bzdiff – Directly Compare the Differences Between Files in Two .bz2 Archives

The bzdiff command is used to compare files in two .bz2 compressed archives. It is a useful tool for identifying the differences between two compressed files without having to extract them first.


The basic syntax for using bzdiff is:

bzdiff [options] file1.bz2 file2.bz2

For example, to compare two compressed files named file1.bz2 and file2.bz2, the command would be:

bzdiff file1.bz2 file2.bz2

If there are differences between the two files, bzdiff will display the differing lines and their line numbers. If the files are identical, bzdiff will not produce any output.

Use Cases

  • Comparing two versions of a compressed file to see what has changed between them
  • Verifying the integrity of a compressed file by comparing it to a known good version
  • Identifying the differences between two backups of a file or directory


The following table lists the available options for the bzdiff command:

Option Description
-c Output the differing lines in a context format
-h Display help message and exit
-q Quiet mode – only display whether files differ or not
-v Verbose mode – display the number of bytes that differ
-# Set the number of lines of context to display (default is 3)

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If the command does not produce any output, ensure that the two files being compared are not identical
  • If the command produces unexpected output, ensure that the files being compared are in the correct format and that the command syntax is correct
  • If the command produces an error message, check the message for details on the issue and resolve accordingly


  • bzdiff is similar to the diff command, but is specifically designed for comparing compressed files
  • bzdiff can be used in conjunction with other commands, such as grep, to filter the output and display only specific differences between files