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8.3 Making tar Archives More Portable

Creating a tar archive on a particular system that is meant to be useful later on many other machines and with other versions of tar is more challenging than you might think. tar archive formats have been evolving since the first versions of Unix. Many such formats are around, and are not always compatible with each other. This section discusses a few problems, and gives some advice about making tar archives more portable.

One golden rule is simplicity. For example, limit your tar archives to contain only regular files and directories, avoiding other kind of special files. Do not attempt to save sparse files or contiguous files as such. Let's discuss a few more problems, in turn.

See Discuss GNU extensions (incremental backups, multi-volume archives and archive labels) in GNU and PAX formats.

8.3.1 Portable Names   
8.3.2 Symbolic Links   
8.3.3 Hard Links   
8.3.4 Old V7 Archives   
8.3.5 Ustar Archive Format    Ustar Archives
8.3.6 GNU and old GNU tar format    GNU and old GNU format archives.
8.3.7 GNU tar and POSIX tar    POSIX archives
8.3.8 Checksumming Problems   
8.3.9 Large or Negative Values    Large files, negative time stamps, etc.
8.3.10 How to Extract GNU-Specific Data Using Other tar Implementations   

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