It’s great to see parallel versions of core system utilities like gzip and bzip2 popping up. In particular, pigz (pronounced pig-zee) is a drop-in replacement for gzip and lbzip2 and pbzip2 are drop-in replacements for bzip2.
An easy way to use them by default in Linux without messing with the
/bin tree is to create symbolic links in
ln -s /usr/bin/lbzip2 /usr/local/bin/bzip2 ln -s /usr/bin/lbzip2 /usr/local/bin/bunzip2 ln -s /usr/bin/lbzip2 /usr/local/bin/bzcat ln -s /usr/bin/pigz /usr/local/bin/gzip ln -s /usr/bin/pigz /usr/local/bin/gunzip ln -s /usr/bin/pigz /usr/local/bin/zcat
As for Debian-Linux-specific instructions, there are packages for all three of these tools:
sudo apt-get install pigz lbzip2 pbzip2
Clearly, these should be made to work with the Debian alternatives system, but that hasn’t happened yet. So, for now it seems the symbolic links above are probably the best bet.
Update 2012–01–27: Laszlo Ersek pointed out that there is a simple
way to use symlinks in
/usr/bin, where many other scripts and
programs will expect
bzip2 to live, without causing
problems with the Debian package manager. Specifically,
can be used, for example, to relocate
/bin/bzip2.distrib. Then the
/bin/bzip2 symlink will be left
untouched during upgrades, during which the relocated binary will be
updated instead. For more details, Debian Administration has a useful
article called “Replacing binaries with dpkg-divert”.