Reading and writing tapes, backups, and archives with tar

Reading and writing tapes, backups, and archives: The tar command

The tar command stands for "tape archive". It is the "standard" way to read
and write archives (collections of files and whole directory trees).

Often you will find archives of stuff with names like stuff.tar, or stuff.tar.gz. This
is stuff in a tar archive, and stuff in a tar archive which has been compressed using the
gzip compression program respectivly.

Chances are that if someone gives you a tape written on a UNIX system, it will be in tar format,
and you will use tar (and your tape drive) to read it.

Likewise, if you want to write a tape to give to someone else, you should probably use
tar as well.

Tar examples:

tar xv Extracts (x) files from the default tape drive while listing (v = verbose)
the file names to the screen.
tar tv Lists the files from the default tape device without extracting them.
tar cv file1 file2
Write files ‘file1’ and ‘file2’ to the default tape device.
tar cvf archive.tar file1 [file2…]
Create a tar archive as a file "archive.tar" containing file1,
file2…etc.
tar xvf archive.tar extract from the archive file
tar cvfz archive.tar.gz dname
Create a gzip compressed tar archive containing everything in the directory
‘dname’. This does not work with all versions of tar.
tar xvfz archive.tar.gz
Extract a gzip compressed tar archive. Does not work with all versions of tar.
tar cvfI archive.tar.bz2 dname
Create a bz2 compressed tar archive. Does not work with all versions of tar

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