GNU tar: an archiver tool

FTP release, version 1.12, 24 April 1997

Melissa Weisshaus, Jay Fenlason,
Thomas Bushnell, n/BSG, Amy Gorin


Clustering many options, the last of which has an argument, is a rather opaque way to write options. Some wonder if GNU getopt should not even be made helpful enough for considering such usages as invalid.


Beware that if you precede options with a dash, you are announcing the short option style instead of the old option style; short options are decoded differently.


Before GNU tar version 1.11.6, a bug prevented intermixing old style options with mnemonic options in some cases.


There are plans to merge the cpio and tar packages into a single one which would be called paxutils. So, who knows if, one of this days, the --version would not yield `tar (GNU paxutils) 3.2'


This is well described in Unix-haters Handbook, by Simson Garfinkel, Daniel Weise & Steven Strassmann, IDG Books, ISBN 1-56884-203-1.


Well! We should say the whole truth, here. When --sparse (-S) is selected while creating an archive, the current tar algorithm requires sparse files to be read twice, not once. We hope to develop a new archive format for saving sparse files in which one pass will be sufficient.


Previous versions of tar used full regular expression matching, or before that, only exact string matching, instead of wildcard matchers. We decided for the sake of simplicity to use a uniform matching device through tar.

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