paxtar(1) tape archiver


paxtar { crtux } [014578AabefHhJjLmNOoPRSpqsvwXZz ] -words [blocking-factor | archive | replstr ] [-C directory ] [-I file ] [file ... ]
paxtar { -crtux } -words [-014578AaeHhJjLmNOoPpqRSvwXZz [-b blocking-factor ] ] [-C directory ] [-f archive ] [-I file ] [-M flag ] [-s replstr ] [file ... ]


The \*(nm command creates, adds files to, or extracts files from an archive file in ``tar'' format. A tar archive is often stored on a magnetic tape, but can be stored equally well on a floppy, CD-ROM, or in a regular disk file.

In the first (legacy) form, all option flags except for -C and -I must be contained within the first argument to \*(nm and must not be prefixed by a hyphen (`-' ) Option arguments, if any, are processed as subsequent arguments to \*(nm and are processed in the order in which their corresponding option flags have been presented on the command line.

In the second and preferred form, option flags may be given in any order and are immediately followed by their corresponding option argument values.

One of the following flags must be present:

Create new archive, or overwrite an existing archive, adding the specified files to it.
Append the named new files to existing archive. Note that this will only work on media on which an end-of-file mark can be overwritten.
List contents of archive. If any files are named on the command line, only those files will be listed. The file arguments may be specified as glob patterns (see glob(3) for more information), in which case \*(nm will list all archive members that match each pattern.
Alias for -r
Extract files from archive. If any files are named on the command line, only those files will be extracted from the archive. The file arguments may be specified as glob patterns (see glob(3) for more information), in which case \*(nm will extract all archive members that match each pattern.

If more than one copy of a file exists in the archive, later copies will overwrite earlier copies during extraction. The file mode and modification time are preserved if possible. The file mode is subject to modification by the umask(2).

In addition to the flags mentioned above, any of the following flags may be used:

Write Unix Archiver libraries instead of tape archives.
Guess the compression utility based on the archive filename. Inability to guess will result in quietly not using any compression. This option only exists for semi-compatibility with GNU tar it is strongly recommended to archive to stdout and pipe into an external compression utility with appropriate arguments instead:

tar -cf - foo | xz -2e >foo.txz
-b blocking-factor
Set blocking factor to use for the archive. \*(nm uses 512-byte blocks. The default is 20, the maximum is 126. Archives with a blocking factor larger than 63 violate the POSIX standard and will not be portable to all systems.
-C directory
This is a positional argument which sets the working directory for the following files. When extracting, files will be extracted into the specified directory; when creating, the specified files will be matched from the directory.
Stop after the first error.
-f archive
Filename where the archive is stored. Defaults to /dev/rst0
Follow symlinks given on the command line only.
Follow symbolic links as if they were normal files or directories. In extract mode this means that a directory entry in the archive will not overwrite an existing symbolic link, but rather what the link ultimately points to.
-I file
This is a positional argument which reads the names of files to archive or extract from the given file, one per line.
Use the xz utility to compress the archive.
Use the bzip2 utility to compress the archive.
Synonym for the -h option.
-M flag
Configure the archive normaliser. flag is either a numeric value compatible to strtonum(3) which is directly stored in the flags word, or one of the following values, optionally prefixed with ``no-'' to turn them off:

0x0001: Serialise inodes, zero device info.
(cpio, sv4cpio, sv4crc)
0x0002: Store content of hard links only once.
(cpio, sv4cpio, sv4crc)
0x0004: Zero out the file modification time.
(ar, cpio, sv4cpio, sv4crc, ustar)
0x0008: Set owner to 0:0 (root:wheel).
(ar, cpio, sv4cpio, sv4crc, ustar)
0x0010: Debug this option.
0x0020: Debug file header storage.
0x0040: Extract hard links by copy if link fails.
0x0080: Use only numeric uid and gid values.
0x0100: Append a slash after directory names.
0x0003: Keep ownership and mtime intact.
0x008B: Clean everything except mtime.
0x008F: Clean everything.
0x0089: Clean owner and device information.

When creating an archive and verbosely listing output, these normalisation operations are not reflected in the output, because they are made only after the output has been shown.

This option is only implemented for the ar, cpio, sv4cpio, sv4crc, and ustar file format writing routines.

Do not preserve modification time.
Same as -M numid
If reading, extract files to standard output.
If writing, write old-style (non-POSIX) archives.
Don't write directory information that the older (V7) style tar is unable to decode. This implies the -O flag.
Do not strip leading slashes (`/' ) from pathnames. The default is to strip leading slashes.
Preserve user and group ID as well as file mode regardless of the current umask(2). The setuid and setgid bits are only preserved if the user is the superuser. Only meaningful in conjunction with the -x flag.
Select the first archive member that matches each file operand. No more than one archive member is matched for each file When members of type directory are matched, the file hierarchy rooted at that directory is also matched.
Write SysVR4 CPIO files instead of tar or POSIX ustar files. Serialise inode numbers, zero out device information. The file content of hard links is stored only once.
Write SysVR4 CPIO files with CRC instead of tar or POSIX ustar files. Serialise inode numbers, zero out device information. The file content of hard links is stored only once.
-s replstr
Modify the archive member names according to the substitution expression replstr using the syntax of the ed(1) utility regular expressions. file arguments may be given to restrict the list of archive members to those specified.

The format of these regular expressions is


As in ed(1), old is a basic regular expression (see re_format7) and new can contain an ampersand (`&' ) `\' Ns Em n (where n is a digit) back-references, or subexpression matching. The old string may also contain newline characters. Any non-null character can be used as a delimiter Po `/' is shown here Pc . Multiple -s expressions can be specified. The expressions are applied in the order they are specified on the command line, terminating with the first successful substitution.

The optional trailing g continues to apply the substitution expression to the pathname substring, which starts with the first character following the end of the last successful substitution. The first unsuccessful substitution stops the operation of the g option. The optional trailing p will cause the final result of a successful substitution to be written to standard error in the following format:

File or archive member names that substitute to the empty string are not selected and will be skipped.

Verbose operation mode.
Interactively rename files. This option causes \*(nm to prompt the user for the filename to use when storing or extracting files in an archive.
Do not cross mount points in the file system.
Use the compress(1) utility to compress the archive.
Use the gzip(1) utility to compress the archive.

The options [-014578 ] can be used to select one of the compiled-in backup devices, /dev/rstN


Path in which to store temporary files.
Default tape device to use instead of /dev/rst0


default archive name


The \*(nm utility exits with one of the following values:

All files were processed successfully.
An error occurred.


Create an archive on the default tape drive, containing the files named bonvole and sekve

$ paxtar c bonvole sekve

Output a gzip(1) compressed archive containing the files bonvole and sekve to a file called foriru.tar.gz

$ paxtar zcf foriru.tar.gz bonvole sekve

Verbosely create an archive, called backup.tar.gz of all files matching the shell glob(3) function *.c

$ paxtar zcvf backup.tar.gz *.c

Verbosely list, but do not extract, all files ending in .jpeg from a compressed archive named backup.tar.gz Note that the glob pattern has been quoted to avoid expansion by the shell:

$ paxtar tvzf backup.tar.gz '*.jpeg'

For more detailed examples, see pax1.


Whenever \*(nm cannot create a file or a link when extracting an archive or cannot find a file while writing an archive, or cannot preserve the user ID, group ID, file mode, or access and modification times when the -p option is specified, a diagnostic message is written to standard error and a non-zero exit value will be returned, but processing will continue. In the case where \*(nm cannot create a link to a file, unless -M lncp is given, \*(nm will not create a second copy of the file.

If the extraction of a file from an archive is prematurely terminated by a signal or error, \*(nm may have only partially extracted the file the user wanted. Additionally, the file modes of extracted files and directories may have incorrect file bits, and the modification and access times may be wrong.

If the creation of an archive is prematurely terminated by a signal or error, \*(nm may have only partially created the archive, which may violate the specific archive format specification.


A tar command first appeared in AT&T System v7 .


An Keith Muller at the University of California, San Diego. MirOS extensions by An mirabilos Aq [email protected] .


The flags -AaJjLMNRS are not portable to other implementations of tar where they may have a different meaning or not exist at all.


The pax file format is not yet supported.