lz4 man page
lz4 — lz4, unlz4, lz4cat — Compress or decompress .lz4 files
- Compress a file:
- Decompress a file:
lz4 -d file.lz4
- Decompress a file and write to stdout:
lz4 -dc file.lz4
- Package and compress a directory and its contents:
tar cvf - path/to/dir | lz4 - dir.tar.lz4
- Decompress and unpack a directory and its contents:
lz4 -d dir.tar.lz4 | tar -xv
- Compress a file using the best compression:
lz4 -9 file
lz4 [Options] [-|INPUT-FILE] OUTPUT-FILE
unlz4 is equivalent to lz4 -d
lz4cat is equivalent to lz4 -dcfm
When writing scripts that need to decompress files, it is recommended to always use the name lz4 with appropriate arguments (lz4 -d or lz4 -dc) instead of the names unlz4 and lz4cat.
lz4 is an extremely fast lossless compression algorithm, based on byte-aligned LZ77 family of compression scheme. lz4 offers compression speeds of 400 MB/s per core, linearly scalable with multi-core CPUs. It features an extremely fast decoder, with speed in multiple GB/s per core, typically reaching RAM speed limit on multi-core systems. The native file format is the .lz4 format.
Difference between lz4 and gzip
lz4 supports a command line syntax similar but not identical to gzip(1). Differences are :
- lz4 preserves original files
- lz4 compresses a single file by default (see -m for multiple files)
- lz4 file1 file2 means : compress file1 into file2
- lz4 file.lz4 will default to decompression (use -z to force compression)
- lz4 shows real-time notification statistics during compression or decompression of a single file (use -q to silence them)
- If no destination name is provided, result is sent to stdout except if stdout is the console.
- If no destination name is provided, and if stdout is the console, file is compressed into file.lz4.
- As a consequence of previous rules, note the following example : lz4 file | consumer sends compressed data to consumer through stdout, hence it does not create file.lz4.
- Another consequence of those rules is that to run lz4 under nohup, you should provide a destination file: nohup lz4 file file.lz4, because nohup writes the specified command´s output to a file.
Default behaviors can be modified by opt-in commands, detailed below.
- lz4 -m makes it possible to provide multiple input filenames, which will be compressed into files using suffix .lz4. Progress notifications are also disabled by default (use -v to enable them). This mode has a behavior which more closely mimics gzip command line, with the main remaining difference being that source files are preserved by default.
- Similarly, lz4 -m -d can decompress multiple *.lz4 files.
- It´s possible to opt-in to erase source files on successful compression or decompression, using --rm command.
- Consequently, lz4 -m --rm behaves the same as gzip.
Concatenation of .lz4 files
It is possible to concatenate .lz4 files as is. lz4 will decompress such files as if they were a single .lz4 file. For example:
lz4 file1 > foo.lz4 lz4 file2 >> foo.lz4
Then lz4cat foo.lz4 is equivalent to cat file1 file2.
Short commands concatenation
In some cases, some options can be expressed using short command -x or long command --long-word. Short commands can be concatenated together. For example, -d -c is equivalent to -dc. Long commands cannot be concatenated. They must be clearly separated by a space.
When multiple contradictory commands are issued on a same command line, only the latest one will be applied.
- -z --compress
Compress. This is the default operation mode when no operation mode option is specified, no other operation mode is implied from the command name (for example, unlz4 implies --decompress), nor from the input file name (for example, a file extension .lz4 implies --decompress by default). -z can also be used to force compression of an already compressed .lz4 file.
- -d --decompress --uncompress
Decompress. --decompress is also the default operation when the input filename has an .lz4 extension.
- -t --test
Test the integrity of compressed .lz4 files. The decompressed data is discarded. No files are created nor removed.
Benchmark mode, using # compression level.
Compression level, with # being any value from 1 to 16. Higher values trade compression speed for compression ratio. Values above 16 are considered the same as 16. Recommended values are 1 for fast compression (default), and 9 for high compression. Speed/compression trade-off will vary depending on data to compress. Decompression speed remains fast at all settings.
- -f --[no-]force
This option has several effects:
If the target file already exists, overwrite it without prompting.
When used with --decompress and lz4 cannot recognize the type of the source file, copy the source file as is to standard output. This allows lz4cat --force to be used like cat (1) for files that have not been compressed with lz4.
- -c --stdout --to-stdout
Force write to standard output, even if it is the console.
- -m --multiple
Multiple input files. Compressed file names will be appended a .lz4 suffix. This mode also reduces notification level. lz4 -m has a behavior equivalent to gzip -k (it preserves source files by default).
operate recursively on directories. This mode also sets -m (multiple input files).
Block size [4-7](default : 7)
-B4= 64KB ; -B5= 256KB ; -B6= 1MB ; -B7= 4MB
Block Dependency (improves compression ratio on small blocks)
Select frame checksum (default:enabled)
Header includes original size (default:not present)
Note : this option can only be activated when the original size can be determined, hence for a file. It won´t work with unknown source size, such as stdin or pipe.
Sparse mode support (default:enabled on file, disabled on stdout)
Use Legacy format (typically for Linux Kernel compression)
Note : -l is not compatible with -m (--multiple) nor -r
- -v --verbose
- -q --quiet
Suppress warnings and real-time statistics; specify twice to suppress errors too
- -h -H --help
Display help/long help and exit
- -V --version
Display Version number and exit
- -k --keep
Preserve source files (default behavior)
Delete source files on successful compression or decompression
Treat all subsequent arguments as files
Benchmark file(s), using # compression level
Benchmark multiple compression levels, from b# to e# (included)
Minimum evaluation in seconds [1-9] (default : 3)
Report bugs at: https://github.com/lz4/lz4/issues