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LIBARCHIVE(3)		 BSD Library Functions Manual		 LIBARCHIVE(3)

     libarchive	-- functions for reading and writing streaming archives

     Reading and Writing Streaming Archives Library (libarchive, -larchive)

     The libarchive library provides a flexible	interface for reading and
     writing streaming archive files such as tar and cpio.  The	library	is in-
     herently stream-oriented; readers serially	iterate	through	the archive,
     writers serially add things to the	archive.  In particular, note that
     there is no built-in support for random access nor	for in-place modifica-

     When reading an archive, the library automatically	detects	the format and
     the compression.  The library currently has read support for:
     o	 old-style tar
     o	 most variants of the POSIX "ustar" format,
     o	 the POSIX "pax	interchange" format,
     o	 GNU-format tar	archives,
     o	 POSIX octet-oriented cpio archives.
     The library automatically detects archives	compressed with	gzip(1),
     bzip2(1), or compress(1) and decompresses them transparently.

     When writing an archive, you can specify the compression to be used and
     the format	to use.	 The library can write
     o	 POSIX-standard	"ustar"	archives,
     o	 POSIX "pax interchange	format"	archives,
     o	 POSIX octet-oriented cpio archives,
     o	 two different variants	of shar	archives.
     Pax interchange format is an extension of the tar archive format that
     eliminates	essentially all	of the limitations of historic tar formats in
     a standard	fashion	that is	supported by POSIX-compliant pax(1) implemen-
     tations on	many systems as	well as	several	newer implementations of
     tar(1).  Note that	the default write format will suppress the pax ex-
     tended attributes for most	entries; explicitly requesting pax format will
     enable those attributes for all entries.

     The read and write	APIs are accessed through the archive_read_XXX() func-
     tions and the archive_write_XXX() functions, respectively,	and either can
     be	used independently of the other.

     The rest of this manual page provides an overview of the library opera-
     tion.  More detailed information can be found in the individual manual
     pages for each API	or utility function.

     To	read an	archive, you must first	obtain an initialized struct archive
     object from archive_read_new().  You can then modify this object for the
     desired operations	with the various archive_read_set_XXX()	and
     archive_read_support_XXX()	functions.  In particular, you will need to
     invoke appropriate	archive_read_support_XXX() functions to	enable the
     corresponding compression and format support.  Note that these latter
     functions perform two distinct operations:	they cause the corresponding
     support code to be	linked into your program, and they enable the corre-
     sponding auto-detect code.	 Unless	you have specific constraints, you
     will generally want to invoke archive_read_support_compression_all() and
     archive_read_support_format_all() to enable auto-detect for all formats
     and compression types currently supported by the library.

     Once you have prepared the	struct archive object, you call
     archive_read_open() to actually open the archive and prepare it for read-

     Each archive entry	consists of a header followed by a certain amount of
     data.  You	can obtain the next header with	archive_read_next_header(),
     which returns a pointer to	an struct archive_entry	structure with infor-
     mation about the current archive element.	If the entry is	a regular
     file, then	the header will	be followed by the file	data.  You can use
     archive_read_data() (which	works much like	the read(2) system call) to
     read this data from the archive.  You may prefer to use the higher-level
     archive_read_data_skip(), which reads and discards	the data for this en-
     try, archive_read_data_to_buffer(), which reads the data into an in-mem-
     ory buffer, archive_read_data_to_file(), which copies the data to the
     provided file descriptor, or archive_read_extract(), which	recreates the
     specified entry on	disk and copies	data from the archive.	In particular,
     note that archive_read_extract() uses the struct archive_entry structure
     that you provide it, which	may differ from	the entry just read from the
     archive.  In particular, many applications	will want to override the
     pathname, file permissions, or ownership.

     Once you have finished reading data from the archive, you should call
     archive_read_finish() to release all resources.  In particular,
     archive_read_finish() closes the archive and frees	any memory that	was
     allocated by the library.

     The archive_read(3) manual	page provides more detailed calling informa-
     tion for this API.

     You use a similar process to write	an archive.  The archive_write_new()
     function creates an archive object	useful for writing, the	various
     archive_write_set_XXX() functions are used	to set parameters for writing
     the archive, and archive_write_open() completes the setup and opens the
     archive for writing.

     Individual	archive	entries	are written in a three-step process: You first
     initialize	a struct archive_entry structure with information about	the
     new entry.	 At a minimum, you should set the pathname of the entry	and
     provide a struct stat with	a valid	st_mode	field, which specifies the
     type of object and	st_size	field, which specifies the size	of the data
     portion of	the object.  The archive_write_header()	function actually
     writes the	header data to the archive.  You can then use
     archive_write_data() to write the actual data.

     After all entries have been written, use the archive_write_finish() func-
     tion to release all resources.

     The archive_write(3) manual page provides more detailed calling informa-
     tion for this API.

     Detailed descriptions of each function are	provided by the	corresponding
     manual pages.

     All of the	functions utilize an opaque struct archive datatype that pro-
     vides access to the archive contents.

     The struct	archive_entry structure	contains a complete description	of a
     single archive entry.  It uses an opaque interface	that is	fully docu-
     mented in archive_entry(3).

     Users familiar with historic formats should be aware that the newer vari-
     ants have eliminated most restrictions on the length of textual fields.
     Clients should not	assume that filenames, link names, user	names, or
     group names are limited in	length.	 In particular,	pax interchange	format
     can easily	accomodate pathnames in	arbitrary character sets that exceed

     Most functions return zero	on success, non-zero on	error.	The return
     value indicates the general severity of the error,	ranging	from
     ARCHIVE_WARNING, which indicates a	minor problem that should probably be
     reported to the user, to ARCHIVE_FATAL, which indicates a serious problem
     that will prevent any further operations on this archive.	On error, the
     archive_errno() function can be used to retrieve a	numeric	error code
     (see errno(2)).  The archive_error_string() returns a textual error mes-
     sage suitable for display.

     archive_read_new()	and archive_write_new()	return pointers	to an allo-
     cated and initialized struct archive object.

     archive_read_data() and archive_write_data() return a count of the	number
     of	bytes actually read or written.	 A value of zero indicates the end of
     the data for this entry.  A negative value	indicates an error, in which
     case the archive_errno() and archive_error_string() functions can be used
     to	obtain more information.

     There are character set conversions within	the archive_entry(3) functions
     that are impacted by the currently-selected locale.

     tar(1), archive_entry(3), archive_read(3),	archive_util(3),
     archive_write(3), tar(5)

     The libarchive library first appeared in FreeBSD 5.3.

     The libarchive library was	written	by Tim Kientzle	<>.

     Some archive formats support information that is not supported by struct
     archive_entry.  Such information cannot be	fully archived or restored us-
     ing this library.	This includes, for example, comments, character	sets,
     or	the arbitrary key/value	pairs that can appear in pax interchange for-
     mat archives.

     Conversely, of course, not	all of the information that can	be stored in
     an	struct archive_entry is	supported by all formats.  For example,	cpio
     formats do	not support nanosecond timestamps; old tar formats do not sup-
     port large	device numbers.

BSD				January	8, 2005				   BSD


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