Follow Techotopia on Twitter

On-line Guides
All Guides
eBook Store
iOS / Android
Linux for Beginners
Office Productivity
Linux Installation
Linux Security
Linux Utilities
Linux Virtualization
Linux Kernel
System/Network Admin
Scripting Languages
Development Tools
Web Development
GUI Toolkits/Desktop
Mail Systems
Eclipse Documentation

How To Guides
General System Admin
Linux Security
Linux Filesystems
Web Servers
Graphics & Desktop
PC Hardware
Problem Solutions
Privacy Policy




Previous: Checksumming, Up: Portability

8.1.8 Large or Negative Values

The above sections suggest to use ‘oldest possible’ archive format if in doubt. However, sometimes it is not possible. If you attempt to archive a file whose metadata cannot be represented using required format, GNU tar will print error message and ignore such a file. You will than have to switch to a format that is able to handle such values. The format summary table (see Formats) will help you to do so.

In particular, when trying to archive files larger than 8GB or with timestamps not in the range 1970-01-01 00:00:00 through 2242-03-16 12:56:31 utc, you will have to chose between GNU and POSIX archive formats. When considering which format to choose, bear in mind that the GNU format uses two's-complement base-256 notation to store values that do not fit into standard ustar range. Such archives can generally be read only by a GNU tar implementation. Moreover, they sometimes cannot be correctly restored on another hosts even by GNU tar. For example, using two's complement representation for negative time stamps that assumes a signed 32-bit time_t generates archives that are not portable to hosts with differing time_t representations.

On the other hand, POSIX archives, generally speaking, can be extracted by any tar implementation that understands older ustar format. The only exception are files larger than 8GB.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire