c), 2 to indicate a corrupt compressed file, 3 for an internal consistency error (eg, bug) which caused bzip2 to panic.

 

OPTIONS

-c --stdout
Compress or decompress to standard output.
-d --decompress
Force decompression. bzip2, bunzip2 and bzcat are really the same program, and the decision about what actions to take is done on the basis of which name is used. This flag overrides that mechanism, and forces bzip2 to decompress.
-z --compress
The complement to -d: forces compression, regardless of the invocation name.
-t --test
Check integrity of the specified file(s), but don't decompress them. This really performs a trial decompression and throws away the result.
-f --force
Force overwrite of output files. Normally, bzip2 will not overwrite existing output files. Also forces bzip2 to break hard links to files, which it otherwise wouldn't do.

bzip2 normally declines to decompress files which don't have the correct magic header bytes. If forced (-f), however, it will pass such files through unmodified. This is how GNU gzip behaves.

-k --keep
Keep (don't delete) input files during compression or decompression.
-s --small
Reduce memory usage, for compression, decompression and testing. Files are decompressed and tested using a modified algorithm which only requires 2.5 bytes per block byte. This means any file can be decompressed in 2300k of memory, albeit at about half the normal speed.

During compression, -s selects a block size of 200k, which limits memory use to around the same figure, at the expense of your compression ratio. In short, if your machine is low on memory (8 megabytes or less), use -s for everything. See MEMORY MANAGEMENT below.

-q --quiet
Suppress non-essential warning messages. Messages pertaining to I/O errors and other critical events will not be suppressed.
-v --verbose
Verbose mode -- show the compression ratio for each file processed. Further -v's increase the verbosity level, spewing out lots of information which is primarily of interest for diagnostic purposes.
-L --license -V --version
Display the software version, license terms and conditions.
-1 (or --fast) to -9 (or --best)
Set the block size to 100 k, 200 k .. 900 k when compressing. Has no effect when decompressing. See MEMORY MANAGEMENT below. The --fast and --best aliases are primarily for GNU gzip compatibility. In particular, --fast doesn't make things significantly faster. And --best merely selects the default behaviour.
--
Treats all subsequent arguments as file names, even if they start with a dash. This is so you can handle files with names beginning with a dash, for example: bzip2 -- -myfilename.
--repetitive-fast --repetitive-best
These flags are redundant in versions 0.9.5 and above. They provided some coarse control over the behaviour of the sorting algorithm in earlier versions, which was sometimes useful. 0.9.5 and above have an improved algorithm which renders these flags irrelevant.

 

Important: Use the man command (% man) to see how a command is used on your particular computer.

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