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NewsForge: CLI for Noobies: Making and Melting Tarballs

Nov 24, 2003, 08:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr, David Graham)

[ Thanks to codez for this link. ]

"This is important. We're talking about tar, that sticky software that bonds files together into one big ball. It's one of the most important programs you'll learn to use from the Linux CLI. Why? Because most free/open source software makes use of tar in distributing itself, that's why. So unless you know - at a minimum - how to untar a tarball, you will remain cut off from a vital flow, nay, from the heartbeat of free/open source software. That's why tar is a necessary skill for you to learn. That, and the fact you need to know how to use it to earn your CLI merit-badge.

"The name comes from Tape Archive. It's no wonder it's so widely used by the open source community, especially in the distribution of software. Tar allows developers to create a 'tarball' containing everything needed, including directory structures, to build and install complex applications from their source code. Note that tar does not actually do any compression. It simply sticks all the files together into a single tarball, or archive. Normally the tarball itself is then compressed by another program. But tar is smart enough to handle both the compression and the decompression--using those other programs--if you tell it to do so..."

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