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Working with Archives

Working with tar Archives

To create an archive of a directory tree with tar, you can do something like this:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -cf directory.tar directory/
nikesh@poison:~/temp> ls
directory directory.tar

The preceding command creates (c), verbosely (v), the file (f) directory.tar, which is a tar archive, by running tar on directory.

If you want to list the files in the archive:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -tf directory.tar

Here the option lists the contents of the file (f) directory.tar.

Using gzip Compression with tar

If you want to create a gzipped tar archive (the -z option implies compression, while the c means create):

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -zcf directory.tgz directory/
nikesh@poison:~/temp> ls
directory directory.tgz

The original is still there, unlike when we compressed a single file with gzip. (Note that .tgz and .tar.gz are used interchangeably for filenames of gzipped tar archives.)

To list the files in this case, use the following:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -tzf directory.tgz

Using bzip2 Compression with tar

If you want to use compression with bzip2 instead of gzip, the required option is -j rather than -z:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -jcf directory.tar.bz2 directory/
nikesh@poison:~/temp> ls
directory directory.tar.bz2

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -jtf directory.tar.bz2

Unpacking tar Archives

To unpack a tar archive, you need to use the -x option (for extract):

nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -xvf directory.tar
nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -zxvf directory.tgz
nikesh@poison:~/temp> tar -jxvf directory.tar.bz2

Here the options have the following meanings:
The -x option to tar means extract.
The z option implies that you are uncompressing a tar archive where gzip compression has been used.
The joption is needed if you are extracting an archive where bzip2 compression has been used.

Working with zip Archives

The common zip archive format (associated with the DOS and Windows programs PKZIP and WinZip among others) is supported on Linux. To unzip a zip archive, simply do the following:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> unzip

To create a zip archive of the current directory:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> zip -r ~/ .

This will recursively zip up the current directory and create the zip file in you’re your home directory (~).
The program zipinfo will give a listing and information about compression ratios:

nikesh@poison:~/temp> zipinfo


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