Table of Contents


(“Tape ARchive”, following ar) Unix's general purpose archive utility and the file format it uses. Tar was originally intended for use with magnetic tape but, though it has several command line options related to tape, it is now used more often for packaging files together on other media, e.g. for distribution via the Internet. The resulting archive, a “tar file” (humourously, “tarball”) is often compressed, using gzip or some other form of compression. There is a GNU version of tar with several improvements over the standard versions.

FREESCO specific

tar is default *NOT* available on a 'bare bone' FREESCO box. You will have to install an 'utils' add-on package first!

tar man page

GNU `tar' saves many files together into a single tape or disk archive, and
can restore individual files from the archive.

Usage: tar [OPTION]... [FILE]...

If a long option shows an argument as mandatory, then it is mandatory
for the equivalent short option also.  Similarly for optional arguments.

Main operation mode:
  -t, --list              list the contents of an archive
  -x, --extract, --get    extract files from an archive
  -c, --create            create a new archive
  -d, --diff, --compare   find differences between archive and file system
  -r, --append            append files to the end of an archive
  -u, --update            only append files newer than copy in archive
  -A, --catenate          append tar files to an archive
      --concatenate       same as -A
      --delete            delete from the archive (not on mag tapes!)

Operation modifiers:
  -W, --verify               attempt to verify the archive after writing it
      --remove-files         remove files after adding them to the archive
  -k, --keep-old-files       don't overwrite existing files when extracting
  -U, --unlink-first         remove each file prior to extracting over it
      --recursive-unlink     empty hierarchies prior to extracting directory
  -S, --sparse               handle sparse files efficiently
  -O, --to-stdout            extract files to standard output
  -G, --incremental          handle old GNU-format incremental backup
  -g, --listed-incremental   handle new GNU-format incremental backup
      --ignore-failed-read   do not exit with nonzero on unreadable files

Handling of file attributes:
      --owner=NAME             force NAME as owner for added files
      --group=NAME             force NAME as group for added files
      --mode=CHANGES           force (symbolic) mode CHANGES for added files
      --atime-preserve         don't change access times on dumped files
  -m, --modification-time      don't extract file modified time
      --same-owner             try extracting files with the same ownership
      --numeric-owner          always use numbers for user/group names
  -p, --same-permissions       extract all protection information
      --preserve-permissions   same as -p
  -s, --same-order             sort names to extract to match archive
      --preserve-order         same as -s
      --preserve               same as both -p and -s

Device selection and switching:
  -f, --file=ARCHIVE             use archive file or device ARCHIVE
      --force-local              archive file is local even if has a colon
      --rsh-command=COMMAND      use remote COMMAND instead of rsh
  -[0-7][lmh]                    specify drive and density
  -M, --multi-volume             create/list/extract multi-volume archive
  -L, --tape-length=NUM          change tape after writing NUM x 1024 bytes
  -F, --info-script=FILE         run script at end of each tape (implies -M)
      --new-volume-script=FILE   same as -F FILE
      --volno-file=FILE          use/update the volume number in FILE

Device blocking:
  -b, --blocking-factor=BLOCKS   BLOCKS x 512 bytes per record
      --record-size=SIZE         SIZE bytes per record, multiple of 512
  -i, --ignore-zeros             ignore zeroed blocks in archive (means EOF)
  -B, --read-full-records        reblock as we read (for 4.2BSD pipes)

Archive format selection:
  -V, --label=NAME                   create archive with volume name NAME
              PATTERN                at list/extract time, a globbing PATTERN
  -o, --old-archive, --portability   write a V7 format archive
      --posix                        write a POSIX conformant archive
  -y, --bzip2, --bunzip2             filter the archive through bzip2
  -z, --gzip, --ungzip               filter the archive through gzip
  -Z, --compress, --uncompress       filter the archive through compress
      --use-compress-program=PROG    filter through PROG (must accept -d)

Local file selection:
  -C, --directory=DIR          change to directory DIR
  -T, --files-from=NAME        get names to extract or create from file NAME
      --null                   -T reads null-terminated names, disable -C
      --exclude=PATTERN        exclude files, given as a globbing PATTERN
  -X, --exclude-from=FILE      exclude globbing patterns listed in FILE
  -P, --absolute-names         don't strip leading `/'s from file names
  -h, --dereference            dump instead the files symlinks point to
      --no-recursion           avoid descending automatically in directories
  -l, --one-file-system        stay in local file system when creating archive
  -K, --starting-file=NAME     begin at file NAME in the archive
  -N, --newer=DATE             only store files newer than DATE
      --newer-mtime            compare date and time when data changed only
      --after-date=DATE        same as -N
      --backup[=CONTROL]       backup before removal, choose version control
      --suffix=SUFFIX          backup before removel, override usual suffix

Informative output:
      --help            print this help, then exit
      --version         print tar program version number, then exit
  -v, --verbose         verbosely list files processed
      --checkpoint      print directory names while reading the archive
      --totals          print total bytes written while creating archive
  -R, --block-number    show block number within archive with each message
  -w, --interactive     ask for confirmation for every action
      --confirmation    same as -w

The backup suffix is `~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX.
The version control may be set with --backup or VERSION_CONTROL, values are:

  t, numbered     make numbered backups
  nil, existing   numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise
  never, simple   always make simple backups

GNU tar cannot read nor produce `--posix' archives.  If POSIXLY_CORRECT
is set in the environment, GNU extensions are disallowed with `--posix'.
Support for POSIX is only partially implemented, don't count on it yet.
ARCHIVE may be FILE, HOST:FILE or USER@HOST:FILE; and FILE may be a file
or a device.  *This* `tar' defaults to `-f- -b20'.

Report bugs to <>.
freesco/manuals/commands/tar.txt (73546 views) · Last modified: 2006/02/25 00:40 (external edit)
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