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: Old Options, Up: Styles

3.3.4 Mixing Option Styles

All three styles may be intermixed in a single tar command, so long as the rules for each style are fully respected1. Old style options and either of the modern styles of options may be mixed within a single tar command. However, old style options must be introduced as the first arguments only, following the rule for old options (old options must appear directly after the tar command and some white space). Modern options may be given only after all arguments to the old options have been collected. If this rule is not respected, a modern option might be falsely interpreted as the value of the argument to one of the old style options.

For example, all the following commands are wholly equivalent, and illustrate the many combinations and orderings of option styles.

     tar --create --file=archive.tar
     tar --create -f archive.tar
     tar --create -farchive.tar
     tar --file=archive.tar --create
     tar --file=archive.tar -c
     tar -c --file=archive.tar
     tar -c -f archive.tar
     tar -c -farchive.tar
     tar -cf archive.tar
     tar -cfarchive.tar
     tar -f archive.tar --create
     tar -f archive.tar -c
     tar -farchive.tar --create
     tar -farchive.tar -c
     tar c --file=archive.tar
     tar c -f archive.tar
     tar c -farchive.tar
     tar cf archive.tar
     tar f archive.tar --create
     tar f archive.tar -c
     tar fc archive.tar

On the other hand, the following commands are not equivalent to the previous set:

     tar -f -c archive.tar
     tar -fc archive.tar
     tar -fcarchive.tar
     tar -farchive.tarc
     tar cfarchive.tar

These last examples mean something completely different from what the user intended (judging based on the example in the previous set which uses long options, whose intent is therefore very clear). The first four specify that the tar archive would be a file named -c, ‘c’, ‘carchive.tar’ or ‘archive.tarc’, respectively. The first two examples also specify a single non-option, name argument having the value ‘archive.tar’. The last example contains only old style option letters (repeating option ‘c’ twice), not all of which are meaningful (eg., ‘.’, ‘h’, or ‘i’), with no argument value.


[1] Before GNU tar version 1.11.6, a bug prevented intermixing old style options with mnemonic options in some cases.

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