gzip vs bzip2: Difference and Comparison

A compressed file can utilize less memory space in the computer and even less bandwidth when moving to another location.

The gzip is a free application applied to compress files, and the bzip2 is an open-source compression algorithm.

Both gzip, and bzip2 are good options for compression. The speed of gzip compacting is faster than bzip2.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gzip is a compression tool that is fast and efficient in compressing data, while Bzip2 is slower but provides better compression.
  2. Gzip uses only one CPU core, while Bzip2 can use multiple CPU cores for compression and decompression.
  3. Gzip is more widely used for web applications, while Bzip2 is preferred for data backups and archiving.

 gzip vs bzip2

The difference between gzip and bzip2 is that gzip is a regular file compression for Unix and Linux working systems. It uses the DEFLATE compression algorithm, and gzip is a popular lossless data compression method on the web. bzip2 is a free and open-source file compression application that compresses single files and utilizes the Burrow-Wheeler algorithm.

gzip vs bzip2

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The gzip is a free application utilized to zip and compress files. Gzip reduces the data up to 1/3rd or half the original size.

Decompression is 3 times fast. It stands for GNU zip and has a file size limitation of 4 GB. All modern browsers, web servers, and 75% of websites support gzip.

The bzip2 file extension is a BZ2 file extension. The BZ2 is popular as it supports non-com precision files (like TAR files). The bzip2 is an open-source compression algorithm that makes it possible to retrieve data from a compressed file.

It is compatible with Windows operating systems from Windows 95 onwards and most Unix operating systems. The bzip2 does not have GUI (graphical user interface). Some GUI archiving tools handle bzip2 compression and decompression.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparisongzipbzip2
AlgorithmThe algorithm of gzip is DEFLATE.The algorithm of bzip2 is BURROW-WHEELER.
File extensionThe file extension of gzip is .gz.The file extension of bzip2 is .bz2.
Utility providedIt provides gunzip utility.It provides bunzip2.
ApplicationIt is a free application.It is an open-source algorithm.
UtilityIt can compress folders in smaller ratios.It has a higher compression ratio compared to gzip.

What is gzip?

The gzip authors are Jean-loup Gaily, Mark Adler, and a GNU project. It got released in the year 1992 and got written in C language. The data compression is compatible with Unix-like Plan 9 and Inferno.

GNU zip (gzip) is a software application to compress files. DEFLATE is the algorithm on which gzip is based. The gzip is popular on Unix and Unix-like operating systems to compress HTTP content.

The gzip format is recommended over Zlib as Internet Explorer does not handle Zlib as a specified file.

It is a popular lossless data compression method on the web. It reduces the size of the HTML pages, stylesheet, scripts, and gzip, a file extension (.gz).

The gzip is faster than the zip option while compressing and decompressing. Zip archives and compresses the file. The gzip needs the Tar command to archive files. The gzip saves more disk space than the zip compression. 

The gzip is popular and gets utilized by web servers and browsers. It gets used for seamlessly compressing or decompressing the content, and it is applied to code and text files and can reduce the files by up to 90%.

As gzip saves the bandwidth, it saves money. The website function faster, but it takes slightly longer to un-gzip. But comparatively faster as fewer data has to get downloaded.

What is bzip2?

The bzip2 is a free and open-source compression program, which implies anyone is licensed to use, copy or change the software. The source code is shared publicly, and people are encouraged to improvise the design of the software. 

It is a compression program using the Burrows-Wheeler algorithm called block-sorting compression. It rearranges the character string into similar characters, and this makes it easy to compress.

A single file gets compressed and not a file archiver. It implies that many files cannot get shrunk together.

The bzip2 developed by Julian Seward gets maintained by Mark Wielaard and Micah Snyder. The initial release date was 18th July 1996, and a stable release was on 13th July 2019. 

There are no file format specifications for bzip2, but an informal specification has to get mentioned for reference purposes.

The compressed bzip2 can get independently decompressed in parallel. It makes it a better format for big data applications. 

The bzip2 constricts facts in chunks of proportions between 100 and 900 KB and operates Burrow-Wheeler modification to change reoccurring codes into strings. The bzip2 performance is asymmetric as decompression is relatively fast.

The pbzip2 was created in 2003, keeping in mind the enormous CPU time required to compress the files. The bzip2 is only a data compressor. It is not an archiver like tar or ZIP files. 

Main Differences Between Gzip and Bzip2

  1. The gzip uses the DEFLATE algorithm to zip the files. The bzip2 uses the Burrow-Wheeler block sorting algorithm to zip the files.
  2. The compressed file extension is .gz in gzip command. The zipped file extension is .bz2 in the bzip2 order.
  3. The gzip compresses files at a higher speed as compared to bzip2. The compression ratio is high in comparison to gzip.
  4. The gzip is a free application to compress files. The bzip2 is an open-source data compression algorithm.
  5. The gzip provides a utility gunzip for decompression. The bzip2 provides a utility bunzip2 for decompression.
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/917147/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8096300/

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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