bz2 is a file extension commonly found on UNIX-based operating systems, and used to indicate a file that has been compressed with bzip2 , it was born as an open source compression algorithm originally published in 1996 by its developer Julian Seward .


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  • 1 Operation
  • 2 Storage
  • 3 Compatibility
  • 4 Source


Like most data compression algorithms developed primarily for use on UNIX-based operating systems, bzip2 does not contain any archiving mechanisms and can only be used to compress individual files. Instead, a utility file such as tar will be used to create a file from a file and folder structure before a utility like gzip or bzip2 is used to compress it. These are known as compressed files, and are similar in nature to .ZIP or .RAR files in Windows.

.Bz2 files contain a higher level of compression than other file formats such as GZIP , which is achieved using a number of different compression techniques including Run Length Coding (RLE), Burrows-Wheeler and Huffman transformation , the last of the which is also used to compress the data in MP3 and JPEG files. These processes are stacked on top of each other to improve data compression with 10% to 15% of the highest possible timeliness, and are performed in a specific order to create bz2 compressed files. Unzipping a file simply involves running the processes on the stack in reverse order. The high compression ratio of bz2 files means that they are small, but can be slow to create, although decompression is relatively fast making it ideal for file distribution, especially across networks.


.Bz2 can store data files of any type, and it is not possible to know the content of a compressed file without extracting it. Applications and files, especially for the UNIX or Linux platform, are often distributed over the web in bz2 format. However, bz2 files should be opened with caution, as although the contents of the extraction cannot be run, they may contain malicious programs, such as an infected file or the application.


.Bz2 files can be opened on UNIX and Linux using bzip2 from the command interpreter. Bz2 files can also be opened in Windows using an application like WinRAR , WinZip , Stuffit Bzip2 , the latter is also available on Mac.


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