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FAQ / COMMON ARCHIVE FORMATS > TAR FILE FORMAT
tar package

TAR file format (TGZ, TBZ,...)



WHAT IS TAR FILE FORMAT

TAR extension



TAR is a popular archiving format, mainstream for data backup and distribution purpose on Unix and Unix-like systems, as BSD, Linux and derivates. In use since early Unix versions, predating integrated archiving and compression formats like zip and rar, it was later standardized by POSIX-1.1988 and POSIX.1-2001. Tar packages are sometimes referred as "tarballs". "Tarbomb" refers to a tar package purposely built to spam extraction directory with a large number of files, effect that can be avoided by moders archivers simply employing "extract to new folder" option.

TAR file format doesn't feature native data compression, so TAR archives are often compressed with an external utility like, but not only, GZip, BZip2, XZ (using 7-Zip / p7zip LZMA / LZMA2 compression algorithms), and similar tools to reduce archive's size, i.e. for more compact backup, or smaller software distribution package.
Resulting compressed files can be found named with single extension, e.g. TGZ, TBZ, TXZ, or with double file extension, e.g. TAR.GZ, TAR.BZ2, TAR.XZ.
Adding items to a tarball before compression stage is quivalent to using solid compression, which can be beneficial for optimizing output size.
Similarly, TAR also does not natively support cryptography, but it is possible to compress the TAR package with a compression format providing file encryption features such as zip, 7z, arc, pea.

PeaZip fully support creation and extraction of TAR files on Windows and Linux systems.

Read more: TARuntar package specifications on GNU software directory, TAR file format.tar archive extension Wikipedia entry, GZipGzip tool and BZip2bzip compressor compressors' official domains.

tar archives

When it is recommended to use TAR format: it is a good choice for distributing data on Linux and other Unix-like systems, combining it with .gz / .bz2 / .xz compression to save bandwidth if relevant for the intended use.

tar.gz


  



  

.TAR



SPEED tar archiving

Extremely fast: archiving to TAR file is equivalent - in speed - of merging files, faster than raw file copy as the process avoids overhead of creating a new  filesystem entry for each file. If compression is applied in the pipeline of the job, it will be likely the speed performance limitating factor.







COMPRESSION RATIO tgz tbz archive

Tar type is not meant to provide compression, rely on external compressors in pipeline (tar.gz, tar.bz, tar.xz) from which depends the results in terms of compression ratio.

ADVANCED OPTIONS tar command

Tar standard is meant to provide only archiving of data and metadata. Other features are delegated, by specification's design, to external programs pipelined to Tar command.








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XZ COMPRESSION
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