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1 Introduction

Lzip is a lossless data compressor with a user interface similar to the one of gzip or bzip2. Lzip decompresses almost as fast as gzip and compresses more than bzip2, which makes it well suited for software distribution and data archiving. Lzip is a clean implementation of the LZMA algorithm.

The lzip file format is designed for long-term data archiving and provides very safe integrity checking. The member trailer stores the 32-bit CRC of the original data, the size of the original data and the size of the member. These values, together with the value remaining in the range decoder and the end-of-stream marker, provide a 4 factor integrity checking which guarantees that the decompressed version of the data is identical to the original. This guards against corruption of the compressed data, and against undetected bugs in lzip (hopefully very unlikely). The chances of data corruption going undetected are microscopic. 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.

If you ever need to recover data from a damaged lzip file, try the lziprecover program. Lziprecover makes lzip files resistant to bit-flip (one of the most common forms of data corruption), and provides data recovery capabilities, including error-checked merging of damaged copies of a file.

Lzip uses the same well-defined exit status values used by bzip2, which makes it safer than compressors returning ambiguous warning values (like gzip) when it is used as a back end for tar or zutils.

Lzip replaces every file given in the command line with a compressed version of itself, with the name "original_name.lz". 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. Lzip is able to read from some types of non regular files if the ‘--stdout’ option is specified.

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

Lzip 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 of concatenated compressed files is also supported.

Lzip can produce multi-member files and safely recover, with lziprecover, the undamaged members in case of file damage. Lzip can also split the compressed output in volumes of a given size, even when reading from standard input. This allows the direct creation of multivolume compressed tar archives.

Lzip is able to compress and decompress streams of unlimited size by automatically creating multi-member output. The members so created are large, about 64 PiB each.

The amount of memory required for compression is about 1 or 2 times the dictionary size limit (1 if input file size is less than dictionary size limit, else 2) plus 9 times the dictionary size really used. The option ‘-0’ is special and only requires about 1.5 MiB at most. The amount of memory required for decompression is only a few tens of KiB larger than the dictionary size really used.

Lzip will automatically use the smallest possible dictionary size without exceeding the given limit. Keep in mind that the decompression memory requirement is affected at compression time by the choice of dictionary size limit.

When decompressing, lzip attempts to guess the name for the decompressed file from that of the compressed file as follows:

filename.lzbecomesfilename
filename.tlzbecomesfilename.tar
anyothernamebecomesanyothername.out

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