Zstandard, or zstd for short, is a new lossless data compression algorithm developed by Facebook. zstd is marketed as a "fast lossless compression algorithm, targeting real-time compression scenarios at zlib-level and better compression ratios."

While the algorithm is designed to be used for real-time compression, Ubuntu developers have been successfully trying to unpack Linux packages faster than with Xz and Gzip through zstd. Based on Canonical's tests using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the algorithm works perfectly with no need for additional use of memory or CPU power.

Through the tests made by the Ubuntu team, zstd seems to have speeds improving by 10% from the original Xz and Gzip tools used by the OS.

"Zstd is a compression algorithm developed by Facebook that offers far higher decompression speeds than xz or even gzip (at roughly constant speed and memory usage across all levels), while offering 19 compression levels ranging from roughly comparable to gzip in size (but much faster) to 19, which is roughly comparable to xz -6:"

This is definitely a promising development in the world of compression, but there's a catch.

Packages compressed with zstd will be 6% heavier than what you could get from algorithms already installed by default on Ubuntu, and large install sizes will be an issue if you're compressing over a poor internet connection. If your bandwidth is more significant than your install time, the algorithm might just end up being slower overall.

Ubuntu developers are expecting to enable zstd as default in Ubuntu 18.10, although they are also considering a feature freeze to include the algorithm for apt and dpkg.

"We are considering requesting a FFe for that - the features are not invasive, and it allows us to turn it on by default in 18.10."

Nevertheless, Canonical has added support for zstd compression to dpkg and apt, but it's just not yet included in the default Ubuntu core packages.

via OMG! Ubuntu