Archives using TAR

If you are running a Linux Distribution, a Mac OS X or other Unix-like operating system, your system certainly has the tar program on it already.You can see the tar manual by typing ‘$man tar’.

Unpacking a tarball

To unpack a tarball, use

$ tar xvf <tarball>

The x stands for extract.
The v stands for verbose output
The f stands for filename of archive

To uncompress a gzip compressed tar, use option z in addition to the above

$ tar xvzf <tarball>

The z stands for uncompress a gzip archive

To uncompress a bzip2 compressed tar, use option j instead of z

$ tar xvjf <tarball>

Creating a tarball

To create a tar archive, use

$ tar cvf <tarball name> <file/directory to be archived>

The c stands for create archive
The v stands for verbose list files which have been processed
The f stands for filename of archive

To create a compressed archive, use

$ tar cvzf <tarball name> <file/directory to be archived>

This creates a gzip compressed archive

In order to create a bzip2 compressed archive, use option j.

$ tar cvjf <tarball name> <file/directory to be archived>

In order to add a file or directory to an existing archive, use the following:

$ tar rvf <tarball name> <file/directory to be added>

** however, you cannot add a file or directory to a compressed archive.

Listing an archive

The tar content can be viewed before extracting by using the following command

$ tar tvf <tarball>

Similar to above two cases, for a compressed archive you can use the options ‘j’ or ‘z’ depending on the type of compression.

Extract a single file

To extract a single file from the archive, you can specify the name of the file at the end of extract command

tar xvf <tarball> <path to file>

Instead of a file, if we specify a directory, the directory will be extracted from the path.
We can also specify multiple files/directories for extraction.
Wildcards can also be used for extracting files matching a specific pattern

Reference: Open Hatch Tar quick reference

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