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     tar - manipulate tape archives


     tar [bundled-flags 〈args〉] [〈file〉 | 〈pattern〉 ...]
     tar {-c} [options] [files | directories]
     tar {-r | -u} -f archive-file [options] [files | directories]
     tar {-t | -x} [options] [patterns]


     tar creates and manipulates streaming archive files.  This implementation
     can extract from tar, pax, cpio, zip, jar, ar, and ISO 9660 cdrom images
     and can create tar, pax, cpio, ar, and shar archives.

     The first synopsis form shows a “bundled” option word.  This usage is
     provided for compatibility with historical implementations.  See
     COMPATIBILITY below for details.

     The other synopsis forms show the preferred usage.  The first option to
     tar is a mode indicator from the following list:
     -c      Create a new archive containing the specified items.
     -r      Like -c, but new entries are appended to the archive.  Note that
             this only works on uncompressed archives stored in regular files.
             The -f option is required.
     -t      List archive contents to stdout.
     -u      Like -r, but new entries are added only if they have a
             modification date newer than the corresponding entry in the
             archive.  Note that this only works on uncompressed archives
             stored in regular files.  The -f option is required.
     -x      Extract to disk from the archive.  If a file with the same name
             appears more than once in the archive, each copy will be
             extracted, with later copies overwriting (replacing) earlier

     In -c, -r, or -u mode, each specified file or directory is added to the
     archive in the order specified on the command line.  By default, the
     contents of each directory are also archived.

     In extract or list mode, the entire command line is read and parsed
     before the archive is opened.  The pathnames or patterns on the command
     line indicate which items in the archive should be processed.  Patterns
     are shell-style globbing patterns as documented in tcsh(1).


     Unless specifically stated otherwise, options are applicable in all
     operating modes.

             (c and r mode only) The specified archive is opened and the
             entries in it will be appended to the current archive.  As a
             simple example,
                   tar -c -f - newfile @original.tar
             writes a new archive to standard output containing a file newfile
             and all of the entries from original.tar.  In contrast,
                   tar -c -f - newfile original.tar
             creates a new archive with only two entries.  Similarly,
                   tar -czf - --format pax @-
             reads an archive from standard input (whose format will be
             determined automatically) and converts it into a gzip-compressed
             pax-format archive on stdout.  In this way, tar can be used to
             convert archives from one format to another.

     -b blocksize
             Specify the block size, in 512-byte records, for tape drive I/O.
             As a rule, this argument is only needed when reading from or
             writing to tape drives, and usually not even then as the default
             block size of 20 records (10240 bytes) is very common.

     -C directory
             In c and r mode, this changes the directory before adding the
             following files.  In x mode, change directories after opening the
             archive but before extracting entries from the archive.

             (c and r modes only) Issue a warning message unless all links to
             each file are archived.

             (x mode only) chroot() to the current directory after processing
             any -C options and before extracting any files.

     --exclude pattern
             Do not process files or directories that match the specified
             pattern.  Note that exclusions take precedence over patterns or
             filenames specified on the command line.

     --format format
             (c, r, u mode only) Use the specified format for the created
             archive.  Supported formats include “cpio”, “pax”, “shar”, and
             “ustar”.  Other formats may also be supported; see
             libarchive-formats(5) for more information about currently-
             supported formats.  In r and u modes, when extending an existing
             archive, the format specified here must be compatible with the
             format of the existing archive on disk.

     -f file
             Read the archive from or write the archive to the specified file.
             The filename can be - for standard input or standard output.  If
             not specified, the default tape device will be used.  (On
             FreeBSD, the default tape device is /dev/sa0.)

     -H      (c and r mode only) Symbolic links named on the command line will
             be followed; the target of the link will be archived, not the
             link itself.

     -h      (c and r mode only) Synonym for -L.

     -I      Synonym for -T.

     --include pattern
             Process only files or directories that match the specified
             pattern.  Note that exclusions specified with --exclude take
             precedence over inclusions.  If no inclusions are explicitly
             specified, all entries are processed by default.  The --include
             option is especially useful when filtering archives.  For
             example, the command
                   tar -c -f new.tar --include=*foo*@old.tgz
             creates a new archive new.tar containing only the entries from
             old.tgz containing the string ‘foo’.

     -j      (c mode only) Compress the resulting archive with bzip2(1).  In
             extract or list modes, this option is ignored.  Note that, unlike
             other tar implementations, this implementation recognizes bzip2
             compression automatically when reading archives.

     -k      (x mode only) Do not overwrite existing files.  In particular, if
             a file appears more than once in an archive, later copies will
             not overwrite earlier copies.

             (x mode only) Do not overwrite existing files that are newer than
             the versions appearing in the archive being extracted.

     -L      (c and r mode only) All symbolic links will be followed.
             Normally, symbolic links are archived as such.  With this option,
             the target of the link will be archived instead.

     -l      This is a synonym for the --check-links option.

     -m      (x mode only) Do not extract modification time.  By default, the
             modification time is set to the time stored in the archive.

     -n      (c, r, u modes only) Do not recursively archive the contents of

     --newer date
             (c, r, u modes only) Only include files and directories newer
             than the specified date.  This compares ctime entries.

     --newer-mtime date
             (c, r, u modes only) Like --newer, except it compares mtime
             entries instead of ctime entries.

     --newer-than file
             (c, r, u modes only) Only include files and directories newer
             than the specified file.  This compares ctime entries.

     --newer-mtime-than file
             (c, r, u modes only) Like --newer-than, except it compares mtime
             entries instead of ctime entries.

             (c and r modes only) Honor the nodump file flag by skipping this

     --null  (use with -I, -T, or -X) Filenames or patterns are separated by
             null characters, not by newlines.  This is often used to read
             filenames output by the -print0 option to find(1).

             (x mode only) Ignore symbolic user and group names when restoring
             archives to disk, only numeric uid and gid values will be obeyed.

     -O      (x, t modes only) In extract (-x) mode, files will be written to
             standard out rather than being extracted to disk.  In list (-t)
             mode, the file listing will be written to stderr rather than the
             usual stdout.

     -o      (x mode) Use the user and group of the user running the program
             rather than those specified in the archive.  Note that this has
             no significance unless -p is specified, and the program is being
             run by the root user.  In this case, the file modes and flags
             from the archive will be restored, but ACLs or owner information
             in the archive will be discarded.

     -o      (c, r, u mode) A synonym for --format ustar

             (c, r, and u modes) Do not cross mount points.

     --options options
             Select optional behaviors for particular modules.  The argument
             is a text string containing comma-separated keywords and values.
             These are passed to the modules that handle particular formats to
             control how those formats will behave.  Each option has one of
             the following forms:
                     The key will be set to the specified value in every
                     module that supports it.  Modules that do not support
                     this key will ignore it.
             key     The key will be enabled in every module that supports it.
                     This is equivalent to key=1.
             !key    The key will be disabled in every module that supports
             module:key=value, module:key, module:!key
                     As above, but the corresponding key and value will be
                     provided only to modules whose name matches module.
             The currently supported modules and keys are:
                     Support Joliet extensions.  This is enabled by default,
                     use !joliet or iso9660:!joliet to disable.
                     Support Rock Ridge extensions.  This is enabled by
                     default, use !rockridge or iso9660:!rockridge to disable.
                     A decimal integer from 0 to 9 specifying the gzip
                     compression level.
                     A decimal integer from 0 to 9 specifying the xz
                     compression level.
                     The mtree writer module allows you to specify which mtree
                     keywords will be included in the output.  Supported
                     keywords include: cksum, device, flags, gid, gname,
                     indent, link, md5, mode, nlink, rmd160, sha1, sha256,
                     sha384, sha512, size, time, uid, uname.  The default is
                     equivalent to: “device, flags, gid, gname, link, mode,
                     nlink, size, time, type, uid, uname”.
                     Enables all of the above keywords.  You can also use
                     mtree:!all to disable all keywords.
                     Enable generation of /set lines in the output.
                     Produce human-readable output by indenting options and
                     splitting lines to fit into 80 columns.
                     Use type as compression method.  Supported values are
                     store (uncompressed) and deflate (gzip algorithm).
             If a provided option is not supported by any module, that is a
             fatal error.

     -P      Preserve pathnames.  By default, absolute pathnames (those that
             begin with a / character) have the leading slash removed both
             when creating archives and extracting from them.  Also, tar will
             refuse to extract archive entries whose pathnames contain .. or
             whose target directory would be altered by a symlink.  This
             option suppresses these behaviors.

     -p      (x mode only) Preserve file permissions.  Attempt to restore the
             full permissions, including owner, file modes, file flags and
             ACLs, if available, for each item extracted from the archive.  By
             default, newly-created files are owned by the user running tar,
             the file mode is restored for newly-created regular files, and
             all other types of entries receive default permissions.  If tar
             is being run by root, the default is to restore the owner unless
             the -o option is also specified.

     -q (--fast-read)
             (x and t mode only) Extract or list only the first archive entry
             that matches each pattern or filename operand.  Exit as soon as
             each specified pattern or filename has been matched.  By default,
             the archive is always read to the very end, since there can be
             multiple entries with the same name and, by convention, later
             entries overwrite earlier entries.  This option is provided as a
             performance optimization.

     -S      (x mode only) Extract files as sparse files.  For every block on
             disk, check first if it contains only NULL bytes and seek over it
             otherwise.  This works similiar to the conv=sparse option of dd.

     --strip-components count
             (x mode only) Remove the specified number of leading path
             elements.  Pathnames with fewer elements will be silently
             skipped.  Note that the pathname is edited after checking
             inclusion/exclusion patterns but before security checks.

     -s pattern
             Modify file or archive member names according to pattern.  The
             pattern has the format /old/new/[gps] where old is a basic
             regular expression, new is the replacement string of the matched
             part, and the optional trailing letters modify how the
             replacement is handled.  If old is not matched, the pattern is
             skipped.  Within new, ~ is substituted with the match, \1 to \9
             with the content of the corresponding captured group.  The
             optional trailing g specifies that matching should continue after
             the matched part and stopped on the first unmatched pattern.  The
             optional trailing s specifies that the pattern applies to the
             value of symbolic links.  The optional trailing p specifies that
             after a successful substitution the original path name and the
             new path name should be printed to standard error.

     -T filename
             In x or t mode, tar will read the list of names to be extracted
             from filename.  In c mode, tar will read names to be archived
             from filename.  The special name “-C” on a line by itself will
             cause the current directory to be changed to the directory
             specified on the following line.  Names are terminated by
             newlines unless --null is specified.  Note that --null also
             disables the special handling of lines containing “-C”.

     -U      (x mode only) Unlink files before creating them.  Without this
             option, tar overwrites existing files, which preserves existing
             hardlinks.  With this option, existing hardlinks will be broken,
             as will any symlink that would affect the location of an
             extracted file.

     --use-compress-program program
             Pipe the input (in x or t mode) or the output (in c mode) through
             program instead of using the builtin compression support.

     -v      Produce verbose output.  In create and extract modes, tar will
             list each file name as it is read from or written to the archive.
             In list mode, tar will produce output similar to that of ls(1).
             Additional -v options will provide additional detail.

             Print version of tar and libarchive, and exit.

     -w      Ask for confirmation for every action.

     -X filename
             Read a list of exclusion patterns from the specified file.  See
             --exclude for more information about the handling of exclusions.

     -y      (c mode only) Compress the resulting archive with bzip2(1).  In
             extract or list modes, this option is ignored.  Note that, unlike
             other tar implementations, this implementation recognizes bzip2
             compression automatically when reading archives.

     -z      (c mode only) Compress the resulting archive with gzip(1).  In
             extract or list modes, this option is ignored.  Note that, unlike
             other tar implementations, this implementation recognizes gzip
             compression automatically when reading archives.

     -Z      (c mode only) Compress the resulting archive with compress(1).
             In extract or list modes, this option is ignored.  Note that,
             unlike other tar implementations, this implementation recognizes
             compress compression automatically when reading archives.


     The tar utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


     The following environment variables affect the execution of tar:

     LANG       The locale to use.  See environ(7) for more information.

     TAPE       The default tape device.  The -f option overrides this.

     TZ         The timezone to use when displaying dates.  See environ(7) for
                more information.


     /dev/sa0   The default tape device, if not overridden by the TAPE
                environment variable or the -f option.


     The following creates a new archive called file.tar.gz that contains two
     files source.c and source.h:
           tar -czf file.tar.gz source.c source.h

     To view a detailed table of contents for this archive:
           tar -tvf file.tar.gz

     To extract all entries from the archive on the default tape drive:
           tar -x

     To examine the contents of an ISO 9660 cdrom image:
           tar -tf image.iso

     To move file hierarchies, invoke tar as
           tar -cf - -C srcdir . | tar -xpf - -C destdir
     or more traditionally
           cd srcdir ; tar -cf - . | (cd destdir ; tar -xpf -)

     In create mode, the list of files and directories to be archived can also
     include directory change instructions of the form -Cfoo/baz and archive
     inclusions of the form @archive-file.  For example, the command line
           tar -c -f new.tar foo1 @old.tgz -C/tmp foo2
     will create a new archive new.tar.  tar will read the file foo1 from the
     current directory and add it to the output archive.  It will then read
     each entry from old.tgz and add those entries to the output archive.
     Finally, it will switch to the /tmp directory and add foo2 to the output

     An input file in mtree(5) format can be used to create an output archive
     with arbitrary ownership, permissions, or names that differ from existing
     data on disk:

           $ cat input.mtree
           usr/bin uid=0 gid=0 mode=0755 type=dir
           usr/bin/ls uid=0 gid=0 mode=0755 type=file content=myls
           $ tar -cvf output.tar @input.mtree

     The --newer and --newer-mtime switches accept a variety of common date
     and time specifications, including “12 Mar 2005 7:14:29pm”, “2005-03-12
     19:14”, “5 minutes ago”, and “19:14 PST May 1”.

     The --options argument can be used to control various details of archive
     generation or reading.  For example, you can generate mtree output which
     only contains type, time, and uid keywords:
           tar -cf file.tar --format=mtree --options=!all,type,time,uiddir
     or you can set the compression level used by gzip or xz compression:
           tar -czf file.tar --options=compression-level=9’.
     For more details, see the explanation of the archive_read_set_options()
     and archive_write_set_options() API calls that are described in
     archive_read(3) and archive_write(3).


     The bundled-arguments format is supported for compatibility with historic
     implementations.  It consists of an initial word (with no leading -
     character) in which each character indicates an option.  Arguments follow
     as separate words.  The order of the arguments must match the order of
     the corresponding characters in the bundled command word.  For example,
           tar tbf 32 file.tar
     specifies three flags t, b, and f.  The b and f flags both require
     arguments, so there must be two additional items on the command line.
     The 32 is the argument to the b flag, and file.tar is the argument to the
     f flag.

     The mode options c, r, t, u, and x and the options b, f, l, m, o, v, and
     w comply with SUSv2.

     For maximum portability, scripts that invoke tar should use the bundled-
     argument format above, should limit themselves to the c, t, and x modes,
     and the b, f, m, v, and w options.

     Additional long options are provided to improve compatibility with other
     tar implementations.


     Certain security issues are common to many archiving programs, including
     tar.  In particular, carefully-crafted archives can request that tar
     extract files to locations outside of the target directory.  This can
     potentially be used to cause unwitting users to overwrite files they did
     not intend to overwrite.  If the archive is being extracted by the
     superuser, any file on the system can potentially be overwritten.  There
     are three ways this can happen.  Although tar has mechanisms to protect
     against each one, savvy users should be aware of the implications:

     ·       Archive entries can have absolute pathnames.  By default, tar
             removes the leading / character from filenames before restoring
             them to guard against this problem.

     ·       Archive entries can have pathnames that include .. components.
             By default, tar will not extract files containing .. components
             in their pathname.

     ·       Archive entries can exploit symbolic links to restore files to
             other directories.  An archive can restore a symbolic link to
             another directory, then use that link to restore a file into that
             directory.  To guard against this, tar checks each extracted path
             for symlinks.  If the final path element is a symlink, it will be
             removed and replaced with the archive entry.  If -U is specified,
             any intermediate symlink will also be unconditionally removed.
             If neither -U nor -P is specified, tar will refuse to extract the
     To protect yourself, you should be wary of any archives that come from
     untrusted sources.  You should examine the contents of an archive with
           tar -tf filename
     before extraction.  You should use the -k option to ensure that tar will
     not overwrite any existing files or the -U option to remove any pre-
     existing files.  You should generally not extract archives while running
     with super-user privileges.  Note that the -P option to tar disables the
     security checks above and allows you to extract an archive while
     preserving any absolute pathnames, .. components, or symlinks to other


     bzip2(1), compress(1), cpio(1), gzip(1), mt(1), pax(1), shar(1),
     libarchive(3), libarchive-formats(5), tar(5)


     There is no current POSIX standard for the tar command; it appeared in
     ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996 (“POSIX.1”) but was dropped from IEEE Std 1003.1-2001
     (“POSIX.1”).  The options used by this implementation were developed by
     surveying a number of existing tar implementations as well as the old
     POSIX specification for tar and the current POSIX specification for pax.

     The ustar and pax interchange file formats are defined by IEEE Std
     1003.1-2001 (“POSIX.1”) for the pax command.


     A tar command appeared in Seventh Edition Unix, which was released in
     January, 1979.  There have been numerous other implementations, many of
     which extended the file format.  John Gilmore’s pdtar public-domain
     implementation (circa November, 1987) was quite influential, and formed
     the basis of GNU tar.  GNU tar was included as the standard system tar in
     FreeBSD beginning with FreeBSD 1.0.

     This is a complete re-implementation based on the libarchive(3) library.


     This program follows ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996 (“POSIX.1”) for the definition
     of the -l option.  Note that GNU tar prior to version 1.15 treated -l as
     a synonym for the --one-file-system option.

     The -C dir option may differ from historic implementations.

     All archive output is written in correctly-sized blocks, even if the
     output is being compressed.  Whether or not the last output block is
     padded to a full block size varies depending on the format and the output
     device.  For tar and cpio formats, the last block of output is padded to
     a full block size if the output is being written to standard output or to
     a character or block device such as a tape drive.  If the output is being
     written to a regular file, the last block will not be padded.  Many
     compressors, including gzip(1) and bzip2(1), complain about the null
     padding when decompressing an archive created by tar, although they still
     extract it correctly.

     The compression and decompression is implemented internally, so there may
     be insignificant differences between the compressed output generated by
           tar -czf - file
     and that generated by
           tar -cf - file | gzip

     The default should be to read and write archives to the standard I/O
     paths, but tradition (and POSIX) dictates otherwise.

     The r and u modes require that the archive be uncompressed and located in
     a regular file on disk.  Other archives can be modified using c mode with
     the @archive-file extension.

     To archive a file called @foo or -foo you must specify it as ./@foo or
     ./-foo, respectively.

     In create mode, a leading ./ is always removed.  A leading / is stripped
     unless the -P option is specified.

     There needs to be better support for file selection on both create and

     There is not yet any support for multi-volume archives or for archiving
     sparse files.

     Converting between dissimilar archive formats (such as tar and cpio)
     using the @- convention can cause hard link information to be lost.
     (This is a consequence of the incompatible ways that different archive
     formats store hardlink information.)

     There are alternative long options for many of the short options that are
     deliberately not documented.