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BSDTAR(1)               FreeBSD General Commands Manual              BSDTAR(1)

     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.

     The first synopsis form shows a ``bundled'' option word.  This usage is
     provided for compatibility with historical implementations.  See COMPATI-
     BILITY 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 modifica-
             tion date newer than the corresponding entry in the archive.
             Note that this only works on uncompressed archives stored in reg-
             ular 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 con-
     tents 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 oper-
     ating 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 sim-
             ple 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 deter-
             mined automatically) and converts it into a gzip-compressed pax-
             format archive on stdout.  In this way, tar can be used to con-
             vert 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.

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

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

     --format format (-W format=format)
             (c 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-sup-
             ported formats.

     -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.)

     --fast-read (-W 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.

     -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 (-W include=pattern)
             Process only files or directories that match the specified pat-
             tern.  Note that exclusions specified with --exclude take prece-
             dence over inclusions.  If no inclusions are explicitly speci-
             fied, all entries are processed by default.  The --include option
             is especially useful when filtering archives.  For example, the
                   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.

     -L      (c and r mode only) All symbolic links will be followed.  Nor-
             mally, symbolic links are archived as such.  With this option,
             the target of the link will be archived instead.

     -l      If POSIXLY_CORRECT is specified in the environment, this is a
             synonym for the --check-links option.  Otherwise, an error will
             be displayed.  Users who desire behavior compatible with GNU tar
             should use the --one-file-system option instead.

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

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

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

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

     --null (-W 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).

     -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 only) Use the user and group of the user running the pro-
             gram 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 infor-
             mation in the archive will be discarded.

     --one-file-system (-W one-file-system)
             (c, r, and u modes) Do not cross mount points.

     -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.

     --strip-components count (-W strip-components=count)
             (x and t 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 inclu-
             sion/exclusion patterns but before security checks.

     -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 speci-
             fied 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.

     -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.

     -W longopt=value
             Long options (preceded by --) are only supported directly on sys-
             tems that have the getopt_long(3) function.  The -W option can be
             used to access long options on systems that do not support this

     -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.

     The following environment variables affect the execution of tar:

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

                If this environment variable is defined, the -l option will be
                interpreted in accordance with ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996

     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 envi-
                ronment variable or the -f option.

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

     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 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

     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 bundled-arguments format is supported for compatibility with historic
     implementations.  It consists of an initial word (with no leading - char-
     acter) 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 argu-
     ments, 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

     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.

     On systems that support getopt_long(), additional long options are avail-
     able 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 supe-
     ruser, 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:

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

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

     o       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 preserv-
     ing any absolute pathnames, .. components, or symlinks to other directo-

     bzip2(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 specifica-
     tion 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.  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.

     POSIX and GNU violently disagree about the meaning of the -l option.
     Because of the potential for disaster if someone expects one behavior and
     gets the other, the -l option is deliberately broken in this implementa-

     The -C dir option may differ from historic implementations.

     All archive output is written in correctly-sized blocks, even if the out-
     put 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 com-
     pressors, 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.

FreeBSD 6.2                     April 13, 2004                     FreeBSD 6.2


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