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Pure Python decompression module for .Z files compressed using Unix compress utility

Project description



Pure Python decompression module for .Z files compressed using Unix compress utility. Unlike the faster but Linux-specific unlzw using Python CFFI, unlzw3 is slower but works on any platform that runs Python including Windows.

This is a purely Python adaptation of Mark Adler's 'unlzw' C function on Stackoverflow. Python can be much slower than using any compiled utility for the same purpose.


unlzw3.unlzw(data) takes LZW .Z compressed data as any type which can be converted to a bytearray (generally a string). It returns a UTF-8 decoded string containing the decompressed data.

import unlzw3
from pathlib import Path

uncompressed_data = unlzw3.unlzw(Path('file.Z').read_bytes())

# or

uncompressed_data = unlzw3.unlzw(Path('file.Z'))


  • reference C code: Mark Adler
  • pure Python implemetation: Brandon Owen
  • modernization, test / CI and PyPi: Michael Hirsch

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