From the above benchmarks, is clear that each contender has it specific use case:

  • lz4 and lzop are very good for realtime or near-realtime compression, providing significant space saving at a very high speed
  • gzip, especially in the multithreaded pgiz version, is very good at the general use case: it has both quite good compression ratio and speed
  • vanilla, single-threaded bzip2 does not fare very well: both its compression factor and speed are lower than xz. Only the excellent pbzip2 multithreaded implementation somewhat redeem it
  • xz is the clear winner in the compression ratio, but it is one of the slower programs both at compressing and decompressiong. If your main concern is compression ratio rather than speed (eg: on-line archive download) you can not go wrong with it
  • 7zip basically is a close relative of xz, but it main implementation belong to the windows ecosystem. Under Linux, simply use xz instead of 7-zip.

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