tar in Linux
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The `tar` command, an abbreviation for ´tape archive´, is a powerful command-line utility in Linux that is used for creating and extracting archive files.
tar Command in Linux
Recently, I was going through questions on my Discord server when I stumbled upon an intriguing one related to the
tar command in Linux. It struck me that although this is a fundamental command that has been in use for decades, not everyone might be familiar with it. Hence, I decided to share my notes on this to help demystify this versatile tool.
tar command, an abbreviation for “tape archive”, is a powerful command-line utility in Linux that is used for creating and extracting archive files. Essentially, it allows users to group several files and directories into a single file, aptly known as a ‘tarball’. Originally,
tar was developed in the early days of Unix for tape backup systems, but it’s now universally used for file archiving and compression in various platforms.
tar can do more than just creating and extracting archives. It can preserve file permissions, maintain directory structures, and even integrate with compression utilities like gzip and bzip2 to create compressed archive files.
Different Ways to Use
Creating a Tarball:
To create an archive of a directory, you use the
-c(create) option, followed by
-f(file) to specify the output filename.
tar -cf archive_name.tar directory_name/
Extracting a Tarball:
To extract the contents of a tarball, you use the
-x(extract) option, followed by
-fto specify the archive’s filename.
tar -xf archive_name.tar
Viewing Contents of a Tarball Without Extracting:
You can view the contents of a tarball without actually extracting it by using the
tar -tf archive_name.tar
Compressing a Tarball with gzip:
tarcommand can also integrate with compression utilities. To create a compressed tarball using gzip, you can use the
tar -czf archive_name.tar.gz directory_name/
Compressing a Tarball with bzip2:
Similarly, to create a compressed tarball using bzip2, you can use the
tar -cjf archive_name.tar.bz2 directory_name/
Extracting Compressed Tarballs:
To extract compressed tarballs, you simply include the respective option,
-zfor gzip or
tar -xzf archive_name.tar.gz tar -xjf archive_name.tar.bz2
In conclusion, the
tar command is an indispensable tool for Linux users, providing a wide array of options for archiving and compressing files. Its long history and continuous usage stand as a testament to its efficacy and versatility in handling file archives.